I am torn between putting this in MPSIMS and Cafe Society, but decided on CS because it is about cooking equipment.
I have toyed with the idea of getting my husband a stand mixer for the last couple of years. He likes to bake, including bread, and i think it would be a boon to him on those occasions when he is kneading bread dough, making pasta dough, etc.
However… he doesn’t bake that often. He bakes by hand once every couple of months, and the rest of the time he uses the bread maker (once a week except in the summer.
Given that level of baking, I am not sure I can spend the $300-$400 on a really good KitchenAid stand mixer. We can afford it, I just feel wasteful spending that much on a tool that might not get used more than a few times a year.
Have you ever transitioned from bread maker to stand mixer for making bread?
If you are not a frequent baker but have a stand mixer, how do you feel about it as an under utilized tool?
We use our KitchenAid stand mixer for more than just dough. We have the meat-grinding attachment (sample use: grinding your own meat for burgers - grind bacon into the beef for squealers!) and I believe there are ice cream making attachments as well. It’s also possible that you’ll find your husband bakes more often because 1) he has a new toy to play with and/or 2) it’s easier than doing it by hand.
I have one and I absolutely love it. And I probably only use it a few times a year! But when I do i’m absolutely thrilled to have it. I was ecstatic enough the first time I used it to make it worth it.
For me, the worst part is storage. Its a large piece of equipment. It is a lot of space to take up for something i use so little.
I don’t have a bread maker, but my baking increased many times by virtue of having a stand mixer. There is definitely pretty heavy overlap with the bread maker, but it also opens up all kinds of options for things like cookies and biscuits that the breadmaker doesn’t help with. Though if you ALSO have a food processor, you can cross “biscuits and pie crusts” off the list of things you’d vastly simplify with the stand mixer (though I find doing them in the mixer preferable because the stupid food processor is a pain to clean.)
See, you’re not helping! You’re supposed to be telling me that we don’t want one!
Since you’re being such pains, let’s move on to what kind you have and what you like best or worst about it. Tilt-head vs. bowl-lift? 5 quart? 6 quart?
I love mine. I don’t use it all that often, but it makes all the difference in the world when I do. It does such a better job of kneading and mixing than I ever did. Love it.
There are excellent deals to be had if you aren’t picky about color and are patient (and lucky).
I bought the pasta maker attachment set (the metal ones, the reviews for the plastic pieces weren’t good) and that has been wonderful too.
There’s a thread around here actually that is what pushed me over the edge to finally get serious about stalking shopping and buying one. I think it was this one:
I don’t need a Kitchenaid stand mixer
ETA: Oh, and I have the Artisan, which is a tilt head. So far it has done everything I’ve asked it to do and I haven’t need anything with more power or capacity and it was a very sweet deal.
The best part for me is the meat grinder attachment. Make your own tasty healthy ground beef and sausage. I like to make lean bulk breakfast sausage and hot Italian sausage using a fatty butt combined with a lean loin. It’s really easy as long as you aren’t a sausage casing diehard. (I have never used casings but seems like a time consuming pain)
You can also mix lean red meat with turkey or chicken for a healthy option. Though most times I still have to add a little olive oil because the meat is so lean it won’t form a patty.
I wouldn’t want to grind up a whole moose with it but for a multi-tasker that sits on your counter top, I love it. I did go with a little heavier duty model of Kitchen Aid, because I knew I was going to be grinding a lot and didn’t want to blow out the engine.
You can also get the ice cream maker attachment dealies. For us, I think we’ve been using the thing for ice cream more than any baked goods lately.
I seem to remember Consumer Reports recommending a KitchenAid standmixer that was only $200.
I pined for one for 20 years before I found someone selling one for $80 and I jumped on it.
Can’t believe I waited 20 years. Can’t imagine life without it, even though I only use it every few months. When I do, I’m SO happy I have it.
It should last a very long time, and hold a lot of its value. So if you or your husband can see yourselves still using it 20 years from now, its worth the investment. It’s also worth looking for something used. Or a refurbished model from KitchenAid.
I’ve got a bread maker and a KitchenAid K5 (the bowl lift model) … I thought I wouldn’t use the KitchenAid for bread but I do. I make quite a bit of sourdough bread and I find the kitchenaid easier to use vs the set times on the bread machine (eg. for slow rise bread I leave it in the bowl to rise, turn the machine on to knead for a bit, leave to rise, knead, rise, knead). I’ve made roti breads and lots of sweet doughs as I can control the rising/mixing times etc.
Still use the bread machine for pizza dough as I like to walk away!
I do LOTS of other baking so my KitchenAid gets used at least once a week … and sometimes mutiple times a day. I don’t even have any attachments yet!! I want the pasta roller and ice cream bowl! I think I’d also use the meat grinder.
They are often available at estate sales, for much less. And they do last a long time, so a used one should still be in good working order.
I can’t add much to the discussion over frequency of use, but I do recommend you look at the competitive products from Bosch. For one thing, they’re easier to store in a lower drawer or cabinet.
I have a Bosch Universal and a Bosch Compact (well, 2 Compacts). And a Wolfgang Puck 700 watt Bistro. I love the Bosch products.
I love mine. And the ice cream attachment is awesome.
I’m still using my great-grandmother’s Kitchen-Aid, a K5-A from the thirties or forties. It works wonderfully, although I have asked my SO to show me how to replace the electrical cord on it; it’s gotten dried out and has a few cracks in it that worry me.
I can’t guarantee that a new Kitchen-Aid will last 50 years or more, but those old workhorses are wonderful. If you find one at an estate sale, flea market or Craigslist, snap it up!
Any Kitchen-Aid aficionados have the newer silicone blade enhanced beater that scrapes the sides of the bowl while it mixes? Do they work?
Thanks everyone, for the advice. I just ordered a red KitchenAid Pro 500 Series 5-quart mixer (bowl lift style).
I would have loved to shop around for estate sales, etc, but I never think far enough ahead. I look at it as paying a fee for my lack of planning.
I am sorely tempted by the pasta attachment, because it would replace the Atlas machine we already have and use (manual) but I think I will save that for his birthday.
You won’t be sorry. My mother gave my wife one about 28 years ago, and it is still working great. She had a little bread making business, supplying some restaurants, and it worked great - this was before there were bread machines. I think she replaced an attachment that got lost once, but never any other problems. Sometimes it just makes sense to pay for quality.