DeLonghi mixer stands out

Test Kitchen

October 12, 2005|By JUDY YAO | JUDY YAO,LOS ANGELES TIMES

But even then, it has its limits. Its motor can burn hot with too stiff a dough. Or its bowl might be too small. Until recently, home bakers didn't have much choice but to work around such shortcomings.

But the latest generation of stand mixers is changing that. Imagine a home machine that can knead 7 pounds of flour for 10 loaves of bread, whip up 20 egg whites or make 13 dozen cookies.

We selected six high-capacity mixers to test, considering power, functionality, design and price. They ranged from $350 for the KitchenAid Professional 6 to $770 for the Matfer Bourgeat Alphamix. The other four cost between $400 and $500. We included the Bosch and Electrolux, two mixers that are popular in Europe and radically different in design from Kitchen Aid-type mixers.

To test the mixers, we gave each attachment a task: For the whisk, we tested how long it took to whip four egg whites to a stiff peak at the highest speed setting. For the paddle, we gave it a creaming challenge: a 4-ounce cube of cold butter, cut into four equal pieces. To test the dough hook, we made a rustic hearth bread, enough for two loaves.

All the mixers passed the whipping and kneading tests. But it was the creaming test that separated those that could from those that could not.

Our least favorite was the Electrolux Assistent DLX 2000. Despite some nice features, the assembly and disassembly of the various components took some getting used to, and it failed the creaming test.

The clear winner was the DeLonghi DSM7, which performed each of the tests brilliantly and was a joy to use. The more powerful (and more pricey) Viking came in a close second.

Judy Yao writes for the Los Angeles Times.

The winner/DeLonghi DSM7/$399.99

At 980 watts, the 7-quart DeLonghi DSM7 was second only to the Viking for power. With a super warranty - 10 years for the motor - its makers obviously have confidence in this mixer. At 13 1/2 inches in height, this mixer will easily fit under most cabinets. Accessories include a blender and food processor.

This was our favorite mixer. The DeLonghi easily passed the tests - whipping the egg whites to a stiff peak in 2 1/2 minutes, creaming the cold butter in less than a minute and churning out the bread dough without a hint of strain. This well-designed mixer has a solid feel and weight to it, combining function with well-thought-out details, such as sturdy stainless-steel attachments that are nonstick. Its price, ease of use and capacity make it an excellent choice.

All powered up/Viking VSM 700/$500

The Viking 7-quart VSM 700 is powered at 1,000 watts, the highest among the mixers we tested. It comes in white, black, stainless gray, graphite gray, cobalt blue and bright red. It offers a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

This was a close second to the better-priced DeLonghi. But if you want power and high-volume capability, this is the mixer for you. This machine packs a lot of punch. Creaming the butter was a breeze at 20 seconds. And whipping the whites and kneading the dough were no problem. However, we had trouble with locking its tilting head into place.

Not up to speed/Alphamix Mixer by Matfer Bourgeat/$770

The 6-quart French-made Alphamix Mixer by Matfer Bourgeat offers a three-year warranty on the motor and a one-year warranty for parts and labor.

As much as we liked this mixer for its performance, some quirks made it difficult to recommend it, especially given its price. The safety guard that lifts and lowers the bowl makes it difficult to clean (the manual says the guard is removable but doesn't give instructions). Although it creamed the butter in 15 seconds, it traveled a bit on the counter during the kneading test.

The price is right/KitchenAid Professional 6/$349.95

The 6-quart KitchenAid Professional 6 uses a handle to lower and lift the bowl. It offers a hassle-free replacement warranty for defective materials or workmanship during the first year. That includes shipping a replacement mixer.

If price is your main consideration, this mixer is a good choice. It whipped the egg whites to a stiff peak in less than a minute and had no problems creaming the butterIt kneaded our bread dough with ease, but whined loudly while doing so. However, if you've used a KitchenAid before, using the KitchenAid Professional 6 mixer is like working with an old friend.

A bit rocky/Bosch MUM7010/$479

The 6-quart Bosch MUM7010's motor is on the bottom and the bowl sits on top. The Bosch combines its paddle and dough hook into one tool. Since the power unit is only 3 1/4 inches high, it can be stored in a drawer. It also includes a food processor and blender.

Not worth it. It's unsteady, rocking especially during kneading, and it failed the simple task of creaming butter. Sure, its double whisks whipped the egg whites to a stiff peak in less than 2 minutes. But it wouldn't cream butter. After 3 minutes of watching butter cubes being moved around the bowl, we had to stop.

Advanced degree needed/Electrolux Assistent DLX 2000/$469

The 8-quart Swedish-made Electrolux Assistent DLX 2000 is popular in Europe but has been slow to catch on in the United States. It uses a scraper and roller or dough hook.

A mixer shouldn't be this hard to use. A simple height adjustment required a screwdriver. The arm assembly was stiff, and the pin holding the attachments was hard to clean. Overall, it was too much work to assemble and disassemble. And though it passed the whipping and kneading tests, it failed miserably in the creaming test.

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