Newest Review: ... for the following: Beaters - for most kinds of cake mixes Whisks - for buttercream, meringue, cream cheese which needs thickening ... more
Mixing things up in the kitchen
Breville Twin Motor Hand and Stand Mixer
Member Name: Holland1
Breville Twin Motor Hand and Stand Mixer
Advantages: Inexpensive, saves time, bowl rotates as well as mixer, 3 different attachments, easy to use
Disadvantages: No paddle attachment, bowl can be awkward to click into place
==PRODUCT SPECIFICATION & FEATURES==
I'm not one for listing meaningless technical specifications, but below are some of the basic features and details which are the minimum you need to know about when considering a purchase of this nature:
* Twin motor for superb beating action, including 3 way beating motion
* 2 litre liquid capacity
* 1kg dry capacity
* Hygienic stainless steel bowl
* Includes 3 attachments (see below) and plastic spatula
* 10 speed settings
* Boost button
The mixer is actually quite attractive looking...if you're into that kind of thing! By that, I simply mean it doesn't look cheap or poorly built. It's quite curvy, and the body of it is predominantly white, with a stainless steel mixing bowl. The functions and mixing speeds are clearly labelled, making it easy to use without having to refer back to the instructions. There is the option to tilt the head of the mixer to allow easy insertion of the attachments, and there are two release buttons - one to release the attachments, and one to release the top of the mixer to use by hand.
==THE ATTACHMENTS AND MIXING SPEEDS==
The mixer comes with three attachments: the beaters, whisks, and dough hooks. They also throw in a plastic spatula which is very useful for scraping your cake mix off the sides of the bowl without scratching the metal inside it. The mixer can also be used as a hand-held mixer, by pressing the release button on the neck of the body to release it. This means it has dual functionality, so if you're short on space this is ideal. Technically it has ten speed settings, although this is derived from various permutations of the bowl and beater speeds, and in reality I only ever use one or two different settings, but more on that later.
Generally speaking, I use the attachments for the following:
Beaters - for most kinds of cake mixes
Whisks - for buttercream, meringue, cream cheese which needs thickening (e.g. for cheesecake or cream frosting)
Dough hooks - for all breads, focaccia, pizza bases
The instruction booklet is very detailed, and tells you all about the attachments, what to use them for, and how to remove and attach them to the base unit. It also gives safety advice such as ensuring the bowl is fully attached before turning it on, starting on a low speed and so on. It even gives some recipes and ideas on what to use your mixer for, although I haven't tried any of these as I have a large stock of baking books I'm currently working my way through trying out.
However, this is where the instructions get a bit complicated, because they give different recommended speeds depending on what you're mixing. This meant that when I first started using it, I must admit, I didn't get on with it very well. I found the instructions confusing and kept having to refer back to find out what speed the bowl and mixer should be on for different types of food. In the end, I used my instinct to decided it made sense to have them both on the same speed, starting on the lowest so I didn't end up splattering food across my beloved kitchen. This has worked well for everything I've tried so far, so in general I only really use the first couple of speeds, and most often than not, I use the slowest one.
==THE GOOD BITS==
The great thing about this mixer is that the bowl rotates at the same time as the head of the mixer, so this ensures none of your cake mix is going to be left sitting unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. It makes mixing cakes absolutely effortless, as you simply add your ingredients as it's running, and it will combine them for you without you having to put any elbow grease into it. I also find my cakes come out lighter and more consistent, because sometimes when creaming by hand I get a bit impatient and don't bother waiting till it's done properly before preforming the next stage!
For some reason, I used to see it as a big effort to get my hand mixer out for things like buttercream and meringue, but with this I can just leave it running, and add the icing sugar bit by bit. This means I can let the machine do the work, and I have a free hand to add the ingredients gradually, ensuring they're evenly mixed and I don't end up with too bad a cloud of icing sugar. I also find this particularly useful when trying to add colour to buttercream and the like, because I can just drop a little in at a time and add colour gradually without having to stop and start.
The maximum dry capacity is 1kg, which is perfectly adequate for domestic use. Obviously, if I was to fulfil my dream of starting a cake business any time soon, I would have to consider upgrading as the demands of larger cakes would be too much for this mixer, but for the average sized family cakes and breads, this is a perfect size. It's also reasonably lightweight, which means I can store it underneath my worktop in a cupboard and just bring it out when I need to use it.
The lead is quite long on this mixer, although this isn't an issue for me as I tend to place it next to the socket anyway. I've never experienced any movement from the mixer in use, as the base is solid and this is a good safety feature. You do have to make sure the bowl clicks in fully before switching it on, although I'm not sure what happens if it's not, i.e. if it just doesn't work or if it makes a mess of your kitchen. And no, I'm not willing to find out for reviewing purposes! It's reasonably small (31cm high, 33.8cm wide, and 24.5cm deep) so I find storage isn't too much of an issue, and remember you can remove the top of the mixer to use as a hand mixer so it's dual purpose.
I was expecting to have to use the spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl, to ensure the mixer combined all the ingredients without leaving any at the bottom unmixed. However, I'm pleased to say that I've not once had an issue with mixture not being mixed properly, which is surprising as I'd expect this even on the more expensive mixers.
Removing and changing attachments is really easy, you just press the release button and you can alternate between the beaters, the whisk, or the dough hooks. The attachments can be placed in either slot, apart from the dough hooks which are colour coded (one has a red dot which matches the slot) to ensure they are in the right position.
Maintenance of the mixer is easy, as the attachments can be put through the dishwasher to get every last bit of food off. For some reason I prefer to hand wash the mixing bowl, as I don't like the watermarks that can get left on stainless steel items, so I tend to wash it by hand and then dry it immediately so there are no drips down the side. I use the plastic spatula when removing cake mix from the bowl, and as a result of this there are no scratches or marks on it, nor has it been tainted by any of the colours I've used in it. The bowl (and mixer) literally looks as good as new.
==AND THE NOT SO GOOD?==
Ok so I'm not going to be too harsh considering this mixer is such an excellent value for money product, but the only other thing I would like to have seen included is a paddle attachment. This is the one you see celebrity chefs using on their mixers, admittedly top of the range Kenwoods and Kitchen Aids, and is useful for all sorts of things including cakes and biscuits. Although I use the beaters for cakes, I was reading a biscuit recipe the other day and it said if you're using a mixer, to use the paddle attachment, not the beater or whisk. However, for the price I paid I really can't grumble too much, as it's such a fantastic little product.
The mixer is noisy enough to send my cat running when I turn it on, but no noisier than any other hand mixers or blenders I've used in the past. Considering the job they're doing I expect some noise from a product like this, it just means I can't bake in the middle of the night which is probably a good thing.
Functionality wise, this mixer is pretty much perfect in my opinion. The only issue I have occasionally is I find it quite hard to get the bowl to click into place as there's nothing to grab hold of as you're trying to turn it and press down at the same time. I always get there in the end, but anyone with arthritis or mobility issues may take a few attempts at getting it to click into place.
As you can probably tell, I love this little gadget, and would highly recommend it. I paid £35 for it, so it's worth shopping round, but even for the current price of just under £50, it is still excellent value. It's lightweight and easy to use, although I would advise not paying too much attention to the different combinations of speed settings in the instructions. If you start it on the slowest setting (to avoid getting food flying everywhere), and then increase it gradually, you can use your own judgement instead of referring back to the instruction booklet constantly. I love using mine, and never thought I would own such an item for such a small price. It would make an excellent affordable gift for a keen baker, especially as a housewarming present as it doubles up as a hand mixer at the same tiem. Five stars from me despite the (very miniscule) flaws. As far as impulse purchases go, this is one of my best!
(Review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Summary: Reigniting my love for baking
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