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Snadra

Death of a KitchenAid – Replace with?

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A few years ago I was given a KitchenAid Artisan for my birthday. I have used frequently since then, but have never been as theiled with its performance as I was with its looks. Yesterday, it caused me to make the most expensive loaf of ciabatta ever: the knob covering the attachment drive came loose as it shuddered it's way through the dough beating, fell into the bowl and jammed the paddle. The gears are now stripped and I won't know until I get back to Sydney in a few weeks whether it's repairable (or worth repairing).

In the meantime, I want to work out what I should get if it needs replacing. I never got any attachments for it as they are so expensive (and I already had a marcato and an ice cream maker anyway). At the moment I'm leaning towards a magimix processor (4200xl or 5200xl) and maybe getting a used Kenwood or Breville mixer on eBay. I've seen Bosch mixers trickling onto the market here too.

I still want to be able to beat buttercreams, cake mixes and that blessed ciabatta, and to eventually make marshmallows (in fact I had been planning on doing that this week....).

Does anyone have any opinions or advice? I'm not super keen on another kitchen aid simply due to cost.

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I started out with a Magimix 4200XL a while back. I thought it would provide more versatility in the kitchen than a mixer. Although I found it highly efficient for prepping vegetables, large quantities of dip, etc, I had a failure when I ventured into the baking world. Tried to mix a brioche dough and wound up stripping the internal grips on one of the mixing blades. I also found that for everyday tasks it was much quicker (and more enjoyable) to prepare food with a good quality knife than put it through the food processor.

In the end, I ditched the Magimix and swapped it for a Kitchenaid mixer, which I have used far more often than I ever used the Magimix. There's not a lot of difference in the prices between the two units.

I also bought a little processor (Cuisinart) for small batches of pesto, dips, etc. I've been quite happy with my little setup, although sometimes I think a Kenwood unit may have been slightly better value for money.


Ben

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Few years ago I had the same problem with a KA I'd borrowed from my sister in law. I had no choice but to fix it.

In all Kitchen Aids there is one sacrificial plastic/nylon gear designed to fail to save fingers/hands and the machine itself. I reached out online, got links and found the part for $12.99.

So if you decide you want to fix yours, this is a thread with links to schematics, part/gear suppliers and how to DIY. Click here.

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First, I would not get another KA, unless you get an old, Hobart-made machine. The quality of KA mixers has gone down significantly since they were bought out by Whirlpool in the mid-1980s. The current KA models do just fine for things like batters, egg whites and whipped cream, but they are limited when it comes to bread dough. Look at the manual that comes with it - they say to never go over speed 2, and I think if you call them, they say never to mix dough for longer than 3 minutes without resting the machine.

If you do get it fixed, I would use the DIY route. At least in the US, nobody will even look at fixing one for under about $100. Which is why I have a dead KA in my garage, I have not gotten around to fixing it myself. When I do, I will likely sell it.

I'm not exactly sure what you have available where you are, so the following may or may not be helpful. I did quite a bit of research after my KA died.

I think the two most important questions would be what do you want to do with your mixer and what do you want to spend? Since you were making bread when the KA died, I assume you want something that will do bread dough. Ciabatta is a pretty high hydration dough. Do you also make drier doughs? Whole grain breads? How much dough do you make at a time?

If you are looking for a good mixer with a capacity similar to a KA and you don't want something super expensive, I would consider a Bosch Compact. It looks like a kids' toy but it is a super little mixer. The same bagel dough that would make smoke come out of my old KA after about 30 seconds does not stress the Compact at all (batch with 800 grams of flour, 55% hydration). It does a great job with egg whites, marshmallows, whipped cream, and every bread dough I have thrown at it. My only complaint is that with bread doughs, it has a tendency to hop around on the counter a bit (because it is so light), so needs to be babysat.

If you want something that can handle larger batches of dough, then consider either a Bosch Universal or an Electrolux Verona (previously DLX), although it sounds like these are more than you want to spend. Both are absolute workhorses that you will likely hand down to your kids. The Electrolux has a bit of a learning curve because it is not a planetary mixer but once you get used to it, it is an awesome mixer. Although both do well with all kinds of bread, my understanding is that the Bosch is a little better with less hydrated doughs and the Electrolux with more hydrated doughs. I have the Electrolux, and although I have done both wet and dry doughs, and the wetter ones are a bit easier, I have successfully made dry doughs with it too.

Jess

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I have an Artisan and a 4200xl. I wouldn't replace one with the other. If I had to give one up, it would be the 4200xl, though I really like it. Except for pie dough, I have always had better luck making dough in the stand mixer and not any success in the food processor.

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The Artisan is very easy to repair (even if like me you are not a skilled mechanic). The service manual is available for download at MendingShed.com. The replacement part you need is the worm gear and some new grease (and possibly a new gasket, depending on how old your machine is). A tin of grease should last you for at least three repairs.

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Thanks for all the advice here. I don't recall seeing advice in the manual (what, me read instructions?!) to let the machine cool when mixing dough, but i have been concerned with how hot it gets. KitchenAid has only been on the market here for about 10 years I think, although occasionally you can see nearly household-sized old Hobarts for sale. Otherwise, there are 7 litre Birkos around, but they are in the $1,000 range. Anything bigger is really too large for me to manage in a tiny rented kitchen.

I have been making ciabatta frequently (from the Bread Bible) and am just starting to get into some other breads, including ones that likely don't need a mixer. if I bother buying another mixer I really want one that will handle bread dough as well as eggwhites and cake mixes.

As far as availability goes, used KA artisans usually go for upwards of $400, even ones from the US that need a step-down transformer. They are all less than a decade old.

Bosch appears to sell a compact and a MUM86 here, not the Universal. (http://www.bosch-home.com.au/appliances/food-preparation/kitchen-machines/list.html). They came onto the market sometime late last year I believe. I've seen the compact for around $325 and the mum86 for around $800.

Sunbeam mixers don't strike me as sturdy enough for bread dough, although they do look sweet, which is why I haven't considered them.

Breville makes a range of stand mixers and I know nothing about them, however I used a Breville food processor last year and was impressed with how sturdy it was. Possibly some of their stand mixers are decent.

A new top of the line kenwood chef costs as much as a KA Artisan and is not pretty, BUT I can get a 700 series Kenwood built in the 60s/70s for anywhere between $50 and $200. I used one years ago, but it wasn't in great shape and at the time I was vain and bothered by its looks so I never respected it as much as it probably deserved. Choice mag rated the KitchenAid above the Kenwood, but I don't think they did anything really heavy duty with it, and they were looking at new machines.

My thinking was to get a Magimix to replace my aged, wearing and difficult to manage Moulinex Ovatio processor as it can do a number of bread doughs, and then get a 700 series Kenwood for cakes, meringues and other stand mixer-y things with the hole it could manage the ocassional ciabatta and brioche.

I'm bothered that people here have had bad experiences with the Magimix and bread dough though, so maybe it's not the right way to go.

Of course, this may all be moot if it really does only need a nylon gear replaced.

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I bought a Kenwood as a present for my wife after she asked for a KA. Price and power seemed to favor the Kenwood, so I opted for that. Later we remodeled our kitchen with a lot of black and stainless steel and a new KA (Artisan) was acquired to match. And the Kenwood was retired to a lower cabinet in another room.

By this time it had become established that I was the primary mixer user in the household. The KA worked fine, but at some point I dragged the Kenmore out again. They now sit side-by-side on our countertop.

The Kenmore is my go-to bread and pizza dough machine. It's clearly more powerful, and the plastic bowl is easier to clean. The KA only stays because of its looks and stainless steel bowl (better for beating egg whites that might be compromised by fat hiding in plastic).

I think that if I were looking for a new machine, I'd try to find one with both stainless and plastic bowl options.

Kenmore doesn't appear to be an option in the U.S. anymore.

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I've got a Kitchenaid 6 qt "Professional" that I use for most mixing tasks.

However for heavy bread and cookie doughs, I have an Electrolux DLX (known by several names).

It does have a somewhat steep learning curve but it handles doughs that destroyed two KAs - 5 qt, not made by Hobart.

I've got an old collectible Hobart KA that works just fine but I don't use it because it is too valuable as a collectible, since I have newer ones that work.

I tried a Kenwood years ago. It was one that had been re-engineered for the U.S. and 120 AC. It did not work all that well and I think it was because of the electrical refit.

I had friends in the UK who swore by their Kenwoods which handled tasks that mine would not.

(It's the same reason that water boilers - I had an old Russell Hobbs - that boiled water rapidly in the UK, would take far longer to reach the same temp in the US.)

Since Oz has the higher voltage, Kenwood mixers should operate optimally there and I've read on other forums that they do so.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The KA ia easy to repair. I got one for a couple dollars. It's a 5 quart Heavy Duty. It had a loose wire on controller. The baker I got it from kept the bowl so I had to spring for a new bowl. The only thing the mixer was used for was whipping creams and fillings. There were three big Holbarts to handle the heavy stuff. One of the mixers in the kitchen was about 5 foot tall. I would look into replacing mine with a viking. I bake cakes and batter. Baking bread I would have to read up and make sure the viking could handle it.

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Get a Kenwood. It's a 40 year old design, rock solid all metal gearbox, indestructible motor, and yet, with it's aluminum chassis, it's reasonably easy to move around.

They have a Cooking Chef line has built in induction heating as well, if that's useful for you.

In the USA, they're sold under the Viking brand, as well as Hobarts "consumer" line.

I ditched our Kitchenaid for a Kenwood and never regretted it....it's much more powerful.

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You can pick up a hobart era kitchenaid on ebay for about $120 - $150, search for "kitchenaid K-5A". Look for the ones that show signs of use, not the ones that were bought as a wedding present and have been sitting in the back of the garage for 30 years. Kitchenaids may or may not have been built better back then but survivorship bias means that only the ones built like a tank survive until today.

The Kitchenaid's of a couple of years ago had a plastic cover internally that was prone to cracking which has contributed to it's recent poor reputation. The latest models have gone back to a metal cover and time will tell if they turn out to be sturdier.


Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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Or, if you can find one, a Hobart-made KA classic, like the ancient KW500 that I've got (it's more than 50 years old). Those are real treasures - everything inside mine (I've opened it up to grease it occasionally) is solid metal and it stands up to even very stiff doughs. Like Shalmanese says, look for ones that have been in use, not ones that have sat and rusted. That's how the tanks are separated from the Yugos.

When it comes time to replace my old KA, I'll likely get an industrial-model Hobart mixer. :wink:


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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How bout a Thermomix? Certainly it is MUCH more expensive but it does a lot more stuff. The dough kneading function works really well too.

There is a huge Australian Thermomix user group (forumthermomix.com) that will give you a lot of info about this machine.

We use ours nearly every day, literally from soup (purees that are smooth as silk) to nuts (homemade nut butters).

Great risotto...

You can get a demo from a Thermomix representative and see for yourself.


Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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I have a Thermomix, a KA 6qt and my new toy, a Hobart 6qt. Although the Thermomix is great for some things, the bowl isnt big enough for lots of baking needs. The Hobart is just genius. It is not commercially available, I don't think, but if you can find one, buy it. All of the KA 6qt attachments also for the Hobart.

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I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has had KitchenAid issues!

Getting a Hobart era KA isn't much of an option here - like searching for Henry's teeth in a haystack. They have popped up occasionally, but I wouldn't have much confidence in their condition, or in my ability to collect them (they have all been in Melbourne). And the two or three I have seen on eBay over the past couple of years have gone for over $350.

A Thermomix sounds lovely (all hail the cult of Thermomix! :wink: ), but is honestly over twice my 'I want it badly enough to squeeze the budget for it'' absolute top limit.

The most reasonable second-hand purchase in Oz is likely to be a Kenwood Chef. As a few others have pointed out they are rock solid and have been around for a long time. I can easily and inexpensively get ones that were manufactured on the 60s/70s for very little money, and get a wide range of accessories for them.

After a bit more research and thought my question now seems to be: get a new Bosch (probably the MUM86), or get a Magimix and a second hand older Kenwood...

I still want to make a few sticky doughs (eg ciabatta and bxrioche) and do some general mixing of egg whites and cakes in a mixer, but I would also like to get into some of the drier doughs, which is what I would use the Magimix for (as well as general food processory things). The comment above regarding a Magimix being wrecked by dough has me worried, as I was under the impression they were very solid.

On the other hand, if I get a Bosch (not Universal as they are not available here), will it be able to hand tough doughs? And are the food processor attachments good quality? If they are I might not bother with two machines, and just get a Bosch. Electrolux is also not available here, by the way.

So many decisions! And there is still the chance it's fixable, too.

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I love my Bosch Compact, and even though I have an Electrolux, it is my go-to machine for bagel dough, unless I'm making a really big batch.

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I love my Bosch Compact, and even though I have an Electrolux, it is my go-to machine for bagel dough, unless I'm making a really big batch.

Now that's reassuring! The compact is available here, so when I'm in Sydney during school holidays I'll visit a stockist and take a look at it and the other models (only 3 more weeks! Woo hoo!).

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If you are going to spend that much, why not get a Hobart.

This 20 liter for a brilliant price.

The 20 liter can handle small jobs too - I used one for years - had it mounted on a roll around platform.

I often used it instead of the 5 qt for beating egg whites, mixing cake batter, buttercream frosting, but mostly used it for breads as I often made fairly large batches of dough, froze part, baked off the rest, which saved me a lot of time.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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If you are going to spend that much, why not get a Hobart.

This 20 liter for a brilliant price.

The 20 liter can handle small jobs too - I used one for years - had it mounted on a roll around platform.

I often used it instead of the 5 qt for beating egg whites, mixing cake batter, buttercream frosting, but mostly used it for breads as I often made fairly large batches of dough, froze part, baked off the rest, which saved me a lot of time.

I had fleetingly considered a commercial sized hobart, but my current kitchen is even smaller than my previous kitchen... There's just no room for something that big. The kitchenaid is living in the hall cupboard and any replacement must fit there as well.

I suspect I will end up with a second-hand Kenwood, followed by a second-hand Magimix, but it's nice to dream!

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Hobart makes a 5 Quart mixer called the N50. If you happen to find a used one somewhere for a reasonable price, that might be another alternative.


PS: I am a guy.

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I was looking at a Hobart N50 last December and almost bought one. I then came across the new KitchenAid 7qt mixer which I got instead. The greater capacity is really nice and it has new dc motors in it which are hopefully better. I haven't had any problems yet and it works great. There is a 2 year warranty and you could buy 4 or 5 of them for the price of a Hobart so it was an easy call.

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