Looking for advice for equipment for baking at home

Looking for advice for equipment for baking at home

Submitted by nevada home on November 13, 2015 – 7:22pm.

I enjoy baking, and I’ve done a bit of everything just for my own family over the years.  As much as I appreciate bread, I haven’t always taken the time to make it myself.  I thought I’d try a bread machine to see if I would like it.  Now I’m considering if I want a mixer, and I’m looking for advice.

I bought a Zojirushi.  As it turned out, the oven on it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t get hot.  I’ve made two loaves in it, and it does everything but when the cycle completes, it hasn’t baked.  I’ve just taken the loaf out and baked it in my oven.  I’m returning it to the big online retailer where I bought it.

After using it, I wondered if I wouldn’t be better off with just a mixer.  Before, I’ve always kneaded by hand.  I beat egg whites and whip cream by hand too and never owned a mixer.  I considered a KA, but quickly learned that bread dough kills them.  I’ve read advice to get a spiral mixer and to use commercial equipment.

I’ve seen residential spiral mixers like the Häussler Alpha, and commercial equipment seems to start in that price range and go up from there.  If that is what it takes, I will probably just knead by hand on occasion and eat other people’s bread.  I also read about the Assistent/Ankarsrum.  That is still a lot of money for me for just one piece of equipment.

I also read, “the smallest batch the Ankarsrum would knead well is about a 2-loaf batch.”  I really only want to make a loaf at a time.  I’m hoping that I do not need commercial equipment to knead five cups of flour.

Is there a good mixer for small batches of dough?  Perhaps a planetary mixer wouldn’t die an early death with such a small batch, but will it develop the gluten well enough?  Will the dough suffer more from oxidation?  Is there a better choice?

I have a regular residential oven, a Jenn-Aire, which has a setting for proofing, and a “true” convection feature which is a bit uneven.  It’s big enough, and I like it well enough.  So should I get a mixer?