New Mixer Tour

So I went on a shopping trip this weekend (made possible by the contributions of several dozen very generous readers). This was the result: a 7-quart KitchenAid 6500. It’s grey because I generally dig earth tones, in my clothing as well as my appliances. This is one of the largest KitchenAids in production. I’m told they make an 8-quart but I couldn’t find one of those on display anywhere. The distinguishing feature of these larger models is the lever-action bowl raiser. Smaller KitchenAids sport a tilt-head design. You can see the crank over on this side.

To get the bowl in you set it on a pair of pins that are located on the mixer arms, then snap it down into place. It’s an elegant system though I confess I prefer the tilt-head mechanism of the smaller KitchenAids. The tilting motor housing makes it easier to get the bowl in and to change implements when the bowl is full. Still you can’t have everything, and this mixer has other features which I think make up for the bowl-lift. Volume is one of them, power is another. This model, though not as beefy as my old Viking, has the most powerful motor in the KitchenAid line.

It’s easy to use…you have one switch on the left side. Bingo bango. Not hard to understand.

And I guess I’m a nerd, but one of the most exciting things about the new 6500 series to me was the implement design. Here they are: the paddle, whip and hook.

The paddle isn’t new to my mind, but I think the last KitchenAid I had came with “K”-shaped cross bars. The whip is interesting because the cross section is box-shaped. Honestly I’m not sure if this increases shear forces or anything like that, though I can say the shape makes it easier to get it into the bowl.

The really nifty one is the dough hook, which actually isn’t a hook but rather a spiral. This is a big innovation since you generally only find spiral implements in really, REALLY big flat-bottomed mixers. However the width and relative flatness of the 6500 bowl is perfect for a spiral “hook”. It tried it over the weekend and it works beautifully with no “dough creep” up the implement. Hallelujah, this will be great.

What other features are there that I like? I think the thing that most excites me most is that the implements actually reach down to the bottom of the bowl. The Viking really fell down in this area, even though it wasn’t really a “professional” machine. I was just engineered badly in that regard. So no more picking up the bowl and standing there like an idiot if I want to beat a small quantity of egg. That’s a real advantage of KitchenAid: they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the way home bakers interact with their products.

What else? Well I can use my old KitchenAid attachments again for starters. Also I confess I dig the old-school look of it. The other model I considered was the Breville Bem800xl which actually beats the KitchenAid 6500 in Consumer Reports stand mixer rankings. It’s got a tilt head design, though only a 5 quart bowl and a slightly smaller motor. The Breville was a contender for sure however, even though I didn’t like the little gizmos built into it: a timer and vertical LED display that tells you what speed you’re on in case you somehow forgot.

I should say that if you’re considering this mixer you can get a couple of different bowls to go with it. The standard is actually glass, though you can get a more opaque “beaten glass” finish if you like. I was dubious of glass mixer bowls since I tend to bang mine around a lot so I went with steel, but still I thought they were interesting. No mixer is ever perfect but I confess I’m very excited about this one and curious to see what it can do. It perfectly mixed and kneaded some very sticky dough this weekend, and whipped up cream to stiff peaks in about 45 seconds. So far I’m impressed to say the least.

So thank you again, all you contributors! If you have yet to hear from me via email you will soon!

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31 Responses to New Mixer Tour

  1. Malini says:

    *wolf whistle* at the new mixer.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Malini!

      Now me, I take that as a compliment, but depending on where you live that could get you arrested! ;)

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  2. Bronwyn says:

    That bowl, and the way it sits in it’s cradle, reminds me so much of the old Hobart we had when I was a kid. My Dad worked for them in Wellington and brought one home for my mother.
    One of the good things about my Kenwood is that the tools are adjustable up and down. There’s a screw thing at the top where they fit into the machine, and about half an inch or so of adjustment – presumably for the beating of single egg whites.

    • joepastry says:

      What a terrific feature! I’ve never seen that before as far as I know. I shall investigate mine right now to see if it has anything comparable. I didn’t notice it in the user manual but one can always hope!

      Thanks Bronwyn!

      - Joe

  3. LML says:

    Congratulations! I will be very interested to hear over the coming months how comfortable (or not) you become with the bowl lift design.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey LML!

      Good point. I think I’ll acclimate just fine. As I mentioned there’ll always be something you wish your mixer had that it doesn’t. Right now I’m just glad I have one at all!

      Cheerio,

      - Joe

  4. Eva says:

    Wonderful!! Now that’s a machine! I’m so happy you have a mixer again! Thanks for the cool tour. :D

    Eva

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Eva!

      Thanks, it’s a relief, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it!

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  5. Andrew says:

    It looks great, Joe. I hope it lasts you for years to come – even though I must be the last person on Earth who still uses a hand mixer! ;)

    On another note, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who “coordinates” shirt colors with appliances. I wear a lot of black (so I don’t waste a lot of time picking out what I’m going to wear every day), and I do the exact same thing with all my kitchen stuff.

    • joepastry says:

      Hehe…hey Andrew! I have a hand mixer as well that I really like for certain things: cake batters, whipping cream and egg whites, that sort of thing. You can’t, er,…do better than it….for those sorts of applications!

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  6. Miriam says:

    Congrats! I’m not sure if they work with the 7-qt mixer, but you can buy replacement paddle attachments that basically have a spatula attached to them, for scraping dough from the side of the bowl as the paddle goes ’round. This is one: http://www.amazon.com/Design-Beater-KitchenAid-6-Quart-5-Plus/dp/B0015TMI28

  7. rainey says:

    Once upon a time I coveted a KA with the bowl lift. The reason was that I saw Julia Child beat hollandaise or something in a hot water bath that came from a second bowl under the first. Awesome feature! I think she said that she loved that mixer because you could do that or beat over a bed of ice. HOT STUFF!!!

    Alas! When I went to buy my own Mothers’ Day prezzie, tilt tops were all that were available on sale. Of course it didn’t occur to me for a couple decades that I’ve never had a kitchen with a spot with sufficient clearance for a bowl lift mixer.

    I must say I am happy as a clam with the glass bowl that I treated myself to 3 or 4 years ago. You can see instantaneously when everything is fully combined. Like the new paddle with the silicone sweep I added too. Do they have one for your new monster?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Rainey! Very cool indeed! I never thought of that. I think they do have a paddle with one of those beater blades on there, though personally I’d rather just use a spatula (not to be a luddite or anything). Thanks for the comment!

      - Joe

  8. Kitty says:

    Very nice Joe! I do hope you enjoy it.

  9. Jim Varriale says:

    Congratulations Joe… a man of your talents deserves the best and it looks like you’ve found it!

  10. Beth says:

    She’s a beaut! My 5-quart KA has served me well for many years, but she may be on her way out. (The motor doesn’t sound right anymore.) I covet your new machine! The bigger bowl. Oh, to be able to make double batches of things without ingredients nearly spilling over the edge of the bowl … .

    • joepastry says:

      Thanks, Beth! I like the extra volume but it definitely comes at a premium. I wouldn’t need so much if I wasn’t in the habit of making large batches of bread dough for my big brick oven. Still I have to agree that it’s pretty cool! ;)

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  11. Ben says:

    The rectangular profile on the whisk is probably to get more whisking action in different areas of the bowl. (With a round whisk the spokes pass more or less behind each other ignoring the eccentric procession.)

    • joepastry says:

      Ben, that’s exactly the sort of expertise I need. Thanks very much. The thing certainly works!

      Cheers,

      - Joe

  12. “So no more picking up the bowl and standing there like an idiot if I want to beat a small quantity of egg.”

    hahaha! I’m glad to hear that I (well, used to be, I guess) am in good company doing this :p

    • joepastry says:

      Yes it’s something none of us like to admit, but reality nonetheless.

      Thanks, Chris!

      - Joe

  13. Frankly says:

    Do you have/are you interested in, any of the power attachments for the mixer? We have not made sausages in years but the grinder with a filler tube might convince me to try again. I like the _idea_ of the pasta roller but can’t justify the price as I can get a very good one that is stand alone for about the same money. Just wondered what your opinion was.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Frankly!

      Yes I definitely do. They were part of the decision to go with the KitchenAid. I have a few lying around from when I had a KitchenAid some 11 years ago. I like the grinder especially but also the pasta attachment since it’s easy to store and (of course) powered. I was bemused to find after I bought the Viking that the only pasta attachment designed for it was an extruder, not a roller. Never made sense to me. I don’t know if I’ll buy any more attachments, but I’m looking forward to using the ones I have!

      - Joe

      • Frankly says:

        I was actually hoping you would say no! I just know you will write about it and then I’ll be forced to admit I really do want at least those 2 attachments & have to get them.

        An extruder? You mean for making Radiatori or penne? Oh man I hope they don’t make one of those.

        • joepastry says:

          Yes, I do have the pasta roller and the grinder with the sausage funnel. Those are the only ones that are very useful in my opinion. I don’t need the salad slicer-shredder-thingy or the pasta cutters. They do have an extruder for macaroni and such, but I confess that’s a mystery to me. As far as I understand it, extruded shapes are usually factory-made dry pastas, even in Italy. They have specific uses, notably for more watery red sauces (which fresh pasta simply absorbs). Fresh pastas are better for things like pesto and cream sauces…or just a little butter and cheese. Making them at home…I’m not sure that makes much sense. But I could be confused on that point (likely).

          Cheers,

          - Joe

          • Frankly says:

            I have never had shaped pastas fresh so that might be a treat to play with just as a goof. But my guess is the attachment is well above my self-imposed goof price. I used to enjoy making sausage with mom, I might yet spring for that one. Thanks!

          • joepastry says:

            Knock yourself out, man! I bet it’d be fun. But yeah, the cheapest price I’m seeing for one on amazon is about $150.

            The grinders are cheaper.

            - Joe

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