Just posted this to Amazon...let's see if they publish it. Many thanks to those that here that leaned me towards this- I am delighted with the mixer, and I've only had it a day.
Let me start by saying that I've been baking at home for almost seven years now, and have recently had a Kitchen Aid mixer conk out. I replaced the brushes, but discovered that the phase controller was damaged. This happened because the model I had does not have a over-temperature interlock. Due to this, the damaged phase controller burned out the contact point on the control plate. It sparked constantly, so the power to the motor was cycling power on and off- a big drain on the motor, not to mention the home wiring! So I adjusted the control plate to the point where the motor ran w/out cycling power...and now the governor is grinding loudly. My Kitchen Aid was out of warranty before I tried to fix it, and the shipping alone was gonna cost me another $40 w/out a dime being spent on parts. Since I've got the service manual, I decided this was futile- it would cost me about $100 in parts, and that was still no guarantee that it would work once I got it back together.
So I looked for a replacement, only to find that the high-end unit (600W?) had a lot of complaints regarding transmission failures. So it boiled down to this- why should I get another badly engineered product with it's weird, hard-to-clean paddle, silly dough hook (the better spiral one is hard to find, and can actually damage some of the mixers), and, worst of all, the lift bowl is stupid. This was apparent when I took my first baking course; about a third of the students were struggling with adding ingredients, need to stop the mixer to add, or throwing flour during kneading, etc. Sure, you can add a splash-cover, or plastic wrap like our chef taught us, but it's just another pricey kludge. To keep it from walking when kneading, you must pick the thing up and slide a towel underneath it- no mean feat w/only two hands, a 20+ pound mixer, and $100 per sq ft countertops. Ever wonder why you never see this happen on FoodTV? It's obvious if you think about it.
A planetary stand mixer is a bad choice for a kitchen mixer. Kitchen Aid doesn't want you to know this. My college had all Kitchen-Aid mixers, but, curiously, there was a breaker to reset the circuitry on the side. Hmm. Never saw that on a retail model. Maybe it was because the professional models are intended to be used for more than whisking cream and making half-pound lumps of dough? Kitchen Aid mixers are like old English sportscars- not very good at what they do, lots of kludges to improve things, they're prone to breakage, and they kinda look nice and retro-ey.
So the research began. Pizzamaking.com pretty much sold me on the Electrolux, but I heard about a 'learning curve' and so forth. All that boils down to is moving the roller occasionally until the stuff is uniformly mixed.
I got mine last night and promptly made a cake, a recipe I found on cooksillustrated.com. In a recent review, they've low-rated both the Electrolux and Bosch mixers. But consider this- in all their recipes that have photos w/mixers, what are they using? You guessed it. Kitchen-Aid stand mixers. Maybe they hired the former editor of Road and Track?
Anyway, onto the Electrolux. The cake was excellent, very good texture. This involved whipping eggs, and creaming butter and sugar for the frostings, as well whipping the cake. All were done nicely, though it's not all that easy to get all of the batter out of the spindle/mixer bowl.
Today I made NY-style pizza dough (3 pound batch, all at once). The kneading is really interesting- because the bowl pulls the dough across/around the roller, the process is a mechanical analogue for hand-kneading. Forget a planetary mixer for kneading. Seriously.
No loading down or whining, the motor didn't get over 82°F (I checked w/a thermocouple), and the dough came out fantastic- extensible, window-paned nicely, etc etc.
The rotating bowl concept makes stand mixers look like runner-ups in a design contest.
It's built like a tank, the parts are durable, the exposed metal finish isn't hidden behind paint, added flour doesn't blast out when it's running, and it doesn't slide across the table while kneading.
Wanna know something else? I can scrape the roller COMPLETELY clean with the supplied spatula. Try that with frangipane and a Kitchen Aid mixing paddle!
In addition, the roller doesn't add as much air to what it mixes, while the Kitchen Aid paddle does. This helps tremendously when creaming, making shortbread, frangipane, etc etc. If you need air, use the whisk.
As a hobbyist pastry-chef, this thing strikes me as the one thing I should have bought before I started. I've heard good things about the reliability; I can only hope that's the case because I'm gonna run this thing on a daily basis!
Five stars- I don't think it's possible to do better.