ACm posted the following on the general topics board:
[I am a new (and young) baker looking for a recommendation for my first stand mixer. I've done some research about the various brands, the machine's functionality, and such. So far I've concluded that KitchenAid is the way to go. For my needs, I think that the Artisan or better will do. The KitchenAid Artisan series is $250 for a 5 quart bowl, a tilt back head, and 325 watts of power. William-Sonoma has their own version of the Artisan, which they call the "Accolade." For 30 dollars more, you get basically the same piece of equipment with more wattage. They also mention "an electronic speed sensor monitors operation to maintain precise mixer speed," a feature description I had yet to come across when I saw it.
KitchenAid also has a newer model called the Professional 5 Plus series, which is seemingly the most difficult to find (and, ironically, seemingly the best deal), which ups the Artisan in power (by 125 watts), is more sturdy bulk-wise, and has a sliding head (up and down). These seem to be popular in chef's kitchens (if not the much 6 series which is around 369 dollars). The Pro 5 plus is 290-300 dollars and seems to be the best deal, being on 50 dollars more than the Artisan, but packing some extra-punch and sturdiness.
Any advice or recommendations you could give would be very helpful indeed!
Oh! One last question. I am also trying to find the best patry tip set to purchase. One for decorating cakes cookies would be nice, but first and foremost, I would like one that has the ability to make eclairs and pate choux and such. Could you recommend me some as well (I think the ones with couplers are the best, no?).
Thanks in advance!!!]
Here's my response:
I can't speak to all the models of Kitchenaid, but I have the Artisan and I love it. I far prefer the tip-back head to the lift/lower bowl, mostly because getting the bowl on and off and changing attachments is quite difficult with the lift/lower bowl models -- to remove the bowl without losing its contents you must remove the beater, drop it into the bowl, take the bowl off, then replace the attachment. As for the different levels of power, 325 watts is plenty for me. Unless you are making heavy bread doughs (e.g. those using large amounts of whole wheat
flour) I doubt you will feel the need for more power.