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Stand mixer dilema

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody,

I have two questions for you. Right now I do not have a stand mixer. All I have is a hand mixer. Is this sufficient enough for basking baking needs such as mixing batters and frostings, or does having a stand mixer to use make a huge difference in the overall quality of the end product? So far I haven't noticed poor quality in my cakes and other things but I still wonder if what I'm doing is bad for the cake (or whatever it is I'm making at the moment). I guess what I really need to know is this: Are there items I should avoid mixing with a hand mixer?

Secondly, I have the stand mixer that I want all picked out. I just need to save up my money and then I can get it. I really want the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series (Is that okay to say here? I'm not trying to speak ill of the other brands, I don't know anything about them. I just like KitchenAid products in general). I like the larger bowl capacity, the lift the bowl to the mixing attachment design rather than the tilt head design, it has more power, and I like the stainless steel attachments that are not coated with the paint (or whatever it is that they coat the attachments with). I worry about the coating coming off and then the stuff is in my food. However, my concern is that I won't always be making large batches of bread dough, cake batter, icing, et cetera, so I worry that the large capacity bowl may lead to insufficient or unequal mixing/blending of ingredients when I am making normal sized batches of whatever the item is that day. But I really want that larger bowl and more power for those days I am making large batches of batters, doughs, and other items. Is this a legitimate concern, or am I just being a doofus?

Thank you for reading this. All feedback will be appreciated.

~W2L :)
post #2 of 14
A hand mixer will not give you the capabilities of a stand alone plus you have to stand there and hold it therefore wasting time. With a stand mixer you can leave it mix and go on and do other things. One bad part of stand mixer is one tends to over mix. Another is when it breaks it cost a lot to fix where as hand mixers are almost disposable. For light doughs stand mixer works, hand does not. The differences in the kitchen aid mixer models is the transmission and inner parts of same. On the cheaper models they are all plastic where on better models metal and plastic including gears. None of them however compare to the ones of years ago, they lasted forever. They call it progress? !!!
CHEFED
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post #3 of 14
It depends on lots of things really.

Most hand mixers will do just fine for many things. Where they fail is inthick heavy doughs and batters such as bread and some cookie doughs.

And there are different stand mixers as well. Most here think of the big Kitchen Aid types or even the Hobart industrial types. Those will do most anything. But there are lesser stand mixers as well and they usually won't do bread dough either.

So it depends which specific mixers you're talking about.

I don't think you can walk away from a stand mixer. In light things, they're fast enough there's no real time to go away. I wouldn't want to be gone from a meringue or whipped cream more than a second or two as they're easily overbeaten. When I'm doing bread dough in mine, it walks and I need to stay there to keep it on the counter.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 14
I agree with you Phil. I would no more walk away from an operating stand mixer than I'd leave a skillet untended over a flame.

After all, we're talking about a counter-top appliance, not a Hobart mixing commercial quantities of bread dough.

Wants2learn: I have the Pro600, been using it for several years with no problems. But you did focus on one issue: smaller quantities of stuff do not let the tools work at their best efficiency. F'instance, with single-loaf bread doughs, the dough hook barely reaches into the dough, instead of thoroughly kneading it.

This issue appears most with things you use the balloon whisk for. It really needs to be submerged several inches to do its job.

Frankly, given your expressed needs, I would consider downsizing to the Artisan. True, it's a tilt-head rather than bowl lift. But overall it's more suited for the jobs you do, at considerably lower cost. And it will handle the occasional bread dough just fine.

Barring that, there is a Pro5 which is essentially the Pro6 with a smaller bowl. That quart size difference could make a difference in how the tools work for you.

You might also do a Cheftalk search. We've discussed stand mixers numerous times, and you might gain some insights from those discussions.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 14
At this point in time I have a KA Artisan and it works well for me. The coating on the attachments hasn't presented any problems at all but then, I don't throw them in the dishwasher, I clean them by hand. It really doesn't take long. So far it doesn't have problems handling whatever I've used it for from whipped potatos to my Death by Chocolate cookies which use lots of morsels.
post #6 of 14

stand mixer delima

I am receiving the Hamilton Beach All Metal (they say) Eclectic stand mixer from HubbyDearest for Christmas. (From Amazon.com with free shipping). After some deliberation I decided on that one based on positive reviews, and the fact that it was rated a "best buy" in Consumer Report, although having not read the entire report, I do not know what other machines it was comapred to...I do suspect KA was one of them. It doesn't have the 'prestige name' of the Kitchenaid (but then, KA has lost credibility in the past few years). However I'm sure it will suit my purposes just fine...and O, by the way...it has a 3 year warrantee, which is 3X more than what KA puts on theirs. Once I use it a time or two, I'll post an evaluation.
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #7 of 14
I have the KA600 mixer and use it often. All the comments about small batches are true but I bought mine with bread baking in mind so I wanted heavier duty. I also make a thin cracker style pizza dough that a smaller mixer couldn't begin to knead (very low hydration level). I found mine on Amazon as a closeout because the color(hunter green) was out of production.
post #8 of 14
That's one of the main reasons I bought mine, Mary: I use it 95% for bread making. That and I have a real antipathy to tilt-head mixers.

Looking at Wants2learn's planned usage, however, and given the price differences, it's really more mixer than she needs.

When I bought mine, between an available rebate and in-store sale, I paid $269 out the door. Not a bad deal. But an Artisen, at the same time, could have been had for $160. A significant price difference in my mind.

I keep hearing, here and at other sites, about problems with the Pro6. Makes me wonder if we have the same machine, because in two years of pretty hard use I have had zero problems with it.

I keep hearing rumors that KA is developing a 4-quart bowl that will fit on the Pro6. Haven't been able to confirm, but if they ever do make one I'll be first in line, because that would solve the small-batch issue.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 14
The problems I have heard about the Pro6 is overloading the bowl usually. I know one person tried to do an 18 cup of flour batch of bread at once and he killed the motor in his. I just made a 500gram of flour ciabatta which kneaded fine. I don't usually do many small recipes in mine, even when I make a batch of waffles I double or triple the recipe and freeze the extras for quick breakfasts.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi folks,

Thank you for all your comments and advice. I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this and reply to it. After thinking this over I think it may be wiser for me to downsize to the Pro 500 Series or the Professional 5 Plus Series. I like the fact that they have the raise-to-mixing position, and one of them has the stainless steel attachments with no coatings. It looks like it should be enough for most of what I will be doing. If I am going to be making large batches then I'll have to make two separate batches.

amazingrace, I would really like to know how your stand mixer works for you. I really only know about the KA mixers but I'm sure many of the others out there work just as well. Send me a PM, post a new thread, or reply in this one. Whatever you prefer. I just want to know what you think when you have the time to share your thoughts about your new mixer.

KYHeirloomer, thank you for all of your advice. You have given me a lot to think about before I make this investment. By the way, this is NOT a big deal at all, but I'm a guy. You cannot tell from my username so you really only had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. ;)

Thanks again for your time, folks. Have a good one and I'll be seeing you here at the forum.

~W2L
post #11 of 14
Sorry, W2L. I'm a guy, too, and am always being mistaken for a girl. So I appreciate the issue. Should have been more sensitive.

>I know one person tried to do an 18 cup of flour batch of bread at once and he killed the motor in his.<

Mebbe so. But, according to KA it's only rated for for a maximum 14 cups (8 cups with whole grain flours). So he overloaded by about 30% of its rated capacity. That's certainly not the machine's fault. If he then used a higher speed then recommended (many people do) as well, I wouldn't wonder that he burned it out.

I can't speak about earlier models, but mine has a built-in overload breaker that turns the machine off before the motor can get damaged. I've never needed it, but it's nice to know it's there.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 14
Hi There!

I have both a KA Pro 6 Series and a KA Artisan and I've had both for several years with no problem. I have gone trough a couple of KA mixers in my life, but they gave their all and were used a lot, so I don't hold that against KA.

I love both of my mixers, but I use the Artisan far more than the Pro 6. I actually much prefer the tilt head design over the lift bowl design because I find it easier to scrape down the bowl with the tilt head. Besides that, I find that what I'm making usually fits better into the smaller bowl of the Artian. I make bread and pizza dough in it all the time with no problem (but not with 18 cups of flour!)

All that being said, the Pro 6 is also a great machine and, as I mentioned, I've had no proiblems with it. The Pro 6 came with uncoated attachments, but I contacted KA and they sent me the coated varety because I like to be able to throw them in the dishwasher. (I throw everything in the dishwasher! If only my husband fit in there!) My Artisan also has coated attachments and I've had no problem at all with the coating coming off and the attachments look like new.

And, in tems of hand versus stand mixer, I don't think you'll neccessarily see any change in the quality of what you're making. In fact, as somone already ponted out, there is a added danger in overmixing with a stand mixer. But, for me, the stand mixer just makes the mixing process much easier and more pleasant. I think you'll really enjoy it.

Good luck!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
KYHeirloomer,

No worries! It happens to me all the time with a gender-neutral username like this one. I just appreciate you taking the time to read this and offer some assistance.

MaryE,

Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. This helps a lot!

~W2L :)
post #14 of 14
I recently upgraded to a KA Artisan, and haven't looked back! For years I used a hand held mixer, until problems with my cervical spine and a torn rotator cuff got to be too much.

The best difference I can think of is meringue. I can whip up the best meringue ever with my stand mixer, whereas with the hand held? Pffft. Took a miracle some days.

The model you pick is a matter of personal preference and level of skill, I think. Hope this ramble helps.
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