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Differences in a Häussler Alpha Mixer and a Famag Mixer?


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Long time Kitchenaid user here.  I'm looking to make better bread (and have a separate interest in link sausages).  I also do some cakes, candy and, rarely cookies though I'm bit into Oatmeal varieties at the moment.

 

I was thinking about an ANKARSRUM mixer but, I began to wonder about really stiff doughs though I believe it would be awesome for cakes, egg whites, and similarly diverse things.  When I get out of the ~$300 range mixer options, I begin to think about more industrially oriented spiral mixers but, I don't really have room or the need for a 20 quart Hobart stand mixer.  The Hobart N-50 is simply to expensive being $3K with pretty limited capacity.

 

This takes me to the Famag IM-10 (lift head) and Häussler Alpha.  The breaker bar on the Famag looks like a good feature to me and, there is a curved bar accessory but I'm not sure what advantage that would have for me.  The Häussler Alpha looks a bit more 'polished' and is an attractive machine as well with really expensive accessories that might be worthwhile if I get seriously into very soft things or very wet things.

 

I tend to think the Italian "mindset" might be a little better as well as I'm a gluten fan and think more in terms of Italian and French breads.  The German 'mindset' might be a bit better and more versatile due to the wider variety of bread types popular there.  Or, am I overthinking this all and would be better served with an ANKARSRUM mixer even though I'm not into Scandinavian gluten free breads.

 

Finally, All 3 mixers are going to serve the vast majority of people well and a totally blind choice would be a wonderful option for most people as these are all three such great mixers.

 

I tend to think my main interest is in Italian and French bread styles but, over time who knows where my interests might go?  Cakes, Pumpernickel or Rye, cookies, ...?

 

Random Google reviews aren't really helpful with advocates and financial biases lacking objectivity in most cases.  What are the Pro's and Con's for these mixers for long term non-commercial use?  Does the breaker bar really make a big difference in stiff high gluten breads?  I'm getting older and have wrist issues (too much computer desk work) and a rebuilt shoulder so heavy hand kneading isn't viable for me.

 

I want to move away from commercially sourced breads.  I eat a lot of flour tortillas and 'wrap' breads, cornbread and, hearty breads with Brioche being the 'hot' ticket right now.  I want to be able to mix small batches (~2lbs) frequently while retaining capacity for big batches of hearty bread for social events.  Any mixer needs to be a counter top compatible unit and weight needs be under 100lbs with a 60~80lb range being the upper range of what really makes the most sense considering my physical abilities today and likely effects of aging over time (live on a farm now and grew up on one so, I'm not a soft couch potato but I'm also not a ~20 year old throwing square bales by hand daily either ;) ).

 

I know this post is overly long but, hopefully it gives people a good picture of where I coming from with this purchase in both physical and capability constraints!

 

TIA,

Sid

Edited by Sid Post
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Have you considered something like the Globe SP08? They are really great work horse machines and have plenty of torque for thick doughs and you won't have to learn a whole new type of machine. Spiral mixers are great for bread (and only because it's a specialist) but they really are a different animal and you most likely going to want to have a KA around for Cakes/cookies ect. Platetary mixers are generalist machines.

 

But really imo spiral mixers are really more useful for bakeries. In a home setting even an advanced one I just don't see the advantage. So much gluten development can be done autolyse & stretch folding. YMMV and all that

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The Chinese mixers don't appeal to me.  The ones I have seen in person seemed really pretty crude.  Then there is the cost which is only marginally cheaper than most of the Italian options.  To be honest, I generally try to avoid supporting the Chinese economy if I can because of their horrible policies towards basic human rights abuses and other terrible things that are part of the ruling political class.

 

I tend to trust the collective wisdom of the bread making regions for the better mixers, hence my interest in the Italian, German and, Scandinavian based mixers.  They evolved over time there to serve the needs of "locals" and their bread making.

 

The bigger KitchenAid mixer are super nice for cakes and cookies plus normal household mixing needs but, they really don't work well bread based doughs.

 

Perhaps I need to investigate some of the no kneading bread options that use simple folds and time to work their magic.  As I moved to more hearty bread types though, I don't think that method will work very well.

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I should also note, that I have other mixers for normal household needs so I can live with it being a "uni-tasker" for bread doughs.  My KitchenAid mixer will stay on the counter for normal needs so a second planetary style mixer would be redundant and I don't want to get rid of the KitchenAid for sentimental reasons.

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Globes are great workhorse mixers.

 

That being said I completely understand not wanting to support the Chinese government. The Famag looks like a very good bread mixer. As a chef its hard not to look at Q/P. The Alpha looks great (hey in a home kitchen that matters) and is at least as good only you can answer if thats enough to justify the extra price.

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Pleasant Hill Grain has good pricing on the Famag options.  Yes a bit more expensive than the Chinese options and cheaper than the German mixer which has more eye appeal IMHO.

 

The Famag breaker bar and tilt head removable bowl seems to tick all the boxes for me and keeps calling my name.  The other Italian options certainly have their fans but, I think I want to stay away from the fixed bowls.  I also expect Pleasant Hill Grain to be around for the long term in the unlikely event I need some service support so, I think the Famag is probably the best option for me.  Now, do I really need to upsize to a 10qt model or, should I wait and try some simple no-knead options first?  Hmm ...

Edited by Sid Post (log)
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1 hour ago, AAQuesada said:

you don't want to get something bigger than you need but if you are going to be doing multiple loaves / large batches say around the holidays.. 10 quarts is reasonable.

 

Absolutely.  My first impulse is to go with 5 quarts but, the 8's and 10's are tempting for special occasions.  That is offset by possibly getting a second bowl.

 

The Famag with its curved breaker bar seems like a good option for small quantities where the 5 quart model MIGHT be able to do just a 1 pound ball of dough.  The 10 quart model minimum seems to be 1.5 pounds to 1.0 kilo depending on what I read.

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On the Pizza forum, a lot of people do 1 Kilo of pizza dough in 5, 8, and 10 quart spiral mixers.  On the Fresh Loaf, the 5's and 8's seem to have a stronger following but, those people are generally only making a couple of loaves of bread at a time.

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I it was for work I would say it's better to have something a little bigger but in a home setting personally I think its the opposite whats the smallest size that's going to get the job done 80% of the time. You can always run a second batch of dough -no big deal. If the 8qt works for you i'd get that, even if it's not much a smaller footprint makes it easier to move around and clean ect.  It just depends, try and guesstimate your volume the best you can. Your other limiting factor is how much you can bake (and eat/give away!)

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Minimum for me will generally be ~3lbs so, 10 quarts or smaller shouldn't be a problem.  On some of the 10 quart reviews, people report good results on 1.5Kilos of dough so I'm not too worried about my "small" mixes being problematic.  The real question is how often would I need 8 quarts or possibly 10?  And, how much bigger and bulkier are the 8 and 10 quart mixers?  Again, some reviews say the main difference is the bowl diameter without any significant changes to other dimension and only minor weight differences.  This has me thinking a 10 quart mixer is probably best considering the modest cost differences between the 3 sizes (probably less than the cost of a second bowl for example).

 

With my KitchenAid, I often get the 5 quart bowl pretty full frequently but, not with heavy dough which would tear it up.  However, I don't see myself mixing cakes or corn bread in a heavy spiral mixer so, this comparison probably isn't relevant.

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i almost bought a famag 10 from PHG earlier this year, but they were having stock issues due to covid. phew. :)

 

yes, from what i've seen, the breaker bar is pretty important. i wouldn't buy a spiral that doesn't have a breaker bar.

but then again, i'm pretty handy, so maybe i would. i bet i could add a breaker bar onto most spiral mixers.

 

also worth a read: https://wheatbeat.com/famag-spiral-mixer-update/

Edited by jaw (log)
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