Got Dorie's Baking book – do I need a stand mixer?
Posted 05 January 2012 - 12:37 PM
But I don't have a hand held mixer either. So, it's probably going to be one or the other.
So, while most of the recipes can be made without a stand mixer - that doesn't mean they aren't such a pita without using one that you'd try with a hand mixer once and vow never to make it again until you have a stand mixer. If you know what I mean. Which may not be the case given the mess that sentence is.
And, not owning a stand or even hand mixer, you can probably guess I don't do a lot of baking. That isn't likely to change a whole lot no matter what I end up getting. So, small batches, fairly infrequently. I have made my own bread in the past. Usually kneaded by hand, although getting some arthritis now so that may be an issue in the future.
I will also say that I did look into the stand mixers on the market about a year ago (thanks Andie!) but really couldn't tell whether any of them would do what I want. (Baking plus small - 1 to 2 loaves - of bread dough.)
So, if I can rule out making the recipes that call for a stand mixer and I decide that I can keep making bread by hand, is there really any reason for me to pick up a stand mixer?
And a further question - didn't most of the baking techniques that would use a stand mixer exist before they came into being? I know that the mixer makes things easier, but for how much are they actually essential?
Posted 05 January 2012 - 12:48 PM
RE: needing a stand mixer for bread; as of late, I'm stuck on high-hydration doughs that are stretched & folded, not kneaded, so I use my mixer less for bread than for sweets/pastry.
Bouillie: eating in south Louisiana
Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:20 PM
Most hand held mixers are pretty junky, and believe me I've been through many of them; I find a hand mixer invaluable for whipping egg whites, cream, creaming butter and sugar, etc. Finally I bit the bullet and bought one that was a little more heavy duty, the Viking. I like it a lot and it seems worth the extra $25 that it cost above most other basic hand mixers. Perhaps if you had a good hand mixer and used it for a few months it would be easier to decide how much you really want a stand mixer. And if you do decide to invest in a stand mixer, for smaller jobs you would still be glad you owned the hand one. The hand mixer thread here was very helpful to me.
Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:31 AM
I didn't have either for years and years and did just fine. I think it makes me a better baker, I have learned more about the cues of texture and color.
I took a pie class with Carole Walter and she was blown away that I'd never cut in butter to flour without using a food processor. I first started using one after I took her class. It works well to cut in butter what a PITA to clean just for that.
If you can enlist someone on your household to cream butter for you, it works just like turning on the mixer and doing something else . . .
That being said, I do have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a Cuisinart hand mixer. I could go back to the hand mixer quite easily but you want a nice big deep bowl to keep icing off the fridge and the cabinets.
I have also heard good things about the Viking hand mixer.
It is true that you want a stand mixer for marshmallows.
Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:39 AM
if, on the other hand, you are looking for permission, permission granted!
i can't imagine my happy kitchen life without a stand mixer and a food processor. yeah, i'm good with a knife and a mortar and pestle, but the tools make things so streamlined. i enjoy the process more with the tools, and don't mind washing the pieces and parts one bit. i find that theraputic!
Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook
Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:38 PM
Also, if you do decide to get a stand mixer, do yourself a favor and get at least one extra bowl for it, and switch to one of the new sideswipe or flex edge mixer blades.
Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:01 PM
"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog
Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:30 PM
I really like being able to make anything quickly and efficiently. I live 20 minutes from the nearest store. If I am out of bread or pasta, I like that I can make it quickly without great effort. Before I had a stand mixer I would have to really psych myself up for a baking project because it was a serious undertaking. Now the mixer sits out on the counter and I can just do it without all the resistance from my inner lazy self.
Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:13 AM
I think it is also worth considering a vintage stand mixer such as a Sunbeam. Kerry Beal and I have seen some amazingly well maintained and sometimes barely used stand mixers in thrift stores for very little money (I am talking $5-$10). For baking they should work fine but they pre-date dough mixing I do believe. Just a thought.
Hmmm. that may be worth a look - but I don't really know what I'd be looking for, what brands were quality and which were junk etc. But I guess for a few bucks, might be worth taking a chance.
Although I think I'm going to take the plunge. Probably on a KA. I've decided that the Electrolux/DLX/ whatever its called now is too spendy - at about twice the top of the line KAs here in Canada. Despite seeing yet another thread on here about a KA dying while mixing bread dough. I guess I'll have a look at the Viking and the Bosch as well.
Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:25 AM