The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Choosing a stand mixer

ichadwick's picture

Choosing a stand mixer

I've never used a stand mixer: I either knead dough by hand for oven-baking or use a bread machine (for both dough and finished loaves). But I've come across several recipes and books that use (or recommend) one and I am ready to buy.

I make small loaves (500-750g size with 300-400g flour) and small batches of pasta dough (120-140g of dough), so I don't think I need anything very large or the most powerful.

My current preference is for a Kitchenaid Artisan Mini, but the regular Artisan is the second choice (and apparently somewhat less expensive). Would these work for my intended uses? Is there a better model or brand you recommend? What attachments or paddles/hooks should I get if not included already?

Also, I plan to buy a pasta roller/cutter and extruder sometime in the near future. I currently roll and cut past dough manually, using a Marcato Atlas, and a hand-held, plastic extruder. That's another reason why I thought the Kitchenaid would be best.

Advice and suggestions are welcome.

therearenotenoughnoodlesintheworld's picture

Pasta attachments will transform your life - or at least your pasta.  It is not an exaggeration.  But I suspect you need a machine that matches your expectations.

Beware!!!!  Most people don't realise how much torque hand cranked pasta machines apply under load - particularly if you make a dough with any really body. Also, if you are well practiced at hand machines, you get quite adept at backing off to manage the variations in torque.  Once you go to attachments, the machine is just on or off. If it can't manage to consistently deliver that level of torque it will leave you frustrated and disappointed.  

For me, nearly every video I've seen of people using kitchenaid pasta attachments - the dough if far to wet for my liking.  Sure the machine can handle that soft a dough but OMG, that pasta must have no body or tooth.

As for other attachments: 

MINCER- get an all stainless 3rd party one. They are built like tanks and you can dishwasher them. You will need one with a hopper that you can face forward so it doesn't clash with the motor.   (May want to look at something like the "Chefschoice")

JUICER - the vintage kitchenaid ones are the best. The earlier Mode-G version is a absolute juicing demon.

PASTA - This is the only modern Kitchenaid attachment I own/use. Get the 3 pice stainless set. (personally I wouldn't use the plastic ones)

CAVATELLI / GNOCCHI MAKER - Someone on eBay converts old hand crank to run on kitchenaids.  For cavatelly I love it.

ICE CREAM - The vintage kitchenaid 2qt (rock salt & Ice method) that has the fibreglass tub are awesome.  It can turn the mixture into ice-cream in 4min flat. 

GRATER/VEGETABLE SLICER. If you can swing it get the vintage pelican head set.  Big - but so easy to clean. (P.S. If you want to do ice-cream you need the ice crushing disk too.)

STONE GRINDER - Mockmill Kitchenaid attachment is hard to beat. but does require a good degree of power if you are grinding any quantity of flour. 

CAN OPENER - can be great, but depends on the one you get. I have found a couple of the more later versions look mint and in box....but were obviously put away in someone's cupboard because they didn't work.

AlanG's picture

I had an Artisan Mini for a lot of years and it was fine for preparing cake batter.  However, it was too underpowered for heavy breads and it did not work well at all with the pasta attachment.  I moved up to the full size Kitchenaid 6 qt professional model and gave away the Artisan.  I don't think the Artisan will stand up if you are making lots of pasta.