The Baker's Small Appliance
Courtesy of KitchenAid
This KitchenAid stand mixer's bowl has a handle for easy lifting and pouring.
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 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.
Padded stainless steel whisks on this hand mixer from Hamilton Beach protect bowls from nicks and scratches.
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.