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stand mixer opinions
Posted: 27 January 2009 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi gang,

  I’m sorry for asking this, I’m sure that this topic has been covered ad nauseam here at the forum, but I need some help choosing a stand mixer and I couldn’t find a thread that would answer this question for me. I really want the KA Pro 600. I like the large capacity, it has more power (which will be good if I’m doing double batches, large cakes, or breads with a heavy dough), I like that the attachments are raw stainless steel and not coated with the paint (or whatever that coating is), and I like the lift-to-bowl design rather than the tilt head. The problem is that I won’t always be making double batches of cake batter or heavy bread doughs and I am concerned that when I make a regular sized cake the mixing bowl will be too large and the batter, or any other small amount of product being mixed, will not be mixed sufficiently because the attachment won’t be deep enough in the product to be mixed. I’ve asked this question with others and I have heard that I should go with the KA 10-speed Artisan stand mixer, but there are so many things about the KA Pro 600 I like better. I am just worried that unless I end up making a lot of breads, or end up doing large batches of batter and frosting, I will have too much of a mixer on my hands rendering it more useless than useful.

What do you folks think?

Thanks,
Matthew smile

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Posted: 27 January 2009 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have 5 and 6qt KAs… my 12 year old 5qt handles bread dough much better than my new 6qt, which quickly overheats and shuts it’s self off to cool down, despite not going over the recommended mixing speed or amount of flour (there are a lot of internet reviews to this affect).  The company is owned by a different manufacturer now, so I don’t know if they’ve changed the inner workings, but I would never make a double batch of bread dough in my 6qt (I reserve it for buttercream and cake batter mostly).  The new KAs make a higher pitch sound when they are on verses the older models.  The attachments for the 6qt are un-coated aluminum (except for the stainless whip)... remember that aluminum is a “reactive” metal that can affect the flavor and/or appearance of some foods, it’s not dishwasher safe, and it will darken with age.  I purchased additional attachments that are enamel coated so that I never have to worry about it.  That being said, I’ve successfully whipped 1 egg white in my 6tq so I don’t think it’s too big for most mixing jobs (and you can purchase a 3qt insert for whipping heavy cream and such).  If you want to use it mostly for bread, I’d say try to get yourself a good used model (made before KA was purchased by the new manufacturer).  If you have your heart set on the 6qt, you won’t regret buying it.

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Posted: 28 January 2009 01:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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if u can get the pro 600, do so, it has no issues of been too big for single batches.

ig u can get 2 mixers, get one Pro 600 and one Artisan, there you will have the best of both worlds.

never exceed the recommended speed limits on the Pro 600 otherwise the overload auto off will trigger.  On the Artisan YOU CAN knead bread dough at speed 4!!!!!! as I do for my Basic Heart Bread with sourdough for a whopping 7 minutes!!!!  In fact, I have just recorded a video with this recipe.

the Artisancan handle double batches of butter cakes and cookie dough, but not foam cakes.  the Pro 600 can handle double batches of everthing, again w/o issues of single or even half batch.

when I do 4 or 6 batches of bread (or in fact of panettone), I have to use the Pro 600 but only for the first kneading, once the dough is risen or added all final ingredients, it overloads.

I use my Pro 600 aluminum flat beater for 1 hour when mixing flan without any reactivity issues.

The Pro 600 high pitch noise issues and plastic gear box cover issues has been addressed and fixed with all models and colors made after 2006 or so.  My silver sage pro 600 came with the fixes.  My previous Meringue White was unbearable!

I don’t think power and wattage is an issue.  The Artisan is plenty powerful for everything it can fit.

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Posted: 28 January 2009 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hey thanks for the advice you guys. I appreciate your help. It sounds like the smaller Artisan model might be better in some ways. Have either of you found that the Pro 600 is more hassle than it’s worth now that it is made by a different manufacturer?

Patrincia,

  Do you know if they make the coated attachments for the Pro 600? I didn’t realize they were plain aluminum, I thought they were stainless steel. Also, have you ever had any problems with the coating coming off of the paddle or your dough hook?

Hector,

  I would love to have one of each model. For now, though, I can only get one. Based on what I have told you here, which one is the better one to have if you can only get one or the other (aside from the obvious fact the 5 qt is cheaper)?

Thanks again you guys!

Matthew smile

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Posted: 29 January 2009 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yep, you can purchase the coated attachments for the Pro 600 at KitchenAid’s sister site shopkitchenaid.com, or call the company directly.  The whip attachment is stainless steel (I have the 11-tine model), but the additional paddle and dough hook I purchased are enamel coated.  I’ve never had a problem with any of the coating coming off.

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Posted: 29 January 2009 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I don’t know which one to recommend to you, but whichever one you get, I think it really pays to have an extra bowl, flat beater, and whip attachment.

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Posted: 29 January 2009 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Patrincia - 29 January 2009 01:12 PM

I think it really pays to have an extra bowl, flat beater, and whip attachment.

I couldn’t agree more!

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Posted: 29 January 2009 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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MP, I agree with all of the above.  If you are primarily making bread do NOT get the Pro 600 as it just cannot cope.  However, it’s great for patisserie as it has the greater capacity.  I also recommend getting the extra bowl and two attachments.  You will need something more powerful like a Hobart if you are making a lot of bread dough.
Annie

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Posted: 29 January 2009 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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This is all really good advice you guys. Thank you for your help!

I’m curious, Annie. It seems counterintuitive that a stand mixer, regardless of the manufacturer, would have more difficulty with breads. I would have thought that it would make it easier. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt you, it just seems weird to me. Have you experienced this problem when making bread? Just for the record, I do plan on making bread with my stand mixer once I get it, but it will be primarily for making cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and a lot of other sweet pastries (I have an insatiable sweet tooth).

~Matthew smile

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Posted: 29 January 2009 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Matthew, both mixers are excellent for EVERYTHING.  So volume capacity will be the difference.  Both, Artisan and Pro 600 handles single recipes of everything to perfection.  The Pro 600 handles double batches and most of Cake Bible’s wedding cake chapter.

I have made the most perfect cakes and breads on either mixer without any differences.  I have 1 Pro 600 and 1 Artisan on my main kitchen.  1 Artisan in Hilo.  And 1 Artisan at my brother’s.  Cost was the factor.

Rather than getting a full second set of bowls and whips, I recommend getting a second mixer instead, you can find refurbished mixers for around $100 which is just about how much you would pay for a second bowl and all 3 whips!  There is nothing more beautiful and speedier than running both phases of such recipes at once! 

Be sure to wear ear plugs for either or both mixers!

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Posted: 30 January 2009 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi Matthew,  My experience with the Pro 600 - I bought a brand new one and the gears were ground down in just less than 3 months with making bread dough.  Generally - unless you have a very loose dough - bread dough is by far the stiffest thing you will be working with in the mixer.  I was using mine for bread on a daily basis up to three batches per day.  It is not designed for this kind of hammering!  I did get it fixed but had to get a part shipped from the US and now only use it for patisserie.  It really depends on how much and how often you are going to use it.  Remember there is a huge difference between Professional hardware - which generally refers to top end domestic, and Commercial which is designed and built to be used in a commercial setting, ie, all day every day. 

Having said all that, if you are not going to be using the mixer primarily for bread, then it will probably be fine for you.  It’s a great mixer and can deal with fairly large quantities. 

Good luck and let us know how you proceed.

Annie

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Posted: 31 January 2009 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My Pro 600 is a factory refurbished model, and it does not handle bread dough as well as my 12 year old 5qt (not refurbished).... my new 6qt does not knead as smoothly, and it does automatically shut off in the middle of kneading bread (one loaf recipe, on speed 2).  I called the manufacturer when this first happened - they sent a replacement, which did the exact same thing.  I called and was told by a company rep that this is a new safety feature, but it’s a pain to me.  Now I reserve it’s use for cake batters and buttercreams - never had any trouble making large batches of those in it.  For bread, I prefer to use my older 5qt, the dough cycle on my bread machine, or the food processor (depending on the recipe).

Speaking of refurbished mixers - you can also purchase refurbished or discontinued bowls and attachments at shopkitchenaid.com.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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hectorwong - 30 January 2009 02:55 AM

Matthew, both mixers are excellent for EVERYTHING.  So volume capacity will be the difference.  Both, Artisan and Pro 600 handles single recipes of everything to perfection.  The Pro 600 handles double batches and most of Cake Bible’s wedding cake chapter.

I have made the most perfect cakes and breads on either mixer without any differences.  I have 1 Pro 600 and 1 Artisan on my main kitchen.  1 Artisan in Hilo.  And 1 Artisan at my brother’s.  Cost was the factor.

Rather than getting a full second set of bowls and whips, I recommend getting a second mixer instead, you can find refurbished mixers for around $100 which is just about how much you would pay for a second bowl and all 3 whips!  There is nothing more beautiful and speedier than running both phases of such recipes at once! 

Be sure to wear ear plugs for either or both mixers!

Thank you for the advice, Hector. I appreciate your help. I must say, though, I am surprised that these machines are that loud. I don’t doubt you, I’ve heard the same thing from others, too. It’s just that they seem so quiet on tv. Maybe it’s just that they are not near the mic.

AnnieMacD - 30 January 2009 05:39 PM

Hi Matthew,  My experience with the Pro 600 - I bought a brand new one and the gears were ground down in just less than 3 months with making bread dough.  Generally - unless you have a very loose dough - bread dough is by far the stiffest thing you will be working with in the mixer.  I was using mine for bread on a daily basis up to three batches per day.  It is not designed for this kind of hammering!  I did get it fixed but had to get a part shipped from the US and now only use it for patisserie.  It really depends on how much and how often you are going to use it.  Remember there is a huge difference between Professional hardware - which generally refers to top end domestic, and Commercial which is designed and built to be used in a commercial setting, ie, all day every day. 

Having said all that, if you are not going to be using the mixer primarily for bread, then it will probably be fine for you.  It’s a great mixer and can deal with fairly large quantities. 

Good luck and let us know how you proceed.

Annie

Thanks for your response, Annie. I’m impressed you were able to decipher what I was asking. As I took a look at my question I realized it was incomplete. I meant to say that it seems counterintuitive that a larger stand mixer with more power would have more difficulty with bread doughs than its smaller counterpart. It seems, though, that you are not the only person this has happened to so I see a recurring problem with the KA Pro 600. I do plan on making breads with my stand mixer but I don’t plan on that being the primary task. I want the mixer more for cakes, frostings, meringues, and doing bread batches once a week (at most, but probably far less than that).

Patrincia - 31 January 2009 02:55 PM

My Pro 600 is a factory refurbished model, and it does not handle bread dough as well as my 12 year old 5qt (not refurbished).... my new 6qt does not knead as smoothly, and it does automatically shut off in the middle of kneading bread (one loaf recipe, on speed 2).  I called the manufacturer when this first happened - they sent a replacement, which did the exact same thing.  I called and was told by a company rep that this is a new safety feature, but it’s a pain to me.  Now I reserve it’s use for cake batters and buttercreams - never had any trouble making large batches of those in it.  For bread, I prefer to use my older 5qt, the dough cycle on my bread machine, or the food processor (depending on the recipe).

Speaking of refurbished mixers - you can also purchase refurbished or discontinued bowls and attachments at shopkitchenaid.com.

Thanks for the additional input, Patrincia. This is all stuff that’s really good to know. Perhaps if I want to make bread I should just do it the old fashioned way and knead by hand until I can get a second mixer that can handle heavier jobs (assuming I get the Pro 600 first).

Thanks for all of the help here, folks. I appreciate your time. smile

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Posted: 05 February 2009 09:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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What do you guys think of Viking stand mixers? I saw the Viking stand mixer with the 7qt bowl, three attachments (whisk, paddle, and dough hook), and optional attachments (I think). The mixer is only$40 more than the KA Pro 600 so I thought it might be worth it if it doesn’t have the same issues as the KA mixer. I have heard from more than one person now that the newer KA stand mixers out there aren’t what they used to be and that they don’t hold up as well as their older counterparts so it made me consider other brands. I also noticed that Cuisinart has a couple of stand mixers on the market, but I don’t know much about them either. Any feedback will be appreciated.

Thanks smile

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Posted: 16 February 2009 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The 7 qt Cuisinart is much loved and praised by King Arthur Flour, and it’s the one that I’ve been coveting for a while for my bigger jobs. It seems to handle stiffer doughs and batters much better than the KitchenAid.

I own a Pro600 and it really struggles on stiff loads (not just big loads either). I definitely cannot make bagel dough in it; and it struggles with something as basic but stiff as shortbread. I also own an old Hobart KitchenAid 5qt mixer (K5SS circa 1984) that I bought off Ebay, and it’s the one I use most often. That mixer has handled everything I have thrown at it. Sure, it can’t mix large batches, but I don’t regularly make large batches of anything anyway. Since my Pro600 sucks at mixing bread dough, I’ve resorted to using my Cuisinart bread machine for mixing and kneading bread doughs.

I’ve never had a problem with the larger mixers making regular batches of cake and cookie batters. The Pro600 (as well as the larger Cuisinart) does not whip small amounts of egg whites or cream very efficiently (3 egg whites or less, 1 cup of cream or less), which results in less volume, but I own a hand mixer for these small jobs (which I highly recommend).

The main issue I have with the Pro600 is the flimsy construction. The Pro600 I own has had the gear shaft broken (I’m not really sure how this happened. One day it worked and the next the gear shaft wouldn’t move), which had to be repaired—which wasn’t cheap.

The Pro600 I use at work (which gets heavy use 3-4 times a week) has had the attachment mount fall of it THREE times. The third time this happened, the repair guy had to replace the whole attachment mount. This was a major pain in the neck, and I’m crossing my fingers this never happens again.

So my advice is: if you want a big mixer, buy the 7qt Cuisinart or the larger Viking (the Viking Mixer was also loved by King Arthur Flour until the Cuisinart debuted) and use a hand mixer for small tasks. If you don’t actually NEED a big mixer than get the 5 qt KA Artisan mixer (better quality construction) or search around on Ebay for a Hobart made KitchenAid.

On other mixers: Many bakers love the Bosch and Electrolux mixers—but these mixers are designed more for bread mixing and that’s what they excel at. They also do a good job at mixing stiff cookie doughs, but not so much with cake batters. They also don’t really whip eggs whites and cream well.

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Posted: 16 February 2009 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Roxanne - 16 February 2009 05:51 PM

The Pro600 (as well as the larger Cuisinart) does not whip small amounts of egg whites or cream very efficiently (3 egg whites or less, 1 cup of cream or less), which results in less volume, but I own a hand mixer for these small jobs (which I highly recommend).

Thought some might find this helpful - I find KitchenAid’s special 11-tine whip will beat 1 egg white in less than 1 minute in the 6qt mixer, but it helps to manually break up the white just a bit first.  Optionally, KA sells a 3qt bowl and whip attachment specifically for the 6qt mixer.  People who own it seem to love it for whipped cream.

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