Author Topic: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?  (Read 3164 times)

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Offline ac-t660

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Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« on: October 22, 2011, 01:44:23 AM »
Hey all.

Until now I have been hand kneading my dough, but recently my wife bought me a KA Artisan mixer. I'm very excited to have a mixer, but the moment I saw it I was concerned because I've read mostly bad things about it on this forum. I've gone back and read every post that mentions the Artisan and it seems the consensus is it's cheaply built and will wear out soon.

What I'm wondering is, is it really that bad? Or is it that many of the people posting here are using their mixers to a level that a normal consumer wouldn't? If you look at the reviews on Amazon it has 1580 5 star reviews vs. 192/45/30/63 for 4 star through 1 star. And of 59 reviews that mention pizza dough only three are 3 star or worse. So if you go by that, it sounds like a great mixer.

Right now my normal use for it would be making 1 pizza a week (or less since usually I make a couple week's worth at a time and freeze it). I'll try to make bread or other things eventually too, but probably not too often. For pizza I try different recipes from here or in books, so I would expect some of the dough to be stiffer than others.

Am I destined for machine failure? If so, what fails and how? Does the motor fry or just the plastic gear strip out? If just the gear I read you can get a replacement for ~$10 and fix yourself. If something else is suspect, how much would that run for parts and/or for someone to fix it? How much life can I expect out of it?

I have wondering whether I should trade up to the Pro 600 series, the added power, metal gears, and the spiral hook sound good. But then I read some reviews that say it's loud, still gets bogged down by large batches, and that it doesn't handle small batches very well (which is often what I do). Unfortunately my wife bought the Artisan from Amazon, so to return I'd have to pay to ship it back. I could maybe see if a store that carried both would give me store credit to exchange for the 600. I'm not interested in spending more than that, for as much as I'd use it I don't need a $500 to $1200 mixer.

What should I do?


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 04:22:23 AM »
I have owned an Artisan since shortly after the model was introduced - could it be over 12 years ago? Maybe more? I use it at least once per week for mixing, whipping, grinding meats, etc. But it has been a long time since I have used it for bread or pizza dough. It was always a challenge for me to get the speed just right to get proper kneading action of the dough hook. Often the dough would just be pushed around the bowl. It was never an issue of power, it was more about the path the C-hook would cut through the dough. A spiral hook is available for some KA models - never tried it.

IIRC correctly, I did burn-out a KA mixer on a batch of extremely stiff brioche dough, but that may have been an earlier model. KA replaced it. I own several other KA appliances and the service has always been among the best of any company I have ever dealt with.

For my pizza dough, which is highly hydrated, I knead by hand using the Tartine stretch and fold method. Ditto for most of my bread dough. Small batches of stiff breads like bagels, I do in the food processor. Lots of love for my Artisan, but not something I use anymore for breads and pizzas.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 06:36:58 AM »
I have a 10 year old KA and it has performed very well without any need for repair. My wife and I use it regularly for baking, grinding, dough, etc. I have the same experience as Bill - for anything below 65% hydration, and with a small amount of dough, the mixer just pushes it around the bowl.

The model I have was made in the US before they pushed production overseas. Ever since then, quality of parts and quality control has been an issue. My suggestion would be to use the machine to the fullest and see what happens. If it breaks, get KA to repair it for you. Enjoy your new mixer!


Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 12:26:54 PM »
I use one all the time and have no problems with it, especially with small (3 pies or under) batches.  Sometimes you have to stop it and knock the dough down, but that's really not a problem.  The other tip I would give is to not use any but the lowest speed, no matter what certain recipes say.  Anything else seems to just cause the dough to ride around.

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 03:55:43 PM »
I would just figure out what the machine can handle and don't run more than that.  If the dough is rising up on the hook and its going all over the place... it's too much.    It will be pretty obvious.  My guess would be somewhere around 1000-1200 grams or so, total dough weight @ 60% water.

Another thing that you can do that may help out with this, is to put everything together, mix for 15-30 seconds, then let it sit for 15-30 minutes before doing the full 5-12 minute mix.

I did end up upgrading just to a ka 5 pro plus with spiral dough hook and I prefer that a lot.  I think I only paid like 200 bucks for it on eBay.

Offline thezaman

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 06:29:22 PM »
 i used it last week for 900 grams of flour. it hesitated on every rotation. i think it slowed the mix down and the crust was identical to my sp5 dough. i have had this mixer for 10 years so blowing it up is not an issue. it is overworked at 900 grams but it still gets the job done. i did 2 900 gram batches and it hung in for both.

Offline JConk007

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 08:34:08 PM »
I Love to Flirt with Fire!

Offline tikidoc

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 07:55:58 PM »
My KA Professional died at about 18 months of age on a 500 gram batch of 65% hydrated dough.  My third KA in about 15 years, with each successive one lasting a shorter period of time.  I'm done.  I have a Bosch Compact mixer now and an Electrolux Verona (the new version of the DLX) on order, due in November.  Was lucky enough to get it ordered before the price increase.  My little Bosch looks like a kids' toy, but it does not even strain with a batch of bagel dough using about 1100 grams of flour, 20% of which is whole wheat.  I would have never been able to do that with my KA.  My KA is a beautiful machine, as opposed to the cheapie looking Bosch, but looks don'e make the dough.

No love for the KA from me.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 07:58:33 PM by tikidoc »

Offline R2-Bayou

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 05:15:10 PM »
been using my KA Artisan several times a week since '08. Pizza dough w/ 1000g flour + 60% hydration, bread doughs, whipping, pasta attachments, meat grinding... i even use the strainer for crushing tomatoes for sauce (also works great for grinding re-hydrated dried chiles)..

I will say I have had to take it apart and regrease the gears, but aside from that its been maintenance free.. love my KA..
"Wretched excess is just barely enough."


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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 05:34:43 PM »
Though I had planned a trip this summer back to the United States of America from The United States of Mexico with the plan of bringing a different brand mixer back with me, as best laid plans of men at times go astray, time constraints prevented me from traveling north. It so happened a KitchenAid store opened recently in Puerto Vallarta, the next city to me. I walked in the door and there was a red Artisan on display. I picked it up and instantly knew that there was no way I was going to bring a boat anchor in my luggage back with me. I paid an obscene amount of money for it and I do not care. If or when it dies I will find a way to fix it. I love it.

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 01:16:08 PM »
The only problem with the KA-Artisan is the C hook. That's if it's built well an isn't going to fall to pieces like some of the new ones do. Otherwise Ifind the C hook useless compared to the spiral attachment on my 600.

If you bought a new KA-artisan and have any problems, I would send it back and ask them to send you a Factory Refurbished KA600pro lift bowl, it's the same price as a NEW KA ARTISAN, I say again. a refurbished 600 pro for the price of the artisan. I did it, and the difference is night and day,  no bobbing up and down with heavy loads anymore.

I should point out that my KA Artisan did have actual problems like the pin sliding out ever so slightly for one. 

But I'm sure if you use your KA-Artisan for long enough it will develop a problem, they just don't make them
like they used to.  Even the 600 has it's faults but it is a strong machine.

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 05:06:36 PM »
Also, the only problem I've had with batch size is doing small batches.

Offline CarsonCarnes

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Re: Any love out there for the KA Artisan?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2011, 04:14:27 PM »
Mine died.  Don't like it at all.