A READER QUESTION ON KITCHEN MIXERS earlier today generated a flood of email — more than on anything else today, quite possibly more than on everything else today. I should give up war and politics and just blog on cars, cookware, and cameras . . .
Well, maybe not, but there seems to be a lot of reader interest. Some replies follow.
Many sent variations on this email from Robin Burk: “It’s likely that Mr. Lamontagne is not using his KitchenAid mixer correctly when making bread dough. I’ve used one for mixtures like bread dough, including heavy multigrain recipes, without problems for many years.” Others saw it differently, saying that Kitchenaid’s quality isn’t what it used to be. That would explain all the emails I got like Burk’s. Reader Karl Bock writes:
It really comes down to this: They don’t build ‘em like they used to. The weakness in recent model Kitchen Aids is in the gearbox, which for some ungodly reason, is now made with a plastic casing. They warp, crack and break, bringing everything to a grinding halt.
The irony is, that Kitchen Aid makes the best stand mixer ever. Your reader just needs to find an old one. Look on eBay for a 20 plus year old mixer; preferably older. Don’t worry so much about condition and looks. You just want the basic system in hand. Chances are, that’s all you’ll need; it’ll probably work just fine. However, if you want it to REALLY hum, send it off to these folks: http://atomic-era-machine.com/
For around $60.00 they’ll completely refurbish the head unit on an old KA/Hobart.
On alternatives, some recommended the professional Hobart N50, but you’ll pay a lot for that. Others liked the Electrolux Mixer Magic.
Others say go with Cuisinart for more power: “My wife bakes about six loaves of whole wheat bread per week. She has “used up” three Kitchen Aid mixers in the last five years. She bought a Cuisinart 1000 watt mixer about three months ago and so far it seems to do well without a whole lot of stress and strain on the motor or the gear train. ” More power is always better, right?
Meanwhile, reader Andrea Martin writes: “I researched mixers this summer. Bread makers love the Bosch Universal. There are many bread forums & web sites where this machine is praised. A Google search will easily find the discussions.”
Quite a few people swore by the Viking stand mixer, with reader David Bower writing, “My wife does quite a bit of baking and is very pleased with her Viking Professional Mixer. We have had the Viking for four years now and it has held up much better than the Kitchen Aid models, two of which died under the strain.”
Others wonder why he needs a mixer at all. Reader Dick Thompson writes: “I was wondering about Mr Lamontagne. If he only makes 1+ loaves of bread a week, why is he using a mixer in the first place. By the time you get it out, set up, get the mixer going, then clean it all up, you could have the bread half way through its rising cycles.” Likewise, reader Laura Blanchard writes, “For your poster’s frequency of bread making, the appropriate technology is a big bowl, a wooden spoon, and his two hands.” Yeah, that’s how the Insta-Daughter does it. But then what gadgets are there to talk about?
And, of course, if you’re not interested in bread, you can always get obsessive about pizza dough.