Want vs. Need: Stand Mixers

Instead of posting a recipe like I have been for the past few days, I wanted to stray away from my norm and take some time to talk about my most trusted kitchen companion – the stand mixer. More specifically, I wanted to help my readers decide if a stand mixer is “worth it” for them.

The obvious benefit of having a stand mixer is the “up right” stand construction. In other words, a stand mixer allows you to work hands free while the attachment works at whatever you have in the mixing bowl. This is useful when you need to, say, add in boiling hot sugar syrup to beating egg whites to make an italian merengue for macarons.

Another obvious benefit of the stand mixer is the power it provides. The KitchenAid stand mixer all are powered with motors that have a throughput of over 400W, in other words – a power house. When it comes to kneading dough for French Baguettes, whipping heavy cream, or even creaming butter from the fridge, a stand mixer can handle all three one after the other and still be OK. A hand mixer might be able to cream butter, but whipping and kneading? Forget it. And of course we do have our own hands… but know I’d be worn out after kneading a dough for a baguette.

What made me start looking into the kitchen aid was my new found interest in macarons and bread baking. Although I could have whipped egg whites with my hand mixer, my hand mixer would get dangerously warm each time before I could get stiff peaks. Kneading dough by hand took way too long and it was too difficult especially since i was interested in working with wetter doughs.

Most stand mixers come with three attachments, the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook. Many also come with features such as timers and rotating bowls. In my experience, I haven’t needed any features than the speed adjustment. I do, however, use all 3 attachments equally.

Now, I’d like to take moment and leave a word of caution of “cheaper” stand mixers. Many times, these stand mixers have a plastic construction. I’ve also seen “stand mixers” that are really just hand beaters fixed onto a mount. Although these alternatives do add the convenience of working hands free to the traditional hand mixer, they do not provide the power real stand mixers do.

Like I’ve said, I use my stand mixer – a lot – and I haven’t had a problem with it. A good stand mixer is a good investment, like a good phone or a good (as ridiculous some may find this as it is) car. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of stand mixers to outlast other kitchen appliances. And although I personally prefer the Kitchenaid, there are other brands out there such as Breville and Cuisinart. All three companies make excellent machines with minor differences. I highly suggest checking out the different machines and making a judgement based off of your own needs.

What kind of mixer do you use in your kitchen? Has this post changed your mind about stand mixers? Let me know in the comment section below!

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