Quality of the newer Ankarsrum mixers?
Does anyone have feedback on the current quality of the newer Ankarsrum mixers? They've gone through a few label changes and it seems the Ankarsrum label is the U.S. distribution tag. (Please, please correct me if I have any of this wrong.)
Anyway, my experience with the KA mixers is that new produced models for the U.S. market just don't hold up as well as older models. I'm on my 3rd. (A few years ago, I had a KA mixer literally blow apart while using an attachment. A few days on the phone with KA - they were wonderful - I learned a few things: During the course of one phone call, I learned that the older KA's were sturdier in that their internal parts were metal. The newer mixers' internal parts are more plastic and nylon. Gives a quieter experience and cheapear to build, but those parts in my opinion don't hold up as well under long-term use. )
I'm looking for insight into how the Ankarsrum label compares to earlier Electrolux/DLX/Assistent labels of the same design?
Thanks! (This is going to be xmas gift from DH to me this year. So happy:)
I have an Ankarsrum from last year. I can't compare it to the older one, but it is rock solid.
For what it's worth I heard recently that KitchenAid brought its stand mixer assembly back to the US, which seems to be confirmed here. I don't know whether they've returned to using the more durable parts that they used to be made with or if there have been any other notable improvements in quality, however.
I have owned a DLX for about 3 years. When I purchased it they were called an Assistant. I think the only thing that has changed is the name. I know mine has worked fine with just about anything I have tossed into it though I have not used it for about year now due to purchasing a spiral mixer that I prefer for kneading bread doughs.
I purchased mine for Pleasant HIll Grain and they are very knowledgeable about these mixers if you talk to the right person. I am sure someone can fill you in on the exact history better than I. I know they have always been very welcoming to questions that I thrown their way. They are also great with customer service AFTER a sale!
Linda, I believe that the same manufacturer has been making the Ankarsrum for many years, and that for the most part, the changes have been the name under which it was offered here - Magic Mill, Electrolux, Verona, and some others. At one time it was offered here without the plastic bowl and whips ( I have the original box mine came in, and you regularly see them for sale that way on ebay). Also, some of the earlier models were rated at 450 watts and the newer ones are higher - I think on the breadbecker video they say that the newer ones have a higher speed, but that the higher speed isn't needed for bread.
Thank you for your feedback. First off: glad to know KA might be bringing some of their production back to the U.S. They are an outstanding company IMHO. They have stood behind their product and replaced two mixers for me. I'm just at a point where I need a mixer that can take the near daily strain of sourdough and whole-grain bread baking. The Ankarsrum seems to be the best fit. (I mentioned this is going to be a Christmas gift, so I won't be getting it till Dec 25th. I'm just gonna grit my teeth this holiday season as I make batch-after-batch of holiday English muffins with my KA - knowing this mixer is sitting in the DH's office just a few miles away. lol.;) Thank you again for the feedback so far. :)
In your opinions, does this mixer handle small batches well? In addition to large batch, I also frequently will do 500g or less batches. This is where my KA doesnt do well as it tends to just push the dough around rather then kneading it. Thanks again! -Linda
Linda, it handles very small batches well ( 200 grams of flour ). You have to babysit the machine for the first minute or two - by pushing the arm in and out a few times, but once the water and flour are all incorporated, you can leave the machine alone and it will knead it very well. This is what the action looks like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNHRiHcPgMU that is 1,000 grams of flour, but the action looks the same with 200. You see the arm pulsing a little - that is where it is kneading the dough against the bowl. If you look around minute 9 in this clip, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG52588uie4 that is what it looks like with larger batches - though I usually turn the speed up a bit higher, and usually use much higher hydration.
I've had the N30 ( current model) for over 2 years and love mine. I use it for all my baking needs. I no longer even own another stand mixer. I also purchased from Pleasant Grain Hill and was very satisfied with their customer service and fast shipping. I've since bought the meat grinder complete accessory package and I'm thrilled with the meat grinder and other attachments that come with the set.
I use the roller and scraper for almost everything, even cakes and cookies. I use the plastic bowl and whisks for meringue, whipping cream and some frostings. I cook normal home recipe amounts most of the time. So it isn't limited to large batches or multiple loaves of bread. Although it excels at large batches when I do bake them. Now I'm considering getting a second metal bowl, roller, scraper and lid for convenience. I don't ever want to use another mixer. Every time I use it literally say out loud, I love my mixer. It's just a dream to use. It creams beautifully and creates lovely yeast doughs. I love the timer too and the fact that it doesn't walk the counter.
Thank you Melesine (and all). Your replies have been extremely helpful. I will be going with this mixer. I was blown away last week that a 20+ year used model missing a part (whip maybe?) sold on eBay for $305US.
I am looking forward to exploring some of the attachments later on. I do wish their grain mill was able to do adjustable grinds, or at least a fine grind. Perhaps later on they'll add that.
Thank you all again!
Linda, as you know, there are two sides to that story - a 20 year old model missing some parts sold for $300, what are these people thinking ???? Or, a 20 year old model missing some attachments sold for $300, it must be a pretty well made machine !!! I am in the second camp ( having bought mine used without the plastic bowl or whips ) As to attachments, while I haven't tried any of the extra attachments, typically, you will get much better results in a stand alone grain mill than an attachment to another appliance.
I am in the same camp with you barryvabeac. I was actually following the auction and had my upper limit I was willing to spend on a used machine. I have no problem spending the dollars on a new machine. I plan on putting it through its' paces and intend on passing it along when I'm no longer able to use it.
I agree with you on the grain mill. I just try to avoid having a lot of specialty appliances, although my bread baking is at the point where a mill would be beneficial. (I would love for there to be a grain store near me. You know, go in, choose your grains, take them to the grinders. Kinda like in-store coffee grinders. It would sure be easier to commit to trying new grains without having to buy 5lbs worth.)
Thanks again - you all have been wonderful!
On Monday, Oct 20, my 3-year old KA Pro 600 kneaded its last batch of bread dough :( (That's a whole 'nother thread re: quality:)
I ordered up the Ankarsum and it's here! Sadly, the instruction book is not overly intuitive beyond the pictures.
Grateful for The Fresh Loaf because it seems there are videos on the site that demonstrate it in use*, as well as discussion threads.
*Of the few net videos I've watched, there doesn't seem to be a consensus on roller vs. kneader for bread dough. I welcome thoughts, opinions and tips! (I plan on making back-to-back batches of my standard sourdough using each tool.)
Have you watched the Bread Beckers you tube video on using the Ankarsrum? I found it really helpful
I only use the dough hook for my largest and lowest hydration doughs. If the roller isn't working well at kneading once the dough is brought together I switch to the hook, but I've only needed to use it a couple times in the few years since I bought the mixer.
Linda, I use the roller for everything, but have read that some use the dough hook for low hydration. I don't think the instruction manual is all that helpful, but as you say, there are a lot of tips here. My few tips are that if you are using small amounts of flour ( 200 - 400 grams) it will stay wrapped around the roller at lower speeds, so it helps to turn up the speed, it will then knead very well. At the first stage of combining ingredients, again, if it is a small recipe, I watch it and manually push the roller into the middle a few times to make sure it picks up any dry flour that may be in the middle. Once everything is incorporated, I set the timer and walk away. I usually check back a few minutes later and if there is a little bit of dough sticking to the back of the scraper, I push the scraper towards the roller, that lets more dough come behind the scraper and knocks the small piece off the back of the scraper and allows it to be kneaded. ( hope that made sense ) Finally, if you are adding a lot of water, in a separate step, such as when you add water to the levian to dissolve it before you mix in the rest of the flour, you need to screw in the arm to push the roller further away from the sides to let the dough and water mix a few times, then you can loosen that knob to get it kneading again. Overall, this is my favorite mixer by far for kneading dough, I haven't had it fail at any recipe, no matter how big or small. Let us know about your tests with the dough hook, there is not that much written about it here.
Thank you for the tips and guidance!!!
I did find the Bread Beckers video and so glad I did. I'd already made a few batches, but the video helped me move past some of my reservations about how the arms and spatula work. I'm pretty confident moving them back and forth to manipulate the ingredients. I found a few other videos that reinforced what I saw in her video.
I see myself using the roller most of the time. I do primarily bread and of the two tests I did yesterday (roller v. hook), I prefer the crumb of the roller over the crumb of the hook. (Both out-performed my KA.) Using my standard sourdough pugliese recipe, the roller produced a slightly more open crumb while the hook produced a tighter crumb. I see the hook being useful for pain de mie. It also seems to take the dough longer to come together over the KA, but it does a better job at kneading.
Today I did three batches of cookie dough: One oatmeal and two chocolate-chip.
I made the oatmeal batch with the roller. It calls for room-temp, somewhat firm butter to be softended and creamed with the sugar. The roller didn't do all that great at softening the butter alone, but that step is unnecessary with the roller because once I added the sugar and it got to combining, it creamed up nicely.
I made one batch chocolate chip using the roller and one batch using the single-wire whisks. My choc-chip recipe calls for combining melted butter with the sugar rather than softened or room-temp butter. The single-wire whisks produced a better, more cohesive dough over the roller. The roller produced a more greasy-looking dough. For this recipe, I think the whisks outperformed the roller. I think the KA would outperform it as well for this recipe. (I also noted that the plastic gasket mechanism left a black residue on the cone of the plastic bowl.)
So my initial thoughts are that I don't regret this purchase. I can tell this is going to be a workhorse. I think it takes a bit longer for dough to come together (over the KA), but the performance of the kneading process more than makes up for the slow start. I'm sure part of this is still my learning curve.
We intended to keep the KA for lighter jobs, but I can tell the ANK will perform just fine for all mixer tasks. That leaves the KA for pasta. So, I think our next investment for the ANK will be the lasagne roller and tagliatelle attachment. If they perform as well or better than the KA, then I'll only need one mixer and won't bother repairing the KA.
Thank you all for coaching me through this decision - it's a beast! I like it!
Yes, in general the Ankarsrum works better with softer butter than the KA does. I think it's because it doesn't beat the cold butter into submission in the same way. I love the roller and scraper for heavy cookie dough like chocolate chip ( I don't use melted butter in mine though).