Taking the Plunge
Most of my research took place in early January. While I was tempted to take the money I had saved and make the purchase, I decided to wait until after my birthday. Although, unlikely to get it as a gift, I didn’t want to spoil anyone’s surprise. I was doubtful that this would be the case since this was such a specific gift and quite expensive. I also wanted the black model and I wanted to purchase it from a specific vendor, Pleasant Hill Grain, who include the whisk beater bowl and shipping at no extra cost. (Update 2016: The Assistent is now called Ankarsrum and comes with the whisk beater bowl included. Update: 2021: The Ankarsrum is now available from King Arthur Flour, Amazon and other retailers.)
My birthday came and went and no mixer, but no matter! I ordered the mixer online and tracked it daily until it arrived safely at my door last Friday. I was very impressed with Pleasant Hill Grain’s packaging and FedEx Ground’s care in delivery. The mixer was triple boxed and arrived in perfect shape. The last KitchenAid I ordered arrived from UPS with a kick hole in the side.
I decided to try out the mixer that evening and make some pizza dough for the next day. Some of the advice I found online suggested mixing the liquids first and then adding the flour. This was how my old bread machine worked as well, so that made sense.
The mixer was actually very easy to use and the dough was amazing. The gluten developed quickly and for the first time I was able to achieve the “window pane” test with just a mixer. The dough even smelled wonderful. I have still have a lot to learn about this amazing machine, but so far I am very pleased.
Oh, and did I tell you her name? It’s Lisbeth. I named her after the bad-ass character Lisbeth Salander in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She’s beautiful and powerful. I look forward to many baking adventures with my Lisbeth. My lovely KitchenAid, Stella, is set aside for now. I don’t have room for both on the counter, but when we remodel I may. I’ll have to put Lisbeth to the test and see how she fares for cookies, cakes and other mixing needs. For bread dough, she’s a champ.
It’s been more than 11 years since I purchased my Ankarsrum mixer. I still love it and would buy another in a heartbeat if something happened to this one. I’ve never had an issue with it and while I bought it to make bread, it does everything well. I gave away my KitchenAid and have never looked back. A dear friend also bought one after using mine. He was able to get a great bargain by bidding on one on eBay. They now retail for $749, which is only $100 more than 2011, and they now come in a wide array of colors. If you are serious about baking, it’s worth saving your money and buying an Ankarsrum.
There’s a new Reddit devoted to the mighty Ankarsrum. https://www.reddit.com/r/ankarsrum_mixers/
There is also an active Facebook Group, but I’m not on Facebook anymore and you can’t see the content without having an account.
Oh, crud. Now I have severe mixer envy.
I am quite enamored of the new mixer. It definitely excels at bread dough and is no slouch at cookie dough either.
Are you still loving the Assistent? Have you found any limitations?
I’m looking to purchase a stand mixer and I think you’ve sold me on it over the KitchenAid
But I’m curious to know how you still like it after all these years.
Is there any application you don’t recommend it for? Do you continue to use you KitchenAid for non-bread goodies?
Do you use it for icing or do you prefer a hand mixer for that?
Eagerly awaiting your input 🙂
I do still love it. In fact, I’ve been on a bread baking kick lately and been using it several times per week. There is a newer model now, the Ankarasrum, but it is the same machine with just a few minor changes. In fact I was showing a friend how to make bread and he now wants one, too. It does not do as good a job with creaming butter as a Kitchenaid. For that you have to make sure the butter is very soft or even almost melted. Other than that, it does well on everything I’ve tried. I do use it mostly for bread, however. I still have my Kitchenaid, but it rarely gets used anymore.