Author Topic: Another "need mixer advice" thread...  (Read 3322 times)

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Offline tikidoc

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Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« on: August 14, 2011, 10:18:40 AM »
I'm currently working my way through the multiple mixer threads but I thought I would also post with out specific needs and see if anyone has some advice.  

I have a 2 year old Kitchen Aid Professional 600 (not that heavily used, either) that quit working this weekend on a batch of bagel dough. It was a moderately stiff dough but the batch had just 20 oz. of flour.  I'm going to look into getting it repaired but I am leaning towards getting a replacement.  I have never been terribly impressed with the KA, as it tends to get bogged down with what I consider to be reasonable tasks, and I have had to take out dough and do some of the kneading by hand on numerous occasions.  I don't want to have to replace or repair a KA mixer every other year, and since I broke my wrist and separated my shoulder a couple months ago, I'm not currently happy with having to do much of the job by hand.

As far as our needs, it would mostly be used for making pizza (Neapolitan and Chicago styles mostly) and bread (both wet and dry doughs).  We are a family of 4 (but my husband might count for 2 or 3 when it comes to pizza) and we do some entertaining (usually one or two other families), so most batches will be a kg of flour or less, with an occasional need to do either multiple or larger batches.  I occasionally make cakes, cookies and meringues (less than once a month), so it needs to be capable of doing a reasonable job on them as well, but bread/pizza will be the primary function.  We use a Grill Dome (BGE clone) for Neapolitan right now but plan on putting in a wood fired oven within the next year, so I see us increasing frequency of use over time.

As far as other equipment, I have a higher end Cuisinart food processor as well, and I have a bread machine (a Zo) that we keep in the garage for occasional use (kitchen needs a redo, not much spare space right now).  

Cook's Illustrated now prefers the Cuisinart stand mixer to the KA but I am thinking we might be better off with a step up to a Bosch Universal or an Electrolux DLX, leaning towards the Electrolux.  

For those of you with the Electrolux, what attachments do you have?  I am thinking about adding in the blender attachment so I can get rid of my current blender, saving some space in the kitchen.

Am I missing any others I should look at?  Any reason the Electrolux would not be the best choice for us?  Thanks!

« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 09:07:24 AM by tikidoc »


Online JConk007

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Re: Another "need mixer advise" thread...
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 11:52:42 AM »
I as well as many other members here I think will recommend the bosch, for making dough. Other mixers are very good as well not saying this is the only way to go  I got mine and love it The blender is attached right to the unit. Recommend you read the bosch threads. good luck
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Offline breadman_nz

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2011, 06:09:25 AM »
I've got experience with two home mixers - the Electrolux DLX2000 and the Hobart N50.

The DLX2000 is an excellent mixer and will handle the tasks you mention with aplomb. It will not burn out doing several kg's of bagel dough, and I used mine for mixing anything from wet ciabatta dough to dry egg pasta dough. It requires a little more 'baby sitting' to ensure ingredients are incorporated than a planetary (=KitchenAid) style mixer, but certainly gets there in the end. It also takes a little longer than a planetary to develop gluten - probably about twice as long, in my experience. I have the whisk bowl attachment too, and it makes crepes and whips cream and eggs just fine. I also have the blender, but never used it (as I've got a good standalone blender). Overall the DLX2000 is very solid machine which will last for years and years (although I did replace the electronic speed control on my second-hand one). It's a very different yet efficient action. Recommended.

I'm now using a Hobart N50 which I bought and restored: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24332/hobart-n50-restoration-experience. The DLX is in the shed at the moment. The N50 is a fantastic machine for home use. I thought it might be a bit small, but it'll handle 1-2kg of bread or pizza dough no problems and in addition to cakes, cookies and cream, also makes a mean mashed potato (which I never tried on the DLX - although I understand it can do it). The N50 requires minimal baby-sitting and incorporates the ingredients very well at multiple hydration levels (a fact improved by using a spiral dough hook -part number KNS25BDH). And you needn't worry about this mixer burning out like a modern KA. It weighs over 20kg and having taken it to pieces I can tell you it is SOLID. You can also use KitchenAid attachments should you so desire. The downsides? Well it's only a 5 quart mixer, so for larger batches you might want to go to a 10 or 20 quart Hobart (2nd hand for good prices, but you take your chances with having to restore it and of course they take up a lot of space and are really, really heavy). The other downside of the N50 is price. It's about $2100 USD. Again, second-hand/ebay is your friend. They don't build KA's like this anymore because of the price they have to charge to do so .... but if you want to buy a mixer to last generations, an N50 is it. Highly recommended.

Hope this helps - any other q's, let me know.

ps: any chance of correcting the title of this thread from "advise" to "advice" ?

« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 01:46:01 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2011, 09:51:54 AM »
As mentioned, the Hobart N-50 is a beefed-up, industrial version of the K-5A mixer. It is also a gear drive rather than a rheostat drive, so the speeds are much more positive (consistent) when under a load. Another, often over looked mixer suitable for home use is one of the Hobart bench top mixers such as the A-120 or A-200. These are 12 and 20-quart capacity mixers respectively. I see them being offered at restaurant sales and on the internet from time to time. They are both 110-V, but they will probably require a dedicated circuit of 15-amps, or, you can do as we do at home, use a regular wall receptacle, and just don't use anything else on that circuit while the mixer is running. Note: While these are called bench top mixers, they are still a fairly large mixer, too large for the common home counter top, but we got around that by putting the mixer on its own stand, this lowers the mixer height making it easier to use, and we can easily roll it aside when it is not being used.
Mine is an A-120 that I got with three attachments (whip, hook, and flat beater/paddle) when a local restaurant went out of business for just under $1,000.00, expensive, but I'll never need to buy another one.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 12:21:29 PM »
I have owned a kitchen aid, a bosch universal plus, a quisinart food processor, an electrolux dlx, a santos fork mixer, and a sp5 spiral mixer.  The sp5 spiral is still new to me, so I am afraid to comment too much on the dough quality on that one yet.    The bosch is my favorite for 55-62% hydrations.   The deluxe is my favorite for 64 and higher hydrations, and the quisinart is my favorite for hydrations below 55%.   These numbers can move a little depending on the absorption ratings for your particular flour.     I have a feeling that the sp5 spiral mixer, like the santos fork mixer might be too fast here in the US with our 60hz power (this makes the units run faster than they are designed to go because in europe).    It is, however, the only machine that I have found that can make an excellent dough at ANY hydration.   I have gone as high as 80% and as low as 50% and it really has no problem with any of that.  It is built like a TANK, and is very easy to use (unlike the santos or electrolux, which require a lot of babysitting).   I think it really excels at the higher hydrations where its fast speed is not an issue, but at lower hydrations I need to do more testing to determine if it is in fact better than the bosch.    
« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 02:14:55 PM by scott r »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2011, 01:46:58 PM »
ps: any chance of correcting the title of this thread from "advise" to "advice" ?

Done.

Peter

Offline tikidoc

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2011, 02:46:45 PM »
ps: any chance of correcting the title of this thread from "advise" to "advice" ?

Sorry, didn't proofread.  That error is quite unlike me. :)

Thanks for all the replies.  I think the Hobart/professional grade planetary mixers might be a bit out of our price range and my husband is uncomfortable with that much cash for a used mixer.  I am also a little concerned about the weight of those behemoths, as I broke my wrist and separated my shoulder a couple months ago, and might have a problem moving them.  The Bosch and the Electrolux are a bit more manageable in weight, and I like the idea of being able to get a blender attachment, as that would open up some much needed counter space in my kitchen. Our current kitchen needs a redo but until then, we have a shortage of counter space  The baby-sitting required is not a big deal, as I think that is half the fun of baking.

So, so far, I'm still thinking the Bosch and Electrolux are the top of the list, and leaning towards the Electrolux.  The Electrolux looks more heavy-duty and durable to me, and although this is a minor factor, it is a much nicer looking machine (to me).  The main drawback I am hearing is the need for baby-sitting (not an issue), the learning curve (also a non-issue, I think, I like to tinker in the kitchen), and the fact that it does better with higher hydration doughs (which I make more of than lower hydration doughs).  It still will do the job with the less hydrated doughs, correct?  I still have the Cuisinart for really dry doughs, but I would say I tend to make wetter doughs more often than dry ones.

Does the Electrolux do well for things like cookie doughs, cake batters, and meringues?  How about the blender attachment, does anyone have that?  I'd love to be able to get rid of my blender, and it tends to get bogged down with smoothies (my kids' breakfast of choice many mornings) and takes up quite a bit of space.

Still reading through all the threads but tell me if you thing the Electrolux would not meet our needs well.

Offline scott r

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2011, 03:06:37 PM »
In my opinion the dlx does not do a good job with doughs under 63% hydration.    I know there are people who use the dough hook to get lower than that, but in my opinion it really does not make a dough that gets anywhere near the quality of the bosch.  I was unable to get the roller/scraper to work at all below 63 or so, and I think the roller scraper is the "magic" part of the magic mill.     Of course with the bosch, its hard to go above 65%.    For what its worth, I sold my dlx and have kept my bosch.  I really grew to hate the babysitting after a while, and sometimes I really like a 60% hydration dough (usually for high temp pizza) where the super high temp can cause a gum layer under the sauce if you get too high with the hydration.   With a normal 550 degree oven a wet dough really does not have many disadvantages, so you may be very happy with the dlx.    The bosch is a "throw it all in and turn it on" mixer.    In my opinion, if you are going to spend 15-20 minutes babysitting the dlx, you may as well just hand knead.  
« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 06:33:50 PM by scott r »

Offline breadman_nz

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2011, 05:16:32 AM »
I've had no trouble using my DLX for egg pasta dough, which is a decidely low hydration... but of course in this game YMMV (and reducing that variation is all part of the challenge!  :)). Just to offer a counterpoint to what Scott has mentioned - although the baby sitting and slower gluten development may take the same time as hand kneading - it's still decidedly less effort (especially with orthopaedic concerns).

Yes, there's no way you could move or lift the A120 or A200 with a broken wrist - and even without that impediment, a single person would struggle - the A200 weighs more than 200lbs. The N50 I bought was from an older lady who could no longer wrangle it about the kitchen.

The 'lux is a nice looker - especially if you get the stainless steel bowl. It does fine for mixing cakes and whipping meringues - but you need the extra bowl, drive shaft and whisk to whip stuff or mix thin batters.

Spiral mixers are great, specialist bread dough kneaders - along with the artofex diving arm-style mixers. The best you can get for dough. Their major downside is a) cost and b) they ONLY do dough - definitely no cake mixing, potato mashing or cream whipping.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 05:34:20 AM by breadman_nz »

Offline tikidoc

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 09:31:39 AM »
Argh, this decision is driving me nuts.  Thanks for all the replies (and all the info on other threads). 

I have been reading here, on thefreshloaf.com as well as on a Yahoo group concerned only with high end mixers (!), and despite all the info, I still have reservations about both machines. I'm not concerned about the learning curve of the Electrolux, or the babysitting. There is enough info out there on how to tweak the Electrolux that I think I can get by the learning curve (and most who do so seem happy with the machine), and I don't think I will mind the babysitting.  I have to babysit the KA to keep dough from climbing out of the bowl or to keep the thing from walking off the counter, and that has never been a big deal.  OK, maybe it's a little annoying, but mostly because it annoys me that I am babysitting to keep it from walking off the counter and I know that it should not have that issue. Babysitting to micromanage the dough making process is not annoying.  I AM concerned about the limitations of both machines with various hydration levels, because I like to make lots of different kinds of breads of varying hydrations. 

OK, I have to admit it, one of the things that really, really bugs me about the Bosch is that it LOOKS really cheap.   I hate white plastic.  It looks bad (to me), and then it yellows with age and use and then it looks worse.  I have had KA mixers for most of my adult life, and they just look solid.  Yea, I know, I am here because my KA can't handle bread/pizza, so this should be a non-issue, but I have a hard time paying over $600 (by the time I get the attachments I want) for a machine that looks so. damn. cheap.  The Electrolux looks like something made to last and pass along to your kids, and from what I hear, the insides of the Electrolux are just as heavy duty.  And yes, I know the Boschs last a very long time too, but they look like they shouldn't.  So the end result is that, if I get a Bosch (once we update our kitchen) I will keep it in a cabinet and drag it out whenever I use it.  And if I get an Electrolux, I will give it a home on the counter.  So that counters some of the babysitting the Electrolux.

I am starting to think that what I need to do is get the new Electrolux to do 80% of the work, then scour Crag's List and eBay and find a good, cheap used Bosch to reside under the counter for whenever I want to do a less hydrated dough.  And then my husband will have me committed for being an obsessed pizza addict.


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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 10:02:32 AM »
I switched over to the Electrolux N28 in January 2011. I still have the KA, but it's relegated to meat grinding and pasta rolling.

I work with dough between 55% and 80%.

The Electrolux does require a little babysitting, mostly just moving the roller or scraper arms to move the dough into a new mixing pattern. It's no problem for me. I've tried the dough hook, but prefer the roller/scraper.

It's really fun to watch, and produces a fine product. I recommend it.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2011, 02:11:35 PM »
.

I am starting to think that what I need to do is get the new Electrolux to do 80% of the work, then scour Crag's List and eBay and find a good, cheap used Bosch to reside under the counter for whenever I want to do a less hydrated dough.  And then my husband will have me committed for being an obsessed pizza addict.


unfortunately the bosch you want is the new universal plus.   It has a lower speed than the previous (non plus) versions, and the slow speed is better.  It does have an optional steel bowl, which someone on this site says is better for high hydrations, but that is more money.    

I think you will be happy with either mixer, but I am just a freak.   For me the slightly better end product has turned me into a big bosch proponent, but as I have been getting into more hydrated doughs I see where the DLX may actually be the ultimate for that style.

Just to make matters worse for your decision.....   I did a batch in the sp5 spiral that I baked up last night that was one of the best pizzas I have ever made.   Still not jumping to any conclusions yet, but this thing has serious potential.  
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 12:33:02 PM by scott r »

Offline tikidoc

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 02:36:28 PM »
Thanks, Scott, the SP5 is in the same price range ($587 shipped), so now I have 3 on my list.  Sigh.  Darn thing weighs 40 pounds though.

Oops, wait, is there a regular SP5 and a different spiral SP5?  Now I'm confused.

ETA Never mind, I see the difference, and happily, the spiral is well out of my price range, so I am back to driving myself insane deciding between two machines.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 02:44:28 PM by tikidoc »

Offline scott r

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 03:08:33 PM »
Yes, I have the esmacn/avancini spiral sp5......probably out of your price range,    but the globe planetary sp5 is definitely another contender for a mixer in your price range.   I haven't used it, but I think there are some others on this forum that have.   You should definitely look into it.    It seems like a less expensive, but similar alternative to the hobart n50
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 12:30:55 PM by scott r »

Offline toyman

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Re: Another "need mixer advice" thread...
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2011, 04:54:46 PM »
I went thru the same decision a few years ago and decided on the Electrolux. It may seem to be a few dollars more than the bosch, but if you get a stainless bowl, which comes with the Electrolux, they are very comparable.  The babysitting isn't as bad as it's made out to be.  You're normally not going to be changing your oil or re-siding your house while you're making dough :-D.  To clarify on the whisking bowl, it came standard with my Electrolux.  My process is that I start with my wet ingredients, then add 75% of my flour with the roller/scraper and then rest/autolyze for 20 minutes.  Then I mix the balance of my dry ingredients with the rest of the flour and mix it in after the 20 minutes.  At that time, I change out the roller for the dough hook.  This method has worked very well for me since I've got my mixer.  It's a toss up between the Bosch and Electrolux.  They both have their pro's and cons, but both produce excellently in the end.  The stainless bowl was the clincher for me.  Easier to clean and will last forever.  Good Luck!