The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fixed head spiral mixers

Myna's picture
Myna

Fixed head spiral mixers

Looking to buy a small spiral mixer. I'm in Canada. There is a Sunmix distributor but they are only fixed head machines. I like the simplicity of a machine without a tilting head, but I'm concerned what it would be like trying to remove 10 kilos of 80% hydration dough from a fixed bowl.  Should I be concerned?  Can't find an example on YouTube. Plenty of pizza dough, but not much bread dough at high hydration.  Any experience with this would be appreciated.  

HansB's picture
HansB

Here is one way to get it out: https://youtu.be/C8PUlZrngZQ?t=793

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

10kg is not a lot of dough. A 20qt Hobart or other planetary mixer is easy to use (bowl lift) and does well with 10kg batches of that hydration. I have used a 100kg spiral mixer, where the bowl is big enough to have clearance for reaching in for the dough. I imagine too small a bowl would be harder to get around the machinery. I am assuming the bowl is not removable. From experience you can grab 3kg or so wet dough by manipulating it a certain way.

 

We have a 60 qt planetary from which we remove 35 kg dough. It is too heavy to lift at that point but we do have a bowl dolly, so it is nice to be able to move the dough close to the table.

Myna's picture
Myna

The videos are really helpful. It's true, the machine that I'm considering is very small in the world of spiral mixers, a countertop one for my kitchen, which is part of the reason I'm concerned about there being enough room to reach in and pull out a high hydration ball of dough. Most videos are of pizza dough. I'm still a little leery of the small spirals with tilting heads and all of the extra parts that the tilting head requires. Thank you for the responses. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Several users here are fans of tilt-head Famag models. DanAyo recenly bought a Famag IM-5.

Is there a Famag distributor in Canada?

Myna's picture
Myna

Yes the Famag looks really nice. I found the Canadian Sunmix distributor by contacting Sunmix Italy.  But I cannot find Famag Italy on-line. I asked the American Famag dealer and they thought they were the only NA dealer.  Getting a Famag from the US is a possibility and I requested a quote a few days ago, but buying in-country would be preferred which is the main reason I'm considering Sunmix. All Sunmixs are fixed head and I think that even if I did buy the Famag 5 I'd still lean towards the fixed head.  But I have no experience with them. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Myna, I have no experience with a fixed head, but after using the Famag IM-5s with the tilt head, I can never see me getting the fixed head model.

Even the tilting head model is a little more difficult to clean than a typical planetary style (Kitchenaid) mixer. Cleaning the tilting head version is not a big deal, but it is slightly more difficult. The bowl is cleaned in the sink, but the breaker bar and the spiral hook must be cleaned on the machine. There is tight clearance between the hook and the bar where they meet, but the hook can be manually rotated to increase that clearance.

With everything said, I love my Famag. It is gentle on the dough and creates less dough heat. It does a fine job of developing gluten. It is built like a beast! The gears are chain driven and it looks like the machine will last a life time.

Even though the Famag 5 is their smallest machine it is quite large and very heavy. Unless you have a lot of counter space with vertical clearance (to raise the head), many bakers, including myself, keep them on small rolling tables. Unless a baker is seriously interested in baking bread, other machines are probably a better choice.

I hope other Famag or Sunmix owners voice their opinions. They may be quite different than mine.

I don’t think the Sunmix has a breaker bar. Other report that Sunmix does in fact have a breaker bar.

If interested  contact Darren Necker at Pleasant Hill Grain. Everyone is great there, but I consider him the most knowledgeable when it cones to appliances. If you PM me I’ll send you his email address and contact info.

I hope some of this has been helpful.
Danny

Myna's picture
Myna

Thank you! That's really helpful. I may end up dealing with PHG even though I'm in Canada.  I'm waiting for a quote from them now on shipping to Canada. The Sunmix does have a breaker bar, but no tilting head options. The Sunmix distributor in Canada actually rebadges  the Sunmix with their own house brand. Glad you like your Famag and I think at this level I'll be pretty thrilled with any of the spiral mixers that I'm considering.  Just need to sort out this tilting head option. It makes a lot of sense to me that a machine is put together quite differently if the head with all of the gears lifts. But I may be over thinking it. 

HansB's picture
HansB

Sunmix does have a breaker bar.

Myna's picture
Myna

PHG sells both the fixed head Famag and the tilting and they appear to be sold out of most models. I'm hoping that someone with a fixed head spiral machine could comment on what the transition is like from your common KA machine or Bosch for removing dough and cleaning a machine where the bowl cannot be removed.  

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

How to clean a Sunmix by a home-user. I don't think this depiction is realisitic if you have residue sticking to the bowl.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTSpwNicbqk

Here is a more thorough recommendation from a manufacturer of a different brand: 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=H58_v-YGe2c

It shows a more realistic sequence of wash - rinse - dry, but both start with an already clean bowl.

Also, as I think it through, you would have to lower the guard, manually rotate the bowl/hook, and lift the guard a total of 3 times: once for washing, once for rinsing, and once for drying.

--

The tube has both Sunmix and Famag videos. I hope the vids will give you a better idea of what suits your needs.

--

You mention 10 kilos of high hydration bread dough. Is this for a commercial operation, home use, or somewhere in between ?  How many days a week do you mix dough?  Or how many times per day or week will you need to clean the mixer?

If you make more than 2 batches per week, you may appreciate the tilt head.

Myna's picture
Myna

Baking only for my family and friends. I will check out the YouTube vids. Thank you. I don't bake every week but when I fire up the outdoor wood oven I like to do lots. Come Summer I do pizza out doors most weekends.  I imagine that the ability to remove the bowl for cleaning would be a great convenience.