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why have stand mixers replaced hand mixers?

Seems like stand mixers, especially the Kitchen Aid model, have become the quintessential style of mixer that's always on cooking shows and featured in ads. You never see electric hand mixers promoted or shown anywhere anymore. Seems odd to me, since I far prefer hand mixers. It's far easier to get at the precise place in the bowl that needs mixing with a hand mixer, being able to handle and gauge the mixed product with grace and finesse, instead of having a big arm getting in the way. Hand mixers these days are so light and compact. Here's to hand mixers!

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  1. My problem is I have to hold on to it. Whipping heavy cream can easily take 5 mins of my time just standing there, which I could be doing something else. I have both and I use both of them. Sometimes I am lazy and don't want to pull out the stand mixer. So half way into the whipping I would be standing there and my arms starting to hurt and curse myself for not taking it out earlier lol.

    You can actually adjust the dough hook / whip to be as close to the bowl as possible.

    And a good stand mixer can do so much more than a hand mixer. You cannot knead bread dough or thick cookie dough with a hand mixer.

    1. Actually, at least for TV hand mixers have replaced stand mixers for most mixing. As an example, Alton Brown uses a hand mixer for whipping cream and mixing directly in pots. He only uses a stand mixer for heavy mixing jobs.

      Using a hand mixer and a glass bowl, a TV chef can show more than with a stand mixer. Also, TV chefs usually use KItchenAid Artisans vs. the lift bowl models because it is easier for the camera to show what's going on inside.

      1. Stratford,

        I think for most things a good hand mixer is just as good. It is easier to add ingredients, mix more uniform and provide better feedback to the users (like avoiding over mixing). On the other hand, I agree with cutipie that there are situations where a stand mixer is better, like jobs require more than 3 minutes of mixing. You also cannot knead bread with a hand mixer, but then I like to knead bread dough with my hands anyway.

        1. I prefer the stand mixer because you can tear through things like bread dough, which a hand mixer simply can't do. The few times that I might wish I had a hand mixer, I can do that job with my Bamix wand mixer.

          1. Here's to whisks, mixing spoons, and kneading bread dough by hand!

            Take whatever you see on TV or in the glossy mags with a grain of salt. It is about product placement, as much or more than whether that mixer/blender/griller/slicer/dicer deserves your dollars and your counterspace.

            7 Replies
            1. re: MikeB3542

              Have you ever whisked an angel-food cake by hand? If you have, I salute you. (Really.) If not, I suggest you get a stand mixer and add angel-food cake to your regular rotation. I tend to agree that many of the toys on the tube are worthless, but a good stand mixer is something that I use several times a week.

              1. re: Indirect Heat

                It is a lot of work -- honestly don't do that much baking to make it worthwhile (no, having a stand mixer won't convert me -- I dislike sweets.)

                1. re: MikeB3542

                  I bake very few sweets, Mike. Generally, only at Christmas and birthday cakes.

                  Most of the baking I do comprises savory yeast breads, savory quick breads (those I hand mix) and things like pizza dough or doughs for appetizers. Then of course you can get a number of attachments for the KA (and I presume a Hobart, too?) that allow for tasks that have nothing to do with baking (e.g., the pasta attachment, sausage attachment....others here would have to tell you more about them).

                  You know what you need and want, of course. Not trying to be pushy; just wanted to note it's been very useful to me, even though I don't make many desserts or treats, at all.

              2. re: MikeB3542

                There are some bread doughs, though, that are so wet it's nearly impossible to make them without a mixer. I'm thinking in particular of the focaccia recipe from Rose Levy Berenbaum's bread book, that in addition to being wet requires no less than 20 minutes of kneading in the stand mixer.

                1. re: MikeB3542

                  MikeB3542, if you don't do a lot of baking to warrant one that's fine - however you should have stated that in your post above.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    But I think that is sort of the point. For a lot of folks, a stand mixer is a huge commitment in money and space, so in my book it has to "earn its keep" nearly every day. Once a week just isn't going to cut it. And I really hate "making work" for appliances -- not planning a lifestyle change to justify an appliance.

                    1. re: MikeB3542


                      I think I agree with you on that. I bake about once a week, which is a lot for my schedule since I have to work on weekdays and barely have time to cook. I know a stand mixer is more powerful and can knead bread dough and stuffs, but so far I have been kneading with my hands. Now, if I have to do that everyday or every other day, then I may want a stand mixer, but I don't. I am single. As of now, I already have to bring my baked goods to work to share with others because I just cannot possibly eat them on my own -- so I am really baking faster than my personal needs. By the way, I am quiet popular for doing that.

                      Another reason I have been resistant to get a stand mixer, especially the Kitchen Aid ones, is that there is something not me. A bit too upscale.

                2. I have just about every kitchen appliance or gadget that I want and I do not have a stand mixer. And it's not about cost...I could easily request one for my birthday and my husband would be happy to buy me one. But I have never felt the need for one.

                  I guess what it comes down to for me is that I rarely bake or make bread. I cook a lot, but nothing that requires a stand mixer. And when I do occasionally bake, I use my trusty Kitchen Aid 7 speed hand mixer and it works just fine.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: valerie

                    I think it may be a combination of things.
                    When Valerie says she rarely bakes or makes bread, that is a huge difference. I bake enough that i now buy both bread four and all purpose flour in 25lb bags.
                    I think my age also dictates that a stand mixer is a necessity as holding a hand mixer for ten minutes is unpleasant. I will use my hand mixer for seven minute frosting (it's a necessity there and about the only thing I use it for, oh, and whipping egg whites for waffles), but the stand mixer for breads, cookies, cakes. And the stand mixer for grinding meat and making ice cream.

                  2. I have quite a small apartment kitchen with very limited counter space, but my KA is on the counter all the time. I simply cannot recall how many years it’s been, probably decades, since I used a hand mixer. I do suspect that one reason people who have them use them less than they might is that they’re tucked away in pantries or cabinets. All I have to do is plug mine in and it’s good to go.

                    It’s not just that I can turn it on and go do something else (I’d NEVER make brioche if I had to use a hand mixer to incorporate the butter!), but that I love the attachments. I can make a batch of linguine in about as little time as it takes the dried stuff to cook. And although I don’t make link sausage as often as I once did, I do use the meat grinder with some regularity.

                    1. I don't own a hand mixer, but have always had a Kitchen Aid. The sound of my mother's hand mixer against the side of the mixing bowl always sounded about as good as finger nails on a chalkboard to me. The stand mixer can do its work while you do something else (prepping the next step), so it's kitchen multitasking! Kitchen Aids are well designed, so there's little that doesn't get mixed properly. Occasionally I have to scrape the sides of the bowl, or find some dry ingredients unmixed at the very base of the bowl, but most of the time it does its job perfectly with no intervention. And who am I to say no to that?

                      1. I think both have their rightful uses in the kitchen. Certainly one could live with one or another or neither. I got a hand mixer first and later purchased a stand mixer to take on mightier tasks like doughs and crusts. For 2009 Christmas cooking, I ended up using the hand mixer solely for all the small job work. Still glad I have both to choose depending on the job.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cityhopper

                          Love my stand mixer and all it's attachments. The only thing a hand mixer is good for is beating something over a double boiler, but for that, I just use my stick blender.

                        2. I would love a kitchenaid so that when you need to say incorporate eggs one at a time you have a hand free. Same with making certain icings. It's also a matter of saving time. While the mixer is running, you can be melting chocolate or chopping up something. Also a lot of the stand mixers have a better motor to get through the tougher doughs. Although lets face it, anyone that needs exercise and has two hands can do the same job. It is almost the same as saying why chop by hand when you have food processors. Although to me chopping needs a bit more precision than some food processors can give.

                          I mean my hand mixer can do doughs just fine and if not I can use a dough whisk to mix what I need in about 2 mins.

                          1. I am head-over-heels crazy about my hand mixer (Braun Multimix) and my stand mixer (KA Artisan), both. Both have lots of useful, fun attachments, are easy to use and clean, and have been completely reliable for about seven years now.

                            However, each has its place. I couldn't do without the KA. Hand mixers, including my beauty, just do not have the power to properly handle some of the more heavy or dry doughs I make. Hand mixers will overheat on the most substantial tasks. The KA cuts down the mixing time on most jobs, *considerably*, and as others have pointed out, it's a blessing not to have stand there and hold an appliance for ten minutes while it does its work.

                            Admittedly, there are a couple of items that I feel the Braun is more suited to. I think it's better for whipped potatoes, for example. The KA seems too powerful for that job and if I don't watch the time very carefully, it will turn them to glue. Also, I'm not going to bring out the KA to whip cream.

                            If I could only have one of them, though, I'd say that the KA is indispensible, but the hand mixer is not (much as I think the Braun is a great product). Because the truth is, with most jobs that don't need a heavy-duty stand mixer, I just mix or whisk by hand. (Not meringue or whipped cream though; I don't have that much patience. But I mean simple cake or quick bread batters.)

                            I resisted paying the money for one for many years, but now that I've used the KA for seven years, I can understand fully why bakers, especially, can't do without their stand mixers.

                            1. Very timely question - my trusty (ancient) hand mixer is on it's last leg. I'm considering buying a stand next. I'm reading the 'Hounds responses to decide.

                              I don't really have readily available room for a stand, compared to my hand, but now it's under consideration.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JerryMe

                                Honestly, Jerry...as I noted above, I never wanted one, never thought I needed one...but once I got it and had the chance to try it out on a few different recipes, I got rid of a few *other* things to make room for it in one of my cabinets. I can't even remember what they were, so I can't miss them very much, but I know I'd miss the KA. So it probably just depends on what you like to cook/bake and what your own priorities are.

                                1. re: Normandie

                                  Also, as you can see from the 'counter' thread, most of us just keep our Kitchen Aids out ;) Get a color or finish you like & that goes with your kitchen ... I think they're pretty. Apparently the shelter magazines agree ... I frequently see them on counters there too!

                                  1. re: foiegras

                                    Some of the KA colors are so pretty and cheerful. I got the Pistachio, but since then KA came out with a beautiful mid-tone blue (cornflower, maybe?), I wish I could trade it in. :-) Mine is in an easily accessible cabinet right below one of my work spaces, very convenient for me. If I used it even a little bit more, I might leave it out, too, but so far the only time of the year I do that is in December, when it's working overtime. ;-)

                                    1. re: Normandie

                                      I previously confessed that I did exactly that ... traded (it went to my mother) my original cobalt blue for the LE jadite green (same as yours??) from Sur la Table. I originally had the biggest size, forget what it's called, but the color I wanted only came in Artisan. Then when Martha Stewart came out with the size AND color I wanted, I was kicking myself ... but I couldn't justify a third one! Go for the color you really want ;)