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Dec 14, 2006 12:37 PM

Do I need a stand mixer?

After many, many years of cooking, I've begun to dip my toes into baking. I have Chowhound to thank (or blame!) Often a recipe will appeal to me but then I read that the ingredients should be added to the "stand mixer", which I don't have and don't particularly want. Aside from very heavy dough, can I get by with a hand mixer? I'd really like to try this recipe, but not if the dough is going to get all wound up on my handmixer.

So, what do you bakers think? And is there a good heavy-duty hand mixer out there?

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  1. Need? No, you don't need a stand mixer, though I do love mine (a KA). My mom's done lots of baking over the years, and she still uses a hand mixer. I think she likes the idea of a stand mixer now--because I go on and on about mine, lol--but there's no counter space, and they are fairly heavy. I pull my stand mixer out for big projects, like making millions and millions of Christmas cookies or making bread. Oh, and I use it to soften butter if I've forgotten to take it out of the freezer in advance (no microwave here). I use the hand mixer for quick recipes or whipping cream, for ex. I don't remember what brand of hand mixer I have -- I bought it at Target about 5 years ago for about $15, and have had no problems w/it.

    1. Don't see why this wouldn't work without the mixer... This doesn't seem to be anything I wouldn't do by hand anyway. I don't disagree, they have their uses and would make many things easier but I don't have enough space in my kitchen as it is so I am willing to go without. A bit of elbow grease first just means I can justify an extra biscuit etc. The only time I wish I had one is when I do any baking in more serious quantities (ditto whisking egg whites - 6 is my limit by hand)

      1. No, you don't need one, but in my opinion, it makes baking so much easier. And just last night, I made a cheese spread for work that took about 3 min. in the mixer, with no standing over it (like a food processor) to see if it was too pulverized. It makes cakes and cookies beautifully, and the few times a year I bake bread, I love the dough hook, although some people feel that's cheating. In November, I made my mom's famous fruitcake...2 batches which yielded 4 loaves and one smaller one, now soaking in brandy, wrapped in cheesecloth and foil, waiting to be given for Xmas. My KA is 80 years old, and I can still buy attachments for it. It's well worth all the counter space it takes up!

        1. I've baked for 34 years (since I was eight years old) with a hand mixer and never found the need for a stand mixer. Recently, my 11-year-old Kitchenaid hand mixer needed to be replaced because a beater fell apart from metal fatigue and the beater design had been discontinued a while back. I looked at both KA stand mixers and KA hand mixers, and I was excited about finally having an excuse to get a stand mixer. However, I went with a hand mixer again. Why? It wasn't the difference in price; money was not an object. There were several reasons.

          First, I like that the hand mixer can be used with any of my many mixing bowls, unlike the stand mixer that has a specific bowl that locks into the stand.

          Second, I like how the hand mixer can be tucked away in a cupboard and does not take up much space. The stand mixer, I have read, is heavy enough that it should stay on the countertop. I just didn't want to devote my precious little countertop to the big footprint of that machine.

          Third, and finally, a hand mixer serves all my needs, so why buy more machine? I don't knead dough with my mixer; my bread machine does that. And I have never met a cookie dough or cake batter that my KA hand mixer could not easily handle. My KA hand mixer even handles divinity, so I'm perfectly happy with it.

          If you're new to baking, maybe you should go with a hand mixer at first -- relatively inexpensive. Just make sure to get one with a good motor. I can vouch for the KA 9-speed professional. You can always add a stand mixer later if you need. It's no crime to have both kinds of mixers in a kitchen.

          1. Yes. Absolutely. No question about it.

            I'm strong, but I'll be damned if I would have wanted to make those 90 mexican wedding cookies last night by hand. I'm really not sure I could have, especially since I didn't have time to let the butter warm up.

            AND I made dinner while the KA worked. I've had this bad boy since 1989 and it works like the day it was new. I think I must be somewhat emotionally attached, since I seem to feel the need to evangelize ;-)