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quote:
Originally posted by zerwitt14:
so no to the sunbeam?? that seems to be the model in her price range(cheap) which is my concern, we get a decent one for the price and then it goes ka-put in a year or two.

I bake at least once a month, and would obviously bake more with this new toy!!!!


You'd be correct, no to the sunbeam. Kitchenaid is what you want. See if she can find a refurbished one online. You can find new ones for $150 on sale, less for a refurb.
And now for the contrarian point of view on the subject.

I learned to bake from my mother, and she always had a Sunbeam, which was long before Kitchenaid mixers became popular. My wife and I received a Sunbeam as a present from my mother soon after we were married, and we used it for about 20 to 25 years, albeit not a lot -- just a few batches of cookies and a couple of cakes per year.

Despite being happy with the Sunbeam, we decided we wanted a Kitchenaid because, after all, it looks very cool and prestigious sitting on the counter. We finally bought one about 10 years ago, the predecessor to the current Artisan Series (i.e., tilt head), and gave the Sunbeam to Goodwill.

Big mistake! We HATED the Kitchenaid because of the way it mixed (or more accurately, failed to mix) the things we made. We found that it tends to splatter ingredients, such as butter being creamed or flour being added, around the inside of the bowl, above where the mixing blade can get at it. Because the bowl is fixed in place and the blade whips around the entire bowl, you have to stop the mixer, tilt back the head, and try to scrape the stuff off the sides, back to the bottom where it can be mixed. Start it up again and the same thing happens, forcing you to repeat the process several times if you want your butter properly creamed or all of your flour mixed in evenly. I also found that despite Kitchenaid's claim that the mixing blade comes with a dime's thickness of the bowl, it leaves unmixed butter and sugar on the bottom of the bowl, which also requires that you stop and scrape the bowl several times. Indeed, to do it right, I found I had to either remove the mixing blade or take the bowl off the stand. I also found that adding ingredients was difficult, in part because of the cumbersome plastic splatter guard.

After a few years of trying to like the damn thing, I gave up, sold it on eBay, and bought another Sunbeam. Granted, it's not as well built as the Kitchenaid, and we recently replaced the unit with a new and more powerful Sunbeam Mixmaster Heritage mixer for $129 on sale at Macy's, with a $10 rebate and a free bowl.

Like the Kitchenaid, the Sunbeam Heritage Mixer has a 450 watt motor, so it's got the power to do most things. What I like about it as compared to the Kitchenaid is the way it mixes. The blades are off to one side and the bowl turns, whereas the Kitchenaid's bowl is fixed and the blade moves all around the bowl. The Sunbeam setup allows you to scrape the bowl as the ingredients are being mixed, and it thus provides a much faster and more thorough mix, which is essential to proper baking. We also found it a lot easier to add ingredients while mixing, and you don't need a spatter guard to keep stuff from flying out of the bowl.

That said, if you make a lot of bread or want specialized attachments such as a sausage stuffer, the Kitchenaid is probably a better choice -- and it will make all your friends think you're a top-notch baker, even if you never use it. It's just not our choice for the kind of baking we do.
Last edited by rdcollins
well one defense of the sunbeam.....can we get a small debate? I'd like to hear more! I plan on keeping whatever unit I get for many years, so the more knowledge I have the better choice we make.

If it matters I currently bake and would use my mixer 2-3 times per month, and would use it for breads, cakes, cookies, doughs, and mashing potatos. I see a reference to a sausage stuffer??!! What is that?

Thanks,

-z
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Natalie:
If you have to "tilt" the head, you've got the wrong KitchenAid model. That one indeed sucks. The pro model when you move the crank drops the bowl straight down..
Maybe so, but I'm not willing to spend the bucks to find out (although I've been tempted -- it's obviously a guy thing since the Kitchenaid is so awesomely built, like Snap-On Tools).

But I still think the inability to scrap the bowl while the machine is working is a severe handicap, enough to keep me from buying it despite its obvious build quality. I made some cookie dough today that required creaming 3 sticks of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar -- the Mixmaster made that relatively easy. I can't see how that could be done as easily in the Kitchenaid without the problems I described, namely scraping the bowl to assure that all the ingredients are well incorporated and properly creamed, regardless of which model is used.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't want to spend $350 to find out, especially since I use the thing less than monthly. In my book, ease of use and the quality of the stuff prepared trump build, looks, durability, and "coolness" every time.
quote:
Originally posted by zerwitt14:
well one defense of the sunbeam.....can we get a small debate? -z


No debate necessary. You can take the well intentioned advice of an occasional cook and baker with bowl scraping issues, or the overwhelming advice of the rest of the gang which includes a several excellent cooks.
Cool Your call.......

PH
quote:
Originally posted by RDCollins:
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Natalie:
If you have to "tilt" the head, you've got the wrong KitchenAid model. That one indeed sucks. The pro model when you move the crank drops the bowl straight down..
Maybe so, but I'm not willing to spend the bucks to find out (although I've been tempted -- it's obviously a guy thing since the Kitchenaid is so awesomely built, like Snap-On Tools).

But I still think the inability to scrap the bowl while the machine is working is a severe handicap, enough to keep me from buying it despite its obvious build quality. I made some cookie dough today that required creaming 3 sticks of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar -- the Mixmaster made that relatively easy. I can't see how that could be done as easily in the Kitchenaid without the problems I described, namely scraping the bowl to assure that all the ingredients are well incorporated and properly creamed, regardless of which model is used.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't want to spend $350 to find out, especially since I use the thing less than monthly. In my book, ease of use and the quality of the stuff prepared trump build, looks, durability, and "coolness" every time.


The design/mixing pattern of the KitchenAid means that you rarely need to scrape down the bowl. You start on the slower/stir speeds to get everything incorporated (i.e. no loose flour), then ratchet up the speed to get the desired output.

As I mentioned before get the Professional 600. It's got a 6-qt bowl and is *not* a tilt head. Hell, the prices you can get from Amazon.com are ridiculous cheap. Right now it's on sale for $300USD. If you'd like a comparison, they go for $679-729CAD. If I didn't already own a Professional 600, I'd be driving to the U.S. to pick one up!

The thing is built like a tank and I find it highly unlikely that I'll ever need to buy another mixer. I've even got the pasta roller/cutter attachments, which makes life really, really easy when I make fresh pasta.
ok I think my wife and I have just decided to forgo a mixer this year and wait until the budget allows for a good Kitchenaid. After all the answers here and from the couple fo folks we know with mixers, it is unanamous (sorry rdcollins you put up a valiant effort) that kitchen aid is the way to go....I wish I could spot the difference that she was willing to put in to get the kitchenaid...but with three kids 5 and younger my money goes for them!!!!

thanks to all

-z
FYI -- Amazon.com has the top-of-the-line KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer, which lists for $499.99, on sale for only $259.99, free shipping and no sales tax, PLUS there's a $50 rebate from Kitchenaid for a bottom-line price of $209.99.

The only catch is that it's available in only two colors at this price, Licorice (black) or Meringue (off-white).

Can you say SCREAMING DEAL?
quote:
Originally posted by RDCollins:
FYI -- Amazon.com has the top-of-the-line KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer, which lists for $499.99, on sale for only $259.99, free shipping and no sales tax, PLUS there's a $50 rebate from Kitchenaid for a bottom-line price of $209.99.

The only catch is that it's available in only two colors at this price, Licorice (black) or Meringue (off-white).

Can you say SCREAMING DEAL?



This is an absolutely insane deal. I bought an Artisan mixer last year, otherwise I'd be joining Futronic on a trip south of the border to pick one up.
That being said, I'm very pleased with my mixer. Even though it's a tilt-head, it's been more than adequate for every task I've subjected it to. It's also Metallic Chrome, which gets a lot of attention.
My wife and I received a KitchenAid from my brother as a wedding gift in 2000. It was the most powerful one available at the time, I think called an Ultra, not a tilting head model. It never seemed to work quite right, and when I finally brought it in for service to the authorized KA repair guy, he said that vintage was awful. The new ones have apparently been completely redesigned, but here's the kicker: Despite the fact that they look the same on the outside, none of the internals are interchangeable with the new, improved drive and speed control system. Even if I wanted to replace the broken stuff with the same badly designed parts, KA is no longer making them. Supposedly, the new ones are a lot better, but no more KitchenAids for us.

My mom happened to be in town at the time and was running errands with me. She has a Kenwood that my dad bought her 25 years ago and it has never failed, so she asked him about those. According to the repair guy (and confirmed online), Kenwood is no longer available under its own name in the US, but makes the high end of the DeLonghi line, and they are still bullet proof.

Incidentally, he doesn't sell any appliances, so I assume he has no particular axe to grind. He services most brands though, and just knows what comes through the door a lot.
Een

I see your a grad student in Chicago? I was looking at some schools in Chicago for my post grad work, I'd be interested to hear what school your at, you can email me at zerwitt14@yahoo.com if you'd like. or what you may know about these schools:

Kellog @ Northwestern, The Chicago School, U of Chicago, the Chicago School is still high on my list.
quote:
Originally posted by zerwitt14:
soooooooo....I got the sunbeam afterall.....

I'll post a report once I use it a few times!!
Let me know if you have any questions about using it. I spent about 2 hours with mine this morning, making a very complicated torte for dessert with Christmas dinner, and it handled everything perfectly.

A couple of pointers:

Make sure the beaters are in the correct holes -- they're color coded -- and be certain they are pushed in all the way.

Best to unplug the unit when inserting or removing the blades as it's easy to bump the speed control and start them moving.

Be sure the bowl is twisted clockwise to lock in place, and make certain the bowl size selector is in the right position (small or large).
I gave it a whirl Monday afternoon with a simple batch of toll house chocolate chip cookies. It's funny you mentioned to unplug it while inserting the blades, as I was interting them, I realized just how easy it would be bump the control and get injured, especially when I have very little counter space and the counter I was using has a wine rack behind the mixer, and it was touching it, so I stopped an unplugged before continuing.

I also showed my wife the color coding as well. I must have had telepathy of your post!

The mixer worked just fine, it handled all the mixing, though I learned i need to have it on a very low speed when adding the flour, if not there is a neat cloud of flour in the room! Wink

But overall I thought its performance was good, it never bogged down and with the exception of having to scrap the sides a few times everything was mixed well, and a lot faster than my old method of the hand mixer and then stiring by hand with the last half of flour!!
My prep time was half or less what it used to be!!

Thanks Doug

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