On stand mixers (alternatives to KitchenAid, and how to use them)
My KitchenAid dates from 1972 (my mother ordered it, with every attachment, in the window between my father leaving and him changing the credit cards. The KitchenAid of revenge). I'm still using it, and while the dough I make most often in it is pizza dough, relatively wet and light, I've never had issues with overheating. But I have the old version, with the metal worm gear. Only time it got significantly hot on me was making a big batch of Italian meringue cake frosting. I keep meaning to send my KA to the Mixer Guy in Kansas to take it apart, clean and regrease it, but I see to keep not getting around to it.
My husband, Mr. Automotive, repaired a KA successfully with an OEM component when the mixer was wobbling. After seeing more makes available, I am bewildered over what to purchase if my mixers ever break again, but I know that you know who will confiscate it and repair it, so I may never experience a new mixer in my lifetime. He says this statement is highly accurate. If there are any engineers out there, build a mixer that engages centrifugal force, as I think that could be a ticket to a mixer that does not put a tremendous load on its' motor or components. When I combine flour and liquid in a jar and imitate a centrifuge, the mixture comes together quite rapidly and needs a little scraping to finish the job.
Although many people *love* their Ankarsrum mixers for bread dough, when I was making my choice I was dissuaded by
* Many people reported they take a long time to mix bread dough
* Some folks reported they require a material amount of attention during the mix, especially at the start
* Some folks reported some challenge incorporating butter or inclusions into bread dough
* Can only cream butter if the butter is quite warm (not a bread dough limitation)
* Some concern about how well it whipped egg whites and made Italian meringue (again, not a bread dough limitation)
* Significant cost
Most home planetary mixers have AC motors. AC motors have "power bands" just like a car engine, i.e., they deliver more torque within a narrow band of RPMs. And that band is always way above the starting condition (i.e., 0 RPM)...which is perhaps just when one needs the most torque for bread.
Some claim that that DC motors deliver more torque and thus the few models using DC motors are better: https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/46357/list-kitchenaid-mixers-brushless-dc-bldc-motors. I once tried one of these KitchenAids for bagel dough and still didn't love it, especially in comparison with my VEVOR.
The 3-speed geared Hobart mixers (such as the N-50) are famous for delivering torque and being sturdy, possibly because the gearing allows the motors to always operate within their power bands.
PS: VEVOR offers some planetary mixers for about 1/3 the price of a KitchenAid. So perhaps one could just use one until it breaks and buy another! https://www.vevor.com/stand-mixer-c_10670/vevor-450w-stand-mixer-6-speed-tilt-head-dough-mixer-7-4-qt-bowl-3-attachments-p_010721934283
Wilfa Probaker appears to be available In US now at: https://www.dykeanddean.us/products/wilfa-black-pro-baker-mixer.
Excellent advice. Also someone suggested me look into an actual used Hobart. I have not found one in my price range that’s for sure!
Just want to call out the other standout mixers with a timer, both Breville and the Cuisinart. My primary mixer is an Assistent, but I've used both of those in the past, and I found them both to as well as the KitchenAid Pro. For someone who forgets about my bread at least once per recipe, that timer feature is crucial to making sure I don't leave it kneading while I, for example, go to a food truck festival for a few hours.
One really nice aspect the Assistent shares with the KitchenAids (at least I think this is true for KitchenAids), is the long term compatibility of the attachments. I'm using some of the attachments from the first Magic Mill I bought for my mother in the 90s.
We've had our Kenwood Major for close to 15 years, using it 2-4 times per week (often for bread) and I absolutely love it.
That is really sad about the contemporary KA mixers. My cherished KS4.5 (at a whopping 250 watts) that I picked up in the 1970s off the “reconditioned “ shelf of a discount appliance store for $75 has no trouble mixing and kneading your 1.5kg bread recipes for the required times. (Though I do have to watch out for dense doughs climbing the dough hook.)
I’ve owned an Ank for 5 years and love it. I primarily use it for bread. I use the roller for all breads except bagels. I arrived at that conclusion after much experimentation. Like you, I find the hook needs more babysitting and can create a mess with dough climbing the walls. I’m a little less enamored of the Ank for cookies. I destroyed one set of wire whisks mixing a relatively soft cookie dough. I have found i can whip butter and sugar effectively with the whips but need to switch to the roller attachment/bowl to actually mix the dough. Ugh. If you have any suggestions, I’m listening. P.S. The Ank is a magnificent looking machine. Further, I’m a small, older woman and have no difficulty moving the machine from counter to starve space. It’s also very easy to clean the bowl and attachments.
Thanks Andrew!! Great piece--it shows that there are not only workable alternatives but that they work better!!
What's wild is that Kitchenaid has recipes on their own website that just says "set to speed 2 and knead". https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/stand-mixers/crusty-bread-recipe.html