When I got my first stand mixer, I wasn’t really sure I would use it much. Boy, I was wrong! It can be used for everything from making cakes to mixing meat.
How to choose the right one? There’s plenty to consider and I’ve gone through a lot of what needs to be thought over below – take a look.
Consider the End Use
The most important thing when it comes to buying a stand mixer is how you are going to use it. For instance, if you have a large family and bake often for your family as well as for big social events or you need a stand mixer for making several loaves of bread in a week, you will need a mixer with a big capacity bowl and a powerful motor.
It is recommended to buy a mixer with bowl capacity of six quart or higher and at least 600 watts of power. It is important to consider the capacity. If you buy an undersized mixer for your needs, you will have to processes all the recipes in batches that will take a lot of time. On the other hand, if you buy a big mixer that you’re not going to use much, you will find it cumbersome to use it for small batches.
Take a Close Look at the Power and Capacity
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to stand mixer is that higher wattage means more power for kneading and mixing. However, that is not true in all cases. There are some models of stand mixer that have high wattage but their power output is less than the denoted wattage. This is the reason that the experts recommend buying the stand mixer on the basis of capacity instead of using only the advertised wattage.
Manufacturers often advertise capacity of their stand mixer (cups of flour) but keep in mind that the capacity mentioned by manufacturers tends to be on the higher side and therefore, it is important that you consider slightly reduced capacity to make your decision.
Features of Best Stand Mixer
Locking tilt head and overload protection are nice features to have in stand mixer. Most of the mixers feature 10- 12 speeds and usually come with three standard attachments including beater, dough hook and whisk. Mixers made from metal tend to be more durable. Some models these days also feature a timer that takes out all the guesswork and also come with a splash guard for preventing spills.
A motor that drives up to the speed helps in keeping the mixer safe. Some models can be made more functional with hub that allows connecting various optional accessories. Warranty vary between brands, there are some models that come with longer periods of warranty.
You would think that if you buy a high wattage mixer, it should be able to handle all kinds of dough but mixers do have limitations. In fact, handling stiff dough is not easy for even the best mixers. When you find that the motor is stalling and becoming sluggish, it means that the dough is too dense or the unit is unable to handle that capacity.
Even if you have a powerful mixer, you may need to finish kneading dough by hand. It is important to follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer to prevent motor burnout. Do not forget that all the models available in the market do not come with overload protection and some may need regular breaks between long runs to cool down the unit.
Optional Accessories for Stand Mixer
Some models available in market these days also come with a hub to attach certain optional accessories such as meat/vegetable grinder, sausage or pasta mixer. While these accessories do cost extra, these help in reducing the number of appliances needed in the kitchen and make mixer more functional. However, these accessories will need extra power for operation and therefore, you should take that into account while buying the mixer.
Quality Comes at a Price
There are hundreds of different models of stand mixers in a very wide price range, but quality comes at a price. A base model at a very cheap price may come with only a single mixing action in the middle. On the other hand, higher-priced units usually come with a rotating or spiral action that gets closer to the side of the bowl and covers a wider mixing area.
This not only results in better mixing but it also pulls in all the contents of the bowl which means less scraping is needed. Also, more powerful mixer means better functionality. Higher-priced units also have an all metal construction and more durable parts.