stand mixer question/recommendations
I'm recently engaged and just got started on my registries. I love to cook and bake and definitely want an excellent stand mixer. However, I'm having trouble sorting out which one! I do like to make bread occasionally, and might want to double or triple recipes, so I don't want to get one that's too small. My fiance's mom bought a KitchenAid to replace her really old, broken mixer and hated it because it only had one beater. She swore it didn't mix all the cookie dough ingredients together and returned it for a mixer with two beaters--I don't know what brand. She insists I should get a stand mixer with 2 beaters, but I thought that was essentially a hand mixer in a stand.
Now, I have a Cuisinart hand mixer that I received as a random engagement gift. I was going to return it (who needs a $90 hand mixer) but gave it a try, and it has enough power to act as an engine for a motor boat, so I decided to keep it. This makes me want to try the Cuisinart stand mixer, which is pricier than the KitchenAid and perhaps uglier, but it does have higher wattage than the KitchenAid.
Anyone have any experience with either the KitchenAid or the Cuisinart and can recommend one (or talk me out of one)? Anyone agree with my future MIL that one beater is a problem, or was that perhaps just a lemon she purchased? Thanks!
If you do a lot of bread baking and make double or triple batches, I have to put in a word for my Electrolux Assistent, which is a marvel at kneading extra large batches of dough (up to 7 pounds of flour!). I have a great, old KA that I tend to use more for cakes since the Electrolux doesn't have a paddle attachment. See it here:
The Cuisinarts are more expensive than the KitchenAid Artisan series, but they are right in line with the vastly superior Pro series. The Cusinarts actually out-spec the KA Pro in a number of areas (wattage, capacity, etc).
I've never felt only having one beater was a problem.
Cuisnart also makes a hand-mixer with an accessory stand (http://www.cuisinart.com/catalog/product.php?product_id=792&item_id=983&cat_id=344). I have no idea if your existing mixer would fit it, but you can get the stand by itself for $30 - http://www.cuisinart.com/parts_access...
If you purchase a KitchenAid, be sure to see if you can also buy a separate Beater Blade. They're not made by KitchenAid but are designed to fit them. They have a rubber edge that blends all the ingredients perfectly. It cuts down the mixing time and the frustration level.
If you decided you need a lot of power, a professional grade Cuisinart would suit you better. Your hand mixer might power a boat, but those things could move the Queen Mary.
There's no such thing as a "professional grade Cuisinart" mixer. It's not a big deal, but I want to correct that because it makes it sound elitist and unneccesary for the home user when that's just not the case.
Part of the beauty of the Cuisinart mixers is that there's not a huge line of products that you need to choose from. They basically did one thing and they did it well. Your choice is the 5.5 quart (700 watt, usually $300) or the 7 quart (1000 watt, usually $400).
Taker a look at the Viking stand mixer. They are very powerful and belt driven. Jill is right about getting a Beater Blade + to go with your stand mixer. It will get down into the bottom of the bowl and scrap the sides as it mixes. Right now the mfg. is only making Beater Blade+ for the 7 qt. Viking. They do make it for KA tilt head and crank lift head mixers. Hopefully he company will have a beater blade for the Viking 5 qt. before the end of the year.
Warranty, warranty, warranty.
People who use Kitchen Aid mixers will invariable say "I've used mine for 100 years and it hasn't broken yet!" Well good for them, but if I'm going to invest in a product, I like to do my research first and the warranty (10 years for Cuisinart, 1 year for Kitchen Aid) was a solid deciding factor in my purchase. I bought the Cuisinart and I suggest you register for that. Plus the low end Cuisinart model has 700 watts of power.
Kitchen Aid products sell better because everyone knows the look and knows the name. (See: Food Network)
So in the end if you compare apples to apples, the Cuisinart has
-a better warranty
-same price as a Kitchen Aid 6 qt Professional
When I bought this KitchenAid (93 or 94), I was making a lot of bread. Having killed a couple home mixers I went to a restaurant supply, at that time the choices where Hobart or KitchenAid Professional.
Not having the space or money for a Hobart I got the KitchenAid.
When this old beater fails, I'll likely replace it with a 7qrt. Cuisinart.
Your MIL-to-be's KA probably needed to have the paddle adjusted. I have a Pro 600 and I have to constantly readjust the beaters, etc. If not properly adjusted they miss the bottom of the bowl. It shouldn't be a constant adjustment however, I think that's a failing in my particular machine.
I sell the Cuisinart's and the KA's in the store I work at. I have not yet had a chance to use the Cuisinart(I wish they would send us a Demo to try so we could actually compare!). We sell a fair amount of the Cuisinart but the KA definitely outsells it. We don't get many of either back on returns. The Cuisinart has some features that appeal to me. The warranty is quite attractive as well and if I were in the market for a new machine I might try it. The only thing that turns me off about it is the plastic casing makes it feel cheap. I'm sure they did this to hold down cost but it is a bit of a turn off to me.
I really love our Cuisinart- the thing is so powerful that my wife wants to mount wheels on it and use it as a tow truck! I really can't see anything slowing it down, and it has a great warranty if something ever does.
Personally, I don't think you would go too wrong with either brand, but I would certainly buy another one of these if I ever had the need for two mixers..
I suggest you go for one of the pro models of the kitchenaid -- I have the Professional 500 PLUS which is similar to the Professional 600 with a smaller bowl and less wattage.
My model has 450 watts and uses them very effectively... no issues at all with doughs not mixing up and I make some very sticky thicker doughs. I wouldn't trade mine out at all.
I suspect that your fiance's mother wasn't using the right beater attachment for the dough she was trying to mix or was trying to make too large of a batch for the size/power of the mixer she was using.