The 7 Best Stand Mixers for Bread of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Stand Mixer is our winner

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Best Stand Mixers for Bread

The Spruce Eats / Chloe Jeong

Tested & Approved

After extensive testing by our experts, the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer earned our overall best spot as it handled everything that our tester threw at it, including mixing cookie dough, kneading bread, and churning butter. If you're on a budget, consider the Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer, which performed above average and is more affordable.

Stand mixers are a favorite appliance for those who like to bake, but not every mixer can stand up to the rigors of bread making. Dense doughs that require plenty of kneading can overwhelm a mixer without enough power, and mixers that don't have variable speeds need to be watched carefully to make sure they provide adequate gluten development without overworking the dough.

If you enjoy making bread and want to incorporate a stand mixer into your baking routine, you'll want to choose a good quality mixer with the right attachments, capacity, and enough power to handle your favorite bread recipes. We purchased each of these machines to test in our Lab, and several of the popular models were sent to our independent reviewers to test in their home kitchens. When mixing bread dough, we tested how long it took to bring the ingredients together based on the recipe's suggestion, how well the gluten had developed during mixing, and if additional kneading by hand was necessary. Our testers also noted if the mixer itself overheated, shook, or struggled in any way during the bread dough mixing process. In the process, we found a variety of machines that should fit your needs, whatever they may be.

Best Overall

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

4.8
KitchenAid Artisan 5 qt. Stand Mixer

Bed Bath & Beyond

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl, beater, and dough hook

  • Maximum 4-loaf capacity

  • Mixes thick bread and pasta doughs easily

  • Heavier-weight machine keeps machine stable

What We Don't Like
  • No “soft-start” option

Bread machines are great, but you can make bread without them. Combining the ingredients in a stand mixer and oven-baking is another reliable method. The KitchenAid Artisan Series stand mixer might be the most iconic model out there, known for its durability and performance when mixing everything from meringues to pizza dough.

With 10 speeds and a 325-watt motor, this model features a 5-quart mixing bowl and standard paddle, dough hook, and whip attachments (with a power hub to use with a multitude of additional attachments). Weighing in at 23 pounds, this stand mixer will stay in place without worry while in operation, and the tilt-head mechanism allows for easy removal of the mixing bowl. 

Our home tester found that the Artisan mixer was able to mix up both bread dough and pasta dough without an issue. Having a machine that can smoothly transition from mixing pasta dough to rolling it out is a huge labor, time, and storage advantage when it comes to home pasta-making. In the Lab, our tester found that this machine is most effective at kneading dough at lower speeds, which helps the dough hook really latch onto the dough and keeps the machine from overworking.

We noticed that the machine does begin to shake more with thicker bread doughs, but the weight of the machine keeps it anchored to the counter. Additionally, the motor of the stand mixer became a little warm after mixing for over 20 minutes, but the planetary mixing components showed no signs of struggling.

For lighter-weight projects, the Artisan KitchenAid Mixer smoothly tackled every task we threw at it, including cookie dough and churning butter for fresh heavy cream. The handle on the bowl is a plus (allowing you to retain a firm grip while scraping bread dough out of the bowl), as well as the coated dough hook (making it dishwasher-safe). Since the machine is often a constant fixture on the counter, it also helps that there are 29 available finishes, allowing you to color-coordinate with your kitchen decor. For home bakers who want to do it all, this mixer is a reliable and uncompromising choice.

Price at time of publish: $450

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with bread dough

 The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 325 watts | Bowl Volume: 5 quarts | Attachments: 1 beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

What Our Testers Say

"With this stand mixer willing to do the kneading, we gave it a go, and soon we had a silky ball of pasta dough. While the mixer’s motor got a little warm, it didn’t get hot so we didn’t worry about overheating...[T]he mixer did an excellent job kneading bread dough, and it didn’t complain one bit."Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best Budget

Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer

4.2
hamilton beach 6-speed electric stand mixer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Features
    3.5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Folding setting for delicate mixing

  • Great dough hook design for incorporating ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Paddle is plastic

For the price, the 300-watt Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer does a decent job at mixing most bread dough and batters for quick breads. “The Hamilton is great for smaller batches and for softer doughs,” says Kelsey Weber, food & product stylist at KR Food Styling. “For the price point, this mixer will be a great addition for a novice baker.”

Our home product tester agrees: "The mixer seemed to strain just a little, but it still gave me a silky-smooth dough...It would be a great mixer for bakers with more modest needs," she notes. During testing, she also noted that the folding option (in addition to the appliance's six speeds) is particularly useful for delicate ingredients, as well as the initial slow mixing of dry ingredients.

In the Lab, our tester noticed that "the shape of the dough hook actually helps the mixer to incorporate dry ingredients from the edges of the bowl," which cuts down on how often you'll need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides. The machine is a little louder than some of the other stand mixer models we tested alongside it, but it didn't overheat or show signs of struggling while mixing. To make up for the lighter overall weight, the mixer has suction cups on the bottom to help anchor it to the counter.

Similar to KitchenAid, it has a planetary mixing action that allows the attachment to revolve around the bowl to ensure even mixing. Unlike the KitchenAid models, it's only available in black and has a more contemporary boxy design. This model includes a 3.5-quart capacity stainless-steel mixing bowl, dough hook, wire whisk, and plastic paddle. While this machine comes at a nice price and mixes lighter ingredients with impressive ease, it can handle the occasional small batch of denser dough for bakers looking to get started with bread-making.

Price at time of publish: $105

Hamilton Beach 6-speed stand mixer product image

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: 6 | Power: 300 watts | Bowl Volume: 3.5 quarts | Attachments: 1 plastic beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

What Our Testers Say

"With easy tasks like whipping cream, making butter, and whipping my fluffy frosting, this mixer did a great job."Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best Countertop Display

SMEG Retro-Style Stand Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl

4.5
SMEG Stand Mixer 5 Qt

Williams Sonoma

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Appealing signature retro design and colors

  • Powerful 800-watt motor makes mixing doughs easier

  • Can mix nearly 3 pounds of dough

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many attachments available

  • Higher price tag than similar models

The Italian brand SMEG is known best for quality appliances in stylish, award-winning retro designs, and the brand's stand mixer does not disappoint. This compact mixer has a die-cast aluminum housing with a powder-coated enamel finish reminiscent of a classic car, complete with chrome accents and gearshift-like speed control on the top of the unit. It’s available in more than half a dozen attractive colors that match all of the other SMEG appliances you may have or want.

Like many other mixer brands, the SMEG comes with the trinity of attachments (flat beater, wire whisk, and dough hook) and a pouring shield. But the SMEG brand doesn’t get by on looks alone—when it comes to performance, this machine keeps up with the KitchenAid Artisan Series with its similar planetary mixing action, 10 speeds, and tilt-head design. In fact, this mixer boasts an 800-watt motor, more than twice the power as the KitchenAid version, and it has the “Smooth" start function, which starts the machine with a slower initial speed to prevent ingredient splatter.

In our Lab tests, our tester noted that the machine's instructions specifically recommend not mixing doughs above speed two, which is good practice for most stand mixers. Even at a lower speed, the SMEG mixer was able to mix the bread dough we tested in it efficiently, and get it kneaded to point of being elastic. A minute or two of kneading the dough by hand after removing it from the machine, and the dough was perfectly developed.

The only downside our tester noticed was the sound the mixer makes. Given that it's got a more powerful motor, it makes sense that it would be louder; with great power comes greater noise, which is something to consider if that's something you're sensitive to. But even though the machine may get louder than the others, it doesn't show any signs of distress or overheating while mixing and kneading dough.

Price at time of publish: $540

Smeg retro-style stand mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 800 watts | Bowl Volume: 4.8 liters (5 quarts) | Attachments: 1 beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

Lab Test Takeaway

"The splatter guard helps to keep anything from really jumping from the bowl and makes the machine itself easy to clean. [The SMEG stand mixer is] comparable in price to other machines with the same capabilities, and it can tackle most any job without laboring."

Best Heavy-Duty

KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer

4.4
KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Size
    5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Great for heavier, denser doughs

  • Spiral dough hook kneads exceptionally well

  • 7-quart capacity can make 8 pounds of dough

What We Don't Like
  • Larger footprint than Artisan model

  • Pricey

If your bread-baking habits are higher in volume, the high-performance KitchenAid Pro Line 7-quart Stand Mixer is an outstanding option. It’s a bigger, more powerful version of the trademarked KitchenAid design that can mix up to a whopping 8 pounds of dough at a time. With 10 speeds to choose from, this mixer excels at kneading heavier doughs thanks to its quiet yet powerful 1.3-horsepower motor, which gives it the capability to knead for longer without overheating.

While it's clear that the larger capacity of this machine can easily knead several batches of bread dough at a time, it is also able to mix single batches of bread dough efficiently. It performed impressively when our Lab tester put it to lighter-duty tasks like mixing cookie dough and whipping cream. And unlike the SMEG stand mixer, the KitchenAid Pro Line mixer didn't get any louder when mixing faster or thicker doughs. In fact, it hardly exhibited any signs of exertion, other than becoming ever-so-slightly warm after intense dough mixing for almost 15 minutes.

True to its name, the KitchenAid Pro Line 7-quart bowl-lift stand mixer is trusted in professional kitchens and bakeries everywhere. It's great for bread dough mixing, but it's also ideal for anyone who's serious about making pasta dough regularly, or even bakers who find themselves making larger cakes, batches of frosting, and cookie dough several batches at a time.

This mixer features 10 speeds, and its heavier weight—approximately 25 pounds—ensures that the machine won’t budge when it’s in use. The bowl-lift design utilizes a crank that locks the bowl into the raised position while the bowl itself snaps into place at three points for maximum stabilization. It includes a wire whip, paddle attachment, and a spiraled dough hook, which mimics hand-kneading. If you bake often, you’ll love how this mixer performs; it’s a true workhorse and lives up to everything you’d expect from a professional-grade mixer. 

Price at time of publish: $679

KitchenAid 7-quart pro lift stand mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 969 watts | Bowl Volume: 7 quarts | Attachments: 1 beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

Lab Test Takeaway

"The lever to lift the bowl up and down makes for ease of disassembly for cleaning or moving on to the next project. The 7-quart bowl makes this mixer able to do larger jobs but does not take away from the ability to do smaller jobs either. It can work single batches and double batches with ease."

Best for Small Spaces

KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

4.4
KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Size
    3/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Similar functionality as full-size version

  • Takes up less counter space

  • “Soft Start” feature eliminates ingredient “splash-out”

What We Don't Like
  • Tough to make double recipes

  • Doesn’t include pouring shield

If you’re looking for the capability of a full-sized machine but simply don’t have the room for one, look no further than the 3.5-quart version of the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Armed with the same functionality and tilt-head feature as the full-size version, this 250-watt model is perfectly sized for mixing smaller quantities. Not to mention it comes in about a dozen colors to choose from.

We used the very same tests for this smaller KitchenAid that we did for the larger 5.5-quart Artisan model—whipping cream, mixing cookie dough, and kneading bread—and it performed just as well when working with single batches of each recipe. Even when mixing a single batch of bread dough, the machine didn't appear to be taxed in the least.

Our testers agreed that you'd be sacrificing a little in the way of bowl volume, but not compromising on performance (or style, for that matter). Given that you're getting the reliability of a KitchenAid mixer that could potentially last several decades with proper care, the price tag makes sense. It's not out of the question that you could be giving it to your kids when they get their first apartment—at which point, you can upgrade to a larger model.

Bonus: This model has the “Soft Start” feature that eliminates ingredient “splash-out” when turning the mixer on. The paddle attachment is also designed with a rubber edge that helps scrape the sides of the bowl clean while mixing.

Price at time of publish: $380

KitchenAid 3.5-Quart mini stand mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 250 watts | Bowl Volume: 3.5 quarts | Attachments: 1 beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

What Our Experts Say

"[This mixer is] perfect for a single batch of bread, and it takes up less counter space for those in space-conscious kitchens. It doesn't have a pouring shield, so it can get a little messy, but it's perfect for bakers who are medium-skilled and making single loaves of bread." — Kelsey Weber, Food & Product Stylist at KR Food Styling

Best Large Capacity

Wolf Gourmet WGSM100S High-Performance Stand Mixer

4.2
Wolf Gourmet WGSM100S High-Performance Stand Mixer

Williams Sonoma

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Features
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • 7-quart bowl accommodates several batches of dough

  • Powerful enough for mixing heavy ingredients effortlessly

  • Can handle smaller quantities just as well

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Too tall to fit under some cabinets

Though this stand mixer is fairly new to the game, the Wolf brand is known for superior quality and craftsmanship. This professional-grade machine features a 7-quart capacity bowl and a robust 500-watt motor that can handle 8 pounds of dough at a time. Like the KitchenAid Pro Line mixer, this model uses a bowl-lift, but Wolf’s proprietary design lifts and lowers the bowl from the base with an easy turn of the bowl’s handle. 

Bakers will enjoy the great control of mixing speed thanks to the variable speed dial and a pulse function for slowly adding ingredients into the mix. When our home tester mixed a batch of bread dough, they were impressed with the power and speed with which the mixer worked. The mixer gave no signs of distress, overheating, noise, or extreme shaking. Where other models may "walk" across countertops with extreme mixing, the Wolf Gourmet stood its ground.

In our Lab tests, we were impressed by how well the mixer handled a batch of bread dough. It was one of the few mixers that were able to completely knead a batch of dough without finishing it by hand after removing it from the machine. But given how large the bowl is, you may need to scrape down the bowl a few times while mixing to make sure everything mixes evenly and all ingredients are incorporated. Our tester also mentioned that this machine can easily handle two, if not three, batches of dough at a time.

The Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer also includes a flat beater, whisk, and dough hook that are all top-rack dishwasher-safe, making for hassle-free cleanup. The only downside is the cost of the machine, which may be prohibitive to some bakers. If you already own Wolf products, you’ll appreciate the professional styling of this mixer, as its red knob and brushed finish coordinates well with other industrially-inspired Wolf appliances.

Price at time of publish: $1,000

Wolf gourmet high-performance stand mixer product image

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: Variable and pulse | Power: 500 watts | Bowl Volume: 7 quarts | Attachments: 1 beater, 1 dough hook, 1 wire whip

What Our Testers Say

"No matter what speed I chose, the mixer gave a soft start, so it didn’t fling ingredients around the way a fast start can do. But even better is the pulse option that allows the mixer to be turned on and off in gentle pulses."Donna Currie, Product Tester

Most Versatile

Ankarsrum Original Kitchen Machine

4.2
Ankarsrum Original Kitchen Machine

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Size
    4/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Built intentionally for kneading dough

  • An impressive line of attachments

  • 7-year warranty on motor assembly

  • 11 color options

What We Don't Like
  • Learning curve for assembling and operating machine

  • More expensive option

While this stand mixer may look and operate slightly different than others, it packs no less of a punch. The 600-watt motor in this machine, situated beneath the mixing bowl, provides open access to the top of the mixing bowl. Adding ingredients in several steps is less messy and provides for maximum use of the bowl’s capacity. 

Ankarsrum is a Swedish company that introduced this style in 1940, under the familiar brand Electrolux. The mixer comes with a 7-liter metal bowl specifically for dough mixing and a 3.5-liter plastic bowl for use with the beater and whisk attachments. The dough-mixing function involves a dough roller, instead of a hook, that pairs with a scraper attachment, which continuously scrapes the dough from the bowl’s sides while mixing. The roller rests on the side of the bowl as it spins or can be manually moved across the bowl and locked into the position that suits you best. Don’t let the operational learning curve scare you off, though—Ankarsrum provides a complete collection of videos to show you how to use your machine correctly.

In our Lab tests, we noticed how well this machine kneads dough, completely developing the gluten with a more natural kneading action than some of the other machines. It was also especially efficient at whipping cream due to the lower position and movement of the smaller double whisk attachments. Even after 10 minutes of kneading dough, the machine didn't get warm or shake, even at top speeds. The machine was also easy to clean, with no mess made during mixing, and no small cracks or grooves for debris to collect in.

The typical attachments are provided with this stand mixer, including two cookie beaters, two whisks, a dough mixing set, two bowls, and a bowl cover. Ankarsrum also sells an impressive selection of attachments that turn your stand mixer into a versatile small kitchen appliance. The machine is heavy, clocking in over 20 pounds. But the extra weight provides more stability while mixing heavier doughs.

While this mixer is on the more expensive end of the available options, it could be worth it if you're planning on using it often for a wide variety of tasks. It's built to take the place of several smaller kitchen appliances, making it worth the price for those who love to bake and cook. The Assistent Original also comes with a whopping 7-year warranty for the motor, which is incredibly comforting if you plan on using your machine for heavy-duty dough mixing regularly.

Price at time of publish: $750

Ankarsrum Assistent Original AKM 6230 Electric Stand Mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Number of Speeds: 12 | Power: 600 watts | Bowl Volume: 7.4-quart metal bowl and 3.7-quart plastic bowl | Attachments: 2 beaters, 2 whisks, 1 dough mixing set (dough roller, dough scraper, dough knife), bowl cover

Lab Test Takeaway

"This mixer has a bevy of attachments that you can purchase and comes with various attachments in the box. Overall it is a very versatile machine. [The Ankarsrum mixer is] a little cumbersome as a whole but is large enough to take care of large or small quantities and not as heavy as it looks."

Final Verdict

The KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer is a tried-and-true mixer that will give you the mixing flexibility to hop from kneading doughs to whipping up frosting. For an affordable alternative that will get the job done, we recommend the Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer.

Testing bread dough on Wolf Gourmet stand mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

How We Tested

Each of the stand mixers on this list was tested side-by-side in our Lab with the 12 most popular stand mixer brands, sizes, and styles. Each of the mixers was reviewed based on their whisking, beating, and kneading performance. Special attention was also paid to how quickly and well the ingredients were mixed, and if the machines showed any sign of stress while mixing. The stand mixers that performed the best while mixing and kneading bread dough specifically made the cut for this list.

Several of the stand mixers were also sent to our independent home testers to gather realistic in-home testing results. Each of our home testers rigorously tested the mixers with several types of dough and reported all of the results, as well as ratings on how well the machines performed each task, the overall design, and the value of the mixers based on the performance and features.

Other Options We Tested

  • Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer: While we didn't dislike this particular stand mixer in general, we did notice that it began to show signs of struggling when mixing bread dough. After several minutes of mixing, the motor was hot to the touch and louder at higher speeds. It also shook a lot more than other machines while mixing dough. It's a great choice for lighter-duty mixes like cookies, cakes, frosting, and whipped creams.
  • Hamilton Beach Classic Stand and Hand Mixer: Even after nearly 15 minutes of mixing, this combination hand and stand mixer failed to knead a batch of bread dough thoroughly. The biggest issue is that it doesn't have the range of motion that the planetary mixers have when mixing, so it isn't able to mix all of the ingredients. Ultimately, our testers confirmed that this machine isn't effective as a stand mixer, and most definitely not for bread dough.
  • Amazon Basics Multispeed Stand Mixer: While the Amazon Basics stand mixer performed relatively well while whipping cream, it started to shake while mixing both cookie dough and bread dough. This machine is a great deal, but not really built for consistent heavy-duty bread mixing, which seems like it will wear it out quickly.
  • Dash Stand Mixer: This machine seems like a great idea for smaller spaces and comes with a much smaller investment than most of the other stand mixers. Unfortunately, it isn't designed for kneading bread dough. A single batch of bread dough hardly fits into the bowl of the mixer. The light weight of the machine doesn't keep it anchored to the counter, so it moves around quite a bit while mixing. And the bowl itself struggles to keep turning and mix the dough in the process.
Testing bread dough on Smeg Stand Mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

What to Look for When Buying a Stand Mixer for Bread Making

Bowl Size

Generally speaking, if you’re planning on making bread dough in your stand mixer, you’re going to want a mixer with a larger bowl size. For bakers making smaller loaves, a 5-quart bowl is really the smallest functional option for full-sized recipes. Even the smallest batches of dough need room to mix and expand. If you’re tight on space and need a smaller mixer with a smaller bowl, you’ll just have to get creative with half-sized batches. Ideally, a bowl that’s 6 quarts or more will give the dough space to mix and allow the dough to stretch and build a solid gluten structure.

Most yeasted doughs require a bulk fermentation period after mixing, which many bakers do directly in the mixing bowl. A larger bowl allows you to go straight from mixing to proofing without having to switch bowls. It’s also a good idea to remember that, while a bowl size indicates the maximum amount of volume it can hold, it usually mixes best with several cups to a quart fewer ingredients than the indicated bowl amount. Additionally, most larger bowls come with machines that pack more power.

Power

When it comes to mixing bread doughs, the more power the better. Some countertop stand mixers boast up to 1000 watts of power, which is fantastic, but not entirely necessary. Stand mixers like the 5-quart tilt-head KitchenAid stand mixer function just fine with a 325-watt motor. With that said, a machine with an average power of 500 watts is going to ensure that your dough gets mixed without struggling. 

Keep in mind that you should always keep a close eye on your machine while it’s mixing doughs, and take note of any signs of struggle. A machine that’s working harder than it’s designed to will overheat, make clicking or scraping noises, struggle to spin or stall out, and even smoke or give off a burning smell. To avoid overworking your machine, always mix the dough on the lowest setting needed to get the job done efficiently, and remember that you may need to finish the dough by hand. Also, realize that while a machine may claim to use 500 watts of power, some of that energy is going to the operation of the machine, and less power is actually going towards mixing your dough.

Design and Color

Stand mixers usually spend the majority of their time sitting on your countertop, which is why so many people lean towards mixers that are as attractive as they are functional. It might not be your biggest concern, but it’s worth it to consider how the machine is going to look in your space. Brands like KitchenAid, SMEG, and even Wolf Gourmet have designed machines with specific forms, colors, and finishes to accent your kitchen. Both the KitchenAid and SMEG mixers have retro designs and are available in a wide range of colors to match your cabinetry, kitchen linens, or cookware. Machines like the Wolf Gourmet and Hamilton Beach are designed for a more contemporary look with brushed stainless steel and shiny black surfaces. If you’ve got all stainless-steel appliances, going for a stainless-steel mixer would be a nice look. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific model, and aren’t concerned about the way it looks, that’s okay, too. If it really clashes with your decor, it’s perfectly fine to store it away in a cabinet and just pull it out when you need it.

Testing bread dough on KitchenAid Mini 3.5-quart mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

Settings and Controls

Every brand has designed the controls of its stand mixers a little differently. Whether it be a lever, dial, knob, or electronic button, the controls should be easy to understand and operate. Operating the machine should eventually feel like second nature while you’re mixing, so you can keep your attention on the food. 

The settings for mixers range from three to twelve increments and cover low, medium, and high speeds at the very least. The more speed settings there are, the smoother the transition will be from one speed to the next, making it less likely that you’ll end up with ingredients flying out of the bowl. Machines with a “stir” or slow-start setting are also useful to avoid shocking the ingredients and making a mess. Additional settings may include timers, alerts, and automatic shutoff settings. While none of these settings are necessary, they’re a nice addition to the machine. 

Warranties

Since most stand mixers require a substantial financial investment, they all typically include a manufacturer’s warranty. Most stand mixer warranties only cover one to three years of use, which isn’t a very long time, considering that this is an investment that’s expected to last for years, if not decades. On the upside, most stand mixers are designed and constructed for the long haul, so you can take comfort knowing that as long as you take care of your machine, it should last a while. Any problems the machine may have due to manufacturing will probably show up well before the warranty period expires. If you’d like some additional coverage, some retailers may offer an extended warranty for an additional price.

Testing bread dough on Dash stand mixer

The Spruce Eats / Russell Kilgore

FAQs

How do stand mixers work?

With few exceptions, all stand mixers operate the same way. A motor is suspended at the top of the mixer over a bowl. Mixing attachments connect at the bottom of the motor and extend down into the bowl. The hub where the attachments connect moves in a planetary motion to move the attachments around the bowl, mixing your ingredients. The benefit of a stand mixer is the power that it brings to mixing. Stand mixers are typically stronger than hand mixing and hand mixer options, which have smaller and less powerful motors.

Are stand mixers necessary for baking bread?

Depending on the type of bread you’re making, stand mixers are not necessary for making bread. Most high water content, sourdough, and no-knead breads require minimal mixing in small batches, which can quickly be done by hand, even if you don’t have a lot of strength. The larger the batch, the more likely the dough will benefit from mixing in a machine. Other glutinous doughs that require substantial kneading to develop the structure can be made by hand but will require a lot of physical labor and will likely take longer to mix. These doughs will be much easier to make in a stand mixer and faster to make than using a hand mixer which might not stand up to the stress of mixing dough.

Can you over-knead bread dough?

Yes, you can over-knead bread dough, but it would take a great deal of mixing to over-knead a dough in a home mixer. A dough that’s been sufficiently kneaded will still have elasticity to it without falling apart. Signs that your dough has developed properly include ingredients pulling away from the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing, and in some cases, the dough pulling away entirely and slapping against the side of the bowl. At this point, your dough has probably been mixing for at least five to ten minutes, and it’s pretty apparent that your dough is finished mixing. If you have to step away from the mixer and the machine continues to mix past this stage, the dough may overmix, which will result in a dough that’s hard and breaks instead of stretches. Once you’ve had experience mixing dough a few times in your machine, you should become familiar with the different stages of your dough. If your dough is only slightly overmixed, a longer rest time will help relax the dough.

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The author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, specializes in global food and wine content. She interviewed LA-based food stylist Kelsey Rose Weber for this piece and has personally used the KitchenAid Artisan series. She often uses her KitchenAid Pro Line mixer at home to bake traditional French boules, brioche, and the occasional chocolate-cinnamon babka.

This article was updated by Jenny Kellerhals, a freelance food and beverage writer based in Queens, New York. Jenny has been a professional pastry chef for over 10 years, with extensive experience using both professional and home-grade kitchen equipment.

Sources

Additional reporting by
Jenny Kellerhals
Jenny Kellerhals

Jenny Kellerhals is a freelance writer covering food and beverage. She is also a pastry chef and an active recipe developer with more than a decade in the industry.

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