In my dream kitchen, there are three must-have appliances: my current coffee maker, my ideal blender, and my KitchenAid mixer.
Each of these three appliances have something in common. The coffee maker, for instance, needs a simple button press to brew the perfect cup of coffee. The blender also only requires a simple button press to get started. The KitchenAid mixer is no different — dump in your ingredients, set the mixing speed, and walk away. Well, you’ll have to return to stop the mixing, but you know what I mean.
All these appliances are great for multi-tasking bakers and kitchen connoisseurs. The KitchenAid is a modern day kitchen necessity as it shortens prep time and allows for multi tasking in the kitchen.
My KitchenAid of choice is the Pro 450. Mine is the imperial black color, but you can get just about any size, shape, or color you want. Although the Pro 450 is a few years old now, you can get a new Artisan model in 20 different colors, a Professional 600 series (in a quirky lime green if you wish), or a number of Pro Line models which take mixing to a commercial level. Whatever your needs, there’s likely a mixer made by KitchenAid with your name on it.
The Pro 450
The Kitchen Aid Pro 450 is an excellent tool in the kitchen, specifically for baking. Although there can be multiple uses for cooking, I find it shines when making doughs and batters.
The KitchenAid design has become very popular over the years. KitchenAids are found in many different kitchens and often act as a style piece themselves.
The sleek, modern design is iconic and will fit right alongside any of your other appliances without clashing. If you go with a trendy color, you can add a burst of life to your kitchen just by having the KitchenAid on display. I actually tend to leave mine out and don’t like to store it, as it’s both stylish to look at and is a beast to move.
The Pro 450 comes with three attachments: a flat beater, a dough hook, and a wire whip. The flat beater is the standard mixing attachment, and it’s the one I use most often. If I’m making cookies, cakes, or muffins, the flat beater is my go-to attachment.
I use the dough hook for making different doughs for cinnamon buns or pizza crusts. Instead of kneading the pizza crust dough by hand for seven minutes, the KitchenAid mixer saves me the time and I can get started on the next step. As much as my husband and I love pizza, this is a lifesaver.
Lastly, I use the wire whip for thin batters, whip cream, or icing.
All three attachments are sturdy, well-built, and won’t break on you. They are also very easy to clean, but be sure to keep them out of the dishwasher. I put mine in the dishwasher once early on and their burnished metal coating came off. This hasn’t made a difference in how they function, so I’m not too worried. Some of KitchenAid’s attachments are designed differently and come with different coatings, so be sure to read the manual and instructions before putting them in the dishwasher.
If any of these three attachments don’t meet your needs, you can purchase a wide variety of accessories. Next on my list is the pasta attachment, but you can also pick up food grinders, food processors, spiralizers, juicers, and a wide variety of other attachments. You can also buy different types of bowls; I really want to get the ice cream bowl to make my own ice cold desserts in the summer. It would be tons of fun to try different recipes with the different attachments, but each attachment does come at a bit of a hefty cost.
The Pro 450 is a 300-watt mixer and has 10 speeds, including a stir function. This allows the contents to be mixed according to your needs. From slowly stirring in pecans, to beating butter, to whipping up some home made whipped cream, it can handle just about any job.
The one-piece motor head on the Pro 450 is different from other KitchenAid models, as the head doesn’t tilt up. Although this may be considered a small detail to some, it allows the mixer to be stored under cabinetry, and can remain stationary. As the mixer is quite heavy, you won’t want to be moving it around.
The downfall to a one-piece motor head (non-tilt-head) is that it can create more difficulty when placing in a bowl with liquids or thin batters. As the head doesn’t tilt, you have to tilt the bowl instead, causing some of your liquids or batters to spill onto the KitchenAid’s base. I appreciate being able to store the non-tilt-head easier, but I can see the benefits of a tilt-head mixer.
The other benefit of a tilt-head mixer is how clean it is after you’ve finished mixing your doughs or batters. If you have a runny batter, the leftover batter stuck to the attachment can drip all over the place. With a tilt-head mixer, you can tilt the head back with the attachments in place and the remaining batter can drip into the bowl below. With a non-tilt-head mixer, you have to remove the bowl and the dripping attachments drip straight onto the base of the mixer. This can get messy and requires extra cleanup.
The only flaw I’ve found with my Pro 450 KitchenAid is its accumulation of lubricant under the mixing head. Lubricant can accumulate here if you don’t use the KitchenAid regularly, so be sure to either wipe off the lubricant ahead of time, or the recommended method of running the KitchenAid without anything in the bowl to spread the lubricant around.
The entire mixer, as a whole, is very well lubricated. If you run your finger along the underside of the mixing head, you may notice some oily substance gather over time. The lubricant is a good thing, as it keeps the motor and mixing head running smoothly. However, if you don’t use the KitchenAid that often, the lubricant tends to accumulate in between uses. I often have to wipe my mixer before putting in ingredients.
To fix this problem, you can do one of two things. First, you can use your KitchenAid mixer more often. If you only use it on a rare occasion, customer service recommended turning the machine onto a high speed and letting it run on its own for a few minutes. This would spread the lubricant around the mixing head and help get rid of the accumulation on the underside.
THE MIXING BOWL
I like the large handle, which makes moving the bowl with heavier batters much easier. You can place the bowl in the dishwasher with ease and not worry about any coatings wearing away.
The bowl for the Pro 450 is a 4.5 quart bowl, which holds 8 cups of flour. The Pro 500 comes with a 5 quart bowl, which holds about 9 cups of flour. If the 4.5 quart bowl isn’t large enough for your needs, you can easily find other KitchenAid mixers with larger sized bowls.
All KitchenAid mixers are manufactured in the United States, which makes this a close-to-home appliance for your kitchen. On top of that, KitchenAid’s customer service is awesome. If you’re having a problem with your mixer, you can give customer service a call. I’ve heard you can put your phone up to the mixer and customer service will diagnose the problem just by the sound your mixer is making. For my lubricant issue, customer service assured me this was normal and gave me some suggestions to prevent build-up. KitchenAid mixers can be very expensive, so the assurance of good customer service is a well deserved benefit.
It may be a bit much to say a KitchenAid mixer is a necessity in every kitchen, but it’s pretty close to a necessity in mine. As a dietitian, I consider myself a food connoisseur. I love creating different healthy recipes and desserts (and sometimes not-so-healthy desserts), and the KitchenAid mixer is a key tool in my home kitchen.
The only downside to a KitchenAid mixer is the arm strength you lose from manually mixing bowls of heavy cookie dough. I’m not sure how my grandmother did it for all those years. Without a doubt, the KitchenAid is a modern luxury — one in which I can’t see myself without.