I bought my first KitchenAid in the early 1980s when I was hired to make my first wedding cake. I knew I needed a stand mixer to accomplish the job and used the down payment from the wedding cake to buy a shiny 5-quart lift model, and the machine is still going strong. Lauren uses the one she received as a wedding gift years ago and this stand mixer is what we use in the Bakepedia Test Kitchen.
For many avid bakers, the stand mixer is something they have come to rely on and we have to admit, we do take them for granted. For those of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge and are still wondering if its worth it, here are our top reasons for using these babies, I mean mixers, although they are as dear to our hearts as many family members.
- Hands-free baking, more power, less mess and faster results. These might be apparent but time after time, they prove to be really helpful reasons.
- Most stand mixers come with varied attachments, which make them much more versatile than a hand-held mixer.
Image: Dédé Wilson
- The balloon-whisk will beat a hot Italian meringue buttercream into chilled submission, which can often take up to 10 minutes, freeing you to wash the pot from the sugar syrup or prep other recipes. A huge time saver.
Image: Dédé Wilson
- They knead heavy yeast dough effortlessly with a super-effective dough hook so that we still have use of our biceps to pick up our kids at the end of the day.
Image: Dédé Wilson
- This flat beater creams butter and sugar for fluffy layer cakes in much less time – and more effectively – than a hand-held mixer.
- Have you tried to whip a large batch of egg whites by hand? Even with a classic copper egg-white bowl, this is a lengthy, laborious experience at best.
- That said, depending on the mixer that you have, some do not whip one or two egg whites very well as the contact between the beater and the bowl isn’t as efficient as it could be. Some mixers, however, allow you to adjust the levels of contact. See How to Adjust Your Stand Mixer.
- Many mixers come with stainless steel bowls that we find handy for all sorts of uses – even when not being used as a mixer. The bowls are great for makeshift double boilers and the narrow deep-bowl styles are great for ice-cream molds or for molded cakes with mousse fillings.
I would like the green on to give to my daughter! But I would take any color. They all are great!!
43 years ago my Mother gave me her KitchenAid which had belong to my Aunt who passed away. It is one with the lift arm and very heavy duty. Must be about 60-70 yrs old. Well the pour thing is now starting to have trouble when you first turn it on and no one works on small appl. anymore! I wish I could get it fixed as it is well worth it!!!
If I would get a new one think I would pick the blue for many reasons.
To me they are the BEST!
I want a purple one
Vicki you can still find repair places if you look hard enough. They just aren’t as common as they were 30 years ago. Kitchen Aid may help too. Good luck!
Dede, mixer arrived….still in the box. feeling a little intimidated…waiting for a quiet moment when i can take it out and get acquainted with it…..question, when your recipes call for an electric mix do you mean hand electric beater (which i’m quite attached to, although it’s on its last legs) or the standing mixer? thanks!!
So exciting! It’s your new baby! Some recipes are written with the stand mixer in mind and will specify attachment – flat paddle/beater, wire whip/balloon whisk or dough hook. The reason why the first two attachments have two different names is because KitchenAid has called them different things at certain times and some recipes were written then and some now. When a recipe on Bakepedia says “beat with electric mixer” we are indeed referencing a hand-held type. When beating with a hand-held, mixing times tend to be longer than when working with the stand mixer. Hand-helds typically have but one style beater (the two little whisk like things). As you work with the stand mixer you will learn when to use what. The dough hook is used pretty much just with yeast dough. If you want to cream or blend something, like creaming butter and sugar for a cake, use the flat beater. if you want to incorporate air, such as when whipping cream or making meringue, use the wire whip. Have fun!
I am going to go ahead and buy one. I’m not sure I can afford the kitchenaid one yet. As far as bowl size, what would you suggest? Would 5 quart be large enough?
I would wait and save for a KitchenAid for your stand mixer purchase. When you are ready, I think the 5 quart is the most versatile size. This way you can make small batches of cookies as well as substantial ones. The 6 quart and larger are not as good with smaller batches. What kind of batches are you usually baking? If you need to feed a very large family or are doing light commercial work, then I might say go larger, but I use my 5 quart 99% of the time even though I own larger ones.