What Do I Need a Stand Mixer to Do?Since I'm capable of making cookies, cakes, muffins, pie and bread dough by hand, in these areas I'm looking to see a time savings. Instead of working on dough for one loaf of bread I want a stand mixer that can let me do 3-4 loaves at once in a shorter time frame. I want to be able to whip up egg whites or whipping cream without the walls around me (along with myself) getting splattered. I'd like a stand mixer to have a shredder/slicer attachment so that I can make coleslaw, French fries, hash browns, slice vegetables and fruits for the dehydrator, and slice apples for pies. It would be nice to have a machine that was strong enough to mix batters smooth - a velvety cheesecake would be a dream.
At the stores around my area I have access to Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Breville, Hamilton Beach, Sunbeam, Bodum, Kenwood, and Ankarsrum stand mixers. There is also a local distributor for Bosch stand mixers (although these must be ordered on-line). A few of these stand mixers have fairly limited use - if all I want to do is whip some egg whites or mix a cake the Sunbeam, Hamilton Beach, or Bodum would work, but for more difficult tasks, such as heavy cookie batters and bread dough, they would fail. So, I immediately excluded them. The Breville should work, but several tests have shown they can't handle bread dough. Another dropped from the list. That leaves the Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Kenwood, Ankarsrum, and Bosch to consider.
Which Would I Choose?I'm drawn to the Ankarsrum and Bosch stand mixers. Quality, longevity, and the hip factor are big drawing points for me. The Ankarsrum is just too expensive ... which makes me lean towards the Bosch. But which one - the Universal Plus or the Compact? I've been reading lots of reviews and watching the videos. I'm really struggling here. I love the size factor of the Compact. It would fit so easily on almost any counter top. But the bowl size? Slightly too small. If it had been 5 quarts I'd buy it immediately. 4 quarts means doing more work for extra batches of baking. I'd like to be able to get through more batches quickly so that I can have time with Walter and Manuel. The Universal Plus is so big, but perhaps it's the more sensible choice?
And, of course, do I need one? No, I don't. I can bake with what I have. My reasons for considering one are to let me make more healthy, homemade products for us to consume while freeing up more of my time. I'm thinking I can save us money by making our own baked goods, and letting me process more of those fruits and vegetables we get in such abundance. I think I could recover the cost of one of these machines within 1-2 years ... maybe even less time if I plan carefully.
Do you have a stand mixer? Which one? What made you choose it and would you choose it again?