A few years ago, I went through a bread baking phase. For over a year, I baked bread every weekend. Eventually, it became a chore and not a pleasure and I went back to buying my bread at the store. I would still bake bread on occasion, but it wasn’t a weekly occurrence. My bread obsession even prompted me to buy a new mixer, replacing my trusty KitchenAid Pro 6 with the KitchenAid Pro 600 (aka Stella) to take advantage of the new spiral dough hook.
At the end of 2010, I got the itch to start making bread again. We have been buying a lovely raisin and walnut bread for breakfast toast at Mother’s Market. Unfortunately, we got a few bad loaves with rancid walnuts. (Note: They were very gracious about taking the bread back and apologizing. I have since had the same thing happen to me in my own baking. It’s hard to test every nut.) It inspired me to try my hand at making our bread again. I found a recipe for oatmeal bread with raisins on the King Arthur Flour Recipe web site that sounded promising. The first loaf was wonderful. I did opt to use cranberries and pecans, because I had them in the house.
The following week, I doubled the recipe. Stella struggled with the double batch and I had to stop before she overheated. I tried again the following week only to break her. Her speed control sensor went awry and she only had one speed – fast! This had happened once before and my husband was able to take her apart, clean the contacts and she was fine. This time however, she was DOA. This of course happened on Christmas Eve so any hopes of having her repaired quickly were unlikely. We called around to many local repair places hoping to find a new speed sensor to no avail. I ended up buying one online but would not get the part until after Christmas.
The new speed sensor worked! I was back to making bread dough. However, I was afraid she would continue to have problems with stiff dough. The next time I made the bread she struggled and got very hot after 5 minutes. The gluten had not developed completely, but I had to stop for fear of stripping the gears. Thus began my research into a replacement mixer.