Stand Mixers

My first stand mixer was a wedding gift, a 350(?)-watt, 5L Sunbeam 10-speed mixer.  At the time, I was impressed because I baked a lot and never even thought to buy one.  After all, my parents’ generation all made do with a hand-held.  Did my world ever change!  I have to admit, when I saw the mixer, I started to look for a gift enclosure because when it comes to certain things, I have to research them before parting with my money.

I started dreaming about getting a more powerful stand mixer about five years ago; however, I am a person who does not like to replace something that isn’t broken.  This brings to mind my husband’s justification of switching to flat-screen.  And now we have two …. I have had a heart-on for a Viking for the longest time.  I knew just two people who owned one – and they owned the same model which isn’t even made anymore.  It boasted 1000 watts, which is over 1H.  And the bowl was slightly bigger than the standard 5L.

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You’re probably wondering “Why does a home chef even need that much power anyway?” AND “is bigger (a 5L vs. 7L bowl) really better?”  For the past year, there have been only three contenders:  Viking, Kenwood, and KitchenAid.  So the research began …. I learned that the Viking model I wanted was discontinued … and then there were two – Kenwood or KitchenAid.  A couple nights ago after what seemed like a long day, everyone was home and the kids were setting the table for dinner.  Hubby asks me to get him a beer from the storage room (downstairs).  I’m there with the fridge door wide open, no beer.  He then says “It’s in the hockey bag.”  I’m looking at it but I never turned on the lights, as I thought it would be a quick process – open the fridge door and grab the beer, right?  Hubby asks “Did you find one?”  I decided to turn on the lights, and replied “No.”  “Keep looking”, he says.  My eyes look over the bag and moves upward.  There it was, a big box sitting atop the hockey bag:  “KitchenAid 7-quart mixer”.  It was the sexiest looking of the three, and came in under $1000.  The best part is that it was powerful – measuring in at 1.3H!  I was in shock, didn’t know what to do – pee or cry.  Seriously.  The next thought was, no, I actually asked hubby “Does this come in other colours [like fuchsia (hot pink)-huh]?”

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Pumpkin Chip Loaves

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Of course, I was going to continue my baking from the night prior, and so decided to wash it, read the booklet from front to back, and put it to the test.  Because the engine is much more powerful than my Sunbeam, I had to set the speed at lower settings.  I set on making Pumpkin Chip Cookies, a soft chewy cookie.  It took no time at all to cream the sugar and butter.  I added all the wet ingredients at once and mixed until incorporated, less than 10 seconds.  I had the dry ingredients on deck, all mixed and ready to go.  I decided to throw in the dry ingredients all at once.  I did not do this with my former mixer, as it couldn’t take on the amount of flour.  The mixer would slow down, and the smell of burning metal would take over.  Once all the dry was in, I turned on the power while the setting was at “4” for medium speed.  It took about 10 seconds for the dry to be well incorporated with the wet.  Hubby thought he’d be watching something spectacular.  Yes, he was, but it didn’t last long.  With my old mixer, the dry ingredients had to be added in batches, mixed with a spatula, then the mixer could be turned on for a bit.  Then it would continue on until all batches were used up, but by then, one beater had to be removed, the power had to be on ‘low’, then I had to stop the mixer once in a while to mix the batches manually.  This took time.  I’m surprised the motor has not simply burnt out.

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It took no time at all for the wet and dry ingredients to fully incorporate.  If this impresses you, the next time I bake, I am not going to keep butter at room temperature.  I was told to undress the butter, throw into the mixer bowl and turn it on.  You can see when it is creamed, at which point the sugars, eggs, and other liquids may be added.

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(Aerial view)  I was able to make 100 cookies (a double batch) in less than half the time it takes to make one with the old mixer!

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Unique presentation – a ceramic “fry” cone for my Pumpkin Chip Cookies

. . . . A stand mixer – $200 or $800 and up – you’re trying to absorb all this, and you’re probably wondering “Who spends $800 on an item that performs one function?”  (We can’t include the attachments in this convo.)  This is all ‘I has to say’ about the matter  – “Go big or go home.  Bigger is definitely better!”  As you may already know, I enjoy a glass (or two) of port/wine while I bake.  Since my new mixer is uber efficient, I may not have time to enjoy a glass of anything.  Will be too busy setting up my six cookie trays, non-stop!  Drop, rotate, transfer – repeat repeat repeat.

I am in awe of what this machine can do, and cannot wait to use this for my Christmas (100+ dozen) Cookie Exchange and one dozen loaves during this month’s Dinner Club meet-up.

Are you in the market for a stand mixer?  If so, which one would you get and why?

 

 

 

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This entry was posted by Lillian on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 8:14 am and is filed under Kitchen Know-How, Tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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