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james 06-15-2007 07:02 AM

Different types of mixers

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?

CanuckJim 06-15-2007 07:59 AM

Re: Different types of mixers

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.


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.


jjerrier 06-24-2007 09:06 PM

Re: Different types of mixers
Has anyone tried out the new Cuisnart tabletop mixer?? It looks pretty nice...

RTflorida 06-24-2007 09:27 PM

Re: Different types of mixers
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?


Unofornaio 06-25-2007 12:33 AM

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.

maver 06-25-2007 06:03 AM

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.

james 06-25-2007 07:55 AM

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.

RTflorida 06-25-2007 09:32 AM

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.

PizzaPolice 06-25-2007 10:20 AM

Re: Different types of mixers

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 @ - 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".


RTflorida 06-25-2007 08:16 PM

Re: Different types of mixers
Checked out the I'm leaning in that direction. Anyone else have any experiences with the Cuisinart or Electolux?

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