Introduction to the Types, Uses and Benefits of Kitchen Mixers
By Nathan Zassman
One of the most essential kitchen appliances, a kitchen mixer can:
* mix batters for quick breads, muffins, cakes, cookies and pies.
* whip egg whites for meringues and soufflés
* whip heavy or whipping cream into light and fluffy whipped cream
* mix and knead flours into dough for breads
* mash potatoes
Kitchen mixers usually offer a variety of accessory attachments to increase functionality, including slicers and shredders to make quick work of vegetables and fruit, food processors, grain grinders, nut grinders, grain flakers, meat grinders, citrus juicers and blenders. You can even make your own sausage by combining the meat grinder and sausage stuffing accessories.
The most powerful and best designed home kitchen mixer is the Electrolux Magic Mill from Sweden which has recently been improved with a more powerful motor and a better blender option [and is now known as the Ankarsrum Assistent Original Kitchen Machine]. The basic design and functionality of the Electrolux Magic Mill (which used to be called the DLX) has been unchanged for about 50 years, with legendary durability and functionality.
The Electrolux features a large, heavy stainless steel mixing bowl big enough to knead dough for 8 large loaves of bread at a time and a smaller BPA free plastic bowl for mixing batters and whipping creams and egg whites. The Electrolux is just as capable at kneading small amounts of dough, for those who want to make one or two loaves at a time.
The Electrolux Magic Mill is a workhorse that produces incredible results for those who want to make bread from freshly ground whole wheat or spelt flours.) Electrolux users are passionate about this wonderful mixers.
Two features that distinguish the Electrolux Magic Mill mixer from the popular mixers found in most department stores, including Cuisinart, Kenwood, Braun, Sunbeam, Kitchenaid and Delonghi, are the amazing power and the unique dough hook design that literally pull and stretch the dough to more effectively develop the gluten from freshly ground 100% whole grain wheat and spelt. Gluten is the well known protein found in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley with elastic like properties that traps the carbon dioxide produced when yeast is combined with sugar, causing bread to rise. To develop the gluten from whole grain flours, Electrolux has designed a unique method of kneading, where the dough is pulled and stretched similar to the effect of hand kneading, ensuring that the gluten in the grain is well developed. It is virtually impossible to develop the gluten to the level required to produce a light, well risen, textured loaf with 100% whole grain flour by hand kneading, or by using one of the popular domestic kitchen mixers.
Better gluten development results in bread that rises higher with a lighter texture. If you want to make homemade bread from 100% whole grain flour it is virtually impossible to develop the gluten with other home mixers or by hand kneading to achieve a light, beautifully textured loaf of bread. Other home mixers will not develop the gluten in 100% whole grain flour (store bought or freshly ground) as well as an Electrolux or Bosch, resulting in a heavier, denser loaf of bread.
For those using one of the popular domestic mixers (not Electrolux), replacing 50% of the whole grain flour with 50% refined white flour will lighten the texture and increase the rise, however the bread will be much lower in fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Popular domestic kitchen mixers will produce lovely light white dough that will rise into excellent, light textured loaves with flour that is predominantly refined white, or a mixture of 50% white and 50% whole wheat. Refined flours are much higher in gluten, as the germ and bran have been removed, leaving predominantly starch and a much higher percentage of gluten, with virtually no nutritional value. The higher percentage of gluten in refined flours results in a lighter loaf, and a dough that is easier to knead using traditional, popular domestic kitchen mixers or by hand.
I do not recommend using refined white flours, as chemicals used to preserve refined flours have been linked to higher rates of diabetes. In addition, fibre, essential oils (including wheat germ oil), germ, bran, vitamins and minerals have been removed in the refining process, making any bread that uses refined flours less nutritious. For achieving optimum health use only freshly ground whole grains, which contain high levels of important nutrients and fibre, with no nutrients lost through storage or oxidation. For those interested in grinding their own grain, I recommend Vitalmill and Wondermill grain grinders, using certified organic whole grains.
If you need a mixer for light duty tasks, including cake and cookie batters, breads that use white (refined) flour, whipping creams and egg whites and for quick breads, any mixer, including inexpensive hand mixers will do the job. If you want to develop the gluten and produce light, well risen, whole grain breads using freshly ground whole wheat or spelt, you will quickly learn that you will burn out the motor on any other mixer designed for home use. The only domestic mixer that sells for under $1000.00 and is capable of producing results comparable to commercial mixers that cost over $2000.00 is the Electrolux Magic Mill. The Electrolux Magic Mill will properly develop the gluten from flour made from 100% whole wheat or whole spelt flour to produce light, beautifully textured yeast breads. For those willing to spend a minimum of $2000.00, Hobart is the only other mixer that compares to the Electrolux Magic Mill.
A major advantage of the Electrolux Magic Mill mixer is the availability of a grain flaker attachment, an accessory not available from any other mixer manufacturer. Standalone manual flakers are available, but they are slow and expensive. The Electrolux Magic Mill is the only electric home mixer that has an automatic grain flaker attachment. For making whole grain healthy porridge breakfasts nothing beats freshly flaked whole grains. You can add wheat, rice, spelt, kamut, barley, oats or any grain to the flaker. The flaker crushes the grain into a flake, retaining the healthful nutrients and essential fats while decreasing the cooking time. Hot porridges made from freshly flaked grains cook much more quickly than whole grains and are more flavorful and textured than porridges made from grains that have been finely ground. In addition, porridges made from flaked grains have a much lower glycemic index (lower glycemic load) than porridge made from finely ground grain, resulting in better blood sugar control and more sustained energy production throughout the day.
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2009 Nathan Zassman.
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