There’s a new stand mixer in the kitchen and its name is the Breville mixer. It’s sleeker, quieter, more powerful and all around a better mixer than the KitchenAid as far as I am concerned and I have been baking professionally for over 30 years.
I never thought I would buy anything but a KitchenAid stand mixer. I remember well first seeing a lift bowl KitchenAid K5A on Julia Child’s TV show. I was just beginning to realize that food was to be my career with the emphasis on baking and pastry. It helped that Julia was able to teach so well – and I devoured every word and every recipe. Not only was she able to bring a whole new food culture to America but she did it in such a way that she was able to make you believe you could do it too. She was my first teacher and she lit a fire inside that still burns today.
At the time there was no internet, no easy way to find information. I finally tracked it down and I remember being horribly upset because it was so expensive and I couldn’t afford it. Shortly thereafter my husband came into a small inheritance which he was happy to share. I used my cream colored K5A until just recently when I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to let it go. I used that mixer more than normal – much, much more than normal and it never ever let me down. I bought an extra bowl, whisk and paddle beater so I wouldn’t have to wash the bowl when two were needed to complete a recipe.
So this time I went on the internet and found a beautiful yellow KitchenAid Pro. I was so excited I ordered a second bowl and thought I was all set. As I unpacked it, I noticed that the dough hook said not to use it above 2. What? That is so slow, there is no way you can knead dough. I called customer service and they practically swore up and down that it works on 2 and that is what they use when they train people.
When I turned it on it was so noisy, we couldn’t talk in the same room. At that point, we packed it back up, returned it and got our money back.
This was particularly sad for me because I loved my original thirty five year old K5A. But the difference was the original KitchenAid K5A was made by the Hobart Corporation. They did then, and do today, make the best and largest mixers for professional bakeries and institutions. When I owned the bakery I had 12, 20, 30/60 and 40/80 quart Hobart mixers. All but one was bought used and all were great. The original K5A was a miniature replica of the large ones through 1986 when Whirlpool bought the name and styling of the mixer and made KitchenAid its premium brand. Today, there is no relation, other than style, to the original stand mixer that that is so loved by owners.
Enter Breville mixer, BEM800XL The parent company of Breville is based in Australia. A 2012 Consumer Reports review titled “Breville unseats stand-mixer champ KitchenAid” touts the advance this mixer has made in the states. During the ensuing years, the Breville Scraper Mixer Pro as they have dubbed it, is slowly making its way into the kitchens of those who love to bake.
But why, what makes this Breville mixer a better mixer? For starters, it is sleek looking. While it comes in many colors in Australia, it is available in silver, red or black in America. It is dye cast and while stable when turned on, it is not as heavy as the KitchenAid. When we photograph for the blog, I remove my mixer and processor to clear the island. I always had to have Mike lower the KitchenAid but I can lower and raise the Breville mixer with no problem.
The Breville mixer has several features that make mixing much easier. It has a LED lit timer that can count up or down as you prefer – perfect for so many mixing tasks. Rather than numbers, there is an LED lit column that is marked with the task you want to achieve – stirring, beating, whipping, etc. – particularly helpful for beginners or those that do not mix often.The Breville mixer, when running is very quiet. I am assuming that is because the motor is 550 watts as opposed to the KitchenAid which is 450 watts. In addition, it is that wattage that makes it faster to complete tasks. It also has load sensing sensors which will turn the machine off if it becomes overheated.
The one thing that disappointed me about my K5A was the heavy white plastic coating on the attachments. As a professional, my mixer got a lot of heavy use. The coating on the attachments eventually started to come off. Where did it go? I hope not into the recipe. When I asked them why it was used, I was told that without it, the attachments had to be hand washed. When I saw one of the uncoated paddle, I worried it would give an off taste to citrus additions. Enter the Breville mix again – they have beautiful, shiny uncoated attachments that go into the dishwasher.This machine has a tilt head which gave me some concern for the photography. But so far so good. The head has a button on top that locks and unlocks the head.
The Breville mixer also has a handle on the head that aids in lifting it or moving it as well as a pouring shield. Here the machine is running so the LEDs and timer are lit.The Breville mixer comes with a warning when making bread. However, in their recipe file on their site, they have a pizza crust that uses 4 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour and the usual bread ingredients – yeast, salt, and water The recipe calls for beating it for 5 to 6 minutes on medium.
So I decided to test the machine for making bread. I just made a loaf of of my favorite buttermilk bread using 3 3/4 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups liquid as well as yeast, salt, etc. I mixed it on the lowest speed and then raised it to the bottom of the “light mix” line. I beat it, using the dough hook, for 4 minutes. There was no detectable problem and it produced an excellent bread dough. I am not suggesting you do this.
The best thing I have found so far is how fast and efficient it is. I made an angel food cake today to test its ability to beat egg whites and the Breville mixer whipped them so fast and so high I thought they might go over the top of the bowl.
Lastly, this mixer does not walk or hop when it is on high or has a heavier load. It also has a sturdier base. I had to hold my K5A in place or it would walk off the table with a heavy load in it.
Chow has a video that reviews the Breville mixer on YouTube with which I completely disagree. At the end, they try to mix a very heavy bread in the mixer. They then turn the machine up to high as far as I can acertain and complain about it bouncing all over the table. I’m sure it did but they don’t say any mixer geared towards home use will do the same thing. I don’t know what the credentials of the presenter were, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t have 30 years of professional baking behind her.
The Breville mixer is $299.95. Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma carry it. I will also be purchasing an extra bowl, beater and whisk.
There are many stand mixers available to the home baker. I’m very excited about my Breville mixer and will keep you advised – good or bad – as I go along.
I knew I liked those Aussies for something more than inspiring my Lamington Torte.
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