You do not have to be a successful chef to have the best cooking equipment at home. Whether you aspire to become a chef for your family or not, having a stand mixer will make your life easier and your baked goods tastier. The mixer can make or break your sweets, so choosing a powerful and easy-to-use model is key to baking and cooking with ease.
Stand mixers are available in different types, sizes, and power options. Despite being pricier than manual mixers, the investment can pay off in the long run, especially if you take advantage of some store deals.
So, here are some guides to the different types of stand mixers, things to consider when buying, and a few guides to make it last longer.
Stand Mixer Styles
When selecting the right stand mixer, there are a few different styles to choose from.
A tilt-head stand mixer has a hinged top, so you can swing the head up to place a bowl in the base or add ingredients. Most tilt-head models can easily handle everyday mixtures and offer little to mid-range capacities. With a tilt-head mixer, you will have more space to swap out accessories or scrape down the sides of the bowl while the mixer is off. This style of mixer tends to have a lower profile for countertop storage and can usually tuck nicely under most kitchen cabinets.
On the other hand, a bowl-lift mixer has a fixed head and a lever that lets you raise or lower the bowl. A lever smoothly lifts the bowl into position under the beaters, providing extra stability when mixing bigger batches. With a bowl-lift mixer model, you can add ingredients while a mixer is running, and you may find a bowl-lift mixer to be a better option because there is more space between the bowl and the bottom of the mixer head.
Most bowl-lift models are equipped to handle dense mixtures and offer larger capacities.
In addition, while both of these mixers are great, it is said that the bowl-lift varieties are better for people who work with larger batches and the other for making cookies, cakes, and many other pastries.
A planetary mixer is the most popular option for commercial use. It features a stationary bowl that locks into place while the attachment moves around the bowl while also spinning on its access. Planetary mixers can come in extra-large sizes that stand on the ground or in a compact, countertop versions.
Leading Stand Mixer Brands
The KitchenAid mixer is one of the most popular stand mixers on the market. It comes in different colors and sizes with a lot of great features and offers a wide range of stand mixer bowls.
For example, it has a tilt-head design that allows you to easily add ingredients, and 10 speeds that let you mix ingredients quickly and thoroughly. It also has a dough hook, a wire whip, and a flat beater.
The KitchenAid line of stand mixers includes a variety of models, ranging from the Artisan Mini to the Artisan Tilt-Head stand mixer and the more professional style bowl-lift stand mixer.
The Kenwood Chef is a powerful stand mixer in different sizes and colors. It has a tilt-head design that allows you to easily add ingredients, and 12 speeds that let you mix ingredients quickly and thoroughly. It also has a dough hook, a wire whip, and a flat beater.
The Kenwood Chef is a well-rounded mixer that can handle most baking tasks. It is the best choice for those who want a powerful and affordable stand mixer.
Sencor Stand Mixers will save you time and muscle from delicate whipping to blending batters and mixing bread dough. It has a locking mechanism, mounted on a disk that rotates around a stationary bowl for planetary action to provide complete mixing of ingredients.
This is also ideal for preparing larger amounts of dough, cream, whipped cream, foam, etc.
The Hamilton stand mixer has planetary mixing action that rotates the beaters around the entire bowl for even and complete mixing. It has 7 speeds that let you go from a slow stir to a fast mix with exact control.
This Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer can do everything from whip delicate meringues to mix sticky bread dough, including those peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies your family devours. It also has a tilt-up head for adding ingredients and changing attachments quickly.
Cuisinart stand mixers are highly versatile and deliver solid and reliable performance. Its 500-watt motor packs enough power to handle nearly any mixing job.
While you can mix the batter, knead the dough, and whisk liquids using the attachments that come with the mixer, Cuisinart also has a variety of additional options for specialized tasks.
Cuisinart stand mixers offer 12 speeds. More speed settings give you more precise control over the consistency of the ingredients you’re mixing.
Guide when Buying a Stand Mixer
A stand mixer is a heavy-duty electric mixer built into a stationary stand with a bowl. Most have multiple speeds, can handle dense ingredients, and offer hands-free operation. Stand mixers can usually mix, whip, and knead with various accessories but also shred meat, mash potatoes, churn out fresh guacamole, and more.
Power and Capacity
Ensure that your machine provides enough power for your mixing needs. A more powerful mixer with different features and speeds can help you mix and cook whatever you want. You can blend even the toughest dough perfectly.
Base your decision on the capacity rather than solely on advertised wattage. If you bake for a large family or social event or make several loaves of bread a week, you need a powerful motor and a large capacity bowl, a minimum of 600 watts of power, and a 6-quart bowl or larger. Some mixers may use more wattage to operate than other models, and power output may be less than denoted.
Efficiency and Durability
A quality stand mixer model can serve you for a long time. It can help you rely on its power and performance for years. With proper maintenance and care, your stand mixer can last up to 10-25+ years.
Quality and Manufacturer
The most important thing when looking for a stand mixer is its quality and manufacturer. The chosen mixer should come from a trusted manufacturer proven for its quality and longevity. That is because these manufacturers use quality and durable materials that will not fail you even after repeated daily use.
Stand mixers can be pricey, but eventually, this is worth the investment in the long run. Since there is a wide price range, you should consider what influences the price. A base model may only have one mixing action, whereas a higher-priced unit will have a spiral or rotating action that covers a wide mixing area and gets closer to the side of the bowl.
More expensive units will also have more durable parts and all-metal construction.
The overload protection is a nice feature, as is a locking tilt head. An all-metal construction offers more durability. 10 to 12 speeds are average, and most stand mixers come with three standard attachments, the whisk, dough hook, and beater.
Some stand mixer models have a convenient timer onboard to remove the guesswork and a splash guard to prevent spills. A motor that ramps up to the speeds will help protect the unit.
Designs and Accessories
Many models come with a hub to connect optional accessories, including a vegetable or meat grinder, pasta, or sausage maker.
Accessories make it more functional and reduce the number of appliances you need at home. However, they need sufficient power to operate these, and you may want to consider the power level when purchasing your mixer.
Also, do not compromise the quality of stand mixers with the materials used, the volume of the sound it produced, and if the model is easy to clean.
Guide to Make it Last Longer
Here are a few precautionary steps that you can take to help make it last longer.
Read the Manual
Pulling out your new stand mixer and trying it at once is very tempting. However, do not forget to read the manuals. It contains instructions on how to properly use it and precautions you should take to ensure that it has a long lifespan.
Use Compatible Attachments
Use attachments that are compatible with your mixer. Incompatible attachments will lead to reduced performance and may reduce the lifespan of your appliance.
Speed Up Slowly
Operate the speed of your stand mixer gradually because increasing it abruptly can cause permanent damage to both the motor and the gears of the mixer.
Let your stand mixer rest between periods of time to prevent overheating. To do so, reduce your mixing time whenever possible so that you are not using it for prolonged periods of time.
Warm Your Mixer Up
If you have not used your stand mixer for a long time, run the machine for a few minutes and adjust the speeds slowly before using it. Warming the mixer up will allow the lubricant to move through the mixer again.
Pay Attention to Bowl and Beater Clearance
Maintain a proper distance between the bottom of the bowl and the beater to keep the stand mixer functioning correctly. If you have too much distance, your mixing capabilities will be less efficient, and too close may cause you to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
Clean After Use
Clean your stand mixer after every use. Remove attachments and separately clean them in a mixture of warm soapy water. A stand mixer should be dry before being stored away.
Gears need grease to work efficiently. Over time, this grease will become dirty and ineffective. Then, have your stand mixer re-greased at least once a year.
In conclusion, stand mixers help you to be efficient in the kitchen and save you from slaving with a bowl and a hand whisk. And these guides mentioned will allow you some freedom of movement in the kitchen with professional results.