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Best stand mixer for bread dough

I have a ~10-year-old KitchenAid Ultra power (300-watt) mixer. I have noticed that recently it seems more bogged down when kneading bread dough and mixing thicker cookie doughs. I have toyed with the idea for a while of upgrading to a new mixer, but looking at the options I am getting more confused as to which mixer is the best option for me. I generally use my mixer for thicker doughs and rarely use speeds higher than 6. If I go with the Artisan, I'm not sure it's a big enough power and capacity gain to make it worth the risk of getting a new machine (my current one isn't perfect, but at least I know its flaws.) At the same time, I'm not sure about the Pro 600 because of the price difference, plus it seems to have quite a few negative reviews compared to the Artisan. I'd love any input and advice! TIA!

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  1. "They" say that the new Kitchen Aid mixers are not as good as the old ones and won't stand up to a lot of bread dough kneading.

    I did a lot of research and ended up getting a Bosch. It works ok but I have nothing to compare it too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kengk

      I've heard the same thing. And that Hobart no longer makes Kitchen Aid mixers. Anybody know whether either of these statements is correct?

      Used to own a Kitchen Aid that I bought in 1988. It never failed me. Gave it away during a move. Haven't replaced it because I primarily used it to make pizza and bread dough. These days I eat less of both, and I've joined the no-knead dough cult besides. The only mixer I need now is a large spoon for a minute or so.

      1. re: emu48

        If you have an old Hobart KA mixer, you have a great one. The newer models are inferior and built on their old name, not current quality.

    2. I love my KA Pro 600.

      1. The Electrolux assistent aka DLX aka Verona which is now called the Ankarsrum

        http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/elec...

        A huge improvement over the Kitchen Aid IMO. I love mine.

        1. Unless you're just looking for a reason to buy a shiny new machine, I think it sounds like yours could probably benefit from some TLC to the internals. Either diy (look on the internet for instructions) or send it out to be done. You'd be amazed what some grease and perhaps the odd replacement part can do.

          +1 to the comments about new vs. old KA's. I have an old one, but I have worked with new ones quite a bit and despite being higher wattage, they seem not as well built. My circa 1990 "Heavy Duty" bowl lift model shall be wrested from my cold dead hands, although I do pine for a 10qt. Hobart as a companion (I often do tens of pounds of dough at a time)

          If you are really serious about something for bread doughs, consider checking out thefreshloaf.com or other bread and grain-specific boards.

          1. I like my KA Pro 600. I would have preferred to get a Hobart N-50, but for the price, I can break 5 of the KA-600s.

            Primarily complaint against the Pro is that out of the box, it kinda sucks for very small batches of anything.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wattacetti

              Wattacetti, there's a 3 quart bowl with a special beater made for the 6 quart machine - I think that it's called a "combi". I got one several years ago when only WIlliams Sonoma carried it, but a friend just got one on sale at Kitchen Connection. It makes the Pro 600 Kitchenaid much more versatile. I have no complaints!

              1. re: wattacetti

                I would have preferred to get an N50 too. Just an fyi. Used working Hobart N50s can go as low as the price of your Kitchenaid on ebay. When my my kitchenaid dies, a Hobart is what im getting. Its a gift from my aunt who frequently comes over so I cant sell it either. Im afraid it will be years before I get a Hobart. At least the Kitchenaid looks great on my countertop. The Hobart desperately needs a makeover.

              2. I got one of those KAs with the crank, not the tilting head, in the late 70s. It has seen action pretty much weekly since then without maintenance or adjustment and does fine with stiffer bread dough. It has been so solid and so used I'd feel perfectly comfortable getting an older one on ebay or the like.

                1. Check out "Bread Beckers" at http://www.breadbeckers.com/store/pc/...

                  I would like a Hobart but, a Verona Assistent® (Magic Mill/Electrolux Assistent) is a lot more practical for me.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Sid Post

                    As an FYI, I have a Hobart N-50. While not bread dough, it can get bogged down making buckwheat pasta dough. I have been shopping for an Ankarsum / Electrolux assistant to try, though I don't know if it will be much better.

                    1. re: khuzdul

                      If the Hobart N-50 isn't "cutting it", wouldn't a bigger mixer be the logical move?

                      After considering a 12 quart Hobart, I'm currently looking at the Vollrath 40756 10 Quart Dough Mixer which is about half the price of a Hobart N-50.

                      http://vollrath.com/Product/Food-Prep...

                      1. re: Sid Post

                        I like that Vollrath 7 quart machine. I have no need for it but I do have the want. : )

                        1. re: Sid Post

                          I considered getting the Hobart 12 or 20 quart Legacy mixers, but they are not countertop friendly and would not fit in my kitchen. I would have to put it out on the dining room table to use (my desires for a bakers sideboard where such a device could permanently sit have been summarily overruled) and put it away somewhere afterwards. I was hoping that the 8 quart N-30 Ankarsum / Electrolux Assistant would be a more workable solution that I could use in the kitchen and still put away into an under-counter drawer when not in use.

                          I have to admit that I am also hoping to drink the kool-aid of how the N-30's kneading action is inherently better than the dough hook of the Hobart/Kitchen Aid, but I am pretty skeptical about that at the moment.

                          All in all, if I ever get an Assistant/N-30, even if I love it to bits, I will keep the N-50 for the attachments, as I think that having to put the N-30 on it's side to use the Assistant attachments is kind of an ass design.

                          1. re: khuzdul

                            I think if you want a nice, small, lightweight machine to tuck into a drawer when not in use, the Assistent is probably not the right machine unless you have an enormous drawer. The bowl alone is gigantic and fairly heavy. The Bosch Compact seems better suited for easy stowing in a cupboard as the head even folds down.

                    2. Thanks for all the input! I am actually drooling over the Electrolux/Magic Mill/Ankarsrum, but I would need to save up a bit longer for it. I think in the meantime I am going to go between my Zojirushi bread machine (it has been on the fritz lately) and my KA until I can save up for it. I was interested I seeing the Cuisinart in person, because it looks so closed in, more so than my KA, which can make it a pain to add ingredients. The Bosch looks interesting, too, but I don't like the fact that the basic beater and cookie dough attachments are sold separately.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rebah5

                        I have an old KA and the Cuisinart ( which I bought before the Electrolux). Both are a pain due to the overhead motor and lack of an open bowl. It's one of the things I love about using the Electrolux. The timer is very nice too and the fact that it doesn't walk on the counter.

                      2. i have the bosch universal. I've had it for 5 years, but i've stopped baking bread, so I use the blender portion only. Anyway, the motor is still going strong. it's incredibly powerful! however, if you are only making one loaf of bread at a time, it wouldn't be for you. It is meant to handle larger quantities - say, 3-4 loaves at a time. bosch used to make a smaller version of it which was also a nice little machine.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rmarisco

                          The Bosch Compact has been back for several years and there's currently a great Mother's Day special on it: http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/bosc....

                          It's a great machine!

                        2. I found a Hobart A-120 12qt mixer on Craigslist for $295, and love it for big jobs.

                          1. If you want the real thing, go for an Ankarsrum. It has a great capacity, kneads the dough very carefully and with the open design you can easily add ingredients while using the machine.

                            1. Actually have TWO KA stand mixers!?! One is a basic model (tilt top) that I got at least 10 years ago after SIL "forced" me to bring hers home one T-Day and try it out?? I don't do a lot of baking so thought I'd NEVER spend that kinda money... but I was WRONG! I made 5-6 different doughs for holiday cookies in no time... one batch after the other with relatively stiff butter... "room temp" in my kitchen in late-November is barely soft. Bought myself one on way home from returning hers... a little under $200, I think.

                              Then I came across what I called a "vintage", crank up one at Good Will, of all places. It had all the attachments (dough hook, paddle, & whisk) and sounded fine running. Just COULD NOT pass up the $19.99 price tag. I cleaned it up, taped everything off, and painted it with flat black spray paint to jazz up the faded yellow look. The newer one is in garage; the old one has more capacity.

                              I don't make doughs one a daily basis, but will make pizza almost every weekend, during colder times when oven is in use. Both mixers turn out nice dough... just dump and turn on.