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Standing Mixers


thistle
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I have a 4.5 qt. KA mixer that was my grandmothers (& it's a lovely avocado green). I've had it for 5 years, use it for everything-bread dough, cookies-it's still quite a performer (& has me sold on KA quality, it's pretty old, is there a way to tell? a serial # somewhere?). I'd like to get some accessories, but I don't want to buy them for this model, then have it die on me-that'd be just my luck. Maybe I should just get a new 5 or 6 qt. model & baby this one? but if it'll last another 20 years, then maybe I should just go w/ 4.5 accessories. Any experiences/tales of different KA stand mixer models?

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There's been a controversy brewing for the past several years over KA's (recent) use of plastic for the upper half of the transmission housing, with some customers reporting that the plastic can overheat and fail, defeating the point of the all-metal gearing inside. More recently-manufactured Pro models have gone back to using an all-metal transmission housing, but there's probably still some old inventory out there.

More here.

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I've had my Kitchen Aid mixer for almost 30 years, and it gives no indication that it is on the decline. As far as accessories go, as long as you have the standard power take-off on the front of the motor housing, it doesn't matter what size capacity the mixer bowl has. So if you buy a pasta cutter, juicer, meat grinder, grain mill or other accessory unit that fits into the standard slot you can use them on a new machine, if you ever get one.

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There's been a controversy brewing for the past several years over KA's (recent) use of plastic for the upper half of the transmission housing, with some customers reporting that the plastic can overheat and fail, defeating the point of the all-metal gearing inside. More recently-manufactured Pro models have gone back to using an all-metal transmission housing, but there's probably still some old inventory out there.

More here.

Thanks for this tip. My wife is a serious baker and she's noticed that the motor on our KA mixer seems to strain a bit more than it used to. It still gets the job done, well, though. If we do upgrade, it'll be to a pro level one.

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I got the 5 quart, 450 watt, Professional 5 plus series factory refurbished for 149 dollars on amazon last week. Also got free shipping (and two day at that) with a one month free amazon prime trial (still have one week on that baby!). Came with the paddle, dough hook, and whisk (no pour shield, but for $149 boo freaking hoo) I checked a few days ago and it looked like the price was back up to 199 though.

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Brand new at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Leesburg.

They only have "Williams Sonoma Green" left, which is more kelly than forest, but for $249, I can live with it cheerfully. And there were only 3 or 4 left on the floor.

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Thanks for all your replies, especially the link to the KA Forum (can't think why I didn't think of that?). My mixer is probably from the early 60s, still works just fine, but if I spot one of those refurbished ones on Amazon, I'm jumping on it-especially if it's purple or plum...

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I am desperate for a standing mixer. I bake about 3-4 times a month. Even more when the holidays come around. I am thinking of hinting around for a standing mixer for Christmas, but $300 seems like suuuuch a high price for the famous Artisan

So I need some advice. I know that it is one of Oprah's favorite things, but is it yours?

What is YOUR favorite standing mixer? Best value for money?

Peace & Many Blessings,

LaShanta

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What is your primary use for it? I find that for cookie doughs and cake batters, an older Sunbeam Mixmaster - the type with a wide bowl (not tapered like a Kitchen Aid) that turns, with stationary beaters - works better. I'm sure that'll put me in the minority here. On the other hand, nothing beats the Kitchen Aid for whisking. And it is more versatile overall. And very durable. And the metal bowls don't break.

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As VAFoodNut said, you won't be buying a replacement in the near future if you get a Kitchenaid. I don't remember which model we have, but it's not the lowest end model (I believe the lowest end model uses different attachments than the other models but I'm not certain of that). I wasn't sold on the usefulness of getting a stand mixer having had a hand-held mixer and the fact that we only use it 1-2 times a month but after using it once or twice I'm thoroughly converted. It's quite possibly one of my favorite "non-necessary" appliances in the kitchen. The only knock against it is that it's too large for us to store out on the counter permanently as we are constrained for counter space but that's been a pretty minor concern for us once we got used to using it and liked it so much more.

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It is definitely one of my favorite things. I got a factory refurbished Professional 5 in cobalt blue about 2.5 years ago and absolutely love it. It was about $150 with free shipping purchased from kitchenaid via amazon. I bought my brother and sister-in-law a metallic chrome one for their engagement (her request) and it looks mighty pretty on their counter. :( That one was a little more expensive because it was new. I remember getting a good deal during a sale, around $225, but can't remember where.

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I also have a vintage KAmixer, 4.5 qt., thanks to my grandmother, avocado green, I've been using it for at least 10 years, I think, & it's been invaluable. Every once in a while, I think about getting a newer one, w/ more bells & whistles, I will resist until there's a great price on a purple one...(I could have gotten a cobalt blue one recently, thru work, for a great price, but it wouldn't have been significantly better than my old one, so I passed). Mine is from the early 60s, so almost 50 years old & still rock solid....

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I got mine in the mid-70's, and it is still going strong. I'd love to have a newer one, with the bigger bowl, but I can't justify replacing mine. Look around for a sale, but definitely get a Kitchen Aid. It is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, and it is worth getting the best. Adding a pasta roller/cutter, meat grinder, grain mill, or other accessories over the years will make it a truly versatile and useful kitchen machine.

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My wife loves her KitchenAid. But it seems to be running 'hot' these days, especially on days when she bakes a lot or has a difficult thing to handle (like bread dough). It does the job fine, but I am not so sure it runs as well as it did 5 years ago when I got it for her. I was thinking of getting her a bigger/better/nicer/faster/robuster model sometime (soon) and maybe bequeath the current one to a neighbor or family. Or does her current model just need a 'tune up'?

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If you get it, do yourself a favor and get the meat grinder attachment. I've since stopped using the sausage stuffer tube, but the meat grinder is essential, especially for small batches of burgers and sausage.

I haven't been doing alot of baking recently, but when I use the mixer for actual mixing tasks, I've been very happy with it.

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I put another vote in for the KA Pro 600. I got mine at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Leesburg for $250 last fall and it was worth every penny. I make a lot of cakes and between batter and icing, it gives me very light airy texture to my baked goods. It's a treat to make bread now, and the grinder made sausagemaking a snap.

It's an investment that is well worth it to me.

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What is your primary use for it? I find that for cookie doughs and cake batters, an older Sunbeam Mixmaster - the type with a wide bowl (not tapered like a Kitchen Aid) that turns, with stationary beaters - works better. I'm sure that'll put me in the minority here. On the other hand, nothing beats the Kitchen Aid for whisking. And it is more versatile overall. And very durable. And the metal bowls don't break.

Mostly for cakees. Every now and then I bake bread from screatch and I need to use the dough hooks. But mostly cakes. (and the occassional whipped potatoes and egg whites) I could REALLY use it for egg whites. They take forever to get "stiff peaks to form".

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My Cobalt Blue model is about 20 now, and still going strong. I have the mid-range model, with about 25 watts more than the lowest one. We opted against the mounted bowl, taller and stronger version because our condo in Arlington didn't have a lot of clearance under the cabinets.

I still chuckle on the rare occasion that I make chocolate chip cookies. I have childhood memories of Mom's Oster or Sunbeam hand-held and stand mixers giving up on the stiff dough at some point and having to finish the dough by hand. Ol Blue does not shirk his duties and completes the dough for me.

We use Ol Blue to make bread a few times a year and again, he does a nice job as long as I remember to stop the dough from crawling up the collar.

I'd say that Ol Blue gets used about as often as the Cuisinart, which is to say about once a month, but I just purchased my third Cuisinart in 20 years. (The bowls die on me and are almost as expensive to replace as a new model on a good sale, have yet to burn out a motor).

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For those who have the pasta attachement, how does that work (I'm not asking technically)? Are there tasks that the attachement doesn't perform that a regular pasta roller does?

One set has a roller and 2 cutters for angle hair and fettucine. I found that these gave up the ghost pretty quickly. I don't know if I failed to clean them throughly (suprise) or what. The roller also eventually failed. But I loved it while it worked. There are other attachments for ravioli and I think tubular pasta but I've no personal experience with them.

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There are options available on the KitchenAid website. What I got is SNPA & FGA which extrudes the dough and grinds meats. According to 'Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking' written by Marcella Hazan, she doesn't recommend the pasta maker using extrusion technique.

I followed her pasta dough recipe and tried to use my pasta attachment but it didn't work well. The dough was too sticky so I rolled and cut it manually. Next time, I will follow the dough recipe from the manual.

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I would say get one odel higher than the one you THINK you will need. Let's just say I have experience in this area.

I think everyone agrees, a KA mixer is a purchase you will not regret, one that will be useful for many years (& using a cost per usage base, one that will pay for itself quickly), get the largest model you think you will need...
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I'm using my mother's vintage stand mixer (Sunbeam mixmaster). She got it sometime around 1970. Still runs like a charm. It's a lovely harvest gold color. I'd like one with a beater paddle, but I make do without. I'll replace it when it dies.

I cursed myself. It kicked the bucket in the middle of my Christmas cookies. We'll see how they turn out without a mixer.

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Too late for Christmas '07 hinting, but my two-cents is to save your money and get a smaller, tilt-head KA mixer if you mainly just bake cakes/cookies and only occasionally use your mixer for bread.

I have both a KSM90 (300 watt, 4.5 qt. bowl) and a Pro 600 (575 watt, 6 qt. bowl). I've had the KSM90 for 17 years and figured that I'd get rid of it when I got the Pro 600 a couple of years ago. But I never did and both live happily in my kitchen:

post-24-1199977335_thumb.jpg

Why two mixers? I use the Pro 600 almost exclusively for breads. There is a very notable difference in breads kneaded with that and those kneaded with the KSM90 -- much better gluten development with the Pro 600. In fact, with more delicate breads, I have to make sure not to over-knead with it. But it is a dream to use for my sourdough and french-style breads. The extra capacity of the bowl also makes a huge difference and I no longer have to battle bread doughs climbing the hook and attempting to breach the inner workings of the mixer.

But that extra bowl capacity of the Pro 600 is the reason I ended up holding on to the KSM90. I like the smaller bowl for making cakes, cookies and whipping small amounts of cream or egg whites. For mixing jobs where the volume is less and power is not important (esp. when looking not to develop gluten), the KSM90 is the mixer I use.

I love them both, but unless you knead a lot of bread dough and/or frequently make very large quantity-recipes of cookies, cakes, buttercream and so such, you probably don't have to spend the extra money on a larger mixer.

Also, for those with KA mixers that are acting up, Waters Appliance Service in Gaithersburg (216 E. Diamond Ave., 301-258-7500) fixed my KSM90 (it had lost its first speed) and now it runs better than new!

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An extra bowl is nice, too.
And an extra whisk attachment. So one can be used for whipped cream & other fat containing mixtures and one dedicated solely to the whipping of egg whites (so it will stay pristinely free of any trace of fat).
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The extra capacity of the bowl also makes a huge difference and I no longer have to battle bread doughs climbing the hook and attempting to breach the inner workings of the mixer.

<snip>

Also, for those with KA mixers that are acting up, Waters Appliance Service in Gaithersburg (216 E. Diamond Ave., 301-258-7500) fixed my KSM90 (it had lost its first speed) and now it runs better than new!

Yes, when my bread dough did successfully breach the inner workings of my KAmixer, the friendly folks at Waters Appliance had the armies necessary to fight the armada back.

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I put another vote in for the KA Pro 600. I got mine at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Leesburg for $250 last fall and it was worth every penny. I make a lot of cakes and between batter and icing, it gives me very light airy texture to my baked goods. It's a treat to make bread now, and the grinder made sausagemaking a snap.

It's an investment that is well worth it to me.

I was just at the Leesburg WS on Sunday and they had about five of the Licorice (black) KA Pro 600s for $250.

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So I borked my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Rather than continue on in the Kitchen 911 thread, or the PMs I've been having with mktye, I thought I'd start a thread dedicated to stand mixers.

Hobart sold KitchenAid to Whirlpool in the late 80s. Since then, the old adage that KitchenAids last forever has not been the case, apparently since the models started using plastic gear boxes (among other shoddy parts). Other complaints have included poor heat dissipation and a configuration best summed up as attaching a VW Golf transmission to a Dodge Ram's engine.

According to a rep, they have replaced the plastic gear box with an all metal one within the last two years. That makes me feel a bit better about ordering the Professional 600 model.

However, I would like to put this to the floor.

Several have suggested I shop around for a used Hobart. From what I can see, there's nothing out there below $700, and I really can't spend more than $400 here. The N50 is a beautiful machine, but is $2,000 new.

Mktye referenced some interesting discussion here: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/ibb/posts.aspx?postID=231634.

General thoughts?

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So I borked my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Rather than continue on in the Kitchen 911 thread, or the PMs I've been having with mktye, I thought I'd start a thread dedicated to stand mixers.

Hobart sold KitchenAid to Whirlpool in the late 80s. Since then, the old adage that KitchenAids last forever has not been the case, apparently since the models started using plastic gear boxes (among other shoddy parts). Other complaints have included poor heat dissipation and a configuration best summed up as attaching a VW Golf transmission to a Dodge Ram's engine.

According to a rep, they have replaced the plastic gear box with an all metal one within the last two years. That makes me feel a bit better about ordering the Professional 600 model.

However, I would like to put this to the floor.

Several have suggested I shop around for a used Hobart. From what I can see, there's nothing out there below $700, and I really can't spend more than $400 here. The N50 is a beautiful machine, but is $2,000 new.

Mktye referenced some interesting discussion here: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/ibb/posts.aspx?postID=231634.

General thoughts?

The poor heat dissipation is a real problem especially when doing multiple batches of dough. I believe that the Pro 600 (or very similar) model is what they use in some of the cooking schools around here and they stand up to that abuse. Take that for what you will.

My other mixer is a Delonghi 7 qt. (click) that I got on a super sale (around $200) years ago, at Macy's of all places, and it has performed admirably. You may want to check out what the blog world says about them as they are close to the $400 price limit.

I guess I should open my KA up and see if I have the plastic crap inside. Luckily I have a (larger) Delonghi for when the KA dies.

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My wife is eyeballing the Professional 600 series. I'll watch this thread for more advice. Her probably 8 or 9 year old smaller KitchenAid is still doing fine, but it 'smells hot' when doing serious duty on doughs or extended/repetitive batches of cookie doughs, etc. Still a good machine.

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Zombie thread...revive!

I received an email from Amazon (or, well, Chase) about 20% off of kitchen bits at Amazon, and I thought immediately about a stand mixer, most likely a Kitchenaid. So, I was wondering, any thoughts on what is good with Kitchenaid right now? Should I go for metal bowl or glass? Tilt-head or lift-head? Regular or Pro?

Color doesn't really matter to me. I'll pick a color if it's cheaper, but that's the last item on my checklist.

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Zombie thread...revive!

I received an email from Amazon (or, well, Chase) about 20% off of kitchen bits at Amazon, and I thought immediately about a stand mixer, most likely a Kitchenaid. So, I was wondering, any thoughts on what is good with Kitchenaid right now? Should I go for metal bowl or glass? Tilt-head or lift-head? Regular or Pro?

Color doesn't really matter to me. I'll pick a color if it's cheaper, but that's the last item on my checklist.

I like the tilt head, I don't have the pro, and I have a metal bowl, I don't like that when it mixes you really have to work to make sure it gets the stuff on the sides especially when making dough, but pretty much all the time. If there is a good amount of liquid this doesn't seem to be a problem.

OneKingsLane.com had Viking stand mixers on sale I don't know how long they run sales, it just started today.

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I have a five-quart, bowl-lifting KA with the metal bowl, and I bought a beater blade for it to scrape the sides. I love it. With the beater blade, cakes whip up in half the mixing time, the lifting models have a little bit of play in them so you can adjust where the bowl sits and how the different paddles and whisks hit it, and the head doesn't bounce like my Mom's tilt-head model always did with bread dough. When the weather cools off the mixer gets used three or four days a week. I'll use it tonight. Now that I think of it, I should find that coupon and buy a second metal bowl.

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Zombie thread...revive!

I received an email from Amazon (or, well, Chase) about 20% off of kitchen bits at Amazon, and I thought immediately about a stand mixer, most likely a Kitchenaid. So, I was wondering, any thoughts on what is good with Kitchenaid right now? Should I go for metal bowl or glass? Tilt-head or lift-head? Regular or Pro?

Color doesn't really matter to me. I'll pick a color if it's cheaper, but that's the last item on my checklist.

The pro, or lift-head, has a larger capacity than the smaller tilt-head and, more importantly, has the ability to slip a bowl of either hot water or ice underneath. This allows you to keep stuff very cold while beating, or to warm stuff up. If that matters to you, then go for it. My mother had one of those, but I got the tilt-head which suits my needs perfectly and is easier to use, IMHO. Also, unless you are tying to demonstrate something on TV, then get the metal bowl.

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Sounds like ye olde Artisan might be the best choice, then. While I might want a 6-qt pro model, I'm pretty sure I can make cookies and cheesecakes just as well in a 5-qt standard. I'll check tomorrow to see what color is currently cheapest...

Any other accessories a must-have at the beginning?

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