Now that I’ve started venturing out into other types of breads, I’ve been wishing more and more that I had a stand mixer to do some of the hard work for me. Recipes with lots of kneading involved would mean having a food mixer that can handle large amounts of dough would be a great addition to my bread tools. I did a ton of research to find the best mixer out there for bread dough…
The best stand mixer for bread dough will have the following qualities:
- Strong enough motor/power to handle any kind of dough without struggle
- Durable hard wearing mechanism that won’t wear out with repeated dough mixing
- Adjustable speeds to avoid over kneading
- Heavy/stable enough to stay put whilst kneading dough
- S-shaped hook rather than C-shaped to encourage proper kneading
- Versatile design that allows for small, as well as large batches of dough to be kneaded
- Large enough mixing bowl to allow for dough rising
This list might seem as if it is something every standard food mixer would have, but unfortunately this is not usually the case. Kneading dough is one of the toughest jobs that you can give a stand mixer, so it’s important to make sure you have one that is going to withstand the kneading process on a regular basis.
In this guide I’ll take you through exactly what you should be looking for in a stand mixer if you want it to last a long time and do a good job kneading all kinds of dough. I’ll also include some recommendations depending on what your needs are…
Note: This site contains affiliate links, where I may receive commissions for recommending products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I only ever recommend what I personally love and/or own.
The one I chose: After much research, the stand mixer I chose for bread dough is the Ankarsrum mixer, which you can find here (a great company that specializes in artisan bread making equipment). I absolutely love it for bread dough and it can handle everything I throw at it! But there are others out there too and at different price points. Read on to learn which one may be best for you…
So you might be wondering at this point if using any stand mixer can be good for bread…Well, let’s take a look at the average stand mixer and why it might not be suited to someone regularly making bread…
Can you Use Any Stand Mixer to Make Bread Dough?
As I mentioned earlier, it may seem obvious that every stand mixer can be used for bread dough. After all, the box says it’s suitable for bread dough…so it must be good for it…right? Unfortunately not! Many stand mixers are designed to mix other foods, and the bread dough function is usually just an after thought.
If you need your mixer to be primarily for bread dough, like I do, then it’s important to look for one that is going to be strong enough to cope with mixing heavy and/or large amounts of dough on a regular basis. This either means:
- buying a stand mixer with a strong enough design and build quality (i.e. a heavy duty one), or
- buying one that is predominantly made for bread dough, and the other functions are the after thought!
The Challenge of Bread Dough for Stand Mixers
Bread dough brings a unique challenge to stand mixers for a couple of reasons:
- Bread dough can be pretty tough when compared to other foods, such as cookie dough or cake mix, so mixing it and combining it well requires a lot more power than a runny mixture.
- Because bread dough needs to have good gluten development, the mixing is not just to combine ingredients like with most other foods. With bread dough, the actual mixing has to be very involved and over a longer period of time. For example, a simple cake mix or cookie dough requires you to simply combine the ingredients, but bread dough requires kneading, sometimes at a high speed for anything up to 20 minutes, depending on the type of dough.
So this combination of both mixing a dough that is tough and hard, and having to mix/knead for a longer period of time, makes bread dough a job is only suitable for more heavy duty stand mixers. Using anything less than a heavy duty stand mixer for bread dough on a regular basis will mean your stand mixer will very quickly wear out and break down.
Let’s go into a little more detail at the kind of features you should be looking for when finding a suitable stand mixer for bread dough…
What Functions Make a Stand Mixer Good for Bread Dough?
So we know we need something heavy duty, but how heavy duty? And what other features should it have? Let’s take a look…
The Stand Mixer Has to Be Heavy Duty Enough
When it comes to the build quality of the mixer, you want to look into the following aspects…
Power – For bread dough, anything less than 500 Watts is not going to cut it for regular use. You’ll need it to be ideally 575 to 600 Watts for it to withstand the full kneading process without struggling.
Materials – It’s design should also ideally have metal mechanisms rather than plastic. This will ensure that the gears and inner mechanisms are durable enough not to bend or even break when in the middle of a kneading session.
Stability – Some stand mixers love moving around while kneading bread dough! This can be dangerous, as it can literally fall off your counter top while in use, or at best, it will be annoying to have to stand with it and hold it down while it is doing its work. That’s why stability is important. If it is not heavy enough (you should be looking at around 20lb plus), then it should have a design that gives it stability, such as suction cups that grip the surface.
The Stand Mixer Should have Variable Speeds
This is an important feature that not all stand mixers have. The reason why you need to be able to adjust the speed, is because bread dough should never be over-kneaded. Over-kneaded dough can result in a tough and overly chewy texture, and can even ruin the crumb of the bread altogether.
FUN FACT: It is almost impossible to over-knead dough that has been kneaded by hand! Kneading dough in a stand mixer needs to be carefully monitored so as not to over-knead. For this reason, a variable speed in a stand mixer is very useful.
The Dough Hook Should be S-Shaped
Most stand comes mixers come with either a C-shaped hook, or an S-shaped hook for dough kneading. The problem with the C-shaped design, is that dough tends to ride up the hook or up the sides of the bowl, resulting in uneven gluten development, unless you are constantly pulling the dough back into place during use.
The S-shaped hook usually gives a much more even mix to the dough, hence a much more even dough development. I say usually because if the stand mixer has an S-shaped hook, it still doesn’t mean it will do a good job. All the other factors need to be taken into consideration, such as the motor, the build quality, how sturdy it is, etc. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to recommendations later).
Designed to Make Small AND Large Batches
Unfortunately, some stand mixers on the market, either work well with large batches of dough, or small batches, but not both! This is important if you need to be able to make smaller or larger batches, but is less of a concern if you make the same amount every time. (I have some recommendations later in this article for both).
The Bowl Size Must be Large Enough
When working with dough, you want to have a large enough bowl for a couple of reasons:
- When dough is kneaded, it is important to have plenty of space/air around the dough to give it a good chance of developing strength and elasticity.
- If the bowl is large enough, it allows you to leave the dough in the bowl to rise.
A minimum of 5 quart in size would be ideal for making bread dough in a stand mixer.
What Do I Need to Consider Before Buying a Stand Mixer?
Aside from what we have discussed above, it’s also important to decide what your needs are before choosing a particular stand mixer. Here are some questions to ask yourself before making a purchase…
What Else will you be Using the Stand Mixer for?
It’s important to have a think about what else you will be using your stand mixer for aside from making dough for bread. Many mixers will have functions or extra attachments that make it suitable for multiple purposes, but not all of them will have all types of functionality. It’s important to make a note of everything you might be using your stand mixer for before buying, so that you are covered.
How Long will you need to Mix the Dough for?
This is an important question because it will determine:
- how strong a motor you need
- how durable your machine needs to be
And this will usually dictate how much you may need to spend. If you are only going to be kneading dough for a few minutes maximum at any one time, and making bread less than once a week, then you can get away with a standard mixer such as this Cuisinart (Amazon link). This stand mixer will handle small amounts, as long as it is for short bursts of time and not too frequent.
It’s important to note though, that this stand mixers is not ideal for bread dough. It comes with C-shaped dough hook, which as I mentioned earlier, will need some attention to stop the dough from travelling up the sides of the bowl and up the hook.
How much Dough will you be Mixing/Kneading in One Go? And How Often?
If you will be making anything more than one batch of dough (600 grams) you’ll need a more durable machine with at least 500 Watts of power. The same goes for if you will be baking bread more frequently than once a week.
Where will you Use and Store your Stand Mixer?
This one is more of a practical step to think about. If you are going to be keeping your stand mixer on the counter top, then the aesthetics of the machine may be important to you when compared to keeping it hidden away.
Some stand mixers also come with very short cord lengths! This is important to bear in mind when thinking about where you plan to use your stand mixer.
What is your Budget?
This of course is going to determine what kind of machine you buy. The cheapest decent quality stand mixers start from around $300, and the most durable highest quality ones can go up to around $1000 and more. But price is only one factor when deciding the suitability of the mixer for your needs…
For example, there would be no point in buying a stand mixer on the cheaper end of the market if you plan to knead large batches of dough more than once a week. Your machine simply won’t be able to cope and you will end up buying another sooner than you’d want to!
With all that said, let’s take a look at some of my recommendations below, depending on what your needs are…
Best Stand Mixer for Bread Dough: My Top Pick
By far, the best stand mixer for bread dough currently on the market is the Ankarsrum Mixer. It’s a top quality, durable Swedish machine that is designed specifically for bread dough and is built to last more than a lifetime.
It can handle small, as well as large amounts of dough with ease even if you are working with a really stiff dough. And it’s solid build quality means the Ankarsrum will last years and years without the gears wearing out the way other mixers would.
With a 7.5qt bowl size, it leaves plenty of room for the dough to rise in there if desired, and comes with a whopping 1500 watt engine to cope with even the toughest, longest kneading sessions.
You can get a hold of the Ankarsrum here; a website that specializes in artisan bread baking equipment.
Best Value Stand Mixer for Bread Dough
It has a 500 watt motor and is very strong and durable. The only issue with this particular mixer though, is that it doesn’t bode well to small amounts of dough unless you use this particular attachment, which is at an additional cost.
For the price though, it handles bread dough exceptionally well, especially when you compare it to other stand mixers in a similar price range. (Check out the Bosch Universal Mixer here, a great family owned company that specialize in artisan bread baking equipment).
Best Multi-Purpose Stand Mixer (Including Bread Dough)
If you need a stand mixer that is going to be a good all-rounder, but still handles your dough well, then the KitchenAid 8qt Mixer is the one to buy (Amazon link). It handles dough quite well with it’s S-shaped dough hook and 500 Watt motor. Due to its large mixing bowl, it also does well with large batches of other foods like cookie dough or cake mix.
The Main Differences Between the 3 Stand Mixers
The 3 main stand mixers I’ve mentioned above are good choices if your going to be using them for bread dough. But there are differences between them to be aware of…
The KitchenAid is designed and built in the traditional stand mixer style with an S-shaped hook, where you have the motor at the top mixing the dough.
The Bosch and the Ankarsrum both have their motor at the bottom. This is what gives them an edge when it comes to dough kneading, as there is less pressure on the gear mechanisms inside.
The Bosch uses a ‘spider-leg’ like hook which means the ingredients have a really good chance to mix and knead together. It will give you a better kneading result than the KitchenAid.
The Ankarsrum on the other hand, kneads the dough by rotating the bowl and having the ingredients move and spread out evenly, giving a more superior result than the other two mixers I’ve mentioned. On top of that, the massive 1500 watts of power makes it an exceptional piece of equipment. This unique way in which it kneads the dough makes it the best choice for bread dough.
Here’s a summary of the differences when it comes to how good each machine is for handling bread dough:
|500 watt||500 watt||1500 watt|
|Traditional stand mixer style|
with S-shaped dough hook
|Motor at the bottom|
with spider leg hook
|Motor at the bottom|
+ rotating bowl
|Check price on Amazon here||from $399||from $699|
| 4 different|
| 6 different|
|Good bread |
|Available from Amazon here||Available from PHG here||Available from PHG here|