~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kitchenaid mixer questions for our foodie friends

Long story short: When we divorced, my ex got the Kitchenaid mixer, which was fine because he was the cook.

But I miss it. I’ve coveted them for years, whimpering every time we pass by the display in Costco or Bed Bath & Beyond. Now that we’re cooking more (in order to eat more healthily and naturally), maybe it’s worth it. In fact, we’ve found the base model on sale for a really reasonable price.

Yet when we started to put it in our basket, we hesitated. Would we really use it? What would we use it for?

That’s where you come in, smart foodie friends. I need you to tell me what I can do with that mixer—convince me (by tomorrow, the last day of the sale) that it’s worth it.

A few caveats/comments, as usual:
  • We rarely, if ever, bake, and don’t foresee ourselves starting.
  • However, we very well might use the mixer to make bread, which has the benefit of us not needing to buy a bread maker. Does the Kitchenaid do all the work; i.e., will our job be only to (a) dump the stuff in and then (b) pour the dough into a bread pan?
  • One thing we will do is buy blocks of cheese and shred it ourselves. Ideally, it would be nice to get rid of the food processor and just use the mixer attachments, so whatever we get would have to handle shredding carrots, etc. Can we do that? Would the Food Grinder suffice or would the Roto Slicer w/shredder be better? Or would we have to get both (which is less ideal)?

So, to recap: What-all can we do with the mixer that’s not mixing cookie dough or cake batter?

(Please respond here, on the Blogger post, so that I have all the answers in the same place....)

Thanks! xo


Maria Powers said...

I have no idea, but I do know that I can't give up my food processor. So, I guess it's no Kitchen Aide for me. Bummer.

Unknown said...

I own one and I use it regularly, but I have to say that it's most useful for cookie dough, cake batter and bread.

It also whips egg whites wonderfully well, which leads me to make waffles and souffles more often, which are both yummy.

I don't ever use it to grind things - the attachments are too fiddly for my tastes and a good food processor does just as well.

It's also pretty darn heavy (which it needs to be for stability), so it just sits on the counter. Not something you'd want to have to put away and take out every time you use it.

Hope I was helpful in some way. Personally, my knives and my good saute pans are the most important things in my kitchen.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Maria, LOL!

Anonymous: Thanks for your comments! We used the grinder or shredder attachment a lot, so unless the quality has gone downhill, I'm happy to do that again. I'm just not sure which one to get, and whether it will handle everything the food processor does. Your thoughts? (I'm all about having one piece of equipment that does multiple things, as opposed to lots of equipment.)

You menioned that it's good for bread. I asked in the post about the bread process - can you speak to that?

I know it's heavy - I've had one before, remember! - and counter space is a consideration. But if it's useful enough, it'll be worth it!

I wouldn't know a good sauté pan if it hit me in the ass (although maybe I should write a story about that...)! I love our Henckle knives, though. Our steamer gets a huge amount of use, as does our slow cooker, and I love our new immersion blender.

Teresa Noelle Roberts said...

I don't have a kitchen-aid, but a Hobart, which is the kitchen-aid's professional-grade, even bigger cousin. It doesn't have attachments, so I can't speak to that. We use it mainly for bread. It will do all the mixing and kneading, though you still have to be around to keep an eye on it. For most bread recipes, it's not quite as simple as "dump into a pan" only because there are two rises so you have to dump it into a clean bowl for rise one and from there shape it.

Christine Ashworth said...

I used to use my Kitchen Aid to make sausages - it grinds meat up really well. It also has a pasta attachment, so there's that - you can make your own HEALTHY pasta.

Souffles - whips egg whites beautifully, and cream of course. GREAT for making marshmallows. I will never give up my food processor, so there's that...oh, and bread - and PIZZA DOUGH (again, as healthy as you please...)

Buy it. It's a great investment. And then if you don't like/use it, you can give it to Maria! Lol...

NanA said...

Dayle, I love my little Cuisinart food processor for making hummus and other sauces, for chopping nuts and such, so I haven't used my mixer for any grinding or shredding. I think I would if I needed to do a large quantity, but I don't.

As for bread, I start the dough in the bowl with the paddle, add flour until it's pancake batter consistency and then beat it to develop the gluten. Then I switch to the bread hook to knead it. I usually finish on the counter for a minute, then let it rise.

Because I'm a pastry chef, I have the 5 quart Kitchen Aide and two bowls, and I like it. If I had the room, I'd love to have a ten quart Hobart, but I don't.

Have you considered looking for a used one through Craigslist, so that it would be more cost effective?

Anonymous said...

I have an older Kitchenaid mixer. It is the smaller model with the bowl that twists into the base. I wish I had the larger model with the flaps that hang from the pins. I have had two of them - one when my grandmother passed away, the other when my mom moved to a retirement home. According to what I have read, the older models last a lifetime, due to their metal internal parts and gears. The newer models are rumored to have plastic internal parts, and may not be as durable. I have heard that the quality varies between the low-cost and "professional" models. All rumors - you may want to investigate for yourself.

I use the mixer primarily for making bread. The mixer is good at making bread. You will use the paddle to start mixing your ingredients, then switch to the dough hook to knead the bread.

The plastic coated dough hook is better to keep the dough from crawling up the hook as it kneads. Oiling the hook helps too.

After you are done kneading the dough in the mixer, you turn it out into a bowl to let it rise (or put it in loaf pans). There may be other steps as well - coating the top, seeding the top, etc.

Bread made with a mixer will turn out much better than bread made in a bread machine, but is more work and more cleanup.

We also use our mixer to make pasta, but haven't done that in a long time. Homemade pasta is great, but it is a lot of work, and store-bought pasta is cheap.

My mother used her mixer to make all types of cookies, brownies, "squares", and other baking-type confections. I stick to bread.

We have a separate food processor for shredding. We could do it with the mixer, but the food processor is easy, fast, and efficient.

Steve said...

Stand mixers and food processors are very different beasts, and I guess you already know that.

The Stand Mixer will do many things with the attachments, but what it excels at is mixing, beating, whipping and kneading.

Making bread in a KitchenAid is the toughest job you will ask it to do, and the smaller ones really aren't up to it. Their motors are marginal even for small quantities of dough.

The best compromise happens to be the most expensive (go figure), and that would be the Professional 600. It is a bowl-lift model which is great, but it retails for around $500.

If it helps, we bought ours brand new from the KitchenAid Outlet Store for about $200 plus $30 shipping. At that price I'd bite their hands off then go looking for a Magimix Food Processor too :)

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Thanks, Steve! We bought the mixer before Xmas because it was on sale, and we did get a smaller one - hopes it holds out for the breadmaking!