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Choosing a Stand Mixer

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A hand mixer is a wonderfully convenient, easy to use and easy to store small kitchen appliance. However, if you plan to do a considerable amount of baking, you may need to add a stand mixer to your kitchen appliance collection.

Stand mixers can handle a heavier dough than a hand mixer. Stand mixers also give you the advantage of having both hands free while the mixing process is going on. Once you decide you need a stand mixer, the next step is choosing the one that is best for you.

One aspect of the mixer design that you will need to decide on is whether you want a lift or tilt design. A tilt design simply means that the bowl remains stationary while the top tilts back to lift the beaters out of the bowl. The tilt design offers easier access to the bowl which is helpful when you’re adding ingredients, but the lift style is a space saver. One of the more appealing features of the bowl-lift design is that it fits under a cabinet and does not have to be moved forward in order to use it.

Generally, mixer bowl sizes range from 2 to 7 quarts with 4 or 5 quarts being the most frequently chosen options. It is recommended that a mixer provide at least six speed options in order to accommodate a variety of mixing requirements. Most mixers come with mix, whip and knead attachments.  There are numerous other attachments available depending on the mixer you select.

Metal gears are more durable than nylon gears in a stationary mixer.  However, the metal gears do make more noise than the nylon gears. Another consideration when choosing a stand mixer is the weight of the mixer.  The heavier the mixer, the less movement you will have when it is in use.  This could be a concern for you if you plan to frequently use the mixer for heavy duty tasks. On the other hand, if you plan to store your mixer in a cabinet or on a shelf, you will want to consider the weight of the mixer in regard to how easy or difficult it will be to move it from its storage place to the kitchen counter.

Some stand mixers have an overload reset button. If you plan to frequently knead heavy dough, this may be an option to consider. The safe shut off feature will keep your mixer from over-heating when performing heavy duty tasks.

If you plan to leave your mixer on the counter, you may be concerned about its outward appearance.  You have numerous colors to select from if you want to match it to your kitchen décor. However, the actual function of the mixer, the size of the bowl, the price of the mixer and the specific features it offers should be your most important concerns.  Choosing the stand mixer that fits your cooking style is what matters most.