First time posting, but I have enjoyed reading this forum for several years. I often make pastries and other dishes that involve various doughs, beaten egg whites, whipped cream, etc., but I have never used a stand mixer (I do use a food processor for certain things). I understand mixers are quite expensive and many describe them as less than simple to operate. I also don't like the idea of having a large bowl to clean each time I use the machine. Speaking of size, how does one choose how big a mixer to get? Most of the other threads I could find on the subject of these appliances focus on choosing the best model; I am curious to hear your opinions on their general usefulness. For which tasks do you find them time-saving? Are they indispensable for certain techniques in your repertoire?