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Mixer for new baker

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mdhelms@yahoo.com's picture
mdhelms@yahoo.com

Mixer for new baker

I have recently started baking thanks in part to some great classes as Johnson and Wales in Charlotte under Chefs Peemoeller and Reinhart. I currently use my wifes old Kitchenaid Artisan mixer. That however is stressing out under whole wheat and other heavy doughs. I did some research and was really impressed by the electrolux "magic mill". However I recently read a review from Americas test kitchen that stated...cookies, cakes, and even single loaves get lost in the abyss. The roller tool's grooves are a haven for butter, and the least intuitive user interface in the lineup had us constantly re-deciphering the manual before every task." 

This has left me a little apprehensive as it was the only mixer tested that was not recommended. Can anyone give me any feedback into the validity of this revew? Was it the "learning curve" that I have read about that kept the testers from getting the most out of the mixer? Does using the smaller bowl give better results with smaller batches? I am also considering a 600 series Kitchenaid. I Plan to cook lots of whole grains but not usually more than 2-4 loaves at a time.

Thank You for your input.

Mike 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Mike,

If you look in Yahoo Groups there is a group called "Mixer-Owners" that deals primarily with the mixer you mention and the very similar Bosch mixer.  The site is frequented by sellers of these products and contains a great many posts from users.  I think it may help you in your quest.

Jeff

mdhelms@yahoo.com's picture
mdhelms@yahoo.com

Thanks Jeff. I joined the group yesterday and have been reading some of the posts.

Mike 

dougal's picture
dougal

The "Magic Mill" name seems to be outdated.

You'll find a lot of references on here to it as the "DLX".

If you want a bulletproof mixer for biggish domestic dough batches, cheaper and more domestic-scale than commercial mixers, its the DLX.

 

For dough, there isn't a "smaller bowl". There's a plastic whipper for eggwhites, cream, etc. Light stuff. Not dough.

Different people prefer using the dough hook or the roller for dough. IMHO, the roller is easier for small batches, the hook for bigger ones (more than about 700g of flour). That's conventional advice, but its far from universal. :-)

 

I have recently heard of this review, or rather of people writing in to complain how crazy it was.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=14505&view=findpost&p=1614207

I'm in the UK where, oddly enough, the machine is essentially unavailable!

 

Have you seen the demo video? It explains (by wordless demonstration) lots.

Note how the capable lady waggles the roller arm (its sprung outwards against an adjustable stop, and the roller spins only through contact with the rotating bowl & dough).

Learning about how you get things to 'pick up' and start mixing is what people speak of as a 'learning curve'. No, its not a machine to use with the manual in one hand. But who does that the second time they do anything?

Watch what SHE does! (and you'll barely need a manual!)

http://www.everythingkitchens.com/electroluxvideo.html

mdhelms@yahoo.com's picture
mdhelms@yahoo.com

I would love to watch the video but have been unable to find the right download to view it so far. I have a mac, but will keep trying to find a way to see it.

dougal's picture
dougal

The video is in Windows Movie (wmv) format.

 

There's a free plugin called Flip4Mac that will play such files through the Mac's Quicktime.

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/17787/flip4mac-wmv-player

 

Pleased to hear that you have a decent computer!  

Russ's picture
Russ

I haven't tried Flip4Mac, but wanted to mention that VLC is another excellent option. It's open source, plays tons of formats (including wmv) and IMO has a nicer interface than Quicktime.

Russ

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

Personally... I own a kitchenaid Pro5 and had been wanting to upgrade to Pro6 for sometime, but I got to say that Pro5 works great, w/ about 2 loaf breads.  You might want to do Pro6 if you want to do more than 2 loaf at a time.  It has 10 speed controls which I love, and small enough to fit betwen the kitchen counter & cabinet.  Artisan was never meant to be use to make breads often since it doesn't have a strong motor.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I have the Kitchen Aid 6 series and I've been quite disappointed with it.  The dough hook just doesn't do a good job, in my opinion.  I bought it for this purpose and I regret the purchase.

:-Paul

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

I never have problem w/ my Pro5, but on the other hand, I had never do my full kneading time on the machine.  I remove the dough & put in the last 5 minutes by hand so I don't stress out the gluten & ended up taring it.

May I ask what is the problem you have w/ Pro6?  Was it just the dough hook design or ??  Since Pro5 & Pro6 are basically the same design, I want to see if my has the same issue.. thanks! :)

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I bought the Pro6 for two things, bread and a vegetarian roast that involves kneading a gluten flour/tofu mixture into a silky consistency.  I have a DVD of the roast being prepared and the machine that the demonstrator uses (Bosch?) has a different blade arrangement and really kneads the mixture well.  My KA pretty much just pushes it to the side and there it stays, kind of getting shoved each time the dough hook goes 'round.  I stand there with a spatula and feed it back into the dough hook for the whole 10 minute kneading time.  

With breads it doesn't seem to do a very good job of incorporating the ingredients.  Stuff stays on the bottom of the bowl unless I incoroprate it with a spatula at some point.  The machine seems to bog down a bit on stiffer doughs.  It's not unusual to stand there worried about the dough climbing up the hook.  I just don't like it.

I've taken to doing everything by hand unless it's a very wet or sticky dough.  

:-Paul

setsuuri's picture
setsuuri

Mike, I got a cheap older DLX on e-bay because my kitchen aid couldn't handle the heavy wholegrains / ryes I was interested in making and honestly I couldn't be happier with it! I was getting so frustrated watching the dough hook on the KA drill neat little holes in the centre of my doughs without actually picking anything up and actually mixing it. I wouldn't worry too much about the learning curve of the DLX - I was really anxious, too, but it basically amounts to reserving some of the flour and adding it in to a wetter initial mix (hardly rocket science). I also found I ended up making larger batches and freezing half for later - so the single loaf issue wasn't a big deal. But I have made single loaves without it being a problem (it just looks a little odd in such a huge bowl :-). As for making cakes, if you already have a KA you can always stick with that for baking - that's what I use mine for, now. 

Lindsey

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

what people dont understand is that a mixer as both a maxamum and a minamum amount that thay can handle.

in a ka 5 i find that when using a hook if the mix is under a pound of flour the mixer will ether not work well or take some time to mix it correctly. today i made some cin rolls and the dough was 1 pound of flour the mixer took a good 20 minutes to delevop the dough while a larger mix would have worked better.

with a 6 quart and the hook i would not mix less than 1.5 pounds of flour both due to the size of the mixer and the shape of the hook.

it also depends on how stiff the dough is 1 one pound stiff dough (like my onion rolls work fine in a 5 quart but the cin rolls (a soft dough) 1,5 pounds is better.

when you see the dough tearing (holes as you put it) it is a stiff dough and maybe to small for the mixer to work right.  try to make a larger batch or mix at a faster speed.

in the shop you would not put 80 pounds of flour in to a 20 quart mixer by the same rule you would not try to mix 4 pounds of flour in a 140 quart mixer it would just sit on the bottom.

remember let the mixer work thats what its there for don't rush it   the dough is mixing it just might take more time than you thought but the time is not important just walk away and wait the mixer is working  the results, making the baked item come out the way you want, is more important than how long the mixer takes.

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

ok.. nbicomputers is right.  Every mixer has it's own limits.  And Pablo is also right, KA dough hook does have the tendency taking a long time to have dough mixed & have the dough climb up to the hook, but on the other hand, that is pretty much true to every mixer.  Even w/ 20 or 80 qt Hobart, I still have to scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is mixed.  So I pretty much just leave it along to do it's job or simple make sure everything is mixed than put it in th bowl for kneading only.. :)

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

every mixer needs to have the sides scraped down unless you have the scraper attachment as i had on my 80 and 140 quart mixers a great time saver

Russ's picture
Russ

As someone said earlier in the thread, what was once known as "Magic Mill" is better known these days as a DLX mixer. The official name, I believe, is Electrolux Assistent.

Anyway, whatever you call it, I have one and love it. I had a Kitchenaid 4.5 (Ultra Power, I think was the model name) and it was fine - until I began baking bread. The mixer would strain with a single loaf of WW bread dough, and it overflowed, climbing the hook until the dough got up to the greasy post that the hook connects to when I tried to make a 3 loaf batch (Floydm's cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread - I guess I missed the warning about it pushing the capacity of a mixer).

With the DLX, I can make any size batch of dough I want. I've made up to 4 loaf batches of WW bread without any sign of the mixer straining (I have heard of people making dough with up to 8 lbs of flour - that's 28 cups worth! How's that for flour power?), and tonight I made a single loaf. Yes, a single loaf batch looked small and lonely in that big bowl, but the dough developed perfectly.

Yes there is a learning curve and I do believe that is the reason ATK rated this mixer so low. I haven't yet mastered creaming butter in the big bowl. When I tried it, the roller's grooves filled with butter, just as ATK/CI said. I do get great results using the smaller bowl with the whisks for creaming butter though. This is why I haven't tried using the roller for it since - the whisk bowl does a fine job and I don't have to figure anything out to do it.

Russ

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mike,

I replaced my KA from 25 years ago with a DLX and haven't regretted the purchase. It is still amazing that it works so well because the roller is such a strange and simple component. With just a little playing around after watching the video referred to above, you will be on the way. I have used the whisk a few times for cream and creaming butter with great results also.

Another surprise is the included dough hook. I had read somewhere that it was included for the US market and was a joke. Nothing could be further from the truth. The hook works great on lower hydration doughs and doesn't require any watching once the ingredients are incorporated.

I made 8 pounds of Hamelmans WW with golden raisin last week in the DLX and it was no trouble at all. Remember the fine folks at America's Test Kitchens are a commercial enterprise. Some of the things they do are great, especially when it comes to methods. However, the product reviews seem to be driven by convenience rather than functionality, IMO.

Eric 

mdhelms@yahoo.com's picture
mdhelms@yahoo.com

Thank you to all those that replied and gave their input. I was finally able to watch the video. Although parts of it look difficult, comments on here and other posts seem to indicate it is not an overly daunting task to pick it up. Now the difficult task of convincing my wife that I need to get one.

Mike 

caviar's picture
caviar

I can't say anythibng about The DLX as all I have is a Kitchen Aid pro. However I have purchased a number of things based on the recommendations of ATK and regretted following them. I agree, they are a commercial business which you will quickly find out when you try to download recipes from one of their sites you don't have a subscription for. I Ordered a DLX several times. The second time from an other site and was told it would be delivered some time this month. I'm looking forward to it.