Wednesday, August 6, 2008

mixer schmixer


(flaky?  why yes, thank you.)

"Question:  I want to get a mixer.  Kitchen Aid seems to be popular but the power of the Viking along with King Arthur Flour's recommendation has me intrigued.  Any thoughts or suggestions on choosing hearty stand mixers?

c.

ps.  I do lots of pies and heartily recommend blueberry pies baked with a slice of vanilla bean inside if you haven't tried it.  A few slices of peach thrown in makes it an easy summer/winter."

Mixers.  I love them.  I hate them.  They never really tell you when they're going to sh*t the bed and die on you but you can't live without them.  Lately, I've noticed that Kitchen Aid mixers are getting a little wonky.  They have performance anxiety.  You put them on medium speed and they won't start up.  Until you very gently coax it from slow to medium slow to slow medium .....and then, minutes later, to medium.  That said, I'm a sucker for the 6 quart Kitchen Aid with the up down action instead of the tilted head that comes with the smaller Kitchen Aids and the Viking.  But that's just a preference, both in the way I access the bowl, how well I can see what's in the bowl when I'm mixing and the bowl's size.  

Viking, it's very durable.  Dependable.  And has a reputation for handling the tough stuff, like a hearty bread dough.  All mixers of good quality are expensive and  I think Viking is a fair price for the quality.  So I'd just ask yourself, how would you like your mixer to work for you?  Do you have strong opinions on how you access the bowl?  If not, go Viking.  

As for vanilla beans, I love them.  I don't bake a bean in the pie due to liability issues but I'll scrape those seeds out of that pod and do a little dance as their little flecks work their way through everything.  And then there's vanilla bean paste.  Don't get me started.   A jar of vanilla beans suspended in a thick vanilla extract, better than sniffing glue any day.

And just a question: pie dough.  Please tell me you you do this by hand.  Don't let your new Viking get near your pie dough.  Or just lie to me if you do. All things good and tender come when worked with your paws.