There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a mixer which is crucial in the bread baking process, more so if you are physically incapable due to some injury or what not to knead the dough by hand. Before you rush for the best looking mixer on the shelf, think about your purchase and how it can help you and your needs while baking bread.
From my professional experience, I have found that the Kenwood KMC011 5 quart Chef Titanium Mixer is the best choice by far for the ultimate bread dough. Better engine, torque, and quality of parts than it’s competition. Check out the latest price at Amazon
We have used this mixer in our bakery ( we had the 7-quart version – a bit pricier ) for the purpose of tests when trying out new recipes or developing new products. We needed a smaller mixer ( for a home mixer this is one with the largest capacity) than our big commercial ones. This mixer handles bread doughs very well due to the good motor and the quality of the metal parts inside. We have done lots of research before buying this mixer and had it running for years without any issues.
Why I Chose the Kenwood KMC011 5 quart Chef Titanium Mixer
This mixer is in one word: a workhorse. It has a powerful 750 Watt engine with a high torque that can take on mixing of relatively stiffer doughs as you find in bread doughs when compared to cake batters.
Its kneading hook is made of high-grade stainless steel, not aluminum like you sometimes see at other brands. At the peak of the kneading process, it is much quieter compared to other mixers I tried.
It comes with a stainless steel mixing bowl with very sturdy handles. Really feels good in your hands. What I especially like is that the kneading hooks reach closer to the sides and bottom of the bowl so there is no need to use a hand scraper often to make everything mix well.
As for the weight, it is heavier than most home mixers on the market and that is a good thing. For one, it is a testament to the high-quality metals used and two, when mixing a tougher dough at high speed your mixer will not “dance” all over your counter.
Because of the weight, I suggest you have a steady place for this mixer on your counter so you won’t have to shlep it every time out of storage. Also, it looks great so you might as well display it.
Another plus: This mixer has 3 outlets that you can connect several attachments to with variable speeds for different jobs. Blender, food processors, meat grinders and a pasta machine as well. So as you can see this mixer is very versatile and has many functions that will make your other kitchen accessories obsolete.
FYI – these extra attachments will have to be purchased separately. The mixer comes with your basic dough hook, whisk, and Kenwoods signature k-beater attachments.
Features To Look For in a Mixer and How the Kenwood KMC011 is measuring up
No matter which mixer you decide to buy, it is very important to check whether the mixer you have chosen meets the following criteria. Kneading bread dough, as opposed to cake mixes and batters, cookie dough, or even whipped cream, requires a little more effort from your machine.
Speed, Motor Power, and Material
Bread dough is often more strenuous on a mixer than those of cakes and cookies and it is important to ensure that the engine is strong enough and well built to withstand the load. Engine power is not the only thing here as well, the Kenwood mixer has great torque to it which is even more important than speed for bread doughs.
Quite a few mixers will work well for a couple of months and then start giving you problems, the engine will heat up, gears in the machine will start to deteriorate, and of course the infamous phenomenon – the mixer will “dance” on the work surface. you don’t want any of that.
This mixer has excellent ventilation for the motor as well. Motor Ventilation will prolong the life of your motor. It’s quite stable, even at ridiculously high speeds and it’s one of the quietest mixers for the amount of power it has.
The speed is a very important factor for kneading the dough, all the more so in bread dough. It is important that the mixer has a variety of speeds for different stages of the kneading. Some bread also requires high-speed kneading and this is quite challenging for your regular home mixer.
If you read carefully your user manual if you have a KitchenAid mixer, for example, you will see somewhere some warnings about heavy loads on high speed. Here one of the notices from the KitchenAid user manual about bread dough use:
“NOTE: Use Speed 2 to mix or knead yeast doughs. Use of any other speed creates high potential for Stand Mixer failure. The PowerKnead™ Spiral Dough Hook efficiently kneads most yeast dough within 4 minutes. “
This is where the Kenoowd mixer is much superior and can handle these loads under any speeds.
This mixer has electronic variable speed control that allows ingredients to gradually be incorporated before mixing them at high speeds, so they won’t spread out on your work surface instead of keeping in the bowl.
This is where the choice is up to you. Many mixers come in different sizes. The Kenwood Titanium Chef mixers offer 2 sizes 5 Quart and 7 Quart.
The 5 Quart is usually sufficient and is cheaper obviously. If do decide to get a 7 Quart it will last longer as it has a more powerful engine at 800 Watts. If you make smaller doughs in it the load on the engine will be smaller resulting in less stress on the engine.
If you need to beat egg whits the Kenwood 5quart mixer has a capacity of 12 eggs maximum. It will also handle as small as 2 egg whites.
Storage and Weight
When buying a mixer it is important to think ahead of time about the storage and the comfort of using it.
This mixer, relative to capacity and power, is well designed and compact. It is not very tall, just a tick below 12 inches. The exact size is 15.7L x 9.0W x 11.7H inches. This can easily be stored away in a kitchen cupboard.
The only drawback I find is that it is relatively heavy (27 lbs, to be exact). My wife, for example, finds it quite heavy when carrying it from the shelf to the work surface. I suggest designating a permanent space for this on your counter to make life a bit easier, especially if you are a hardcore home baker and use it often.
Value for money, this is the formula I follow.
I know this Kenwood’s mixer is not cheap. It is priced above the average for a home mixer, so maybe some of you will pass on it because of the price tag but the value you get for the money is worth in my opinion to those of you who bake bread on a regular basis and will last you for many years.
You can go out and get other competitive brands but what you pay for is what you get. You are going to dish out a couple of hundred dollars on this purchase anyway so I say hold off if you don’t have all the money right now and save up a bit longer for this mixer. It will be worth it.
I have seen too many times people cheap out on a mixer and get a knock off-brand or some cheap mixer they find and discover that it can’t hold up to their bread doughs and their engine just burns up after a few uses. Don’t make that mistake.
It is generally assumed that the mixer bowls and various attachments are a dishwasher safe it is always better to double-check the manufacturer’s instructions in order not to cause irreversible damage to our tools. The parts of the Kenwood mixer are dishwasher safe.
Always clean your mixer after use. Use a dry brush first to remove flour and then go over it with a damp rag to clean it all up.
Always make sure the vents for the engine are clear. Keeping a clean mixer will result in longer shelf life.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post. This is a mixer I am very familiar with and have seen this outperform all other home stand mixers on the market. Yes, a bit more expensive but worth it in the long run.
I had a few friends with other stand mixers that did not hold up to the load a bread dough requires from a mixer. You will not be disappointed with this purchase, I promise you that.