Best new stand mixer
June 12, 2016 9:17 AM   Subscribe

My 14 year old Kitchenaid Artisan, while making cinnamon rolls, started to give off smoke. So it is time for a new stand mixer. I use it a few times a week, it will live on my counter. I mostly do muffins, cookies, cakes, quickbreads, white bread etc in it, with the occasional multigrain bread, though mostly I do fewer because I didn't trust the mixer. This mixer's large bowl (5Q I think) is a bit too small, and the dough hook is terrible, and I absolutely do not want the same one. What is my best choice?

I am mostly debating between the KitchenAid Pro 600, which has a bigger bowl and a superior dough hook and a better price and the incredibly amazing looking Ankarsrum. But I keep hearing things like you need to watch a million videos to understand how to use the Ankarsrum properly and it's really only good for bread. But good for bread is amazing, and maybe I'd start using it for non-standmixer uses? I don't know; it's really expensive.

I prefer cleaning the mixer bowl to mixing almost anything by hand; I have hand problems and find it painful. Will I be able to use the Ankarsrum for the egg-yolk based buttercream icing I like? (Pour melted sugar in with egg yolks, when cool add butter.) For icings in general? Can I put the bowl in the oven to soften butter? Will it be too annoying to use for a batch of cookies or muffins or even a batch of brownies?

Is there something else I should look for? I'm in Canada, so I only want things available in Canada for purposes of warranty. I gather that the Kitchenaid mixers from Costco do not work with attachments (eg, the flex beater) and I'm not sure if they're actually good enough quality; I also don't know if the Ankarsrum is worth it. Noise of the mixer is not really a factor, money is not a HUGE factor.
posted by jeather to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Your Artisan is very likely repairable, if you want to go that way. You probably need a new motor and they can be had for much less than a new mixer.

I've used a Kitchen Aid tilt-head stand mixer and a Pro 600 for dough extensively and there isn't a huge difference in the dough hook (it looks different, but functionally it is pretty similar). If you don't like the tilt-head dough hook, then you probably won't like the Pro 600 dough hook. What is it that you don't like about it?

People do seem to like the Bosch Universal mixer.

I gather that the Kitchenaid mixers from Costco do not work with attachments (eg, the flex beater) and I'm not sure if they're actually good enough quality

You can get a flex-style beater for a Pro 600 and I can't see why it wouldn't fit the model they sell at Costco.
posted by ssg at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

The dough crawls up the dough hook and needs to be pulled back down constantly. And Kitchenaid has stated they don't make flex-edge beaters for Costco models, which is why I believe that the flex-edge beater does not fit the Costco model.
posted by jeather at 9:41 AM on June 12, 2016

The 8 quart kitchenaid is significantly stronger than all other models if you are doing a lot of stuff with dough. It can even make nougat without straining to mix. Just a quick google tells me the ankarsrum needs a minimun of 1 pound for heavy doughs, I doubt it would be able to pick up/evenly whip eggs without leaving the bottom unmixed. It's really not the right shape for anything but dough.

Also, repairing is something you should really consider. If this is the first time it's broken down, chances are you have another few years you could get out of that machine.

If you want a flex edge beater there's bound to be one that fits somewhere out there, you just have to measure your particular attachment. There's a lot of off-brand ones to choose from, that's how I found one that fits my model.
posted by InkDrinker at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you want something built like a tank with beautiful lines, check eBay/Kijiji/etc for the Braun KM 32. (I was surprised to see a blender base there. You can pop the mixer top off and put in: a blender, a coffee/spice grinder, a meat grinder, a juicer, a food processor, etc).

If I just wanted a workhorse with a really trustworthy name behind it, and I wanted a thing with a lot of attachment options, I'd get a Kenwood Chef. I used one once to make batch after batch after batch of a fairly stiff candy over many hours and it didn't even deign to feel like it might be starting to overheat. They have a well-deserved good reputation. (And one hilariously bad and embarrassing 1961 ad.)

I have no experience with them, but Bosch makes some appealing-looking stand mixers too.

(My personal snobby take on KitchenAid is that they built their name up on a product that is a bit different from the lower-end consumer models they are selling now, and one is buying more brand name than mixer when one buys anything KitchenAid. Certainly they have licensed their name out to some pretty crappy general kitchen what-not; it's not a brand to rely on in my view.)

If I was going to want my mixer to be a mixer and that was it but still wanted it to look awesome, I would look for a fully refurbished vintage Sunbeam, or a Jenn-Air Attrezzi. My only complaint about it is that I can barely lift it, but that is hardly a bad thing in a stand mixer. They only made them for a few years; there was also a matching toaster and a large variety of finishes and bowls, in different colours of glass and in stainless -- here's copper with an etched bowl, here's the black with multicolour one I have. They show up on eBay often -- shipping's not cheap, but neither are the machines; the original MSRP was quite high, and the shipping is expensive because of the all-solid-metal body. The speed adjusts beautifully, the head tilts back just so; it does nothing but mix -- you can't go around sticking a pasta machine on it -- but it does a wonderful job of mixing.

(I know you mentioned warranties, but -- I buy and sell better used small appliances; I have never seen an old good one have trouble; it's modern stuff that breaks. And you will save so much by buying used that even if you did need to pay for a repair, you'd still come out ahead. That, and, generally, repair under warranty = "Package your X securely and ship it to..." which if you have looked at Canada Post's parcel prices lately, it makes it sort of worthless; it would cost the same to take it to a local repair shop as it would to mail it.)
posted by kmennie at 1:00 PM on June 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

The Ankersrum is so beautiful! But the people I know who have it only use it for dough. They use other appliances for stuff like the icing you describe, and for cookies.
I have an KitchenAid Artisan here in the city and a Kenwood Chef in my second home. The Kenwood is far better value for money - actually, I had a fully functional 30 year old Kenwood here before that I'd inherited from my stepmother, but gave it away when I was given the KitchenAid for Christmas one year. Also, with Kenwood, it's easy to get spare parts and the service is great. Nothing has ever broken, so I don't know about the warranty. With the KitchenAid, I got an attachment that was faulty, and in spite of it being unused (because it didn't work), it's been hellish to get a replacement out of them.
The newer Kenwoods are quite stylish, too, though not comparable with Ankersrum..
posted by mumimor at 3:55 PM on June 12, 2016

I bake bread almost exclusively and picked up a Bosch universal plus. It's belt driven as opposed to gears and very strong. There are youtube videos of people making 4 kilo 100% wholemeal loaves in it.
posted by smoke at 4:37 PM on June 12, 2016

I have a Kitchenaid Pro 600, bought late 2012, and it seems OK but not awesome. I'm not a serious baker and only use it for pizza dough, and it does work pretty well. It's really loud though. Some variants of this mixer used plastic components in the past, but a quick Internet search suggests they stopped doing that.
posted by Nelson at 9:18 AM on June 13, 2016

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