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Stand Mixers--are they worth it?

chowser Nov 22, 2006 04:17 PM

I do a lot of baking but never (or rarely) make dough for bread and now with the no knead bread probably won't. I have a small kitchen and am happy with my little hand held kitchen aid mixer. Are there advantages to the stand mixer? There are a few times I think I would like it, like making meringues, whipping cream, chocolate mousse cake (this is the hardest one-- you mix for over 10 minutes straight so it's time consuming to stand there holding it) but I can deal with it. I've had a lot of people tell me I should get one because I bake so much. I don't know about lugging it out. I have borrowed one years ago and hated having to stop and scrape the edges. It seems like so many people use them that there might be advantages I haven't thought of. Do you have one? Is it worth it and why?

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  1. m
    mattrapp RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 04:35 PM

    I have 2 Kitchen Aid stand mixers, and can say without a doubt they are worth every penny! They mix every thing quite well, and much faster than some other options. They are built to last a long time, based on making bread dough. I think you may be far more inclined to make bread the traditional way with one of these since it is quick and painless. You will also discover other things to make with one of these that you wouldn't even consider with another type of mixer, such as emulsified potatoes etc. You also have the option of making sausages, shredding vegetables and the like with the other attachments that go with one of these. Now there are so many finishes available that you will want to keep it out where you can see it!

    1. Pei RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 05:01 PM

      I agree with mattrapp. It's not that you can't be a fantastic cook without one. But once you have one, you'll start finding yourself doing things you never would have bothered to before.

      Someone just posted the 5 qt. Artisan (what most first time buyers have) for $155 on Amazon.com after coupon code NOSAVER. That's probably the cheapest I've ever seen a new Artisan.

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        abowes RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 06:18 PM

        If I had a real KitchenAid, I think I would love it. I also think I would find a way to leave it out on my counter all the time. On the other hand, I had a WestBend stand mixer for a while and could not abide it. It just made a well in the middle of whatever I was trying to mix, and then sat there beating air. And, I couldn't get a spoon/spatula in there easily to push it towards the beaters. What a total waste of $200!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: abowes
          Pei RE: abowes Nov 22, 2006 06:37 PM

          $200?! You could have had a KitchenAid! My friend also had another brand's stand mixer. She found it in her mom's closet. I forget what brand she said it was, but all it was good for was convincing her to buy a KitchenAid, which she now has and loves.

        2. Katie Nell RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 06:51 PM

          It was totally worth it for me... of course, mine was a present, but knowing what I know now, I would buy one again in a heartbeat! (I just bought one for my parents for their Christmas present, and I can barely stand to wait to give it to them!! It's the new cinnamon color and it's BEAUTIFUL!) A while back, I was baking at my parent's house and I had thought about bringing my mixer with me but didn't, and I really regretted it... I about had a nervous breakdown using a hand mixer again... I know that sounds dramatic, but I was stressed! And no, I didn't just buy them a mixer so I could use it when I came home... well, not completely anyway! ;-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Katie Nell
            sweet ginger RE: Katie Nell Nov 25, 2006 10:26 PM

            I definitely bring my mixer with me when baking elsewhere! This is a purchase that has been worth every penny! I can see that one might have a reluctance to use it if it was stored away & had to be brought out every time, but I keep mine on the counter & find that I can whip up all sorts of goodies so quickly, that just seeing it tempts me into baking. I can have chocolate chip cookie dough ready to go into the oven in minutes!

          2. optimal forager RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 11:23 PM

            You'll be amazed how much quicker everything goes. It's not just because you're beating/whipping/blending everything more quickly. It's also that you can keep it going while you reaching for and adding other ingredients, instead of stopping a hand mixer, laying it down carefully, getting whatever you need, adding it, picking up the hand mixer, starting it up again. It's just more efficient. When I got mine, my roommate couldn't get over it. "Brownies in 5 minutes! Five minutes!" she kept saying.

            Get a second bowl if you can, and get the highest wattage you can afford.

            1. chowser RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 11:34 PM

              All right, you all have me convinced. The Amazon deal made me think of if and I kind of like the quaintness of an old fashioned handheld mixer (through grad school, all I had was a fork...) but if I'm all for speediness. I'm going to try to get one of those on Amazon Friday. Thanks for your feedback!

              1. Andiereid RE: chowser Nov 22, 2006 11:42 PM

                I know you've already decided, but I just wanted to add that I have always had TINY TINY kitchens, and have had a KitchenAid stand mixer for most of my cooking years and have never resented the space it took up on the counter. I use it probably four times a week and love it.

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                  weezycom RE: chowser Nov 23, 2006 11:56 PM

                  I dont' use mine often, but I love it. When I take the time to do a true buttercream frosting, nothing is better. I leave it on the counter all the time as well as part of the kitchen decor.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: weezycom
                    Will Owen RE: weezycom Nov 24, 2006 06:54 AM

                    I'm with you on that. I have a nice old K5 Kitchenaid that I use, oh, maybe three times a year. The rest of the time it's just a very large counter decoration...but when I need it for something it more than justifies the space it takes up. I don't think we've used our hand mixer once in the six years we've been in this kitchen, but I've whipped a lot of cream, mixed up a lot of cookie dough and ground a lot of meat with Mr. K5.

                  2. m
                    mpalmer6c RE: chowser Nov 24, 2006 09:48 PM

                    Yes, a Kitchen Aid is not convenient if you have to take it out every time you use it. But I have a small kitchen and keep mine on a counter top. It's simply great for mixing, whipping and kneading. Maybe you'd find yourself making things that would otherwise be too arduous, such as fudge.

                    1. y
                      yellowrose3502 RE: chowser Nov 25, 2006 09:22 PM

                      I have a kitchenaid stand mixer and I don't know what I did without it. Pizza dough to kill for and the best whipped mashed potatoes. I have low cabinets so I have the model that has a leaver that lifts and lowers the mixer into the bowl. The one that lifts backwards would not work in the space I have. But, I find myself using it for all types of things. Cookie dough, pie crusts of course cakes too. So do it. Get a color you like. I went with the standard white, b/c I dont tend to be trendy. And get an extra bowl that really comes in handy at times.

                      1. Anonimo RE: chowser Nov 25, 2006 10:20 PM

                        I use my KitchenAid K5a numerous times a week, but I do bake a lot.
                        A year ago, we had to replace the one that we'd had since 1972. Not a bad lifetime, especially considering the punishment I'd given it.
                        I wish I'd gotten an extra bowl, too.
                        I have used it in all the kichens we've had, no matter how small.

                        1. t
                          twh1475 RE: chowser Nov 26, 2006 12:58 AM

                          I love my KitchenAid, I used to have a Sunbeam stand mixer (the kind that kinda looks like a torpedo with the control knob on the backside) and I liked it, but I LOVE the KitchenAid, especially good for anything whipped, and has the power to handle cookie doughs, very important at this time of year!
                          Tim

                          1. Chocolatechipkt RE: chowser Nov 26, 2006 09:00 PM

                            Is it worth it? Absolutely! I love my KitchenAid -- seriously, it makes me happy to use it. I do use a handheld mixer for some things -- quick jobs or if I'm somewhere else -- but I much prefer using my KA. For example, the bread that I've mixed in there has had great crumb, and it's great to be able to do other things while whipping heavy cream.

                            1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: chowser Nov 26, 2006 09:09 PM

                              You'll pry my stand mixer out of my cold dead fingers, but frankly, given what you say about your habits, I don't think you need one. It's less convenient than a handheld for whipping cream or egg whites, and I prefer to use my Cuisinart hand mixer for those uses because I feel like I have greater visual control over the cream or whites, and therefore can gauge my stopping point more easily. If you don't need it for making a lot of heavy, stiff cookie doughs (which you can do fine with a good hand mixer, it's just easier and faster with a stand) or kneading bread doughs (which is the main thing I use it for), and especially if you have a small kitchen, I think I can safely say that you should save your money. Stand mixers are fantastic, but it just doesn't sound like you need one, and why buy something you don't need?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                chowser RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Nov 27, 2006 03:54 PM

                                Thanks--I'm back and forth on this now. I do want one eventually but for the money I'd rather do ski clinics, as we're entering ski season, than get one for now... But, as you were talking about the heavy stiff cookie doughs, it did make me think how much easier making biscotti would be. I don't do them that often because I'm afraid I'll burn out the mixer (which I have with a cheaper hand mixer). And, then making big quantities of cookies, like using that Mrs. Fields/Nieman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe would be easier... Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

                              2. adampaul RE: chowser Nov 27, 2006 02:49 PM

                                We're soon to be in the market for a stand mixer. Can anyone comment on the KA Artisan vs. the Pro 5 Plus vs. the Pro 600? At BB&B, it's a $100 difference between the Aritisan & the 600, with the Pro 5 just $20 more than the Artisan. I've never had a stand mixer, and would initially plan to use it mostly to mix/knead bread dough. Are the Pro models worth the price difference? It looks from KA's website like you get more power & a larger bowl with the Pro models.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: adampaul
                                  m
                                  mattrapp RE: adampaul Nov 27, 2006 03:59 PM

                                  The Pro 5 is perfect, the Pro 6 doesn't clean the bowl as well with the paddle or hook. That has been my experience since I have both.

                                2. m
                                  Markat RE: chowser Nov 27, 2006 05:49 PM

                                  If you're looking to buy a Kitchenaid, it's important to check if the unit is being sold 'New" or "re-furbished". Even thought the manufacturer warrantys the re-furbished models, there is a difference. It will be cheaper, but for the bucks, better to go new.

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