Stand Mixers

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Breville BEM800XL

Breville BEM800XL

You may not see a need for a high-end mixer. Some can be pretty pricey and do little more than what a cheap one does. But if you’re a baking fanatic like I am you’ll see the Breville BEM800XL is a great exception to that rule of thumb.

Mixing Power – 550 Watt Motor

One thing the BEM800XL offers that cheap stand mixers do not is massive power. If you have some truly thick waffle mix, pizza dough, or other hard-to-blend recipe you’ll appreciate the 550 watts onboard this model.

Part of the actual delivered power comes from more than just the ample electrical rating, though. This model’s design incorporates an all-metal gear assembly and a direct drive motor. Nothing to slip, no cheap plastic gear teeth to break off under heavy loads.

At the same time, this model houses load-sensing technology to guarantee the safety of the motor. It detects when the mixture is a little too tough to turn freely and shuts off the mixer, preventing overloads.

You won’t have to wonder what happened, though. The tiny LCD on the front clearly displays a E1 error message – it flashes and sounds an alert three times. Similarly, if the motor internals get too hot an E2 is displayed and the unit shuts off automatically.

12-Speed Electronic Control

Low-end mixers also lack the number and variety of controls of a high-end model like this one. If you’re a home baking aficionado you decidedly will use all of them. If not, you may become one once you start using this mixer.

The BEM800XL has a 12-speed electronic control to let you mix everything at the right speed. Many recipes correctly call for blending flour at low speed until wet – to avoid blowing much of it out of the bowl – then letting ‘er rip. Whether you need to gently mix a wispy sauce or blend some Russian Kulich bread dough for Easter the right mixing speed is available on this unit.

That speed stays where you set it, too, no matter the thickness of the dough or variation caused by adding ingredients while mixing. A precision speed sensor detects any slowdown and adjusts accordingly automatically. It works in cooperation with the overload sensor mentioned above.

10-Minute Count-Down and Count-Up Timer

One of those controls is the sort I use all the time: the Count-Down Timer. I’m always running around the kitchen trying to do three things at the same time. This feature lets you set the mixer, then mix while you go on to something else.

You set the time (for up to 10 minutes) by simply pressing a pair of up/down arrows and the mixer will operate on its own then shut off automatically. Easy. Effective. Efficient.

Equally nifty, there’s a Count-Up Timer as well. When you mix something for a certain length of time it will time the period. Then, next time you can set the Count-Down Timer to do it that long again. For memory-challenged cooks like me that’s a nice little add-on.

There’s also a helpful Pause control to let you stop in the middle. Tap it and the mixer stops blending and pauses the timer.

5-Quart Stainless Steel Bowl

It’s also helpful that this unit uses a planetary mixing design. The beater blades revolve about the stem holding them and move around the sides of the bowl at the same time. That mixing method leads to a thorough blend while ensuring no isolated ingredients are left untouched.

When you have a 5-quart (4.7 liter) bowl like the one that comes with the BEM800XL that’s especially important.

Five quarts is enough to mix ingredients for a big birthday cake, or two loaves of bread, or any other large recipe you have in mind. My mother used to make a very large pan of bread pudding for my large family. This model would’ve been ideal for that. Sorry, I don’t even try that recipe. There are some things only my mother could make right!

The bowl is stainless steel so putting it into the dishwasher is safe. Personally, I don’t bother because its open design and good handle make it easy to get clean without taking up a lot of space in the dishwasher.

Ergonomics

One other ease-of-use feature I truly love on this model has more to do with not mixing than with mixing: the Lift Assist Handle. It lets you easily raise the mixing head out of the bowl. My aging, aching wrists really appreciate that. It also makes clean up much easier.

There’s a pair of recessed hand grips on the bottom of the stand, making it easy to move the entire unit from one place to the next on the counter. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t think ahead and need more counter space for an additional bowl. This feature lets me move a full mixer without spilling anything and with no risk of stressing the mixer head shaft. With a mixer that weighs 16 lbs that’s especially welcome.

Accessories

The BEM800XL comes with a nice array of accessories. There’s a Wire Whip, a Scraper Beater, a Flat Beater, Dough Hook, and Spatula. And, kudos to the Breville designers, they’re all shaped to perfectly fit the mixing bowl. That ‘blends’ well with the planetary mixing design to leave no ingredients behind.

There’s also a Pouring Shield to keep things as clean as possible. It snaps in place without a struggle thanks to a good connector design and the Lift Assist Handle.

Summary

Tempering all that praise, I don’t personally find the all-steel looking case of this Breville model all that attractive. A little too much like a commercial kitchen for my taste. But your reaction may be entirely different, of course.

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