I own a KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer in “Blue Willow.” I am a casual baker and am relatively new in the kitchen and prior to making this purchase, I did quite a bit of research on stand mixers. I found that the questions you have to ask yourself prior to making this purchase are:
- Do you really need one, and, if the answer is yes, then;
- Is this a one-time purchase, and;
- Which stand mixer actually *fits* your needs?
Though I was tempted to get a big 6-Qt professional, bowl-lifting, super cool mixer, I realized that I generally cook for two people and that I would not need to ever really mix 14-cups of flour or 8 pounds of potatoes. Even if I did, I’d be doing it in smaller batches anyway. So that brought me back to my senses and I considered the KitchenAid Artisan.
Oddly, it only has 325 watts of power. Other stand mixers of this size offer up to 500 watts; the KitchenAid 6 Qt. Pro offers 525 watts and a bowl “lift” function. I don’t know if this makes a huge difference, but my KitchenAid stands up to whatever I put in it. I use it to make mostly cookie and bread doughs. It comes with three accessories: flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip. The flat beater is very versatile and I have really appreciated not having to wrestle with my crappy hand-mixer when mixing things like softened cream cheese. I can throw it all into the bowl at once and walk away to start something else.
It’s a snap. While I tend to still get flour all over “The Fuselage,” as I call my mixer, it wipes off in a jiffy because of the sleek exterior. I don’t find the “chute” of the pouring shield especially “easy” to add ingredients, especially when it’s flour from a big mixing bowl. The chute is not quite wide enough and flour tends to spill, so sometimes I don’t use it, but this creates “splash-up” instead, so it’s kind of a no-win situation. The steel bowl is absolutely smooth and so there are no real ridges inside the bowl for anything to stick to. The accessories twist off in a one-handed motion, are very secure and heavy, and are coated with a slick, non-stick, white finish – washing up is absolutely easy.
You cannot put this away, or you will never get it out again. So for small apartment dwellers, you must think about your counter space. I am a pretty small female, and to me, is HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY. While this is good because it doesn’t wobble or “walk” across the counter top when it’s mixing, this also makes it a gigantic pain to drag it out. So anticipate that it will take up about 1 cubic foot of your counter top forever and that you should have it somewhere where you don’t have to move it.
It is very, very thorough. It has some weird “planetary mixing action,” but whatever that means, it mixes mostly everything evenly. Turn it off before you stick your spatula in. It handles the stickiest focaccia dough to meringue perfectly, and the bowl “locks in” to the base, so you don’t have to worry about it flying off.
These are super pricey in most cases, but the one that seems to draw the most raves is the pasta cutter (approximately $100). KitchenAid constantly has deals and sometimes has nice packaged deals on their website, so check there as well. I have seen KitchenAid offer different accessories (including this one) for free on rebate, so watch for those. KitchenAid also is constantly flogging “The Mixer Bible” by Meredith Deeds and on their website, they sometimes have an ask-and-answer with the author. I do recommend getting a stand-mixer cover, or if you want to make one, there are several patterns available on the internet. I’m lazy and cheap, so I use a big dishrag and that has worked so far.
Overall, I’m glad I made the purchase. When I do use “the Fuselage” for baking jobs, it performs flawlessly and makes the baking much, much easier – you can get a good look at your dough consistency, etc. instead of worrying about if your frosting has unmixed chunks in it, or if your hand mixer is going to tip your entire bowl of pudding over while you run to get some missed ingredient. By proxy, its ease of use turns you into a better cook in the end. More relaxed, anyway, and if that’s worth a couple hundred dollars to you, then by all means, buy it.
- 325-watt mixer with 10 speeds; 5-quart stainless steel bowl
- Tilt-back head for easy access to mixture
- 1 piece pouring shield with large chute for adding ingredients
- Includes flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip
- Measures 14 by 8-2/3 inches by 14 inches; 1-year warranty