The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bosch Universal vs Ankarsrum

Suza's picture
Suza

Bosch Universal vs Ankarsrum

I'm looking for a quality mixer, mostly for bread, but would like to be able to use it for all my baking.  I currently have an older KA  (K5SS), one made by Hobart, but it isn't much use for making bread, especially whole wheat, with only 300 watts of power, and then only one or two loaves at a time.  I also don't like the overhead motor which makes it hard to add ingredients or check mixing progress.

I'm considering either the Bosch Universal or the Ankarsrum.  I hear comments about them not being good for small batches and/or for cookies, etc.  I will often make several loaves of bread at a time, but will sometimes make one or two specialty loaves (ie: Rye, sweet bread, etc).  I also do a lot of other baking, especially during the holidays. 

Before I spend $400-700, I'm trying to do as much research as I can.  I'd appreciate all suggestions, input and experiences from you all, pros and cons, etc.  Thanks.

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I always point folks to Mike Avery's Mixer Throwdown, which is the best side-by-side comparison of those two I've seen.

Personally, I've not used the Bosch.  I'm using an Ankarsrum Assistent now and am very very happy with it.

I was worried about it not working well on small batches, but I've been able to mix a dough with a single pound of flour just fine.  No problem making cookies, frosting, or whipped cream with the other attachments either.  And it doesn't break a sweat when I've mix 1.5kg of moderately stiff dough.   

Prior to getting this I was using a KitchenAid Classic, which was great as an entry level machine but really doesn't compare.  

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Suza, I have used the Bosch Compact, original Universal ( which is basically the same as the plus, except the plus has additional speeds) the Bosch Concept, and the Assistent  ( all but the Compact were purchased used on Ebay).  Overall, the Compact is the winner for handling small dough considering its purchase price.  If money is no object, the Assistent is a thing of beauty, and will handle much bigger loads than the compact.   The compact starts to walk around when using a recipe of 1 pound of whole wheat flour, ( for a 2 pound loaf )  at 100% hydration.   I did a  baguette in the Assistent this weekend using white flour -  300 grams of flour in total, and it handled that fine, so I think it will handle small loads -  though following Hammelman's instructions, I did not knead it to a window pane. If you have a particular small recipe in mind, let me know what it is, and I will try it this weekend.  I don't have the double beater bowl or hooks, so can't comment on that.

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

I have used both KA and Bosch Univeral and Universal Plus. My KA was solid but with bigger batches or lower hydration was straining to the point of almost dying. In order to preserve my KA the Bosch was put into duty and at first I wasn't very happy with it. I know some people complain about its inability to handle smaller portions but my complaints were more focused on that damn column,dough creep and clean up.Every single complaint I had was solved for good with the purchase of the stainless bowl with the bottom mounted stainless hook.Handles absolutely everything I have thrown at it and the suction cup feet keep it from walking with large loads. That said, the additional bowl is $169 in addition to the $429 so you are all in close to $600. I would love to give the DLX a test drive but another $700 spent on a mixer is not in my immediate future,but people who own them really love them. Good Luck..Matt

PS It does do a great job with cookies..but does once again requires cookie paddles with metal drive $35 cakes yes..batter whisks $15 plus scraper blades $22...but I do reccomend it highly

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I've owned a DLX, purchased at an estate sale over a decade ago, and used it for my mixing of baked goods ever since.  Despite lots of wear, it still looks new.  Anyway, I love it for small and large amounts.  It's solid as a rock on the counter so it never "walks".  I can leave the room without fear when I want something to mix while I answer a door bell. I've never used any of the attachments other than the dough hook and the roller, both of which are great.  Sometimes when I'm feeling nostalgic I take out my old KA, use it, and realize that having the DLX is so much easier.

Suza's picture
Suza

Thank you, everyone, for all the great advice.  Right now I am leaning toward the DLX, but keep those comments coming.  I have a little time before I need to tell DH what I want for Christmas!

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

The Bosch does do a lousy job on small batches of bread dough. It also does a lousy job of creaming butter using the included wire whisks, unless, perhaps, you have a lot of butter. Same thing for whipping cream or egg whites. There is an insert available for smaller batches, but I don't have it. The Bosch does do a great job creaming butter if you have the cookie paddles, which costs extra.

All-in-all, making the Bosch able to tackle any mixing task requires spending a lot of extra money on accessories.

Suza's picture
Suza

For Pilot Baker:

I have a question about making bread with your new KA.  When I mix more than one loaf of bread in my K5SS, the dough tends to ride up the hook and over the round top piece where it gums up the drive shaft.  Mine is a 5 quart.  Do you have this problem with your 7 qt. model?  

Another thing I remember not liking about my KA is that I have to use the splash guard or flour flies out when adding during kneading.  It is also difficult to access cookie batters if the bowl needs scraping.  It is sometimes hard to get the beaters out after mixing.  My old KA was a tilt-top, so access was easier. 

Do you find this to be less of a problem with the larger mixer?  I see they also have a paddle with a scraper edge.  Do you have one of these?  Does it do a good job of scraping the bowl and mixing in dry ingredients, like for cookie dough?

I'm going to look on-line for demos of your model.  I guess it is highly recommended by Cook's Illustrated.

Thanks for taking time to share your experiences.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Pilot Baker,  thanks for your excellent review.  I have owned a wide variety of mixers, and think your review is right on the money -  about the only thing you didn't cover was the different attachments for each, though I am not that big a fan of the attachments and prefer stand alone, like a food processor.  

Suza, don't hunt too long for the dough hook.  Many suggest not to use it.  I have used the roller for hydrations from below 60 to in the 90's, and for a dough ball of 180 grams, and the roller scraper worked fine.  I tried the dough hook once and it did not seem to develop the gluten as quickly ( high hydration, about 900 grams of dough ) and put it back in the attic. As Gary suggests, there is something wrong with the DIL's machine.  The springs holds the scraper against the bowl, the lock allows you to lock it slightly away from the side of the bowl to allow the dough to be pressed between the bowl and the roller.  If you check the breadbeckers video, you can see her push the arm to the center, and then she lets it go and it moves back to the edge of the bowl on its own.

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Suza, have you experimented more or made any decisions?  I'm in the same boat (well, between the Ankarsrum and the Bosh) which is why I ask.  And in fact a friend loaned me his older DLX and tonight I made a big triple batch of cookies with it.  So I'll start another thread to address my questions about it!

Thanks.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Very silly, I'm sure....so please excuse my naivete.  I'm running into some capacity issues with my KA, and am starting to back burn a better, dedicated mixer for bread.  I'm total-body neuropathic and also have a pretty badly arthritic spine, so need all the labor-saving I can get.  So, to the stupid question - the difference(s) between the DLX and the Ankarsrum?  Are they in fact the same machine? (OK, that was the really stupid question).

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Yes.

Suza's picture
Suza

Same machine, AKA Electrolux Magic Mill and Assistent, now called the Ankarsrum Original.  Not hard to be confused :)  The design has undergone very few changes over the past 75 years.

I will say, there is very little labor.  Mix the ingredients and let it knead.  It takes a while to wrap your brain around a different method of mixing, but I would not let that scare you off; operation is pretty straight forward.  And, the Original weighs nearly 1/2 as much as the KA.  I have both and can honestly say the Ankarsrum beats the KA, many times over, especially for bread.  And, it's very easy to assemble, disassemble and clean. 

My KA is one of the better ones - an older, Hobart built K5SS. But, it will knead only two loaves of white or one loaf of whole grain bread, using the dough hook.  My hook is the older "C" shape and the dough rides up the hook, into the drive shaft.  I understand the newer models have a "spiral" hook that is much better.  The Ankarsrum easily handles multiple loaves of whole wheat.  I routinely make 6 loaves at a time, no problem, using the roller/scraper.  They say it will handle more, but I've not tried.

In my opinon, the Ankarsrum is excellent for mixing bread and other baked goods, especially in large quantities.  It is very well built and well worth the money.  The closest KA on the market today, the 7 qt Proline, is about $150 less, but I'm sure it will not handle the quantity of dough and handle it as well as the Ankarsrum.  One thing I hate about my KA is the motor head being in the way.  You can't see what's going on in the bowl.  You have to stop the machine and lower the bowl to do anything.  The Ankarsrum is open on the top.  The bowl spins and it is easy to add ingredients without any stopping and lowering.  And the motor doesn't get hot like the KA, when put to task. 

I have had my Ankarsrum only a couple of weeks, but the difference is like night and day.  I actually enjoy making bread now.  I'm so glad I decided to purchase it.  I also considered a Bosch, but I'm certain I made the right choice. 

 

 

 

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Great, thank you very much, guys.  Suza, that is a great testimony, much appreciated.  Now, it seems my cheese caves and other assorted paraphernalia will have to make room...!

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Tomorrow mine *should* arrive, according to my tracking #.  :)  Will I be able to sleep tonight?

It's funny how I know I could make all kinds of doughs on my own without a mixer, but now that it's coming (and now that I've used a friends old one from the '80s and liked it a lot), I'm determined to actually make them.  Probably cause I like gadgets, who knows.

Anyway when I get it, here are some of the things I'm going to make hopefully sooner than later:

(I already made heavy whole grain bread and mashed potatoes in it, so I want to try other things for fun)

- cinnamon rolls : - p   (never have!)

- french bread type of bread - artisan

- typical bread dough "donuts" fried in pan of oil then shaken in paper bag of powdered sugar

- kolache (baked spread of cottage cheese, egg, sugar or honey and pinch of nutmeg over pizza-like rectangle)

- xmas cookies (and if I'm feeling especially ambitious, gingerbread for a homemade gingerbread house)

I'd like to one day try out the fettucini accessory (guess I'll have to buy it to try it!) and actually give a go at making homemade pasta.  Spinach fettucini in the summer tossed with a variety of small, different-colored tomatoes from the garden and olive oil, cider vinegar, fresh thyme and some cayenne is a super delicious recipe I have in a Mayo Clinic cookbook I got about 10 years ago.  

Suza - you'll get my email soon!  Sorry it's taking me so long!

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Yikes!  Perfect. Now, I have a reason to buy that wheat field I've been eyeing....

Suza's picture
Suza

Gary,

Following up on your very much appreciated help regarding the spring not holding the roller against the side of the bowl of the Assistant.

The mixer belonged to my DIL.  I told her what you said about the spring.  Being an engineer, she looked inside and, sure enough, the spring was not positioned correctly.  She said it was installed backwards (so it was pushing the arm away from the side of the bowl).  She removed it and installed in the correct position.  Like magic, the mixer now works properly.  Her dad (who handed the mixer down to her) is here visiting, so she is going to ask him if it ever worked properly or if it came, new, with the spring mounted incorrectly.  I can't imagine Electrolux shipping out a machine with that obvious of a defect, but who knows.  Anyway, my DIL wanted me to extend her gratitude for suggesting what the problem might be.  Thank you!!!!

Susan

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

You have made my day, Susan.

cheers,

gary

Suza's picture
Suza

The search is over.  After much deliberation, I decided on an Ankarsrum, - the orange to match my Le Creuset cookware

Now I'm ready to embark on the annual holiday baking spree.

Thanks everyone, for all your advice, tips and encouragement.

Susan

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

A perfect match. You'd think one was designed for the other and vice versa. ;-P

g

ahuitt's picture
ahuitt

I just got my new Pearl Green Ankarsrum yesterday and have already made 5 loaves of whole wheat bread and 5 loaves of pumpkin bread. I LOVE it. It's so quiet and smooth. I love being able to "interact" with the roller. And being able to access the bowl without the mixer head in the way is wonderful. (Makes getting swipes of the creamed butter and sugar a little too easy!!!!) And cleaning is a breeze!! I can't wait to trade ideas with you other new owners and to gain wisdom from the veteran owners. 

Suza's picture
Suza

Congratulations on your new Ankarsrum.  I am sooooo happy with my decision and can't wait to do more Christmas baking.  I, too, love the easy access to the bowl during mixing.  So much more convenient than my KA. 

Regarding the issue of mixing small batches with the Ankarsrum:  This past weekend, my DIL and I did a blind taste test to compare a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread made with Bob's Red Mill flour and one made with fresh ground hard red wheat.  We each successfully made one loaf in our Ankarsrums.  At first, I thought the flour was not going to mix in, but it did.  And the dough kneaded wonderfully.  I have also made a single cake batter recipe, with the batter bowl, with equal success.

The conclusion to the taste test:  The fresh ground flour loaf had a better, more distinct flavor.  We tried to make each loaf identical, but had to add more flour to the BRM dough to get the same consistency as the fresh ground flour loaf; BRM flour must have had a higher moisture content.  The FGF loaf also had a more consistent and chewy texture.  Definitely worth milling your own, not to mention the other benefits such as nutrition, longer shelf life (berries vs flour) and ease of storing large quantities.  I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of hard white wheat berries today so I can give them a try.

Since receiving my new mixer, I have made fruitcake, fresh apple cake, cinnamon rolls, and several loaves of bread.  I love it!

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Suza,  when you get a chance, you might want to sprout some of the berries, then dry them, and then grind them.  It is a lot more time and effort, but the taste is out of this world.  So far I have only ground the white wheat berries, but will try the red shortly.   And yes,  I have not had a problem with single loaves with the DLX, and have even mixed a 100G flour  preferment just to see how it would do.  

Suza's picture
Suza

Might try this winter.  Tips appreciated.

FreshGoose's picture
FreshGoose

How many grams of flour would you say each loaf had?

ahuitt's picture
ahuitt

I made some dinner rolls with the dough hook today. It was a 578 g flour recipe. It kneaded beautifully, and it was SO easy to clean up. No dough stuck in tiny crevices of dough hooks - just a quick swipe of the curves, and it was clean.  And the bowl wiped right out as well. Aahhhh. I'm blissful with this new machine. I'm so glad I took the plunge on it. I love the way it sounds, too!! :) 

Suza's picture
Suza

Used around 675-700 g fresh ground flour for a 9x5 loaf (a little bit over 2# of dough).  The Bob's Red Mill loaf used more flour, but didn't get the weight on that one.

Note:  during the initial stage of mixing, made a sponge with about half the flour, water, yeast, and 1/2 the sweetener (honey).  Mixed well and let stand for 30 minutes.  This gives the WW time to absorb the liquid before kneading.  Seems to work well.

Theresse's picture
Theresse

I'm still loving my Ankarsrum as well.  Still haven't done anything beyond whole wheat bread, dinner rolls, kolache, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls and mashed potatoes (might be forgetting something) but am hoping to try my first sourdough bread soon which I have no doubt will be a breeze with this machine!

Melesine's picture
Melesine

I love the cookie attachment too. It's so much easier than a hand held one.

dermdoc's picture
dermdoc

Anyone have any new thoughts or comments to add to this thread about the ank vs bosch?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Did you have any specific questions?  I owned a Bosch Universal ( not the plus,  but very similar ) for a while , and have had the Ank , and to me, the Ank is head and shoulders about the Universal, though others may feel differently. 

dermdoc's picture
dermdoc

Yeah I am curious why you feel the Ank is so much better. It seems to be the consensus, but just want to see how everyone is feeling about this topic 7 years later. Thanks for the response!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I don't know if I went into as much detail above.  There were certain times that the Bosch would not knead dough - usually it was a certain amount of flour at a particular hydration, the dough would wrap around the center column and the hooks would not catch it or move it at all. Also,  I was not fond of cleaning the bowl,  I thought the center column just got in the way.  Some of the pluses for the Ank, for me at least, that no matter how small the loaf, the Ank would still knead it .   Also ,  I never had a problem with dough, regardless of the hydration.  Some may like the SS bowl,  others may find that it is a bit heavy.  I love the timer on the Ank,  once I have made a recipe a few times, I have a good idea of how long it will take,  so I just set the timer, and come back after it has shut off.  The Ank is built like a tank.  There are plenty of posts on burnt out KA,  but I don't think I have seen a single post of a burnt out Ank  .  Note that the Bosch is well engineered, and I don't think I have seen a post saying a BUP burnt out  ( the Bosch Concept is a different story ).   The Bosch will probably last as long, though it feels a bit cheaper because it uses lots of plastic, and so is much lighter.  The Ank is like that car where you close the door and you hear a thud, it just gives me a good feeling.  

iamsaraiam's picture
iamsaraiam

Finally joined the Ankarsrum owner's club. I've have a KA 600 for 10 years now and as much as I love it, it struggles with bread dough and lately, I have been experiencing issues with it - delayed starts, grinding noises, overheating. I know this can be repaired, so I'm going to take it in and hope it's not a major issue. However, on it's best day, it still struggles with bread dough especially large batches. 

I have wanted an Ank for years and decided now is the time to get it. I'm going to repair my KA and will use for cakes as Ank is a bit finicky for butter.

Can't wait to receive it!

iamsaraiam's picture
iamsaraiam

Considering current times, some places are having supply issue and a company mentioned Bosch Universal. A constant comment I saw was although they were very similar, Bosch has a standard bowl which is plastic and some had issues with it. By the time you purchase the SS bowl, it's about $100 less than Ank. I went with the Ank as I like the retro style. It's just so unique.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I used a Kitchen Aid before and it was apparent that bread making was straining it. I ended up getting the Bosch on a good deal at Costco but it sat idle for a while because I was doing mostly hand mixing. When I started doing more pan loaves I got acquainted with the Bosch. I struggled with the issues that people talk about. The center column and working with wet dough and got Ank envy after hearing people rave about it.  I have also read of peoples struggles with the tank and have learned to work with the Bosch and have to say I am liking it a lot.

Like a lot of machines they require a certain idiosyncratic method to achieve good results. It's not a "dump the ingredients in and turn it on like a bread machine". This is what I have found in my experience as related to bread making.

  • I have had no issues working with smaller doughs not matter how wet or dry.
  • I have no trouble getting the dough out of the bowl. Turn it on it's side and scrape it out. 
  • Clean up is no more difficult than any other mixer.
  • It's light weight and locked together pieces make storage easy.
  • I have had the dreaded wrap around the center column problem and it bothered me. I would stop and scrape it down but now I just let it run and the dough it will eventually tighten up and start traveling around the bowl like it should. That was fixed by holding back water and begin kneading with a stiffer dough. The key is to make sure the dough starts traveling around the bowl in that kneading type motion. 
  • It does a good job with adding in extra water or oil and butter and incorporates it quickly. My former Kitchen Aid sloshed the water dough around and spit it out the bowl. It took a long time to work in water or oil.
  • The lid is a nice feature for the autolyse and resting dough after mixing.

I did purchase the stainless steel bowl with the hook on the bottom because some of the seeded loaves I make scratched the center column when the seeds got trapped by the plastic scraper. It's nice to have the second bowl and a larger capacity. It is a little sticky at first but wiping oil in it has seasoned it.

Overall I am satisfied with this mixer. It does a nice job of developing gluten. It never seems to strain or bog down and will probably last for years more. I can't say it's better or worse than an Ank but it does a nice job.

As we like to say out west and it applies to fishing or baking or whatever. "It's the Indian not the arrow"

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

The good:

1. The Bosch is great for medium to low hydration doughs.

2. The Bosch handles large large batches without skipping a beat

3. I don't think you could burn out the BUP even if you really tried! 

4. Light weight is great for moving  back and forth from cabinet to counter. Not a concern for all, but if you have a small kitchen it's a big plus.

The bad:

1. That bowl! 

First with any large batch, the dough gets inside the center tower. Now you have to pop the top hub off forcefully. Not sure how many times I can pop it off without breaking the tabs. 

I hate, hate the plastic! So sticky, any dough that is even a little tacky sticks to that bowl like flies on, well you know.

I was contemplating getting the expensive tower-less, old type, knead from the bottom S/S bowl. Then people in the yahoo mixer club told me it sucks. They recon that's why the design was changed to the tower. 

2. High hydration doughs do not come together easily. I have to rest the dough in between rides, hold back some water and add it in very slowly as the dough develops. 

In concussion:

Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I would have bit the bullet and spent the extra $$$ for the ANK. After buying addons for the BUP another 200 (maybe less) I could have had the ANK. Now I am at the point of not wanting to throw good money after bad. I will stick with the BUP for now but one of these days!