If you seriously get into baking, you’ll likely find yourself lusting after a stand mixer. It’s the kind of appliance that seems expensive at first and then you wonder how you ever lived without it. It is so much more efficient at mixing thick cookie doughs and you can knead bread easily with a dough hook, plus you don’t have to stand around holding a hand mixer while trying to add ingredients.
My first stand mixer was a KitchenAid 4 1/2 Quart tilt head in white. I bought it at Best Buy because I could pay it off over a few months. I loved my KitchenAid and used it for everything, but mostly mixing cookie dough. I often made cookies or double batches of cookies for student meetings at work. The kids loved having homemade baked goods and I loved doing it. However, the double batches of cookies were taxing my little 4 1/2 quart mixer. Luckily I had just been paid for a Web design job and I had a little money to spare. This first mixer went to live with my sister, where it is still loved and well used.
My second mixer is a KitchenAid Pro 6 in Imperial Gray. I’ve had Gunther (yes, I named him) for 5 years. He’s a lot bigger and more manly than my previous mixer. He was the biggest and best you could buy at the time. This model differed from my 4 1/2 quart in that you lift the bowl instead of attaching the bowl at the base and tilting the head. It took a little getting used to at first. Some people complain that it is harder to add ingredients. I don’t find that to be the case. With a tilt-head you have to shut the machine off to tilt the head. You can do the same and drop the bowl if you need more room to add ingredients. Mostly, I can add while the machine is running.
Gunther is pretty loud while running. He has a 450 watt motor, so that may be part of the reason. I’ve also heard that since the KitchenAid mixers are machined by hand they differ slightly from machine to machine. He may be loud but he’s worked very well for 5 years.
Wait, I thought this was a “Tale of Two Mixers”? Well, it is because I only have two right now. 🙂 My third KitchenAid mixer is a Pro 600 in Steel Blue. Why do I need another mixer? Well, it all has to do with my new passion for bread making and the new dough hook. KitchenAid, rascals that they are, came out with a new spiral dough hook which works really well for kneading dough. Initially, I thought I could just buy the new hook, but it does not work on the older models. Technically it would fit but the mechanism for kneading is more of an up/down motion on the new mixers and this new attachment would likely ruin my old mixer.
I tried to talk myself out of buying a new mixer and almost succeeded until I read all the rave reviews of refurbished mixers on the KA Forums. The price was great and it made the decision easier. I sold some old stuff on eBay and ordered my new mixer.
She arrived almost two weeks ago and I’m very pleased. She’s much quieter than Gunther even though she has a larger motor (525 Watts). The new dough hook works as promised and my breads have been coming out fluffy and light. The only flaws are that she has some nicks in the paint on her arms. These have been touched up and are only visible when the bowl is off. By the way, her name is Stella. Stella’s warranty is only 6 months instead of one year and doesn’t cover cosmetic issues.
So now what to do with two mixers? I could keep them both, but I don’t really have the room and it seems extravagant. I’ll likely sell Gunther, but I’d like him to go to a home with someone who will get the same joy and use out of him that I did. For now, he sits and waits.