New, disappointed Bosch Universal Plus Owner
Okay, first off, I don't have an axe to grind. I'm proud of my German ancestry, love German engineering, drive BMWs, own and love my Bosch dishwasher and Bosch superautomatic coffee machine. I ordered the Bosch Universal Plus because I am an avid bread and pizza maker and got tired of mixing multiple batches of dough in my Kenwood K800 for many-loaf bakes and for pizza parties. (Last year I built an outdoor, wood-fired oven for these big bakes and parties, the most fun project I've ever undertaken, but that's another story.)
For mixing needs for this fun hobby, I progressed from the KitchenAid Professional (dislike KitchenAid intensely, replaced several broken gears over time. When I once called Kitchenaid to complain of the wimpy nature of their mixer, I was told by their customer support that I should stick to the recipes in their booklet and abandon the "machine-stressful" recipes from Maggie Glezer, Joe Ortiz, Peter Reinhart, etc.) to the Kenwood, and finally, after watching some nice demo videos, last month ordered the Bosch Universal Plus from an online store.
The Bosch has filled my need for large batch mixing just fine. But, and here's my big butt, I can't hide my disappointment at the poor performance of the Bosch with small batches of high-hydration dough. I know, I know, the warnings were there to be seen in these forums, if I had only believed others who expressed this same complaint, but I think I couldn't quite bring myself to believe a mixer would be so narrowly focused to big-batch mixing. For example, there is an excellent recipe on this Website, "Rustic Ciabatta Pizza", that calls for 250 grams of flour in a pretty wet dough. As you stare down through the plastic top of the Bosch at the dough from that recipe lying comfortably on the bottom of the mixer bowl, with the mixer arms kind of waving overhead and occasionally giving the dough a tickle, you're left with the question, "what do I do now?". In my case, I doubled the recipe. That's still not enough material to get the mixer arms involved!
After a little more experimentation, I find I cannot get decent mixing/kneading for any high-hydration recipe under 600 grams of flour. I have quite a few recipes that fall in that range, and they simply won't mix and knead worth a darn, and I have to lug out the Kenwood K800 with paddle attachment. I'm glad nobody answered the Craigslist ad I submitted for the Kenwood. Before someone asks, yep, I tried the Bosch batter beater attachments. The beaters did little better with the Rustic Ciabatta recipe, still leaving 10-20% of the dough untouched. I'm afraid to try them with bigger, stiffer batches. Small, drier dough recipes work better, allowing the dough to form up and be bashed about by the mixer arms.
So, I'm going back to the Kenwood on my swing-out stand, and I'll save the Bosch for the big parties and bread batches, but spending $400+ for a machine with such a glaring weakness was a poor purchase.
Thanks for a chance to rant, I hope I save others some disappointment.
This is a timely post for me as I've decided to replace my 18 yr old KA with a Bosch Universal. I can imagine your frustration with it not picking up the dough in the small batch sizes you describe, but then I wouldn't be using it for anything under 600-700 grams in any case, so not a concern. Still, it's good to know from an actual user rather than what the various sellers will tell you about it's abilities. I wonder if you added the water gradually to the dry mixture in order for the dough to 'build up' a bit so that the dough arms could reach it , if this might help. Perhaps the Bosch Compact might be a better choice for folks making smaller batches of dough. Thanks for posting this information.
I settled for the Bosch Compact and making smaller batches, just as Franko suggested. I also ordered it hoping it has a little more muscle than my KAArtisan. I almost ordered the Universal and now your post confirms what seems to be one of the main cons for the UB.
I would have loved the Universal...but since there is usually bread only made for the two of us, mixed by hand and large batches made less often... the best choice for me was the CB.
I make up to 30 pizza's for my wfo baking, using my KAArtisan for the initial mixing phase..it handles the job fine..though it can get a little warm. I burnt up the gears once already on a very stiff dough...so I keep a close hand on it.
I start the pizza dough the night before, bulk ferment, shape into pizza balls the next morning, place back into the frig, remove about 1 to 2 hours before making pizza's..just depends on the house or outside temperature.
It's not all bad you could still order the Compact...it is so light and small, you can easily store it way and pull it out for use.. it takes almost no space up, if left out on the counter. I love it.
I am curious, how heavy can you make a batch of 65% hydration dough, without overloading it, will it do a 5lb batch.
The Bosch manual says it will handle 12-14 lb batches of dough. I have faith in the power of that 800 watt motor, and 65% hydration should actually be easier on the machine than a very dry, stiff dough, so (I think) no problem.
I will always prefer to make my bread by hand and get the best results by hand. I have only had the Bcompact for a short time. So far I've mixed up dough for only for two loaves at a time..JHPain Rustic, which I posted about on my blog, ..the dough weighs apx. just under 3 1/2 lbs. The dough does creep up a bit on the hook, where there is a plastic cover on top to help with the dough when this happens...I mainly use my mixers for batters in cakes, cookies, frosting, whipping meringues, etc. I also love and use the extra attachments, such as the slicing disks, ect. The mixer bowl sticker says it will handle up to 5-6 lb. dough cap. that seems like a lot. The bowl actually looks a wee bit smaller than the one on my KAArtisan mixer.
I bought it hoping it would have the muscle to handle a brioche type dough better than my KAA. I haven't made brioche yet in my BC. Since I've been watching my weight and loosing a few...I have cut back on my baking...or giving away most of what I do bake.
Sylvia, you made a better mixer choice than I.
Making up to 30 pizzas, isn't that the most fun party? I can't think of a dinner party that takes more work (chopping all those topping ingredients, helping people form and stretch or toss pizzas, tending the oven for hours) and the cleanup afterward! Ha! But what an absolute blast!
Like you, I shape individual pizza balls, and store them in disposable tupperware containers. The recipe I use has a very small amount of yeast, which helps prevent overproofing, even if the baking goes on for hours. What I like most is the chance to keep experimenting on my friends, tweaking the dough, changing the sauce recipe. Writing about this, I think I'd better go get some more wood from the macadamia nut farm, it's time to fire up the oven!
I make the dough and sauce, some pizza's and the whole family and friends chip in..yes, what a blast! Isn't it great the oven is self cleaning :-)
Away from home, large pizza parties are reserved for my daughter's wfo...she's great at getting the fire going, prep work and pizza making, totally organized...she calls it an OCD disorder 'lol' organization...runs in the family!
$400. I was leaning that way too, tired of the dough creeping up the KA hook and above its attachment. But, I as well, make only enough bread dough for 2.
Thanks for the recap !
anna (German, too)
I too am a Bosch owner and I too know that small amounts are a pain in it. BUT, I have, as a test, used the wisk attachment to successfully whip a single egg white so it can indeed get down there. The real question is why would you even use a stand mixer for a small amount of high hydration dough? You can, instead, just whip it up by hand, use a food processor with the plastic blade, or just let it ferment longer with folds.
The absolutely best mixer for small wet batches is the KA Artisan and it sucks for everything else. So, no one device fits all needs.
Be a true artisan baker ... use your hands :-)
So when the Rustic Ciabatta recipe says "mix on high speed and it will come together in about 10 minutes", you want me to do that by hand?
You're a better man than I, Paul. Can I buy your workout video?
My wife always tells me about her grandmother who whipped candies by hand. But those were the days when no one had to buy a membership to a fitness club.
But for one loaf of rustic ciabatta ... I'd actually pick up the bowl and a wisk and give it a go. But what I am more likely to do is make a bigger batch in the Bosch and either freeze them (they do freeze really well and then reheat well using the damp paper bag technique) or give some away while they are warm or maybe use some to shim furniture in my old crooked house.
My son just made some 100% hydration ciabatta doing nothing but folds. So, that's a real possibility too.
except for those of us plagued by terrible arthritis, I had a wrist joint partially reconstructed a year ago, now the pain is starting again, so mixers the only way to go, albeit as you suggested, I only use to mix initially and then do the folding technique for most recipes.
This is the first I've heard of this problem - has anyone else experienced it? I'm not seeing it on Amazon - except for yours.
I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this problem. No one I know has, but maybe it's a new thing? When did you buy your mixer?
I bought a used Bosch Universal via Craigslist. I typically make about 2200g of dough and the Bosch does just fine. I cannot do this on my KA Pro 600. Small batches, I don't know. I'd do those by hand. The only downside I've noticed so far is cleanup. The KA is a lot easier to clean. Dough creeps into everything. I'll look into getting some of those gizmo's.
Pmiker, you could always implement this guy's solution to the dough creep thing:
Tim Taylor Dough Creep Solution
Brand new to the forum. Hello!
Who makes the "DLX" mixer that people talk about. Also where to find one and where to find a bosch compact or universal online?
Ankarsrum - it has been imported and renamed many many times over the past decades. Every time the importer changed, they changed the name. The current importer is not doing that any more, hence they are now being sold as Ankarsrum - which is who has ALWAYS made them.
Ankarsrum at Pleasant Hill Grain - note the mixers they still have from the previous importer are on sale for $100 off until the end of the month.
Bosch Universal Plus at Pleasant Hill
Bosch Compact at Pleasant HIll
I have a compact. At $200 (it was on sale a few months ago for $150) it is THE best cheap mixer for bread and most general purposes available on the market.
The Universal has been the best mid-priced mixer for bread, with the Ankarsrum being the best hands down, which shows in the price (normally around $700).
It just depends on how much bread you bake and how often.
Thank you guys, I am just about to order it I change my mind looking for something else.
Hello, I am new here, and was about to order the Bosch universal until i found this forum and read about the machine's inability to handle small batches of dough.I currently live in Tanzania and was going to order the Bosch from the US. I have a 5000VA voltage converter which i'm confident can take care of the difference in voltage between both countries. I also have a bread machine which fills in our needs as far as breads go. However, I love to bake different things and try out new recipes, and am looking to buy a new stand mixer to replace my very old Kuhn Rikon. Kenwood seems to be the most popular brand around here, and I was wondering if I could just skip the hassle of shipping from the US to get a kenwood? Bearing in mind that it will be for home use, I can't seem to decide between ordering the Bosch and going with what's available here? Does anyone have any recommendations for me?
Tanzania's electricity supply operates at a 50Hz frequency, whereas the U.S. electricity supply operates at 60Hz. You might want to source whichever mixer you buy from a European supplier, since they are more apt to have machines with motors that are designed to operate on the 220V, 50Hz power available in Tanzania.
I am located in the Pensacola, Florida area. I would like to donate my fairly new Bosch with all attachments to a charitable group in this area who feeds others or gives Second Chance opportunities. Please let me hear from you.
I wish I could have read your post earlier! I bought this mixer because it was advertised as a work horse. I started on a recipe that calls for 300 grams of flour and 65% hydration. That's pretty normal hydration for Robinhood bread flour. Three times my dough turned out wet and sticky. It wrapped around the cortex of the bowl during the kneading process. When I inquired the sales person, she told me that the flour is not strong enough. Now that I have read this post, I realize it is not the flour, but the mixer itself.
The Bosch manual also said to put in the liquids first, and then half of the flour. Knead and gradually put in the rest of the flour. The dough will clean the bowl when there is enough flour. This totally contradicts my learning! The flour is the 100% ingredient and it should not be changed. Instead, it's the water and other ingredients that should be adjusted to reach a perfect dough.
Yes I am disappointed.
I have not had any trouble mixing smaller doughs. What works for me is to hold back 10% or more of the water so that you start with a stiff dough that travels around the bowl and then as the gluten develops slowly add the remaining water. It will incorporate the water very well if it is not stuck to the center column. If it has wrapped around the column just let it keep running it will eventually unwrap and travel around the bowl. I hope this helps. Let me know if it does.
Thanks for your suggestions. I will give it a try and let you know how it goes!
Love2dance, yours is a common complaint . I had the Universal ( not the plus, but very similar ) and had the same problem - though in fairness to the Universal it only occurred with certain amounts of dough, and certain hydrations. They now offer an extender that they say will allow you to "knead as little as 1 or 2 loaves" https://www.boschmixers.com/product/dough-hook-extender-for-bosch-universal-mixers/
While I agree that every mixer excels at certain tasks and not do as well with others, I expected that Bosch as originally equipped would be able to handle smaller volumes of dough and sold mine before they started selling the extender.
I do have the extender on the dough hook. It doesn't seem to help with the dough. I am going to try MTloaf's suggestion and see how it goes.
The dough hook extender is only $10...
It's supposed to make it much easier to knead small batches
love2dance, MT's suggestion is a great one, and is suggested for high hydration doughs - it is similar to the bassinage method https://www.theperfectloaf.com/ciabatta-bread-recipe/#:~:text=One%20approach%20to%20working%20with,the%20entire%20duration%20of%20mixing. or the double hydration method http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=101#:~:text=In%20double%20hydration%2C%20the%20dough,incorporation%20of%20the%20added%20water.
"The Bosch manual also said to put in the liquids first, and then half of the flour. Knead and gradually put in the rest of the flour. ...This totally contradicts my learning! The flour is the 100% ingredient and it should not be changed."
Interesting! My Finnish cookbook bread recipes ALL say start with liquids and add flour. Here at 7,000 ft in Colorado, that makes tons of sense. (After all, WHICH liquids would I adjust? Some recipes have a wide variety of liquids ;)
The adjustments should not be more than a couple (2) Tbs. I disregarded the Bosch insructions. High altitude baking notwithstanding.
I am using a formula from a course. The teachers always tells us to adjust the water. i guess it's East vs West.
After so many YT and reviews, I settled with BUP thinking at least it will not break like my KA. However, it did not fulfil my need. 1) As pointed out, it does terrible with high hydration dough. I tried to do double hydration with 400gm of flour and 250gm of starter. The water sit and sit, ended up using my hand to squeeze them in and turn the machine on 3 to mix them. 2) I only make smaller batch and this only serve bigger batch of flour. It kneads funny! It creates a lot of gluten in shorter period of time (less mins) but the bread is not refine, more rougher texture. I happened to also own $300 Zoji, programmable so I use that to knead my dough and hand shape. Zoji kneads the bread beautifully but why do I need this BUF? To whip cream, cake, frosting and cake. Well, it overwhip cream and egg white most of the time. The volume of cream and egg white decrease. I probably need to create a spreadsheet to track how many secs/mins for how much cream or eggwhite since I cannot really do peak check like KA. I felt like I bought an elephant for smaller task. Why not go smallerr? Cos other smaller machine lacks power. We have iphone, vdo tele etc but could not get a machine that works better? Sigh!