Does anyone have any experience with them? A friend of mine is looking into the 7 qt DeLonghi, after two KA's have died on her (one burnt out motor, one part broke but would cost $$ to fix). She makes a lot of bread, so she needs something that can handle stiff doughs.
Go on Ebay and get one of the old Hobart KAs. They're listed there regularly. I've had a K45SS for close to 30 years now and it's worked perfectly all that time. Bread dough, pizza dough, it's never failed to handle anything I've thrown in it.
In fact, last night I was making brioche dough, wasn't paying attention, and the machine "walked" off my counter and hit the floor with a huge crash. I was sick at heart. Figured that was the end of it. But the only thing amiss was that the motor cover loosened slightly. I unscrewed it, reseated it, screwed it back in, and finished making the brioche dough. What a workhorse!
Boy oh boy is JoanN right!
In 2006, I treated myself to the following mixers:
An Electrolux Magic Mill
A Bosch Univeral (which I had to have, because I love my Bosch food processor)
The Magic Mill is sort of like a European movie star--gorgeous but useless. It does not mix bread dough well, at least not for me. Please save your $$$ and don't buy this one.
The Bosch is very German (as am I, but that's another story...): Very intense, very fast, and not always as good as you'd expect it to be.
While researching a food item (Glad Corn) on Chowhound, I decided to see what everyone was saying about mixers. A poster very similar to JoanN (or maybe it was JoanN on another board!) said to buy a used Hobart-era KitchenAid 5A on eBay.
Which I did.
For $79, which was waaaay cheaper than my two Euro-divas.
Wow. That mixer produces bread and other doughs in a minute or two, like magic. No ingredients flung to the side. No strange, non-mixing actions. Just swift, simply, hugely efficient mixing that really works.
I don't work for KitchenAid, eBay or JoanN---but, JoanN's suggestion really is the way to go.
The 1992 Hobart-era 5 quart KitchenAid that I purchased is better than anything I've had (let's not go into the multiple food processors I own!) for producing doughs, cakes and cookies. And, while I've never had a new KitchenAid, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase one, even knowing that it might not last. It simply does the job better!
Thanks for your responses everyone!
I asked my friend for more details about the problems with her KAs, and this is what she said:
"The first time it was from making too-heavy wet bread doughs. That machine lasted me a good 5 years though before I burnt it out. The second time, with the 600 model, it was a machine problem. The planetary came off when I was making cake batter (nothing tough). The attachment part was stripped because the mechanism doesn't fit well in the housing. [Her husband] glued it back on with super glue (KA told me I'd have to get a whole new motor housing, which is $$, because they don't sell the planetary by itself) and it's working fine so far."
Yes, that's a point, I assumed the OP was comparing apples to apples, not oranges. It really depends on how/why she's been killing the KAs and nothing was said about that. Chances are slim she got 2 lemon KAs in a row, so there's probably more to it than just an "inferior" machine. DeLonghi's aren't noteworthily "better" built than KAs, nor vice versa. They're more or less comparable in design and construction, so simply switching brands isn't going to address a more fundamental problem of actual vs intended usage.
What's she been making? If she's killed 2 KAs in a row, I doubt the DeLonghi (formerly Kenwood) is going to hold up much longer.
For bread, she might consider the Electrolux. Despite attachments, they're not very good for anything else, and they're not cheap, but they do knead dough like nobody's business and the design is much less likely to break down with that kind of frequent, heavy mixing. (The machine looks a bit like a top loading washing machine; the mechanism is very different from a "mixer" with a dough hook.)
Cook's Illustrated tested then last year and thought the 7 quart had an awkward design (too-tall bowl shape), by the 5 quart DeLonghi came in a close second out of a list of 20 different mixers. (The KA Pro 600 was their top rated one by a hair.) They made a rustic bread or two as part of the testing and thought the 5 quart capacity was fine.
I kind of like the spiral dough hook on the Pro 600, tho.
I have burnt out more K-A's than I want to admit, but I love the design of the product. I took my last K-A stand mixer to a shop that rebuilt industrial electric motors, and had them replace the weak original motor with a industrial electric motor, and now I have a very reliable mixer that is capable of stretching taffy. The conversion wasn't cheap, but it has lasted me over 4 years of daily commercial use, but it must be used on its own electrical circuit.
Both Viking and Kenwood make a very powerful and reliable stand mixers.