My mother was a serious baker, and I grew up using her KitchenAid stand mixer, which is so old it predated her marriage to my father. So when I got married and my grandmother offered me one as a gift, I was thrilled. Nana wasn't messing around either; the mixer is a 6 quart professional series one. It's an absolutely gorgeous appliance. When we moved to NYC a year ago, I finally had a kitchen where I could really use the mixer.
And I discovered that this isn't my mother's mixer. My mother's mixer has mixed over a thousand pounds of bread dough, cookie dough and cake batters since the early 80's, and it's still cranking merrily along. Mine overheats, has an acrid smell if you let it run past ten minutes and struggles to handle a fairly simple, soft bread dough. I don't think I've even made a hundred pounds of dough in it yet, and it's already showing serious signs of wear.
I made bread last night, since CodeMonkey is not enthused by the idea of a low-carbohydrate diet. I realized that my KitchenAid nods its little mixer-head up and down in the most pitiful manner. My mother's never did that. It's like the whole mixer is thrown together half-assedly. I will be surprised if I'm using it 5 years from now, let alone 25. The bread recipe I'm mixing up in the video below has been made in my mother's smaller, older KitchenAid before with nary a wobble or complaint.
What bugs me most about this is that the KitchenAid professional series is the top of the line mixer for the home market. If this one is crappy, there's really nothing better to buy, unless you want to go the route my best friend did and buy a full-on Hobart industrial mixer. (That thing is beast; it's amazing. I totally covet it.)
So I called my mother to grouse about my mixer, and she told me that Hobart used to produce KitchenAids, but they sold the brand to Whirlpool in 1986, and the quality has gone downhill since. Good quality is increasingly hard to find at any price, and I'm getting sick of corporations trading on old reputations of high quality to sell crap.
But! You should really make that bread recipe I linked above. It makes the tastiest, most lovely sandwich bread you could imagine, and you can make the dough by hand. To bake it, you'll need a pullman pan, a sort of long, rectangular shaped loaf pan with a lid, that turns out perfectly square sandwich loaves. I can't say enough good things about that pan I linked above. It's sturdy, made in the USA, and has some kind of space-age silicon finish on the inside that makes loaf after loaf slide out of the pan perfectly. It's one of the only unitaskers I allow in my kitchen, and it's worth every single penny.