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The Baker's Small Appliance

KitchenAid-Stand-Mixer-With-Bowl

Courtesy of KitchenAid

This KitchenAid stand mixer's bowl has a handle for easy lifting and pouring.

Stand Mixers

Whether you are a regular baker or aspire to corner the neighborhood cupcake market, a stand mixer will help you handle the arm-tiring work of mixing, blending, kneading and beating. With different bowl sizes, weights and attachments to consider, choose the stand mixer that works best with your everyday needs.

Stand mixers can get heavy, but that weight helps stabilize their loads for intense mixing jobs. You'll probably want to store the stand mixer on your countertop because of its heft, so its color and design may be important to you. (If you're remodeling your kitchen, consider a mixer shelf or lift in a base cabinet.)

The bowl should be large enough to handle bigger loads-at least 4.5 quarts. Some bowls come equipped with a handle to make pouring batters and mixes easier.

The more power your mixer packs, the more dough it can handle. And while your stand mixer may have up to 8 or even 16 speeds, you will want to look for low or slow-start speeds to avoid splattering.

Finally, stand mixers come with different kinds of mixing motions. Conventional stand mixers have two fixed mixers, but commercial grade mixers will have planetary motion. That means that as the mixer spins on its own axis, it also rotates around the bowl, folding more batter into its path and reducing the need to scrape the sides of the bowl.

 

 stand mixer attachments like a juicer and pasta maker

Stand mixer attachments make this small appliance more versatile.

 

Stand Mixer Attachments

Some stand mixers will come equipped with standard paddles and beaters, in addition to a dough hook and wire whisk. Other mixers may only come with fixed whisks. For more options, you can purchase additional attachments such as food grinders, pasta rollers and cutters, juicers, shredders and more.

 hand mixer by hamilton beach

Padded stainless steel whisks on this hand mixer from Hamilton Beach protect bowls from nicks and scratches.

 

Hand Mixers

For quick and easy mixing, a hand mixer does the trick. The hand mixer is the little brother to the stand mixer, handling lighter jobs like mixing cupcake batter or whipping icing.

If baking isn't a regular thing for you, then a hand mixer that can be stored away and cleaned up easily is a good choice. Like the stand mixer, you should select a model that has a slow or soft start feature to keep your ingredients from being whisked out of the bowl.

Since you will be handling this mixer, you'll want to consider the ergonomics of your machine's design. Handles that slant up toward the front of the machine keep your wrist from being strained, and lighter models are easier to manage.

Avoid hand mixers with less than 175 volts of power, and lean toward your options with lighter, stainless steel double whisks. Some models feature coated stainless steel whisks to softly scrape the bowl. Other models include accessories for storage.

 

 

 

 

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KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Stand Mixer

525KitchenAid90thanniversaryredstandmixer

KitchenAid marked its 90th anniversary with a special edition stand mixer in Candy Apple Red. As a tribute to earlier models, the 5-quart Artisan Series stand mixer includes a clear glass bowl (with a handle, pour spout, and measurment lines) in place of the stainless steel bowl sold with today's models. The 10-speed stand mixer features a tilt-head design for easy bowl access and can accommodate eight to nine cups of flour. The mixer comes with three accessories: a flat beater, a dough hook and a wire whip. KitchenAid is making the glass bowl available separately this fall.

Brew Express Coffee Maker

Brew Express coffee maker

Brew Express in-wall coffee makers connect directly to power and water supplies, tapping into either a cold-water line or a bottled-water dispenser. Brew Trak technology ensures a consistent brew temperature regardless of incoming water temperature or electricity voltage variation, and the thermal carafe maintains temperature and coffee quality in or out of the heating element. Available in 12-cup, 10-cup and four-cup sizes.

They Also Make Cappuccino, Lattes, and More

Espresso-Machine-In-Funky-Modern-Kitchen

Espresso machines come in a wide range of sizes and price ranges. Explore the offerings of various brands and read consumer reviews before selecting a make and model for your kitchen.


There are four types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatics, super-automatics and built-in espresso machines.

Espresso purists tend to prefer manual espresso machines, also known as piston or lever espresso machines, but using them does take some skill. After evenly tamping the coffee grounds into the filter, the user pulls down on a handle to force the water through the coffee. When you pull the handle, as well as how fast or slow you pull it, affects the taste, and the physical effort can be tough for some people. Given the learning curve, homeowners often opt for a semi- or fully automatic version.

With a semi-automatic espresso machine, you fill the porta filter with ground coffee, but instead of using your arm power, the machine uses pump to create the pressure. A pump is very consistent in its delivery, so even if there are slight variations when it's brewing, it will make a taste of the coffee different. Most of the semi-automatics have a frothing feature on the side, so you can froth or steam your own milk, mix it with espresso shot and make cappuccino or latte. These machines have a tank in the back and need to be filled up with water. The only downside of this type of machine is that it doesn't store your coffee grounds. For every cup of coffee you have to fill the porta filter with ground coffee.

Super-automatic espresso machines allow you to store coffee directly in the unit as well as grind it freshly each time you use it. Super-automatic machines tend to be bigger than semi-automatics, so make sure that you have enough space in your kitchen. They are designed for speed, convenience and less mess or maintenance. Super-automatics will grind a pre-measured dose of espresso beans and extract a specific amount of coffee, from demitasse espresso to full cup of coffee. The used coffee grounds are placed into an internal bin that you need to dispose once it's full.

These large (and expensive) machines have displays that tell you what you are doing or what you need to do. For example, it can tell you when water tank is empty, when you need to empty the coffee ground bin, when to clean and decalcify the machine, etc. All super-automatics have a frothing feature if you want to make your own cappuccino or latte. You can also get an instant hot water for your tea or soup. Some super-automatics have an automatic frothing feature which lets you mix coffee and milk at the same time with the push of a button. Built-in espresso machines are pretty much the same as super-automatics, except that they need to be built into a kitchen cabinet.

When it comes to cleaning, most models are self-cleaning. Every couple of months you need to use the cleaning solution that will clean your machine internally.

 

 

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Compact Units for Making Crispy and Baked Dishes

A four-clice toaster

Newer toasters have a variety of settings and have slots for more than just two pieces of toast.

Toaster Ovens & Toasters

Toasters no longer serve just as simple canisters in which to heat bread. Modern toasters can have a range of temperature settings, as well as oversize slots to accommodate thicker or longer bread and bagels. Typically they have two or four slots.

A convenient feature to look for is a slide-out tray for disposing of bread crumbs. These trays make it easier to keep a toaster clean. Toasters typically cost between $20 and $100.

A toaster oven looks like a mini oven, and for all intents and purposes, that's what it is. It's great for heating smaller food dishes, and is a suitable replacement for an oven in situations where a regular-sized oven is not available. Toaster or countertop ovens can be set at a variety of temperatures, and they also have a setting for toasting bread. Some newer countertop ovens even offer convection heat, which makes for faster and more even cooking.

When using a toaster oven, make sure to take certain precautions. These small boxes produce a great deal of heat in a short amount of time, so you'll want to make sure food placed inside it doesn't overheat and catch fire. If you're using a toaster oven in a temporary kitchen setting, or in a small confined space, make sure extremely flammable items are not placed near the toaster oven, as they can catch on fire.

Toaster ovens typically cost between $75 and $300.


Electric Rotisserie Oven from Deni

Courtesy of Deni

 

Electric Rotisseries

A derivative of the toaster oven, the electric rotisserie often looks like a toaster oven with a rotisserie attachment. You can also find vertical standing rotisserie ovens, where the rotisserie rod is positioned upright instead of horizontally. Most electric rotisseries have more interior space than a typical toaster oven in order to accommodate the size of items being cooked, such as whole chickens or turkeys.

They typically cost between $50 and $200.

 
 

 

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Not Just for Tea Drinkers

An electric kettle for brewing tea.

Courtesy of Breville

Unlike most electric kettles, this one actually steeps the loose tea leaves for you.

For many people in the United States, stove-top kettles are king. They're affordable, they heat water pretty quickly, and some even whistle when the water reaches its boiling point. Electric kettles tend to be more popular in countries where tea is preferred to coffee, but they have advantages anyone can appreciate.

For example, electric kettles boil water more quickly, so they're more energy efficient. They also free up burner space on the cooktop or range, and can be used in places without access to a stove; say, at the office or in a bedroom. And of course, hot water comes in handy for hot chocolate or instant oatmeal and soup as well as tea.


Material options:
Electric kettles may be made from plastic, glass or stainless steel. Plastic is the most affordable option; glass offers the option of viewing your water or tea but can crack or break; stainless steel keeps the water hot the longest, but makes the kettle heavier to lift.


Corded or cordless:
A corded kettle sits on its own base and has an attached cord that plugs into the outlet. A cordless kettle sits on a "plate," and the cord is attached to the plate. They work the same way, but the cordless option makes pouring and serving easier.

Nice features to look for include a water gauge to indicate the level of the water inside the kettle, a water filter, variable temperature control with different settings for different types of tea, and an automatic shut-off function so that the kettle doesn't boil dry.

Kettles typically cost between $20 and $100, although they can run as high as $250 if they have a lot of features.

 

 

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Kenmore Elite Four-Slice Toaster

Kenmore Elite 4-Slice Toaster

Kenmore Elite's four-slice toaster features extra-long toast slots to accommodate oversized bread; defrost, reheat and bagel functions; and blue LED light buttons. A die-cast metal body with brushed stainless steel accents make it a durable, stylish addition to any kitchen. The fast toasting feature makes your bread toasty in less than 75 seconds.

Small Appliances that Pack a Big Punch!

Countertop Cooking Introduction

For the True Coffee Lover's Next Remodel

Built-In-Coffee-Machine

Courtesy of Dacor

Built-in coffeemakers allow you to make gourmet coffee right from home.

Retrofit into a kitchen remodel or installed in the sitting room of a new master suite, built-in coffee machines have become the splurge du jour thanks to their space-saving design and fun features.


Pros

  • They preserve countertop space by being installed into your cabinetry
  • They can be (although they don't have to be) plumbed directly to your water source, ensuring fresh water and saving trips from the sink to the coffeemaker

Cons

  • If your cabinet space is at a premium, a built-in coffeemaker takes up a substantial amount: most built-ins are about 24 inches wide, 22 or 23 inches deep and 18.5 inches high.
  • An average price tag of $2,000 to $2,500.

 

All built-in coffee and espresso machines are automatic models. You won't find them at typical retailers-instead, look for appliance specialists that carry high-end lines or at gourmet cookware stores.

The built-in models typically offer dual dispensing spouts whose height can be adjusted, a hot-water dispenser, an integrated frothing system, and either an integrated grinder with bean and ground compartments or a pod/capsule system. Other common features include multiple grinder settings, a large water reservoir, water/coffee temperature control, water hardness settings, a built-in water filter, a timer and automatic cleaning and descaling.

Some come with a cup-and-saucer warming and storage drawer; others can be installed with a separate but matching drawer unit.

Touch-pad control panels with LED displays are standard; but many of these units-which often are made by European manufacturers- offer multilingual displays.

 

 

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More in this category:« Espresso Machines

KitchenAid Countertop Oven

KitchenAid-Countertop-Oven
Courtesy of KitchenAid

In addition to a new standard countertop oven (available in 10-, 12- and 13-inch sizes), KitchenAid is introducing one model with convection (12- and 13-inch sizes) and a third with both convection and steam-assisted cooking (in a 13-inch size only). The steam model also includes digital controls, pre-programmed cook times and a 13-inch pizza stone. Dishwasher-safe drip pans, a bake temperature of up to 450 degrees, warming functions and 120-minute timers all add large-appliance functionality.