My guess is that one of the first things you’ll bake when you get a new stand mixer is bread.
In fact, it’s probably one of the main reasons to get one in the first place.
As a cook, nothing gives more pleasure than baking your own bread from scratch.
You can’t beat the feeling of satisfaction you get when you take a perfectly risen, golden loaf from the oven.
And who can resist the smell of baking bread? whether it’s a warm crusty french stick, a light and airy ciabatta, or a slice of soft buttery brioche.
It’s a real labour of love though, especially if yeast as a raising agent of choice. All that mixing, kneading, and proving takes time and effort.
And having the best stand mixer for bread sitting on your countertop can easily shave 20 minutes off your prep time.
It also frees you up to get on with all those other little jobs around the kitchen. Like greasing tins, prepping other ingredients, or just making dinner.
Coming up, we’ve got a rundown of some of the strongest and most rugged mixers around.
The ones that are capable of handling large batches of the toughest bread doughs made with some of the coarser flours like wholemeal, spelt, or rye.
We’ll also check out every feature you should look for if you think you’ll be using your stand mixer to knock up a lot of bread.
And I know you’re probably thinking power, durability, and bowl capacity are the most important factors to consider (they are, and we’ll get to them in a sec)
First off though, we need to talk about a possible nightmare scenario that could become a reality when you make your first batch of bread in your gleaming new stand mixer.
That once mixed, the dough climbs the hook and sits there going round in circles doing nothing at all.
But if you’re looking for a quick recommendation here’s our top 3.
The Ankarsrum Original
Pulling 600 watts of power the Ankarsrum is a stand mixer like you’ve never seen before. With a vast array of kneading attachments it’ss capable of powering through a massive 15 lbs of dough. Offering great gluten development for a light and airy bake.
The Hobart N50
Don’t let the 348 watts fool you. This is a serious mixer and Its powerful 1/6 horsepower engine has some serious torque because of its all-metal construction and gearing system. Ideal for bakers who never want to buy a stand mixer again
The Bosch Universal Plus
800 watts of power and capable of kneading 14 loaves at a time the bosch is ideal for home bakers who cook large batches. A great all-rounder, it has a second drive where you can plug in a whole host of additional attachments.
Why Dough Climbing The Hook Is A Problem
Bread dough needs to be kneaded.
And let’s be honest, it can be a bit of a pain.
All that stretching, pushing, and pulling is hard work and something you might find a little boring and time-consuming.
Personally, I find it quite therapeutic and it’s something I actually enjoy.
Occasionally I just don’t have the time to knead by hand and it’s much easier to get the kids to do it. Or if they’re not around to just pop all the ingredients in a stand mixer and let it do all the hard work.
To make a good loaf of bread you have to stretch the gluten in the flour so it becomes elastic.
It’s gluten that gives bread its texture and it has to be strong enough to trap the CO2 produced during proving and baking to give you a light and airy result.
If you don’t knead bread dough properly or enough you’ll end up with a heavy, dense loaf.
So, you need a stand mixer that can best replicate the manual kneading process.
One where the dough behaves itself doesn’t try to climb onto your countertop and gets kneaded properly.
Why Dough Climbs The Hook And What You Can Do About It
Some bakers blame it on the hydration of the dough. The more water it contains, the stickier it will be, and the more chance there is of it wrapping around the hook.
While others say it’s down to the size of the batch. The less dough you’ve got in the bowl the more lightly it is to go for a little climb.
Whatever the reason it’s a real pain point for most. (check out the videos below to see what I mean) And ingenious bakers have tried almost everything to prevent it.
Dough hooks have been greased and frozen, mixers tilted on their sides, different mixing speeds tested, and recipes changed or adapted.
All this seems like a lot of unnecessary hassle when all you want to do is make a couple of loaves of bread.
How The Best Stand Mixers For Bread Deal With This Problem
Luckily there’s a few well-designed mixers out there, with adjustable settings, and some added functionality that do a great job of keeping your bread dough where it’s supposed to be.
They are the Hobart N50, the Ankarsrum Original and the Bosh universal plus (you can read our full reviews below)
Each of these sturdy mixers tackles this problem in a slightly different way.
Some have spinning bowls, dough hooks, and scrapers that keep the dough constantly on the move.
While others have moveable attachment arms so you can adjust the space between the mixer head and the bowl to keep your dough where you want it.
But the main reason they all work great for bread is because of a really important but often overlooked piece of equipment that is crucial to the bread kneading process.
The Dough Hook
The hook is one of the few things that will come into contact with your bread dough so it’s important that it’s up to the job.
And there’s 2 basic types, the C-shaped hook, and the spiral (also known as the pigtail)
The spiral and C-shaped dough hooks
The C-shaped hook kneads your bread against the side of the bowl while the spiral hook works it against the bottom.
And all the best stand mixers for bread dough come with a spiral-shaped hook.
Generally, it will stretch your dough faster and give you a more elastic result.
There’s also less chance of your dough climbing a spiral-shaped hook because it’s bent in a direction that pushes the dough back into the bowl.
The design of the spiral hook has also evolved over the years and some of the more modern ones have a braker about halfway up which helps stop the dough wrapping around it.
There are no guarantees though.
And if you find your bread dough climbing a spiral-shaped hook, the sad fact of the matter is you’ve probably got a mixer that was never designed to knead in the first place.
And although every stand mixer comes with some sort of dough hook. The owner’s manual for a lot will tell you to just mix the dough till it comes together and after that to knead by hand.
Which to my mind defeats the purpose of getting one in the first place.
So, if you want a mixer that’s capable of mixing and kneading your dough from start to finish, without having to stop and scrape it off the hook every couple of minutes, then go for one of the tried and tested mixers on our list below.
Now that we’ve dealt with that little problem it’s time to move on and look at some other features all the best stand mixers for bread have in common.
5 Key Features Of The Best Stand Mixer For Bread
If you think you’re going to make bread in your mixer and you want to avoid smoking motors and that acrid mechanical smell in the air make sure it has the following features.
1. Stand Mixer Power
325, 400, and 600 watts. The best stand mixer for bread comes in a wide range of different power options.
But don’t get too hung up on this, and remember not to confuse watts with power. The wattage of a mixer is simply a measurement of the amount of electricity the motor uses.
Sure, a mixer that uses more electricity is more likely to be powerful. But if it’s poorly designed it won’t deliver much power no matter what the wattage is.
There are other crucial factors to consider, and If you want a mixer that is both powerful and reliable it should have the following 2 features.
2. Direct drive transmission
This simply means that the driveshaft runs straight from the motor to the attachment arm. There is no gearing or pulley mechanism in between and so no loss of power.
Any mixer with a direct drive will be far more powerful and have a lot more torque than those without. Mixers designed like this are also more reliable, as there are fewer moving parts that can break.
3. Metal gears
Kneading bread is the toughest job a mixer will face and means it will be running for at least 10 to 20 minutes while gluten develops. And remember gluten is essential to give you a light n’ airy loaf. So you’ll find that the best stand mixers for bread come with metal gears.
Mixers with nylon or plastic gears find it difficult to cope with this sort of treatment over a long period and are prone to overheating and striping out.
If you know you’ll be making lots of bread always look for a mixer with metal gears. All though noisier, it’s going to last longer and be far more reliable.
4. Bowl Capacity
When buying a mixer always bear in mind the size of the bowl. Mixing bowls come in lots of different shapes and sizes and there will be one to suit your needs.
For most home bakers any size between 3.5 and 5 quarts should be big enough. Always check your favourite bread recipes to make sure the mixer can handle them.
And if in doubt go for a larger size. This will give you the option to prove your dough in the same bowl you mixed it in and cut down on the washing up.
The heavier the better for bread bakers. So look for a mixer at around 20 lbs in weight. If it’s too light it will start walking along the countertop as it kneads your dough.
Best Stand Mixer For Bread Dough – The Contenders
After a lot of research and testing, and having looked at a lot of different mixers, we’ve come up with a handy list of the toughest mixers around today.
Each one is well made, reliable has all the features listed above, and will see you happily baking bread for years to come.
Here at Cockles n Mussels we hope you enjoy the products we recommend but we need to let you know that if you decide to purchase something through the links on this page we get a small commission. It helps keep the lights on round here…..Thanks.
The Ankarsrum Original
This is a stand mixer but one like you’ve probably never seen before.
Manufactured in Sweden since the 1940s and formerly known as the magic mill or Electrolux assistant, the Ankarsrum has an old school look and a unique design that hasn’t changed much in the 80 years since it hit the market.
features and specs
|wattage 600||Weight 28 lbs||Spiral shaped hook||Stainless steel bowl||7 Liters|
|Metal gears – Yes||Width 13 inches||Wire whisk – Yes||stainless steel hook||21 cups of flour|
|Direct drive – Yes||Depth 18.5 inches||Flat beater – Yes||Plastic dough roller||15 pounds|
|Mixing speeds n/a||Height 18 inches||extras available|
The Ankarsrum is one of a few mixers out there where the motor is housed underneath the unit instead of above, and it rotates the bowl instead of the attachment.
This offers huge advantages for bread bakers. First off you get masses of power and torque. And because it’s the bowl that rotates your dough is constantly on the move and being kneaded.
This leaves the top of the mixing bowl clean, there’s no tilt head or bowl-lift mechanism, so it’s really easy to add ingredients while the mixer is running.
Instead, the top of the mixer houses a moveable steel attachment arm that you can swing across the top of the bowl to quickly mix ingredients together.
And this is where you clip in a whole host of dough kneading attachments that come as standard with the mixer.
Included are a spiral type hook, a dough knife, and a dough roller and scraper. This gives the Ankarsrum the ability to tackle any type of dough from sticky brioche to pizza crust.
The hook works best on the dryer types of dough. While the roller and scraper work together to mimic the manual kneading action of your hands and works best on the higher hydrated stickier doughs.
Another feature of the Ankarsrum that’s different is that it has no set mixing speeds. Instead, there’s a control knob where you adjust how quickly the bowl spins, starting from a low 45 rpm to a speedy 130.
This gives it the ability to tackle not only bread dough, but cookies, cake batter, and meringues can all be whipped up in the Ankarsrum second 3.5-litre bowl. Which has been specially designed to work with the mixers double beaters and wire whisks.
Because the Ankarsrum is a lot different to other mixers you’ll probably find it a little bit difficult to use at first and there’s a bit of a learning curve involved.
Luckily it comes with a great instruction manual and there are tons of resources online to help you get baking quickly.
- With metal gears and a direct drive transmission, the Ankarsrum is powerful, strong, and reliable.
- Can handle small or large 15 lbs batches of any dough.
- Speed sensor that automatically adjusts the torque to the load.
- Other attachments (sold separately) for blending, juicing, meat grinding, grating, and pasta rolling etc. Can be clipped on to the mixer.
- At only 18 inches high it will easily fit under the cupboards of your countertop.
- Rubber feet keep it firmly in place while in use.
- Every part except the motor is dishwasher safe.
- Comes in an array of different colours and with a 3-year warranty.
- Not so easy to use straight out of the box, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved.
- Great for bread, and although it can do other jobs like biscuits or cake batter, a traditional type mixer might be easier to use.
- Some might not like the old-style look.
- Price – might be a little beyond some people’s budget.
The KitchenAid Professional 600 series
With direct-drive transmission, a powerful 575-watt motor, and a metal gearing system the KA pro is a great addition to the kitchen of any home baker.
The mixer itself comes with a power knead spiral dough hook and a 67 point planetary mixing set-up that quickly mixes and kneads dough to a window pain in about 5 minutes.
features and specs
|wattage 575||Weight 29 lbs||Spiral shaped hook||Stainless steel bowl||6 quarts|
|Metal gears – Yes||Width 11.3 inches||Wire whisk – Yes||Bowl lift design||8 loaves|
|Direct drive – Yes||Depth 14.6 inches||Flat beater – Yes||brushed steel hook|
|Mixing speeds 10||Height 16.5 inches||extras available||brushed steel beater|
While the bowl-lift design and weight of the mixer make it stable and root it firmly in place while mixing bigger batches of coarse doughs.
There’s also a screw about halfway up the mixer’s front end where you can adjust the clearance between the bowl and the attachments.
And although this is set in the factory you can adjust it with a flat head screwdriver if you run into any problems like your dough mounting the hook.
Before you use it for the first time make sure to give the owner’s manual a read where KitchenAid gives some great tips on how to mix and knead bread in it, along with some great recipes.
One thing to note is that KA recommends you only use speed 2 to knead bread dough as anything quicker could damage the mixer.
- Large 8 loaf capacity. Strong and durable with metal gears and direct drive.
- Kneads quickly and efficiently with a 67 point planetary mixing system.
- 15 additional attachments available – everything from meat grinders to food processors.
- Great all-rounder, not just good for bread, but cakes, frostings, cookies, and meringue can all easily be whipped up.
- Available in 10 different colours.
- 1-year warranty.
- The attachments are brushed steel and after a few washes the coating wears off and you’ll find a black residue on anything you mix with them. So you’ll need to get the nylon coated ones which are an additional expense.
- A little noisy compared to other mixers.
The Hobart N50
Hobart is a brand I know well. Its mixers have been a stalwart in pro kitchens and bakeries for decades.
Loved by bread bakers and cooks the world over for their speed and durability. Hobart mixers have a well-deserved reputation for being virtually indestructible.
The N50 is Hobart’s smallest commercial model and the one most suitable for home use.
features and specs
|wattage 348||Weight 50 lbs||Spiral shaped hook||Stainless steel bowl||5 quarts|
|Metal gears – Yes||Width 10.5 inches||Wire whisk – Yes||Bowl lift design||4 pounds|
|Direct drive – Yes||Depth 15 inches||Flat beater – Yes||Aluminium hook & beater|
|Mixing speeds 3||Height 17 inches||extras available||steel whip|
The main reason for the N50’s durability is its all-metal construction, and it’s not just the housing, but the strapping 1/6 horsepower engine, gears, and transmission too.
As you can imagine this makes it quite heavy and it weighs in at a whopping 50 lbs. So there’s very little chance of it going for a walk while it’s mixing up even the toughest bread dough.
Another factor that sets it apart is the fact that its powerful motor is always running at full speed. It then uses a geared transmission system to control how quickly the head rotates.
So it doesn’t matter which of the 3 speeds you select: low, medium, or high you’re still getting maximum power all the time. Whereas with other mixers once you turn down the speed you also turn down the power.
This means that when you knead bread on the low setting your dough is being worked intensely, which leads to a rapid increase in gluten development, and a better bake.
And even though the mixer is constantly at full tilt once it’s turned on it refuses to overheat.
This is down to the fact that like any proper engine there’s a fan built in to keep it running smoothly. So unlike other mixers, you never have to wait for it to cool off.
And just as a quick side note, Hobart was once the parent company of KitchenAid back in the day before they sold it off. And the attachment hub on the N50 can accommodate all those nice gadgets like pasta makers and juicers sold by KA.
- Strong and powerful, should last a lifetime.
- 5-quart stainless steel bowl with a convenient handle.
- Lever style bowl-lift mechanism.
- Planetary mixing.
- Beautiful powder-coated paint finish.
- It’s not cheap.
- Considering the build quality and price the low capacity of 4 lbs recommended by the manufacturer seem a bit small.
The Bosch Universal Plus
Bosch is a german company that are probably best known for their power tools. Besides drills and saws, they make lots of other stuff too. Including a whole range of kitchen equipment.
Everything from fridges and freezers, to ovens, extractor hoods, and of course stand mixers.
features and specs
|wattage 800||Weight 18.6 lbs||Spiral shaped hook||Plastic bowl||6.55 quarts|
|Metal gears – Yes||Width 14 inches||Wire whisk – Yes||Stainless steel hook||14 loaves|
|Direct drive – Yes||Depth 15 inches||Flat beater – No||Plastic whip and beater|
|Mixing speeds 4||Height 18 inches||extras available||Plastic dough hook extender|
The universal plus is their top line mixer and like the Ankarsrum above the powerful 800-watt motor is located under the bowl instead of above.
So you get all the same advantages, bags of power and torque from the belt drive transmission, and the top of the mixer is left clear making it easy to add ingredients while the machine is running.
But for bakers where the bosch universal really comes into its own is with a unique dough hook design.
With a 3 pronged spiral shape, it clips onto the drive shaft in the centre of the bowl in exactly the same way as you’d attach a blade to a food processor. And once turned on the hook tucks and folds the dough every 4 rotations.
This leads to really quick gluten development, a springy elastic dough, and there’s absolutely 0% chance it will climb the hook.
And if you do large batches you’ll be delighted to hear the universal plus can handle up to 14 lbs at a time.
While if you only want to make one loaf there’s a dough hook extender that reaches deeper into the bowl and can need a dough made with just 3 cups of flour
And although it’s the lightest mixer on our list at a little over 18 lbs it comes with suction pads for feet that keep it firmly rooted to the spot.
- Dough hook, dough hook extender, wire whip, lid, splash ring and bowl all included as standard.
- Wide range of optional accessories available which can be plugged into the mixers second drive.
- Can take on large batches of wholemeal dough.
- Integrated cable storage.
- Durable and easy to clean surface.
- 3-year warranty for the base and 1 year on the attachments.
- Great customer service.
- Can be difficult to make small batches.
- Frustratingly, the bowl has no handle.
- Some attachments have nooks and crannies making them difficult to clean.
- The dough hook isn’t dishwasher safe.
The Kitchen Aid Artisan
This is another mixer I know well and as one of the best selling and most popular out there, no review would be complete without a look at the KA artisan.
Despite drawing just 325 watts of power the Artisan comes with a direct drive and metal gears which give it a nice bit of torque. Known as a good all-rounder it does fall a little short in the bread-making department, unfortunately.
features and specs
|wattage 325||Weight 22 lbs||C-shaped hook||Tilt head||5 quarts|
|Metal gears – Yes||Width 8.7 inches||Wire Whisk – Yes||Stainless steel bowl||4 loaves|
|Direct drive – Yes||Depth 14.1 inches||Flat beater – Yes||Nylon coated hook and beater|
|Mixing speeds 10||Height 13.9 inches||extras available||Steel whisk|
Don’t get me wrong, you can still mix up a couple of loaves of bread made from all-purpose flour, without putting it under too much pressure.
So it’s not a bad investment if you only make a small amount of bread occasionally and want a mixer that’s great for cakes. biscuits, and cookies too
But serious bread makers will run into a couple of problems quite quickly and this is down to the tilt-head design and the way the bowl clips into the base of the mixer.
Because all though it comes with a generous 5-quart bowl, working too much dough, or a coarser dough, can sometimes cause the bowl to slip loose from the base
Either that or the tilt head pops up when the mixer comes under too much pressure.
The artisan also comes with a C-shaped hook which doesn’t work gluten as well as the spiral and higher hydrated doughs do have a tendency to wrap around it.
You can counter this by adjusting the hook to bowl clearance vai a screw located under the mixer’s tilt head similar to how it’s done on the KA pro, but it’s a bit of a hassle.
And unfortunately, you can’t swap the C- shaped hook out for the spiral because the artisan isn’t designed for it.
The spiral hook puts too much upward pressure on the mixer’s head and can cause it to overheat, or stop working altogether.
- A great all-rounder for cakes, cookies, and frostings.
- Ideal for those who only bake a couple of loaves now and again.
- Quick 59 point planetary mixing system.
- Pouring shield and ingredient chute included.
- Tilt head design makes it easy to add ingredients and attach whisks and beaters.
- One year warranty..
- A bit light weight for serious bakers.
- Can’t handle large batches of heavy dough.
- Bowl has a habit of coming loose from the base.
The Best Stand Mixer For Bread – Over To You
As you might have noticed, none of the mixers on our list are exactly what you’d call cheap.
But the great news is that with stand mixers you get what you pay for, and they’ll all see you happily making sourdough, focaccia, and pizza crust for years to come.
And if a mixer can handle bread dough it can handle any other job you throw at it….but which is the best??
Personally, I love Hobart mixers they really do last a lifetime but it’s hard to justify the cost and it’s just too prohibitive for most home bakers.
When picking a mixer for bread it really comes down to a couple of considerations. How many loaves do you want to make and how much are you willing to pay?
The Ankarsrum is a great mixer. It looks cool, it’s strong, powerful, and it can power through a mountain of dough without breaking sweat.
But the best value out there is the Bosch universal plus. It just beats the Ankarsurm for my money because it can handle nearly as much dough just as easily.
It’s also better at all those other baking jobs, cakes, cookies, and all the rest.
Plus that second drive where you can add a dazzling array of attachments (food processors etc) really does turn it into a second pair of hands around the kitchen.
Making fresh bread is one of the true joys of baking. I still get that “I can’t believe I made that” moment, even after all these years, when I take a freshly baked loaf out of the oven.
And once you get the best stand mixer for bread it really does take all the hassle out of knocking up a couple of loaves.
So hopefully, it’s a feeling you’ll find yourself experiencing a lot more often too.
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