Best stand mixer help

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Geargirl113, May 23, 2013.

  1. Geargirl113

    Geargirl113 Member

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    I am at the point in my baking that I need to get a good stand mixer. OK,I have actually needed on for a while. It is just now that I have some extra cash to get one.

    I have been looking at the Kitchenaid stand mixer that I have seen on all of the cooking shows I watch. Is this the best one to get or is there another one that I should be looking at?
     
    Geargirl113, May 23, 2013
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  2. Geargirl113

    Soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    That's the brand I bought my mother. One thing you should know is that their smaller, cheaper mixers now use plastic gearboxes, and thus wear out faster than the metal ones in their Professional line.
     
    Soliloquy, May 24, 2013
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  3. Geargirl113

    trefle77 Active Member

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    I recommend the KitchenAid too but it's expensive and if it is not absolutely necessary right now, I suggest waiting and doing some research into finding coupons or the best deal. My mixer was actually more than $400 but I ended up getting it for about $160 after coupons and a sale. It was worth waiting for it and I love this stand mixer too.
     
    trefle77, Jun 1, 2013
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  4. Geargirl113

    MzMonka Member

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    I actually wanted a KitchenAid and will one day have one of those lovely machines. I did end up getting a Sunbeam one but I only use it during the holiday season. It works for now while I save up for a new one. I don't do heavy mixing in it and will still rely on my hand mixer for some stuff. It was cheap, which I would of preferred to spend more but I was in a pinch. Have had it for 3 years now and it gets used heavily during November and December.
     
    MzMonka, Jun 1, 2013
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  5. Geargirl113

    Babble64 Well-Known Member

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    Last year when my hubby and I got married he brought with him many lovely kitchen tools. I have more gadgets that he does, but he had some really great non-stick pans. But...the best thing that became a part of my kitchen was his Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I fell in love with it the first time I used it!!! I posted on facebook about it and had all sorts of responses from my friends who loved their as well (including some who'd burned through several less expensive brands.) My nephew and his wife were passionate amateur cooks/bakers until then opened their own cafe in February. They have two K.A. mixers...the original, home model, and the commercial model which they bought when they knew they were going to open their business.
     
    Babble64, Jun 2, 2013
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  6. Geargirl113

    Marie Well-Known Member

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    I swear by my Kenwood Chef's. I have two of them, one was my mothers (Model 701A, quite old, still works like a dream), and the second I bought myself as a gift (Model KM338, I think). They were quite expensive, but the older one still works fine, and it must be about 30-40 years old; the only reason I wanted the second one as well was so I could mix up cupcake batter and the buttercream icing at the same time, rather than have to wash out the bowls etc. It's also useful for when a friend comes over to bake too.

    I recently saw another one the same as my mother's in a second-hand, charity shop in town; £3 !! I snapped it up, and I checked everything works, which it does, but haven't got round to using it yet. I don't know why I'd ever need 3 stand mixers, but for the price, I couldn't stop myself.

    I paid about £120 for the KM338, but I think it was on offer. I'd recommend them to anyone who's serious about baking. :)
     
    Marie, Jul 4, 2013
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  7. Geargirl113

    epliu Active Member

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    We have a KitchenAid Professional. I swear by KitchenAid as I have used it for many, many, many years, and even in restaurant kitchens where I worked we would use them practically everyday. I have also used a WaringPro mixer, and the base is not as heavy as the KitchenAid, so I would always "hug" it when I had to turn it full speed, but it's a pretty good mixer too, and I remember my boss picked it because it was less expensive than a KitchenAid.
     
    epliu, Jul 4, 2013
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  8. Geargirl113

    Golem Member

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    I have been using one for years. It is versatile and comes with many attachments. You can even buy a grinding attachment for it. My previous one was also Kitchenaid and lasted years. You will find a lot of prices for the same model; so be careful of where you purchase.

    A short note: I even wondered about another brand. After looking at enough consumer evaluations, it became apparent that there are more expensive stand mixers, but they are not neccessarily better. I stuck with what I was comfortable with and knew was reliable.
     
    Golem, Jul 8, 2013
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  9. Geargirl113

    Breadman Member

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    Been using a KitchenAid bowl-lift Pro for over a decade, but that time has not been without issue. Wife used to manage a store that carried them, so we got a great deal, but the honeymoon was pretty short. With five kids, I was baking a lot of bread, so double batches were the norm, and it could almost muscle through, but whole grains and thicker doughs would bog it pitifully. Took about two months to destroy the plastic in the gear head. Replaced that and over the years had to do it again (even ate the metal ones), as well as replace the motor. Granted, we used it a lot more than most folks, with the joke being that our oven never got a chance to completely cool off, but for the prices that these sell for, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect better. Since the last round of repairs, probably about five years ago, it's been okay, but I have fewer mouths to feed and it still labors and runs dangerously hot, in my opinion. Granted, I was spoiled by having previously used Hobart commercial mixers and true professional attachments, but if you're gonna call it "Pro" it really ought'a be able to cut the mustard without eating itself.

    When new I'm guessing that ours was over-greased, because once it started to struggle with a 7 cup white flour batch of bread dough, grease began leaking out of the gear head and dripped into the bowl. I think I read that it had a claimed capacity of 16 cups of flour, which is complete wishful thinking. Even at 7, and at the appropriate low speed, the machine has always labored.

    The original beaters were junk. The finish on the dough hook & paddle deteriorated, and the whip was just totally sad. Replaced the dough hook with an aftermarket spiral with wonderful results. Found a replacement whip that was much sturdier and fitted with twice the number of wires. Result there was also a huge improvement. And finally, replaced the batter paddle with one of the new-ish bowl scrapers types. I'm not as fond of this latter element 'cuz it's very difficult to scrape the copious amounts of batter that adhere to it, and anything that I've made with it seems to cling quite tenaciously to the silicon scraper blades, but it does a better job overall than the original.

    It seems that the new ones come with a spiral dough hook, finally, but if it's the same material as their regular beaters, I'd plan on replacing them. Same goes for the whip, if it's still as sparse on individual wires. Adding that to the cost, even on sale, starts to make this mixer a lot less appealing.

    I have honestly tried, many times, to use the pour shield, but in all honestly, all that it manages to do is get in the way and make me cuss. The mess that you make trying to pour stuff through it is actually less than you make just going without.

    It's huge, eats a lot of counter space (but a lot of folks seem to buy them just to show it off I guess), isn't the best design for ease of cleaning, and the general fit and finish was overall sub-par. It is extremely heavy, and yet still manages to walk on the counter, so this is not something that you will want to routinely stow in a base cabinet. I say that now as I consider taking the plunge on a new Bosch Universal, having had a chance to bake with a neighbor who is a retired baker, and who has one. I've only had a chance to use it for baking bread, but the results were absolutely superior.

    Lastly, the power hub attachments were another disappointment. We bought the pasta roller at an auction real cheap, used it once and went back to using our old Marcato Atlas. The grinder/stuffer attachment was an absolute joke. We raise our own pigs, so we make a good bit of sausage, and admittedly that's a lot more than most folks will likely ever see, but the design and function was just silly. The feed tray felt like something that was sized for an Easy-Bake Oven child's size kitchen, and its limted size requires constant attention to keep feeding. The throat being as narrow as it is also requires that you cut everything up that you feed into it into such small pieces that it's ridiculous. Lastly, the quality of the knives and their sharpness was pretty sad. They didn't so much grind our 70/30 blend as simply mash it through the die. We ended up buying a new LEM dedicated grinder and reconditioned a hundred year old stuffer that do a spectacular job. More gadgets and a hundred and change more money, but it works, works extremely well, and it will all last forever. The KA kit, not so much.

    The grating attachment was about the same. We make a lot of pizza around here, as well as our own cheese, so it seemed like a great idea. Yeah, maybe for a mouse. I dunno, maybe we're just really big eaters, but the time and work that you put into just getting everything cut small enough to feed into it makes it just not worth the squeeze. Again, we found an alternative that worked light years better, but compared to the KA attachment I could out-do it pushing cheese through a grater by hand.

    Got the ice cream maker as a Xmas present, and it was sorta okay. Doesn't make a full 2 qts., but like I said, I've soured on mine and am ready to move on.

    My advice; see if you can figure out a way to try before you buy and think about what sorts of things you'll likely be making with it. Wife does wedding cakes, and she's much more favorable to it than I, so maybe the best answer is one of each? ;)
     
    Breadman, Sep 6, 2019
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  10. Geargirl113

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Yikes on Breadman's experiences.

    As for me...

    My KitchenAid, the good old 5quart regular one, has never let me down. But then, I don't have or use many of those exterior attachments. They're supposed to save you from having to buy things like an ice cream maker, but I don't know if many will do the job as well as just buying that item which, lets face it, was made to do that one thing. Some of them do work fine, like the pasta maker attachment.

    Make sure you have a good spot for it, and plenty of headroom--the head tilts up on mine, so you have to take that into account if it's going under shelves. Will that tilting head clear them? And the Pro is very tall. Also, if you do go for the Pro, avoid the glass bowl. They're lovely, but their rims can easily break.

    Kitchen aid has been around for 100 years+ so...they do have the most experience of any company making mixers. And for the home baker, I do think they're still among the best. They're simple to work, and reliable. They last. And every so often America's Test Kitchen tests them out and they always come out on top as being able to mix heavy batters and doughs for a long time without burning out. Whether their attachments are worth buying is really another question. Can the machine, itself, mix up the meat, etc. for meatloaf? Can it make dozens of cookie batters for the holiday cookie bake? Can it's dough hook give you good dough for your daily bread bake and Saturday night pizza party? Can it whip up perfect eggwhites? Whipped cream? Perfect buttercream frostings?

    I haven't done all of what I just listed, but I've done a lot, and old faithful has gone the distance. My Kitchenaid doesn't move around on the counter. It has a spot and it stays there. It *will* send up flour all over the place unless you stir some of it into the wet batter before tuning it on or use the shield. The shield I have works okay.

    There is now a "mini" version that, while still heavy and solid, is something like 30% smaller and lighter. So if you have a very small place or not so much room, you might go for that model.

    Check out this lovely commercial for it:

     
    J13, Sep 10, 2019
    #10
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