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I just got an email asking me about mixers, the subject i believe is an open ended topic, no definite answer, what you get is what you end up with. Once you buy that mixer, you are stuck with it, the best thing to do is just try to learn how to operate the mixer the most efficient way possible despite its many flaws...If you are one of the "unlucky few", it does not mean you have to rid of the mixer and buy a new one. There will always be a way to run that mixer, still get some good mileage out of it while you save "again" hopefully for a better mixer.

My first mixer, a Kitchen Aid 4.5 quart which i used to make cookies, cakes and icings. Nope, no yeast dough ever made it through this one. I tried to mix twice, an ensaimada dough and a pullman/loaf bread but it took 45 minutes plus 3 chilling times to finish the job. If you will use a sponge or starter in your yeast doughs, you might be able to get a good batch of around 300-400 grams of flour with this model.

Shown here, this mixer had seen so many birthdays and christenings, served me well when i was selling cookies for 3 years (could almost smell the cookie dough in my skin)and actually learned or taught myself to make buttercream icings and boiled icings from a book. I went to a culinary school and learned all these with this kitchen aid, not in class.

My second mixer, a 10-quart Hoqurt (please do not laugh!!), Taiwan made which i got for P28,000.00 last 1998 and still works up to the time i left. When my friends ask me what brand my mixer is, i tell them first not to laugh because it is a knock off (Hobart)obviously. We end up laughing but if i can avoid it, i just tell them "ah, it's from Taiwan" or "it's factory direct".

Wait, looks can be deceiving, i had a hard time using this at first because i did not ask the supplier the right questions. It turned out that i can only load this mixer with 2.2 lbs of flour/1 kilogram, beyond that will cause the motor to overheat. This is a planetary mixer, meaning it has a dough hook, a paddle and a large balloon wire whisk. Spiral mixers do not come with these attachments, and since i bake cakes and other pastries i opt to have the other one.

Another feature that might turn you off is that the dough keeps on climbing up the neck ("necking") of the dough hook during mixing, so you turn it off at least 5-6 times per batch to bring the dough down. It would eat up around 20-25 minutes of your mixing time especially if the dough is slightly on the soft side. No problem at all if the dough is slightly stiff like pizza doughs, hard monay, siopao dough ...

Solution, is simply just to mix one kilogram of flour after another, so if i need to bake 5 kilograms a day, i would need to mix 5 times. Wow! I did this for almost 12 years. One of my students did not follow the supplier's directions, mixed 1.2 grams/batch and the mixer howled and oozed a dark grease down the hook during mixing. She had to pull the mixer out and had it repaired after just 3 months, mine never left my kitchen.

I think the reason why my mixer lasted this long, (out of pity to me?) is that because i made the mixing times shorter by using a sponge and dough method. Imagine mixing one kilogam of french bread dough for 45 minutes, but reducing it to only 10 minutes because of the sponge i fermented the night before. How good is that? I know that the more you use your gadget, the shorter its life gets, dumping you all sorts of problems (like this laptop)and if i am a guy, i would probably lose my hair over it. Well, i did lose my hair at one point (different story, no not dandruff, the more upscale clinical term with the letter C).

Anyway, i remember a client whose mixer overheated after just 20 minutes of mixing. We were on our first dough of the day and we had to pull the bowl out,chill it in box freezer, drape the mixer with a soaked towel and waited until the mixer cools off. The dough temperature registered a high 92F!!! Not acceptable.

So my last mixer, i bought after spending 10 hours a day for about a month after arriving in New York is an Omcan 20 quart planetary mixer.

A great buy, mixes in under 10 minutes, but the lowest batch you can mix is at 700 grams only. The 10 quart mixer can mix a low 300 grams, i did that when i was developing the siopao recipes and the others in my lessons, this one will not clear the bowl if you mix 500 grams of flour only. Not bad, i think if you are planning to start a small scale bakery, a 20 quart is the best starter mixer for you. I love this mixer, i am thinking of sending one to the Philippines when i touch base again say, after two years...

Best Feature is the safety lock, it will not turn on unless you close the lock the bowl guard. Cool!!! Downside, i am petite and so lifting the bowl is so much heavier than the one i used before, but saved me time and no more scraping the sides of the bowl... This one also has a hub for Hobart attachments such as the cheese grater, meat grinder etc.,, much like the Kitchen Aids..

Now, if you are short of money and does not need a commercial mixer such as mine, you can get the Kitchen aid commercial mixer, 5-6 quart is fine. I have used this one as well and the dough will take around 40 minutes to mix as well but at least you will get your own bread in the end.


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