With Christmas approaching, a Stand Mixer is a great item to consider purchasing especially with all the baking that comes along with this holiday. A stand mixer is a great way to take your baking skills up a notch. However, there are few things to take into consideration when choosing a stand mixer best suited to your needs. With the accessories included in a stand mixer, many of your kitchen appliances can be replaced. Some stand mixers come with additional accessories you can purchase to grind your meat or even make your own ice cream! After a thorough review on all available options, the points below will guide you when choosing a stand mixer best suited to your needs:
Tilt Head vs. Bowl Lift
There are 2 basic types of stand mixers. A tilt head and a bowl lift. A tilt head model allows the user to tilt back the head of the mixer for easy insertion and removal of the bowl. When the head is tilted back, you can easily twist the bowl into the base of the mixer and finally twist the head of the mixer back into place. Using the lever on the side of the mixer, secure it into place to ensure it does not jiggle when you turn on the machine. Most of these models are small and do not consume a lot of kitchen counter top space.
With the bowl lift models, the bowl is attached to hooks that extend from the machine. These hooks raise and lift the bowl making it easy to access. There is a small gap between the bottom of the bowl and the base of the mixer. Some bakers prefer this model because they can place another bowl of cold or warm water under the raised mixer bowl to better control the temperature. However, it is difficult to add ingredients once the bowl is in place.
Another thing to look out for is the ‘Torque’. Torque is defined as the measurement of the twisting force used by a mixer. It is best to choose a mixer with the most torque because it will be able to tackle a lot of dough. An effective stand mixer should have the ability to knead dough together with ease. It should not cause strain to the motor or shake the machine in the process.
The capacity is measured using the number of cups of flour a mixer motor can handle. Keep in mind that a larger capacity does not necessarily equal better. If you use your mixer mostly to beat up your eggs, then a large bowl is not suited for you. If you bake a lot then a mixer with a larger bowl is what you need.
The different types of attachments offered are important to note before choosing a stand mixer. The basic attachments include the dough hook, the whisk, and the paddle. The whisk is for whisking (for example whipped cream); the dough hook helps turn a mixer into dough
There are additional attachments sold separately that can help you around the kitchen. Some of these additional attachments include an ice cream maker, a meat grinder, a shredder, a pasta maker, a flexi-edge beater, and a fruit and vegetable strainer.
When choosing a stand mixer, you should consider which one suits your needs best. Some stand mixers have an inbuilt timer, which allows you to know how long your ingredients have been mixing. Other mixers start slow and help prevent spillage from the bowl. They eventually increase the speed as the levers rise. If you are an experienced baker, a timer is not necessary but if you are not, or if you want to try out a new recipe which requires precise whisking minutes, then a timer will come in handy.
Home bakers can choose from 2 types of stand mixer rotations. There is the centered and the planetary rotation. These 2 types both give the user the option of replacing an attachment with another attachment they see fit (for example, a user can remove a whicker and replace it with a dough hook).
The attachments on a center stand mixer turns one way only and the bowl turns as well. This type of mixer gives the user the option of removing the mixer and using it as a handheld mixer.
The Planetary rotation holds the bowl in position while the agitator and the attachment move in both rotations and revolutions. These movements ensure thorough mix of your ingredients. An attachment option for this type of model is the spiral-style mixer. The mixer is spiral shaped. The spiral-style mixers are stronger and bigger and can handle more dough without straining the machine. This mixer is best suited for professional bakers.
The type of warranty offered is very important when choosing your stand mixer. Most mixers come with a 1-year warranty, which protects the user from any defect encountered within that one year. Some manufacturers offer up to 5 years warranties on their mixers. Choose a stand mixer that offers online support in case you need fast assistance in operating the machine.
These few considerations should help you choose the best stand mixer suitable to your kitchen. Be mindful of the prices and remember to purchase one that is within your means. Just because one mixer is more expensive than another is does not necessarily mean it is the best stand mixer for you.