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Hand cranked pasta machine vs Kitchenaid attachment?


Shalmanese
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I'm trying to decide between buying a hand cranked machine (probably and Atlas or Imperia) vs the kitchenaid pasta attachment. The Kitchenaid is about twice as expensive but it's automatic. What are the pros and cons with each? For people who've owned them, which do you prefer?

PS: I am a guy.

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I like the hand cranked, probably because it gives more a sense of control over what you are doing. If you were to consider buying a coffee machine and be tempted by an automatic over a semi-automatic, I'd go for the Kitchenaid. As a second consideration, if you are making a lot of pasta, it may be best to go for the more mechanised version.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I own both, and have not used the hand-crank a single time since I got the KitchenAid: I agree with emannths that the extra hand makes things easier. I don't feel I've lost much in the way of control: you still have to constantly handle the dough, and now you get to use two hands to do it.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I've had both, a very basic hand-cranked machine that got the job done and the Kitchenaid attachment. Hands down the Kitchenaid makes superior pasta.

If you're worried about the quality of the machine itself, you don't have to because it has a lot of thickness settings. In fact, the thinnest setting can be too thin for many uses. Also, you don't have to clamp it to a table, which may be awkward and limits where you can make pasta. With the attachment you can make pasta anywhere (literally, if you have an extension cord that goes long enough...). Also, having two hands free means you can make ridiculously long sheets of pasta if you want to, you're not constrained by having one hand cranking. This also means you have two hands available to ensure that your sheets are feeding through without bunching up or sticking and ripping if there's a spot that's not adequately floured.

Traditionalists may assume that something that is mechanized won't produce pasta that's as good, but having two hands free makes it easier so that improves your ability to make sure you're doing it right. Also, the construction is very solid, so while the attachment is expensive, there's nothing junky about it. It's worth the money for the quality.

nunc est bibendum...

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I have an Atlas and the motor that attaches in place of the crank so I can use it either way. I already had the machine (it was a gift) so I just bought the motor for it. Sometimes it's nice to have both hands free to work with the dough so I would probably buy the attachment for my Kitchenaid if I didn't already have the other. The Atlas, with or without the motor, is obviously much more portable than a Kitchenaid but I don't know of any other advantages it would have by the time you buy the motor too.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hands down (pun intended) the kitchenaid. The attachments are made in Italy so it wouldn't surprise me if they are made by atlas or similar.

Hand cranking adds no magic to the pasta. It's not like we're comparing using a rolling pin and hand rolling to using a machine. Just a question of where the power comes from.

Edited by mgaretz (log)

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I like the hand cranked, probably because it gives more a sense of control over what you are doing. If you were to consider buying a coffee machine and be tempted by an automatic over a semi-automatic, I'd go for the Kitchenaid. As a second consideration, if you are making a lot of pasta, it may be best to go for the more mechanised version.

I'm all for control, but what control exactly do you want to keep while making pasta? How fast the crank turns? That's controlled by the KA motor speed. What else does a manual crank give you?

The espresso machine comparison is invalid. The difference between those 2 is that the items you control in a semi-auto espresso machine affect the product outcome.

I've had both pasta machines, and i would never recommend a manual crank unless you a) can't afford the electric one, b) need to use it where there is no power, c) don't have a KA to attach it to.

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I'm all for control, but what control exactly do you want to keep while making pasta? How fast the crank turns? That's controlled by the KA motor speed. What else does a manual crank give you?

Actually, that's a good point in favor, IMO, of the KA model. The motor give you a nice constant speed and leaves you both hands free to feed dough. It's been a long time since I used an Atlas machine, but if I recall, trying to juggle the dough and crank at the same time led to more uneven cranking or feeding, resulting in more uneven dough. The Atlas is a perfectly capable machine, but the KA one has no drawbacks (other than price) and some significant benefits.

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I'm all for control, but what control exactly do you want to keep while making pasta? How fast the crank turns? That's controlled by the KA motor speed. What else does a manual crank give you?

Actually, that's a good point in favor, IMO, of the KA model. The motor give you a nice constant speed and leaves you both hands free to feed dough. It's been a long time since I used an Atlas machine, but if I recall, trying to juggle the dough and crank at the same time led to more uneven cranking or feeding, resulting in more uneven dough. The Atlas is a perfectly capable machine, but the KA one has no drawbacks (other than price) and some significant benefits.

Good point...i remember using my Imperia and having some unevenness because of non-constant motor speed.

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I had both the Atlas with all its attachments and then I got the KA. After 3 years of not using the Atlas once, I gave it away. I liked it but the KA is so much easier. I make alot of dyed striped pasta and I can tell the KA kneads the dough more evenly by how much more quickly the dye is completely incorporated into the dough with the KA. Also once I've assembled the striped layers and I run it through the roller the final time, the KA produces a much straighter piece (important when it's striped) and having 2 hands free to guide both ends really helps make the final product perfect.

Also about making pasta more often? What Maggie said.

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Ok ok. It seems that the weight of opinion is for the Kitchenaid. I am traditionalist in many ways and actually use a hand stuffer for sausages in preference to an electrical because I like the feel of producing the sausages slowly. I have used an electric attachment previously for pasta making and prefer the hand cranked. I have had no trouble with the Atlas for consistency of thickness and have posted the products a number of times here. Were I to change, I don't think it would be to a Kitchenaid attachment - I'd prefer a manual or electrically driven method of pushing through a brass dye, which gives those irregular bits on the edge of the pasta that catch the sauce. Let's substitute the word artisan for irregular and that is where I'm coming from. As I said above, were I to want to produce larger quantities, I'd look at automating. My current usage means that I don't need to. And to address the point of making more pasta with the Kitchenaid attachment, often I use bought (albeit artisan) pasta because that is the effect I want to achieve. In Italy, pasta is the hero of the dish rather than a vehicle for sauce; it needs character rather than homogeneity. In pasta, like movies and books, I prefer my hero to have depth of character and quirkiness. Vive la difference, oh wait, that's French.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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For me, with little experience/ability with fresh pasta, I slightly prefer the hand roller. I much prefer the KA experience all the way up to turning on the motor. Even at the slowest speed I start to feel a little like Lucille Ball working on the chocolate conveyor.

The pasta comes out fine but there are the combined problems of trying to regulate a consistant length while keeping the strands from sticking together. I feel more confident working more slowly at a pace I control. If I had some more skill and/or guidance I might prefer the KA.

But I think the hand cranked roller has some other advantages as well. I think you can get a larger sheet out of it as well as have a finer control of thickness.

And having said all that, it just occured to me that there isn't a singular KA pasta attachment. There are rollers and extruders, as well as, I find now, a press. I was referring to the extruder, so I may have invalidated my post :laugh: .

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And having said all that, it just occured to me that there isn't a singular KA pasta attachment. There are rollers and extruders, as well as, I find now, a press. I was referring to the extruder, so I may have invalidated my post :laugh: .

There are even ravioli rollers that look like a terrible idea and are more expensive than the pasta sheet rollers!

And about the extruders, I haven't used them either, but I've never heard a good thing about them. Plenty of bad, but nothing good.

nunc est bibendum...

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IndyRob, my comments, at least, were referring to the roller-style attachment, I don't have the others.

I suspected that most, if not all, comments were indeed referring to the roller and nearly cancelled the post, but decided to just leave it and raise my error just as an alert for possible misunderstandings such as my own.

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And about the extruders, I haven't used them either, but I've never heard a good thing about them. Plenty of bad, but nothing good.

To me, they're one of those things that just almost work. It appears that newer models than mine may have been redesigned to extrude downwards as opposed to horizontally.

I seem to recall that there may exist a heated bowl for the KA. Extruding right into the cooking water might be just the ticket.

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Of course, some Italian friends of mine swear by hand-rolling; no machine attachments, no hand-cranked rollers either.

My Atlas has sat unused for years in an upper kitchen cabinet. It's just too much of a pain in the neck for me and I was never able to deal with the one-handed aspect of it. I've recently purchased just the roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid and look forward to giving it a whirl.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I was under the impression that the Kitchenaid attachment came bundled with a variety of extruder plates; not the case? Because if it is, I'd consider that another point in its favour. I've had great luck with an extruder (dedicated machine, however), and its huge advantage over a hand-cranked unit is that it does something that is entirely outside the scope of the latter (as well as producing various long forms).

That said, I've never had any complaints, when using a hand-cranked unit.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I was under the impression that the Kitchenaid attachment came with a variety of extruder plates; not the case?

It's available as a stand alone attachment as well...Pasta roller.

I got it for $79 shipped, making it not that much more expensive than an Atlas.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Extruders and rollers produce more or less totally different products, so I guess we had better make sure to mention which we are talking about in our comments here... I've never heard anything good said about the KitchenAid extruder attachment, but if IndyRob is right and they've changed the design maybe things have improved. I love my rollers, though.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have an Atlas and the motor that attaches in place of the crank so I can use it either way. I already had the machine (it was a gift) so I just bought the motor for it. Sometimes it's nice to have both hands free to work with the dough so I would probably buy the attachment for my Kitchenaid if I didn't already have the other. The Atlas, with or without the motor, is obviously much more portable than a Kitchenaid but I don't know of any other advantages it would have by the time you buy the motor too.

I have the same thing,bought the add-on motor,and it works very well...

Bud

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