It’s a gross indulgence, I know, but I’ve got a fabulous new mixer as an early birthday present!
It’s an Ankarsrum Assistent, aka in different times and places a Verona, Magic Mill, Electrolux Assistent, or a DLX.
Its great strength is that it mixes dough better than any other domestic machine. I know that you can get countertop Hobart mixers, but they’re professional grade machines, and are correspondingly huge, heavy, and expensive.
I’ve made a lot of bread dough over the years with my faithful Kenwood KM200. It would just about take a kilo of flour plus the water to hydrate it, but that was its upper limit. If the dough was at all dry, it would “walk” across the worktop, and it needed a rest every few minutes to cool down.
The Assistent will take 3 kgs of flour plus 2 litres of water and still work comfortably within its limits. That’s enough for 6 decent-sized loaves, which coincidentally is the capacity of our oven.
It works differently from the usual stand mixers. Instead of a moving dough hook or beater moving inside a fixed bowl, the hook is static, and the bowl rotates. Actually, the dough hook isn’t quite static, since it can move against a spring to position itself nearer the edge of the bowl when the mixture is loose, or nearer the centre of the bowl as the mixture develops and thickens.
The pictures below show it as it rapidly mixes 2 kgs of flour and 1.35 litres of water into a well-developed yeasted dough.
You can leave it to rise in the bowl if you want, and remix it briefly with any additions such as nuts and seeds before proving.
As well as the dough hook, the machine comes with a roller and scraper for cake batters, and with a completely separate bowl and beaters for whisking.
The colour? I hesitated for a long time over whether to order the machine in professional black, no-nonsense white, or glitzy red. It also comes in pastel shades and orange, but even my colour-sense doesn’t quite run to pearlescent pink. In the end, the deep metallic red won. It doesn’t match anything else in the kitchen, but I still think it looks the business!
John, it looks fab! Looking forward to hearing how you get on with it. Does it cope well with Rye mixes?
Sorry that it’s taken me a while to answer this. I’ve been experimenting, not always successfully. The good news is that it mixes rye, spelt, and barley flours really easily. The bad news is that it’s only too easy to overmix the dough. The dough itself looks and feels lovely – silky smooth. But the gluten chains have started to break, and the result is a heavy loaf with too close a texture. I’ve now learnt to stop mixing just as soon as the dough forms a ball and comes away from the side of the bowl.
Hi there – mine arrived today! 🙂 I got it in the new “light creme” color which is basically a tan, or a medium rather than light cream (but light compared to their current cream which is more of a yellowish-cream). I soooo wanted to get a great charming or snazzy color myself but in the end, my small kitchen (cream, gray and white are the main colors – with some stainless) needed something small and unobtrusive since I have no cabinet space left and it will have to stay on the countertop! Which is fine considering we have a lot to show off, don’t we?! I haven’t used mine yet but borrowed an older one the other day and I was able to make a triple batch of a very thick cookie dough with lots of chips and nuts and whole wheat flour, using the roller and scraper. And that one doesn’t even have as much power as this new one! For the whole-wheat bread (with oat bran and some rye and lots of seeds) I made a double batch (4 loaves) and used the dough hook but can see I probably could have used the roller and scraper for that as well. And yes could certainly have made more loaves if I’d wanted. Also I wanted to point out that we can use the scraper with the dough hook too (the older models didn’t have a second hole for doing that). That helped a lot. Enjoy (so will I)! Very, very worth the money!