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!