Do you really need a stand mixer? Yes – and here's why
If you want to develop your baking skills and make pastries and cakes worthy of a Parisian bakery, then a stand mixer might just be what you are after
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Do you really need a stand mixer? The short answer is yes. This useful kitchen appliance is guaranteed to transform the way you bake. Here is why a stand mixer is the kitchen gadget you didn't know you needed.
Baking can be hard work, particularly when you have to mix all of the ingredients together by hand. If you’re planning to make a lot of cakes, cookies, and other tasty treats at home, then purchasing the best stand mixer that you can afford could be a worthwhile investment, as it will certainly save your mixing arm from getting tired.
Here are some of the many other reasons why we think a stand mixer is essential.
Do you really need a stand mixer?
I love baking, and my family loves to reap the rewards of my efforts, but as anyone who also fancies themselves as a bit of a domestic goddess can attest, baking takes up a lot of time – and effort. So believe me in saying that when I took advantage of a Black Friday KitchenAid mixer deal, my life (and baking) changed for the better.
My stand mixer opened up a whole world of baking. Suddenly, recipes that I had always felt were only attainable to a trained baker or patisserie chef were now within easy reach.
Best of all, baking started to take a lot less time, and I found myself wanting to do it more often, much to my family's joy. In fact, I saved energy (and money) by using my stand mixer, too. So whether you bake occasionally or often, for a few or for a crowd, a stand mixer will make light work of cakes, biscuits, and bread.
If you're worried about space and let's face it, most of us do, it is worth taking note of the many different options out there because I can almost guarantee that you will find one to suit you. Top-of-the-range stand mixers with an all-metal construction are heavy, so they’re less likely to creep across the kitchen countertop when mixing, but make sure you’ve got kitchen cabinet space for a hefty model, ideally at a level where you won’t have to bend or strain to lift it out.
Anything tucked away in a cupboard is only likely to make it out onto the countertop on high days and holidays: if you want an everyday workhorse, having it set up and ready to go right in front of you makes it easier to use. If you have space, consider a ‘gadget garage’ – somewhere to store your small appliances, plugged in and ready to go, behind a roller shutter or cupboard doors.
What is the purpose of a stand mixer?
The purpose of a stand mixer is to take the effort out of baking, making it more accessible to absolutely everyone.
For bakers, a sturdy stand mixer will take the arm ache out of whisking and kneading. Most designs come with a whisk, beater, and dough hook, and some offer several extras, such as slicing, shredding, mincing, ice-cream making, and liquidizing tools.
Can a stand mixer knead bread dough?
A stand mixer may look the part, but they're also great for taking the muscle work out of even the toughest recipes, and that includes kneading dough. In fact, some of the best stand mixers feature in many chef's kitchens for this very reason.
Most models come with three tools: a balloon whisk for whipping cream, eggs, and light mixtures; a dough hook for kneading bread; and a beater for batters, biscuit dough, and general mixing. This could also be a flexi or scraper beater, which helps scrape down the bowl as it mixes. Another common accessory is a splashguard, which prevents contents from escaping during vigorous mixing.
Most brands offer extra attachments to buy. Options include rollers for pasta and ravioli makers, mincers or grinders for meat, slicers, pre-freeze ice cream bowls, mills, spiralizer, and juicers
Why are stand mixers so expensive?
If you are wondering why stand mixers are so expensive, you are not alone. The best models, like Kitchenaid, Wolf, and Cuisinart are expensive for a good reason; they are tried-and-trusted brands that rarely, if ever, fail to deliver on their promise to provide you with a top-quality stand mixer. We should know, we've tried them all on H&G.
However, if a stand mixer is too costly for what you need, then do consider a cheaper alternative, like a hand mixer instead. And if you're hesitating between a hand mixer vs a stand mixer, think about what you might use it for and how much baking you are likely to do, as this will inevitably affect your decision. By contrast, the best hand mixers can cost as little as $40, and they take up a fraction of the storage space.
Where to buy a stand mixer?
Whether you're hoping to level up your home baking for seasonal entertaining, bake sales, self-indulgence, or are an amateur pastry chef in the making, a stand mixer will make home baking hassle-free, which is why we think, yes, you do really need a stand mixer in your kitchen arsenal.
However, with so many options, where to begin? Consider how you like to cook and the tasks you regularly perform to narrow down your selection. Department stores, electrical specialists, and cookery shops offer an opportunity to handle – and sometimes try out – different machines, and compare their robustness and features.
More details on our favorite models are below:
Tried, tested, and loved by us, the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer needs no introduction. It has a stainless steel bowl, but you can buy accessories to customize your mixer to your personal style. Much like in our KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer review, this stand mixer comes with all the attachments you need for most of your baking needs.
The KitchenAid vs Cuisinart debate is always tight, but if the value for money is your number one consideration then the Cuisinart Precision Stand Mixer is a brilliant choice. It comes in six colors: periwinkle blue, white, silver, red, black, and robin's egg green, and has an extra half quart on the KitchenAid Artisan at 5.5-quarts total.
Interestingly enough, the creme de la creme of stand mixers is not a KitchenAid. If money is no object, the Wolf should be at the center of your desires. We love the unique twist-up bowl design, which creates a sturdy, stable mixing experience, but everything about the Wolf Gourmet Stand Mixer is elite. In fact, we could only fault its limited color range and price tag, which are quite superficial.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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