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diane4570

Good stand mixer? Hate my Kitchen Aid!

14 years ago

After 25 years of faithful service, my Sunbeam Mixmaster gave out. When I replaced it with another of the same brand, I quickly found out that they just don't make things like they used to! So I purchased a KA, like everyone else. This has been a few years ago now and I still hate, hate, hate that Kitchen Aid! I don't like that you can't add ingredients easily while mixing without putting the collar and chute on the bowl, you can't scrape the bowl while the beater is running, it's very messy (something always manages to fly out the bowl, no matter how careful I am), I can't seem to get it set right so that the ingredients in the bottom of the bowl get incorporated into the batter, and it's just too big and heavy!

Is there a better alternative? I'm not a professional, but I'd like to have z mixer that doesn't discourage me from baking!

Comments (34)

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I hated mine also but I read about and just purchased a Beaterblade from Amazon for $20. It makes all the difference in the world on the mixer's mixing ability. It is still hard to add things, but at least scraping the sides is not as necessary as before.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Other mixers to look into would be Magic Mill DLX by Electrolux and the Bosch mixer.

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  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I upgraded from my 30 year old Sunbeam Mixmaster to a Kitchenaid a few years ago, and I love it, but I got the beaterblade too, and now I love it even more. I never use the collar or chute - I just stop the mixer and add the ingredients - it's not a terrible imposition, and I usually did it with my old mixer, otherwise, ingredients went everywhere.

    Check the user manual for instructions on how to adjust the bowl/beater so the ingredients in the bottom get mixed.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Below is Cook's Illustrated's review of mixers; the winner was Cuisinart's 5.5 Quart Stand Mixer. Various models of KitchenAid mixers ranged from "Recommended" to "Recommended with Reservations" to "Not Recommended".

    ==================

    HIGH-END STAND MIXERS

    Published March 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

    KitchenAid has dominated the standing-mixer market for decades, but can it cream a new batch of competitors with 1,000-watt motors, cavernous bowls, and lofty price tags?

    How much mixer does a home cook need? To test the field thoroughly, we bought 22 different mixers of every shape, size, and pricefrom a budget $100 model up to a $1,500 model. We started tests that would quickly thin the ranks, with 15 that made the final rounds. In the end, we developed clear mixer-design criteria.

    First, there's mixing motion. The two most common are stationary beaters (with rotating bowl) and "planetary action," when a single beater rotates on its axis while spinning around a stationary bowl (similar to the way a planet moves around the sun). Planetary action proved far superiorÂthe agitator simply makes it to more areas of the bowl.

    Second, forget cavernous bowls. Unless you regularly make multiple loaves of bread, 5 to 6 quarts is plenty.

    We also prefer slightly squat bowls, which compensate for the lost height with a more spacious bottom surface and by flaring out to a wider mouth. By distributing ingredients lower and wider, these models had less opportunity to fling the contents up the sides beyond the beater's effective range of motion. The net result? Less need to scrape.

    Most mixers come with three attachments: a dough hook (for kneading), a paddle-shaped flat beater (creaming dry and wet ingredients), and a wire whisk (whipping). The minor differences from model to model aren't worth reporting, with a few exceptions. First, most flat paddles are, in fact, flat. The exceptions, which feature slightly bent-out edges, a three-dimensional touch that proved remarkably effective for creaming.

    Certain models earned extra credit for an ingenious method of adjusting beater clearance. Each attachment can be lengthened or shortened by turning a washer near the top.

    We did wonder whether statistics listing power meant anything. Only a few mixers list output wattage (horsepower); most list input power (wattage). Output wattage is the amount of power the motor actually producesÂwhich flows out of the motor, moves through the mixer arm, and, ultimately, smacks the ingredients around. Input wattage is simply the power that flows from the electrical outlet into the mixer's motor. What does input wattage tell you about the power of a mixer? Absolutely nothingÂit's purely a marketing gimmick.

    Our results? Six mixers survived the gauntlet of tests without showing fatal flaws; five earned recommended status and one earned Highly Recommended as some modern perks made it stand out from the crowd.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Stand Mixer $349.
    In addition to acing its way through heavy tasks like kneading bread and pizza dough and churning cookie batter full of oats, nuts, and dried fruit, this machine offers a host of modern updatesÂa digital timer with automatic shut-off, a fold function for incorporating ingredients delicately, and a splash guard attachment with a built-in feed tube. It also features a spiral dough hook, which worked more efficiently than most other models to knead dough.

    RECOMMENDED: KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer $399.
    2009 update: Still a true kitchen workhorse, this cookware standard is strong enough for the thickest cookie batter and the tackiest bread dough. Newer models feature a "spiral" dough hook, which is more efficient at kneading than the previous "C-shape" dough hook, bringing this model back on par with the Cuisinart and negating the single gripe we had with the mixer when we last reviewed it. Please note: the new hook does not work on older models that feature a "C-shape" dough hook because of its vertical kneading motion, which puts a strain on the motor of older models designed to work with the horizontal motion of the C-shape hook. Original 2005 review: With 18 models tested, a KitchenAid still came out on topÂthough just barely edging out the DeLonghi. With 575 watts (the median of the group), it plowed through 4 cups of dough almost two minutes faster than most "super-wattage" models.

    RECOMMENDED: DeLonghi DSM5 Stand Mixer $329.95.
    Watching this compact mixer expertly cream butter and sugar into a uniform consistency was a thing of beauty. Flared bowl and well-sized attachments kept ingredients "low in the bowl" and minimized scraping. A bit more composure during heavy workloads might have broken the near-tie with the KitchenAid in its favor.

    RECOMMENDED: Hobart N50 Stand Mixer $1850.31.
    "Purrs like a kitten," said testers about this industrial-strength lion, as it calmly processed rustic dough, oatmeal cookies, and anything else we threw its way. Narrow bowl mouth (the narrowest) made it awkward to add ingredients, and turning off power to change speeds was a painÂbut not as much as transporting the 55-pound beast.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: Wolfgang Puck Bistro Stand Mixer $249.90.
    Whipped stiff peaks into cream in under a minute and a half and breezed through chunky oatmeal cookie batter, but machine rattled on heavy yeasted bread dough. Suction counter-grips were almost too strong at first and then weakened too much after just one day of use.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: Viking VSM500 Stand Mixer $384.88.
    If Viking ever figures out the "locking" concept, this 5-quart model might be the mixer to beat. Shaft-arm lock required ridiculous force to slam shut, but the real tragedy was how often attachments plummeted from the poorly designed socket during scraping breaks.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: DeLonghi DSM7 Stand Mixer $383.95.
    The DSM7 suffered the plight of tall, cavernous bowlsÂdifficulty whipping small amounts and awkward scraping of sides. ("The hardest part is keeping yourself clean," noted one tester.) Despite huge-sounding wattage, more shaking and screeching with heavy loads than many other models.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer $249.99.
    Kneading caused audible strain on the motor, as did adding heavy dry ingredients (oats) to cookie dough. Creamed and whipped like a proÂan economical choice for infrequent breadmakers. Narrow bowl mouth hindered tidy addition of dry ingredients.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: KitchenAid Accolade 400 Stand Mixer $239.99.
    More wattage (more money) than the Artisan, but consistently performed at a lower level. This "deluxe" motor sounded weaker, and attachments seemed ill designed for the slightly tweaked bowl shape. Some hated the "delayed start" feature, preferring the KitchenAid Artisan's immediate response.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: Viking VSM700 Stand Mixer $524.95.
    Same problems as the VSM500 (plummeting attachments, "slam lock" shaft design), and the two egg whites we'd hidden at the bottom of the cavernous bowl remained safe from agitation, no matter how far down we adjusted the whip attachment. This "1,000-watt" machine did seem powerful, but not more so than more modestly labeled motors.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: Hamilton Beach CPM700 Stand Mixer $484.57.
    The CPM700's 5-quart sibling stalled permanently during the elimination round, and this one stalled twice before finishing the task. Separate on/off switch is awkward, and mixer arm lurched violently. Large bowl presented usual problems for small amounts.

    RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS: Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine $329.
    Shaped like a food processor with mixer attachments, the Bosch did a commendable job when kneading bread dough. But the decentralized mixing space (a "doughnut" around a central spindle) kept less cohesive contents from meeting in the middle. Condensation from the lid affected dough moisture.

    NOT RECOMMENDED: West Bend 12-Speed Stand Mixer $96.10.
    A giant leapÂdown. Stationary (versus "planetary action") attachments prodded rather than kneaded tacky bread dough while the unanchored bowl spun erratically and almost caused the whole machine to fall off the counter.

    NOT RECOMMENDED: KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer $199.99.
    Amid hefty contenders, KitchenAid's smallest model seemed more like a toy. The Classic did a fair job of creaming and whipping, but it wasn't cut out for kneading dough and had a chronic case of the shakes. You're better off opting for the more powerful Artisan, which costs the same.

    NOT RECOMMENDED: Electrolux DLS-2000 Assistent Stand Mixer $499.
    Wide bowl allowed easy access and capacity for nine bread loaves, but cookies, cakes, and even single loaves get lost in the abyss. The roller tool's grooves are a haven for butter, and the least intuitive user interface in the lineup had us constantly re-deciphering the manual before every task.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have both a KitchenAid 6 qt and the Electrolux DXL.

    I use the DXL for making bread but mostly prefer the planetary action on the KA for whipping eggs etc. I am not madly enamored of the central pole on the DLX - it's like mixing in a bundt pan LOL. That being said you do get incredible volume with those eggs.

    Feel free to email me any questions.

    There's also a yahoo mixers froup fro Bosch Universal and Electrolux owners - they're very biased towards their choices :)

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Why not take your old one to a good motor repair shop and have it re-built. It's most likely the motor windings or other parts as the drivetrain in those units wee bombproof. No plastic gears like on the current Kitchen Aids.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks so much, Eleeny, and others. I will be keeping this thread for future reference. Just finishing a kitchen reno now so new mixer will have to wait - but a good item for Christmas or bday wish list!

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a KA and just acquired an Electrolux. The DLX is three days old! In those three days, I have listed the KA on craigslist. I made my chocolate chip cookies and the creaming action on the DLX has never been achieved with my KA 6QT Pro series. I made Challah without the machine moving across the room and getting really hot. I made whole wheat bread with a biga and a preferment which is really hard on the KA. I also made a lemon cake in the DLX. I absolutely love it. I actually like the center pole because it forces all the batter to be mixed. The spatula thing is also wonderful. Now, this may be just a crush with the DLX, but I can't imagine using anything else!

    Good luck!

  • 6 years ago

    I got this and some of the accessories for Christmas and HATE IT! After 30 years, my Oster Kitchen Center was finally done, and my husband surprised me with this as an early Holiday present in time to bake my holiday cookies. Christmas morning he added the glass mixing bowl and rubber spatula, so I've tried them as well. Here are my complaints in no particular order: 1) It doesn't mix well, especially in the metal bowl which has an indentation on the bottom where flour seems to get caught, 2) yet it is such a horrible design to use a hand spatula to scrape it. Unlike my Kitchen Center, you have to turn it off, lift up the head, and carefully scrape. But the beater is really in the way so good luck getting it well mixed by hand. Every time you need to hand scrape, which is too often despite their advertising, you have to repeat this process. 3) As I use it, even on slow speed, batter splashes everywhere. The solution? 4) the piece of crap, poorly designed Lucite cover, which doesn't fit right on either bowl, doesn't stay on, and worse of all STILL doesn't prevent the splattering! It also is so poorly designed that it makes it 5) nearly impossible to neatly add additional ingredients. 6) When you're done mixing and ready to pour, you have to remove the beater with the most inefficient method, causing you to touch batter and get your hands dirty no matter how well you scrape it first. My Kitchen Center had a release button that ejected the beaters. Finally, 7) the motor doesn't seem to handle the thick heavy batter such as my banana bread with nuts, and slows down way too much. I will say it is very attractive and I love the choice of colors. So if you are buying this as a fancy decoration for you counter, you've chosen the right equipment. Mine, sadly, is getting returned.

  • 6 years ago

    I realize this is an older thread, recently updated. In case any one is curious, my old Sunbeam is still working last time I checked - they don't make anything like they used too... but then again... some things they do:

    I also have an Ankarsrum, like homepro01 said in 2009 above has (it was called the Electrulux and DLX, now it's the Ankarsrum Assistant). I use it, not my Sunbeam mixer for all mixing duties. Cakes, cookies, all types frosting, brownies, fudge, breads (and multiple loaves, as in it can handle 6 loaves of dough easily). The Ankarsrum is heavy duty, I'm pretty sure I will have it every bit as long as my Sunbeam.

    KA reviews scared me off. The only thing the AA can't do is whip one egg white, and I can do that myself or use my handheld. With the AA you can easily add ingredients while it's running - flour and powdered suger doesn't fly all over the kitchen. There is a tiny learning curve, but once you've got it, it's amazing. I have never used the dough hook. It does higher hydration beautifully - 75 - 90% even.


  • 6 years ago

    2Many,

    Ohhh!!! I want the clear bowl. You just reminded me that this thing came with a dough hook:-) I have never used it either. Still loving my unit!

  • 6 years ago

    homepro01, the clear bowl is really nice. It's not the hard plastic, but rather has some flex to it if you (gently!) hold it with both hands on the sides and pull or push, which helps in mixing some ingredients and also makes me think it won't ever get brittle and crack.

    Yeah, that dough hook seems kinda useless to me, but perhaps some day I'll use it for something. Sure is a beasty-looking thing, isn't it?!

    Great to hear you are still loving yours and it's still working well!

  • 6 years ago

    2Many,

    I ordered the clear bowl yesterday:-) I made a double batch of the Japanese milk bread the other day and maybe the dough hook would have been a better option since this batch filled the bowl. I have to find where I "stored" it now:-)

  • 6 years ago

    homepro01, I use the roller and scraper on my hokkaido milk bread (OMG, isn't it just ridiculously wonderful?!! Do you use the tangzhong method and make a roux?), I think it does a great job - mine is also for a double batch - about 1,400 g, or 6 cups flour for 2 loaves). I regularly make fairly big batches of white and whole wheat, which are easily 12 - 14 cups flour - the roller handles it well! I transfer to a large restaurant size bowl to proof because the SS bowl on the AA just wouldn't be big enough for a double rise of that!

    Yeah, I saw my dough hook the other day... but can't remember where I saw it! If you try the hook and prefer the results, let me know : - )

  • 6 years ago

    I do use the Tangzhong method. Are you using the Whole Wheat recipe from "The Fresh Loaf"? I use this dough for everything: Hotdogs, Hamburgers, Buns, Pain de Mie, etc. The roller does a wonderful job. My double batch is 1400g too! I only bake in weight not volume:-)

  • 6 years ago

    I think my whole wheat recipe came from allrecipes? Not sure! I think it's this one. Yes, it's my regular old sandwich bread (or pain de mie!).

    Is this the one you use? It's more whole wheat flour and evap milk, and sounds so much better than mine... I use mine for hot dog, hamburger, and rolls too. Hmmm... sounds like I found a new recipe! Yay! I may have to try it this, or next week. I've been baking a lot of white bread lately as a break, but it's not as healthy.

    "My double batch is 1400g too!" I bet we are using the same hokkaido recipe!!

    "I only bake in weight not volume:-)" I much prefer measurements by weight too - far more exacting and just easier. Can't live without my kitchen scales. But I find so many newer recipes call for 'cups' rather than grams, and clearly you know that's not nearly as precise. I aerate my flour before 'measuring' then go by look and window pane if the recipe is in cups.

  • 6 years ago

    Floyds recipe is my whole wheat recipe. I also use the NYT japanese milk bread recipe for the white bread.

    I mainly use cookbooks like the Bread Bakers Apprentice and the ilk. I have had zero failures with BBA and I used to suck at baking.

    Not quite as healthy as the soft whole wheat bread from Bread Bakers Apprentice but theAnadama bread is a favorite of mine for all around loaf bread. Super tasty!

  • 6 years ago

    I had the KA Artisan mixer and it died after just a few years (and not a whole lot of use). I replaced it with the KA Lift bowl 6 quart mixer a couple of years ago and it's been great, except that it is heavy and I don't like having to scrape the bowl all the time! Now, thanks to you two (homepro and 2many) I might have to replace it. LOL!!

  • 6 years ago

    Thank you for confirming about Floyd's whole wheat recipe, I'll try it very soon, perhaps this week if I can find the time. Yep, that's the hokkaido recipe I use!

    Aha, Peter Reinhart's BBA! Of course! I've got that and a couple others on my wish list for new books. I actually don't have any bread cookbooks. I'm gonna need another shelf!

    Thank you for the Anadama Bread recipe link... cornmeal and molasses? Sounds like something right up my alley!

    Ummm... can't think right offhand where any links are that I commonly (or uncommonly) use to share with you... wait! This is the technique I use for adding cheese (and often roasted garlic) to any bread... Cheese Swirl Bread - I've never made that recipe, but the method of twisting and cutting makes for a nice change rather than just rolling cheeses, nuts, cinnamon and raisins... anything really.

  • 6 years ago

    sherri1058, I don't think you'd be unhappy at all with an Ankarsrum. It does feel odd at first, using a roller for brownies and many thicker cookie dough's, but the scraper does all your scraping beautifully (lots of youtube links for it). I do move the roller to the center to mix better, and occasionally move the scraper out a bit to remove some flour from it (keeping the bowl turning all the while), but adding ingredients to the top with no fuss, no stopping the mixer, is wonderful. It's pretty quiet too. It handles high hydration doughs well. You do want to make sure your butter is nice and soft if you use the beaters (and also the roller because it just mixes better/faster). I can't recall ever using the mixer on the highest speed except for egg whites, Italian Meringue frosting, whipping cream, and the like.

  • 6 years ago

    sherri1058,

    I will not be held responsible for your shopping:-) You do have more color options than when I bought my unit though. I have a dark gray unit! I have not lifted the unit except when I need to use the blender and I am surprised as to how light it is. You will enjoy it! The stainless bowl is also not super heavy but very sturdy and everything goes in the dishwasher except the blender and the whisk. I also have a meat grinder that I use often:-) I think I have made a case for you to buy the Ankarsrum.

    2Many,

    Great method to add cheese to the bread. I don't buy books anymore, I kindle everything. It is also great in the kitchen since I can't spill anything on the pages of the electronic book so I can read the cookbooks electronically. All my paper cookbooks have pages you can't read anymore:-)

  • 6 years ago

    homepro01, The only reason I don't do recipe books on my Kindle is because I can't leave post-it notes in the pages! All my recipe books have paper sticking out of them, some age-darkened, with notes on changes (yep, I love to alter, and cook rather organically when a recipe allows). My french cookbooks are the worst!

    Darn you! Thank you! Making your whole wheat this week! The Anadama bread next week. Or vise versa. ; - )

    sherri1058, I have the pretty red Ankarsrum... {hint-hint}

  • 6 years ago

    2Many,

    I think you will love both breads. It is so hard to eat commercially purchased bread since I started baking at home about 8yrs ago. I also wanted to make cookies this weekend, noticed there is no frozen cookie dough in the freezer. One more thing to try to modify to my exact tastes

    You can add notes to the Kindle. Select the text you want to change, and the note option pops up. Fairly easy to see the notes. I don’t have the nook app but it has a similar functionality. Apple books does too. The iBooks notes are even easier to see. You can download free sample pages of cookbooks from book Apple books and Amazon to try out.

  • 6 years ago

    You two are bad! Not listening, not listening, LOL! Actually, sort of listening..... I think I'll try those bread recipes. I'm just getting into bread, so wish me luck!

  • 6 years ago

    Sherri,

    Floyd recipe is really simple and so is the Anadama bread. Let us know how it turns out.

  • 6 years ago

    You can add notes to the Kindle. {embarrassed} I didn't know that! Thanks! Also glad to hear Floyd's whole wheat is easy after reading comments on rising problems. I don't seem to have issues with rising, thankfully. I let mine rise in the oven (after heating briefly and allowing to cool, placing a 4-cup measure of hot water inside also). Our house is too cold now for proofing.

    Started basic bread baking... 33 years ago! Stopped for a very long time as work was (and still is) a priority. Now I just make time!

    sherri, I wish you luck, and lots of happy bread baking days, weeks, months, and years ahead. As homepro says, once you start eating homemade bread, going back to commercial is difficult. I make a lot of sandwich breads for DH's lunches, freezing half-loaves to thaw as needed. Neither of us eat store-bought. I also never go down the pasta aisle anymore as we prefer homemade pastas. Ravioli's take the longest, but I can make pasta in my sleep! (not in the Ankarsrum tho').

    Making baguettes today... heavy snowfall last night, so veggie soup and a crusty baguette just sounds too good right now!

  • 6 years ago

    Notes to Kindle: Absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about! I am glad I could help. I learn so much on a daily basis and remind my coworkers that one person can't know it all. Baguette sounds so good! I have not made one in a year. I got lost on enriched doughs in the last year. Need to get back to some of my classics like a good Ciabatta.

  • 6 years ago

    homepro01, made the baguettes yesterday... I forgot so much! Didn't let it rise enough, and slashed the dough straight rather than a 45 degree angle (lost my lame and that threw me off - or that's the excuse I'm using!). Flavor lacked, but bread was nice and holey, crust was crackly... DH ate an entire epi on his own after coming in from the snow. I'd scented one by placing a sprig of rosemary on top while baking... couldn't really tell, though.

    Can't get that Anadama bread recipe off my mind... I'm making it next week. I laughed at the story behind it! Thanks again!

  • 6 years ago

    The story behind it is too cute.

    That is the beauty of bread baking though, you can't do it wrong. You still eat what you make. I am sure you just need to practice a few more baguettes and you will be right as rain! Glad you got your baking mojo back:-)

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've had my KitchenAid stand mixer for a long time (maybe 15 years?) and I have to say, I really dislike it, but I never realized there were other good choices out there. Now I'm fantasizing about a new mixer. The Ankarsrurm looks really really awesome, but definitely not a whim purchase. Has anyone tried the Breville? Is it a significant improvement on the KitchenAid, or more of the same? What about the Bosch compact version?

  • 6 years ago

    Devil's advocate here: You didn't say what you hate about your KA, so I'll just ask in case it's relevant: Have you adjusted your beater height according using the dime test? If not, it's worth a try, at least until you get something new...

  • 6 years ago

    Let’s see...it doesn’t get the things at the very bottom mixed in (I made cookie dough today and was hand mixing the flour that settled to the bottom in) it doesn’t mix thick cookie dough well (and the top shakes like it’s going to come off when it works on it), I constantly have to scrape the sides down, it’s nearly impossible to mix things in while it’s going, it’s difficult to add dry ingredients even with the head up without getting getting dough all over my measuring cup, and it’s awkward to move on and off the counter. I suspect adjusting the head would help with one or two of those, so I’ll give it a try, but probably won’t help with the rest.

  • last year

    I agree with all the issues you stated about the KA artisan mixer. My sister has the bigger KA with the arms that lift the bowl. Her mixer does great, but it's HUGE!!! I've heard Bosch mixers are great, and that's from home-shcooling moms that do everything from scratch. I had the Sunbeam mixer too but that was back in 1989. It was a wedding gift. If I was younger and still had many more years of baking ahead of me, I'd seriously consider a Bosch mixer.