If there’s something I could share with anyone new to a hobby, it’s this: Having the right gear matters. Over the years, I’ve learned to wear shoes designed specifically for running races (no more blisters!), carry a lighter tent for backpacking (no more backaches), and, most recently, use a better mixer for baking (hello, perfect bread).
I’m a beginner baker, so when I was given the Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer as a birthday gift last year, I immediately thought this appliance — in all its shiny, high-powered glory — was too advanced a piece of kitchen equipment for me to use or enjoy. But boy, was I wrong.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a learning curve. Before beginning, I needed a bit of guidance to figure out this mixer and its many, many parts, so I went to YouTube for a tutorial: Ankarsrum Introduction and Basic Tips. After watching and holding my attachments in the air like a caveman discovering fire, I was confident enough to give it a trial run. For my first recipe, I chose a double batch of Italian Bread (a task that would make my former mixer groan while performing the cha-cha across the counter).
I immediately noticed how easy it was to add ingredients to the bowl. Unlike other commercial mixers, the motor is in the base, not hanging over your bowl, which means nothing obstructs your view of the mixing bowl while it spins. (Yes, it spins!) Seeing my ingredients and the consistency of the dough while mixing was very helpful. I closely watched as my dough became “smooth and elastic,” as the recipe specified. Beyond a clearer visual, having the motor beneath the bowl also made the mixer steadier — no dance moves required. Plus, the base includes a built-in timer knob, which lets you walk away while the machine works its magic — so helpful for those recipes that say, “knead for 7 minutes”!
Let's talk about the spinning bowl. Unlike stand mixers that have attachments that spin, in the Ankarsrum, the attachments stay stationary: It’s the bowl that turns. The benefit? More power and no gears (which are often made from plastic in other brands of mixers, and thus susceptible to breaking). This means bulk baking — like making giant batches of cookies (some for now and some for later) or multiple loaves of bread — is no sweat. My efficiency has skyrocketed, and I can’t wait to gift a mountain of Spiced Rye Ginger Cookies to all my friends and family this holiday season. (It can make up to five dozen cookies at once!)
Beyond the 7L stainless steel bowl, this mixer comes with a lot of attachments: a 3.5L durable plastic mixing bowl (it’s BPA free!), double beater whisks, dough hook, dough roller, scraper, spatula, dust cover, and cookie beaters. These many individual attachments allow me to customize my mixing setup based on what I’m baking, as do the bowls: I mostly use the stainless steel bowl for making bread and the plastic mixing bowl for cake batter, cookie dough, whisking meringue, and making icing.
My favorite of these is the bowl scraper, which can be affixed to the stainless steel bowl. You know when a recipe tells you to stop and scrape your bowl? The scraper attachment does this for you by hugging the side of the bowl. While baking, I’m always trying to mind the details (is this salt or sugar?!), and focusing on fewer moving parts has helped me become a more focused baker.
I also love the dough roller. What’s a dough roller, you ask? This unique attachment mimics the work of my hands by gently kneading dough, so I get soft and supple doughs every time. (They’ve passed every windowpane test!) Instead of a flat loaf with a dense texture — something I often experienced with my last mixer — my breads are now light, airy, and toothsome from proper kneading.
This isn’t an inexpensive mixer, but I wouldn’t expect it to be, given all it can do. It’s taught me how to knead and mix recipes properly, how to make light-as-air meringue (amongst a plethora of new recipes), and most importantly, that anyone can be a baker with the right tools. With Andy Ankarsrum (that’s his name now) sitting proudly on my countertop, I can do anything.
If you want to learn more, check out the Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer (with its many colors!) and the many reviews from customers who have enjoyed it as much as I have.
Cover photo by Danielle Sykes; food styling by Liz Neily.