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Different types of mixers

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  • Different types of mixers

    Jim,

    In your vast amounts of spare time, could you write up a very short description of the differences between a spiral mixer, a planetary mixer and a fork mixer?

    Where does the Electrolux roller and scraper fit in?

    Anybody else want to jump in?
    James
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    Re: Different types of mixers

    James,

    Baking today for a Farmers' Market tomorrow, so I don't have lots of time. The Electrolux is in a league of its own, and doesn't really fit with the other types. My feeling is that the design was developed to get around the friction problems we have been discussing. I've only used one a few times, so I can't be too specific about it's performance or friction specs. It's not very good at handling stiff doughs, such as for bagels. Not enough torque, but it does clean the sides of the bowl very well with high hydration doughs.

    The dough hook of a spiral mixer is in a fixed position, but it rotates of course, usually at the back of the bowl. The bowl spins (hence the name spiral) in the same direction as the hook turns by using a chain or ring gear in the base. This cuts down friction on the sides of the bowl. Generally, these machines are heavily built, purpose designed for dough and run at slower rpms than a planetary mixer.

    The dough hook of a planetary mixer also rotates, but so does the head of the mixer (hence the name planetary), so you get a dual action. The bowl is fixed. This design creates considerable friction in bread dough because of so much contact with the fixed bowl, and with stiffer doughs the dough will actually climb the hook (more friction), but it's fine when using the paddle or wire whip. My feeling is that the planetary mixer is meant as a multi-purpose machine, so it comes up short in too many areas. Many for home use are not heavily enough built for lots of bread dough. The standard planetary mixer in N Am bakeries is the Hobart. Not a fan of them for the reasons stated, though they are built like tanks.

    A fork mixer is another animal entirely. The bowl is in a fixed position, and instead of a hook, you have a fork that plunges into and gently turns the dough. The French versions are somewhat faster than the Italian, but both are very slow by our standards. The slow speed and gentle, folding action do not create appreciable friction. Therefore, dough can be mixed longer for maximum gluten development (you still must control the temps of your ingredients, though). This is a more complex design, hence more expensive, and it's difficult to find anything other than industrial sizes. My impression is that the vast majority of bakeries in France and pizzerias in Italy use fork mixers for precisely these reasons. I'm pretty sure that home mixers there are usually of the spiral or planetary type: Esmach, Bosch, Cuisinart, e.g.

    Complete?

    We maybe should work out some real specs on these things.

    I'm certainly heading in the fork mixer direction, depending on price, availability and size. It's a mystery to me why, with the renaissance of WFO bakeries and pizzerias, that fork mixers haven't taken over North America. Many people have trained in Europe, both for pizza and bread, but they don't seem to have come back with fork mixers under their arms. Strange. I know of one in the Hudson Valley: it's French, huge and cost around 35 K. No doubt there are others. So far as I know, fork mixers are not available in North America at this time unless you import them yourself. I don't think it would take long to convert a true pizza chef from the Hobart to the fork.

    If we could take friction out of the equation, making bread and pizza would be a whole lot more precise.

    Jim
    "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

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    • #3
      Re: Different types of mixers

      Has anyone tried out the new Cuisnart tabletop mixer?? It looks pretty nice...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Different types of mixers

        O.K.
        I seriosly need a mixer (primarily for pizza dough) and I know my wife won't let me break the bank on anything commercial. Any specific brands/models hold up well to only being used for dough, once or twice a week?
        The cheap westbend my wife has bucks and bounces all over the counter on any speed above 2. I've got to find something better.
        I have heard the quality issues of the newer KA so I think I will pass. Any other units under $1000 that can plow through an double recipe of dough?

        Thanks
        RT

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        • #5
          Re: Different types of mixers

          Hey Rt,
          I have 2 5qt KA mixers a univex 20qt and a Hobart 60qt (all in storage right now). I have used the KAs for cookies (some pretty dry mixes) and the Univex for wet doughs and larger cookie batches and the Hobart for big batches of dryer bread doughs. Actually all of them for pizza dough at one time or another and never had a problem. I haven't heard the stories about the new KA but Ive been out of the game for a few years now. Id say try the new 6qt KA and see how it goes I do know they are really good about the warranty heck use the crap out of it push it to its limit and if it blows, it blows but for once a week I think it should be fine. With a 1000.00 budget you have some really good options even some used commercial equip. Hobart has a 6qt table top mixer that I see for sale all the time from school auctions and grocery store bakeries. I bought the Univex from a guy for 250.00 I put a new belt went through the motor (clean,grease etc) and its a little work horse didn't have a problem with it for years and i used to do 200 lb of dough every weekend in it.
          I'm a big advocate of auctions not only because I'm cheap but there is SOOOO much really good equipment out there that has barely been used...bakeries fail at a rate close to restaurants.
          http://www.palmisanoconcrete.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Different types of mixers

            A used commercial mixer that you might look at:

            Restaurant equipment..need to clear out stock..

            I don't know anything about the brand, maybe the pro bakers here might comment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Different types of mixers

              I would be wary of the KA 600 Professional. For that price (or a little higher) I would give the Cuisinart a try. Also, do we have any Electrolux owners out there?

              Whatever you buy, post a review here.
              James
              Pizza Ovens
              Outdoor Fireplaces

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Different types of mixers

                I do like the features of the Cuisinart SM-70 (the new 7 qt.) and I'm certain my wife will be happy with a countertop unit that does not take up half of the kitchen. Anyone have a review of either Cuisinart model (SM-55 or SM-70)?
                As much as I would like a commercial (new or used) it just doesn't seem practical (size/space requirements or the amount of use it will get). I'm not a baker, so pizza dough 1 or two times a week and my wifes occasional cakes/cookies will be all the use it gets.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Different types of mixers

                  James:

                  I bought a DLX 2000 or Electrolux some time ago after burning the windings of my new KA. This mixer will happily and efficiently mix up to 15# of dough.
                  The roller and scraper works on smaller amounts up to 5-6#. The stationary dough hook rests on the bottom as the scraper cleans the sides.
                  It makes excellent Chicago deep dish, NY style dough and SUPERB Neapolitan dough. After a 20 minute autolyse, the low friction dough comes out like smooth taffy.
                  This mixer as well as dough formulations are discussed @ PizzaMaking.com - Pizza Making, Pizza Recipes, and More!. This what they do.
                  I've referenced FB many times over there when someone needs direction on building ovens so I hope you don't mind when I mention "The Other Place".

                  PizzaPolice

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                  • #10
                    Re: Different types of mixers

                    Checked out the Electrolux......now I'm leaning in that direction. Anyone else have any experiences with the Cuisinart or Electolux?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Different types of mixers

                      So what is the buzz on the new KAs? Mine are the older ones and I never had a problem with them..Is it the age old addige "it wasnt broke so we fixed it" which it todays terms means.."we outsourced the manufacturing of key components and reduced our overhead" but they never seem to care when product sufferes, how does that work anyway
                      http://www.palmisanoconcrete.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Different types of mixers

                        Thats exactly what I have read on this thread and severl others. several have mentioned burning up the windings as well as the gears, which I believe are plastic' Having never owned one I have no idea what all the problems are about..
                        I'm just looking for positive feedback on any of the popular brands so I can make an uneducated guess as to which will work best for me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Different types of mixers

                          Uno,

                          At one point I posted quite a bit on the KA 600, so you might want to search for it here. The basic problem is that the transfer case is now made of plastic with two wimpy screws holding it in position. The older models were metal and much more beefy. After three months of making bread dough, the plastic transfer case on mine cracked, and, predictably, the gears chewed themselves to pieces and you could smell the motor windings self destructing. You are exactly correct, outsourcing is the culprit. A quick web search for KA owner reviews will turn up far too many people who had the same experience. This is unfortunate. I grew up with a KA in my mother's kitchen. I'll never buy one again. Should have known as soon as they came in designer colors.

                          Jim
                          "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Different types of mixers

                            As Jim notes, there are a handful of postings on the "new" new KA 600 here in the FB Forum. That is the newest professional one, which is supposed to have less plastic parts and be better than the bad new KA mixers.

                            Like Jim, I didn't have a good experience. A burning smell and a whining motor, and I am sure to burn mine out as soon as I start using it regularly again.

                            So, we will all be watching and listening as everyone shares their experiences with the new Cuisinart, the Viking and Electrolux.

                            Make sure you post what you have, why you picked and how well you like it here.
                            James
                            Pizza Ovens
                            Outdoor Fireplaces

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Different types of mixers

                              Wow I guess I hit the nail on the head..Figures, its the same crap with power tools. Used to be if you buy the best tool you keep it for a lifetime now your lucky if it lasts as long as the warranty (which they know) then trying to deal with the warranty process cost more in time (work lost) than just buying an new one all over again. I used to buy only the best tools and I still have many of them because my father taught me (drilled into my head actually) "if you take care of them they will take care of you" but now its really a gamble either their is something missing in a factory "sealed" box (home depot is famous for that one) or out of 3 of the same tools 1 is good. Its really something you have to "plan" for when your on a job site. I have an MK saw that is probably 15 years old and the only thing Ive had to replace is the blade. I recently bought a cheaper model at H.D. for a job I needed 2 on. Cutting brick was OK but when it came to the tile it was like cutting with a wood blade instead of a $80.00 diamond blade.. glaze chipping like crazy (from even the smallest vibration) same tile cut on the MK with a blade that probably should have been in the trash..smoooth as glass. But what can you do you have to deal with what is out there which means the customer gets charged more because you have to factor in these things. But the good thing is cheaper outsourcing is creating jobs in the world marketplace....yea right, it may be creating jobs but the worldwide impact on quality and craftsmanship as well as a whole generation growing up in a "throw away" society is also a hefty price for our children to pay...
                              Bummer about the KAs..
                              http://www.palmisanoconcrete.com

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