Heavy-Duty Stand Mixers

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The ubiquitous KitchenAid is the mini version of the Hobart, a brand found in commercial kitchens all over the world. The 5 quart Artisan is KitchenAid’s most popular model, so I used it to test all of the recipes in this book. The head tilts back to make scraping the bowl easy, and the mixer’s adjustable beaters enable them to reach as close to the bottom of the bowl as possible for thorough and even mixing. If you plan to make large cakes, such as wedding cakes, or bread, however, KitchenAid’s larger and more powerful 6 or 8 quart models or Cuisinart’s 7 quart model will serve you better. An added feature on the larger KitchenAid mixer is a water jacket attachment to heat or chill the bowl while beating.
The 5 quart mixer can handle any mixture that does not exceed 4 quarts, for example, an 8 egg butter cake or 7 egg génoise. The 6 quart mixer can handle any mixture that does not exceed 5 quarts, such as a 9 egg butter cake or 11 egg génoise.
For smaller amounts of ingredients, such as cream for whipping, and for recipes that involve beating hot syrup into eggs or egg whites, a handheld mixer is more practical than a stand mixer. KitchenAid makes an excellent model.
Heavy-duty stand mixers offer the choice of a flat “paddle” beater, a whisk beater, and often a dough hook. The flat beater is intended for general mixing; the whisk beater will whip as much air as possible into a mixture, such as when you beat egg whites or batter for sponge-type cakes; and the dough hook is for kneading bread. The Beater attachments for the KitchenAid that scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing virtually eliminate hand scraping and food buildup on the sides and bottom of the bowl. When using beaters designed to scrape the bowl, for recipes where dry ingredients are being mixed into wet ingredients, you must install the mixer bowl’s splash guard, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the bowl, or first hand-mix the dry ingredients to moisten them. Plastic wrap works better than a cloth towel draped over the bowl because any flour that leaps up will not cling to the plastic, and you can see what is happening to the mixture in the bowl. Even at the lowest speed, some of the dry ingredients can fly out of the bowl as the beater’s scraping action churns the mixture upward.
If you are investing in a stand mixer, it pays to get an extra bowl and set of beaters for the many times egg whites need to be beaten after the rest of the ingredients have been mixed. Because the whites require a spotlessly clean bowl and beaters, a second set comes in very handy.
Always start mixing on low speed and gradually raise the speed to what is indicated in the recipe. If the volume of the ingredients is small in proportion to the mixer bowl, you will need to use higher speeds. The times listed in the recipes are for a stand mixer. The gradual increase in speed not only keeps the ingredients from jumping out of the bowl but it is better for the gears of the mixer. The one exception to this practice is when beating hot syrup into stiffly beaten egg whites. Starting on low between each addition would overheat and deflate the whites.