Kitchen Tips

Do You Really Need a Stand Mixer?

While KitchenAid’s stand mixers have become the industry standard, it does come with a hefty price tag. Here are some reasons why you might consider purchasing one.

A turquoise kitchenaid stand mixer for a piece on whether you really need to buy a stand mixer

In my early twenties, I yearned to own a KitchenAid stand mixer. To me, it was a status symbol that had pride of place on kitchen countertops: a sign to others that you took baking seriously. It didn’t hurt that this good-looking stand mixer was also a powerhouse kitchen tool. Even Julia Child exclaimed that the sleek appliance made mixing “marvellous.”

While KitchenAid’s stand mixers have become the industry standard, they come with a hefty price tag. Even the most basic model has a suggested retail  price of $600 (or $400 on Amazon.ca). So you might be thinking, “do I really need a stand mixer?” Here are some reasons why you might consider purchasing one.

The design is timeless

The design profile of the KitchenAid stand mixer has remained virtually unchanged since 1937—a rare kitchen item that has withstood the test of time and obsolescence—and it continues to captivate home bakers today. In 1997, the mixer was named an icon of American design by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Combine this timeless design with extreme durability, and you have a hardworking kitchen assistant that may last a lifetime if it is well taken care of.

You can use it as the anchor of your kitchen tool arsenal

A basic stand mixer comes with three blade attachments: a flat paddle, a wire whisk and a dough hook.

Flat Paddle

This is generally used for generic baking tasks like mixing cake batters, frostings or cookie dough. But it can also be used to shred cooked meats (like chicken breasts or pulled pork).

Whisk

This whisk powered by the stand mixer is much stronger than any hand mixer. It can whisk egg whites and 35 percent cream in seconds. (Tip: start at low speed and work your way up so it doesn’t splatter!) Using a stand mixer for our homemade marshmallows also only takes 4 to 5 min to whip—unlike a hand mixer that takes double the time.

Dough Hook

This is where I think the stand mixer really shines. Basically, the stand mixer can double as a pair of hands in your kitchen, ready to knead bread or pasta dough for as long as you need. It not only saves your hands from lengthy kneading sessions, but also time (the hook is much more efficient than you are) and mess (no more flour-covered countertops).

There’s two models to choose from

KitchenAid’s stand mixers come in two formats: tilt-head and bowl-lift. Tilt-heads models require unlocking and lifting the motor-housed head up to change the blade and insert the bowl. Bowl-lift models have a lifting mechanism that locks and lifts the bowl up to meet the blade. The bowl-lift models are about 8 centimetres taller than the former. Both options are equally heavy, so I like to attach felt pads to the bottom of mine to make it easier to move around my counter.

While stand mixers come in a variety of sizes and horsepower, KitchenAid’s 5-quart artisan mixer should be more than sufficient if you’re a home baker.

It’s got some serious accessories

In addition to the three blades, KitchenAid also carries a line of attachments for your stand mixer, including (but not limited to) an ice cream maker, meat grinder, vegetable sheeter, food processor, juicer, spiralizer and pasta rollers. (You’ll have to buy these separately, though.) And they’re always innovating and releasing new attachments to help you make more use of your stand mixer. (Fun fact: According to this article, accessories that have been discontinued include a can opener, knife sharpener, pea sheller and silver polisher. If found, these old attachments can still work with today’s mixer!)

It can be customized to reflect your personality

In Canada, the most basic model (Artisan® Series 5-Quart) comes in 28 colours. Pick your favourite to display proudly on your counter. For next level customization, dress it up with a vinyl decal, like this cool Star Wars-themed one from Etsy. (May the force be with your stand mixer!)

You can customize the mixer bowl too, if the generic stainless steel isn’t doing it for you. KitchenAid offers glass as well as a variety of designer ceramic bowls for their tilt-head stand mixers, including this sweet holiday-themed number.

Verdict

If you’re one of the many people who have taken up bread baking as a hobby this year and could use something to help save time, a stand mixer could be for you. Practically any avid baker with countertop space will benefit from one.

If you would only be using a stand mixer for easy tasks like whipping cream and egg whites, consider a hand mixer instead. (KitchenAid just launched a cordless version!) While not as powerful, they’re cheaper, easy to store and work just fine for simple tasks.

With Black Friday and the holidays coming up soon, keep an eye out for any sales that might make the price tag a little more palatable–it could be worth it!

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