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Stand mixer - worth having?

The impulsive "love all kitchen tools" side of my brain really wants a stand mixer, but the voice of reason keeps asking "why?". I'm not much of a baker, though if it were easier I might be. I do like muffins, and we make bread and pizza fairly often.
Do you use your stand mixer often? What do you use it for? What brand/model do you like best? Bottom line, is it worth the hefty price tag?

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  1. get the big lift bowl KA.

    take two aspirin - when the bill comes in - and check back in about a month when you are wondering how you managed prior to . . . .

    eggs - think souffle.
    whipped cream - no thinking required....
    breads and leavened doughs - aaaaaaahhhh....
    home made butter - which I make actually not for the butter but to get the 'real' buttermilk for pancakes and waffles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PSRaT

      Agree completely. I don't bake much either, but DH does, and I don't regret anything except the fact that I didn't get the big lift bowl Kitchenaid, I got the smaller KA. I DON't think you can go wrong with KA- they have a lot of attachments and accessories that you may fall in love with, too.

    2. Ask yourself: do you have room for it on the counter? will it look good on said counter? if you store it away, how often do you think you will lift up/out?

      I've lived quite well without one and I do bake, make pizza, bread, souffles, whipped cream, etc.

      20 Replies
      1. re: gourmanda

        Well, it depends on which part of my brain I ask, lol, I can justify about anything ;) Yes, I could probably get by just fine without it, but I'm also curious what things I am not doing now that I would do if I had it...

        1. re: lizmari

          "...what things I am not doing now that I would do if I had it..."

          nothing. absolutely nothing. I'd wager everything you are now doing or would want to do the home setting has been done 'by hand' seriously long before electricity was available, much less a mixer.

          it's a time/effort saver - takes the 'chore' out of it.

          1. re: PSRaT

            pasta, ice cream, and meat grinding were the biggies for me. the only thing this machine replaced for me was my hand mixer as i didn't have a meat grinder, ice cream maker, or pasta roller and cutter. so for me, it really expanded my repertoire.

            also, make a ton of deviled eggs is a breeze.

            1. re: eLizard

              I have the pasta attachment
              I have the meat grinder attachment.

              imho, neither is worth a hoot.

              1. re: PSRaT

                did you have a hand roller or grinder? i had neither.

                1. re: PSRaT

                  The KA meat grinder attachment is crap with a plastic housing. Plus it's small.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    I've been grinding five to ten pounds of meat with mine for probably five years with no problem whatsoever.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      i've never had a problem with mine either.

              2. re: PSRaT

                whipped cream is a bitch to make without it.

                1. re: Chowrin

                  Sometimes we take out the old wire whisk and say that anyone who wants to eat the whipped cream calories has to first expend some calories whipping it by hand.

                  Then at other times, we throw the cream into the KA and let 'er rip.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    A group of us always spend Thanksgiving together and part of the ritual is that everyone takes a turn with the whisk. :))

                    1. re: MacGuffin

                      Funny. At a dinner party I threw last year, the dessert was 4-person Chocolate Sabayon. Four of us took turns with the whisking and had a blast!

                      1. re: nofunlatte

                        It's part of Thanksgiving now. :)) I still remember the year someone almost turned it to butter. I've become an irritatingly scrupulous overseer since then. I buy cream from Jerseys; it doesn't take much to turn it to butter.

                  2. re: Chowrin

                    I always hand-whisk my whipped cream. It takes all of 2 minutes.

                  3. re: PSRaT

                    I can state with 100% certainty that my repertoire has expanded exponentially with the purchase of my KitchenAid KP26M1XPM 6-Quart Professional 600 Series Mixer.

                    Think about it this way. A hand mixer is, essentially, a convenient alternative to a whisk. That's why people don't understand the value. A high power stand mixer is so much more than a whisk-replacer. It's a true workhorse-- of course it does the "whisk-replacement" tasks magnificently (whipped cream, creaming sugar into dough, mixing cake batter etc.), but the motor is so much stronger that it also can knead bread or pizza dough, thick cookie dough that would sieze up a hand mixer or clog a whisk, and with inexpensive attachments you can grind meat or make sausages. With an expensive attachment, you can extrude pasta or make ice cream.

                    I have a small 1 bedroom apartment kitchen, so the beast lives on top of my fridge (next to my KitchenAid 12-cup food processor). Just a lift and pivot and it's on my counter, ready to go.

                    Mr Taster

                2. re: gourmanda

                  I love the meat grinder. Of course, I only do a couple of pounds at a time.

                  1. re: WinePaul

                    I don't know whether or not this is true of the KA but it bears mentioning that for Bosch mixers (and I believe the Ankarsrum), the meat grinder is essential as a base for other attachments. Despite being a vegetarian for a very long time, I scouted eBay religiously for a deal on the meat grinder for my Compact because it's necessary for both the grater and berry press.

                    1. re: MacGuffin

                      On the Ankarsrum, the fine grater ( nuts & chocolate), strainer, cookie press and pasta extruder discs attach to the meat grinder.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        I thought that was the case but wasn't sure--thanks for confirming!

                3. meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pulled meats, dips, baked goods, pasta, ice cream, corned beef hash, egg white whipping, cream, pancake and waffle batters. you'll have to pry mine out of my cold dead hands.

                  also if you've ever attended a cookie swap and had to make 10 dozen cookies from a stiff dough, this is worth it alone for that one task once a year.

                  make sure your cabinets have enough clearance. and if you can, get the bowl lift. i love mine. 6 qt. 9 years old.

                  1. I got a KA one at Costco for around $200 and don't see the need for anything more expensive.

                    I've only just begun baking but I really bought it in order to get the pasta maker and meat grinder attachments. The grinder alone is worth the whole price as far as I'm concerned. It's about $50 and we now make THE best burgers. I have room for it on the counter (and I consider my kitchen a work space so aesthetics don't play a big part). When I didn't have it on the counter, I rarely use it.

                    Just this morning I've made bread dough and a mayo and am heading in to make a different mayo.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      love having mine out. also, can you give up your burger blend and grind technique, please? thanks!!

                      1. re: eLizard

                        Boy, what I do is SO plain. I grind beef chuck or pork shoulder with nothing else. I grind it one time with the large holed thingy. We do five or more pounds at a time, form into 4oz patties, which we wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then into zipping bags for freezing.

                          1. re: eLizard

                            Not sure I understand. After making into patties, we freeze them. We make several months worth at a time.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              before grinding do you put everything in the freezer? or do you grind straight from the fridge?

                              1. re: eLizard

                                Ah, gotcha. Unlike some, I don't put the attachments or the meat in the freezer and have never had a problem. I keep the meat in the fridge til I'm ready but that's it.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  yeah, i'm not all uptight about pie crusts either. just make sure the butter is from the fridge. that's about it.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        I could totally see getting one to grind meat (if I ate much meat). That would be worth it, IMO.

                        BTW, I was listening to some cooking program on Sirius and a woman who purported to be from Kitchenaid called in to say one style (bowl-lift, I think) was better than the other for grinding meat as it's all metal construction.

                        1. re: gourmanda

                          Good point- my smaller one is older and metal construction, but I think that changed a while back and the quarter turn bowl models aren't all metal any more.

                      3. It's well worth it. You'll find yourself baking more and whipping up cream and souffles and all sorts of delicious things.
                        I adore my KA lift.