Tools of the Trade – The Stand Mixer

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I found several Bette Hagman cookbooks at the library. I didn’t have to read long to realize I needed a heavy duty stand mixer. All I had at the time was a good hand mixer. Mom to the rescue! Yes, my mom traded her KitchenAid mixer for my hand mixer (hardly a fair swap, but that’s how moms are).

I know some of you are thinking about how that stand mixer was used to mix wheat batters and doughs.  That’s where my dad comes into the picture. He carefully and thoroughly cleaned the mixer. I recall the use of toothpicks to get into tight places. I was very sensitive to gluten at the time, and I never reacted to anything made with the mixer, so he must of done a great job.

If you are new to the gluten-free diet (and plan on baking), you might be wondering why a stand mixer is necessary. I find it invaluable for two reasons:

1.  Gluten-free bread dough is not kneaded like wheat dough, but it does need to be mixed very well. A stand mixer does the job best.

2. A stand mixer can handle greater quantity than a hand mixer. Gluten-free dough is much thinner than a wheat dough. While a hand mixer might handle mixing it, the amount of dough can be too much for the beater size.

The Big Question: What Mixer Do I Buy?

I’m no expert, but from what I have read, KitchenAid is the most highly recommended. They are expensive but they last for years and years. That still leaves you with many choices, though. KitchenAid stand mixers range in size and power as well as price. Carol Fenster uses a lower end 4.5 quart model that she is happy with.

I have considered replacing my mixer which has a handle to lift the bowl. I think I would like a tilt head model better because I find it difficult to scrape the bowl. I would love to have input from my readers about what you use and like.

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  1. Brian says

    I have a 6 qt KitchenAid stand mixer. When my wife and I were registering for wedding gifts, I suggested that we register for the biggest mixer we could find. She thought I was crazy and that we would hardly use the mixer at all. 7 years later, I use the mixer every other day. It still looks and runs like it is brand new.

  2. Kathryn says

    Well, when i was growing up my mother had a stand mixer a Sunbeam, & i hated the thing! I don't remember why, but i thought it was horrible. So when i got married (almost 5 years ago now!) i requested a hand mixer.

    It works fairly well. I also have a blender, & a hand blender (which my NZ friend calls a "whizzy stick" & so we do too). I also have a bread maker that has a "gluten free" setting on it, but i've not used it much. I've been recently thinking i should go to a stand mixer, but i've so little counter space, i don't know where i'd put it.

  3. Kim says

    I have a kitchen aid with the lift bowl and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even another kitchen aide model. While it can occasionally be difficult to scrape, it has been able to handle everything I have thrown at it. And I don’t find it that hard to scrape anymore because I got a couple of scrapers with extra long handles.

  4. Travis says

    My wife and I went with an Electrolux Assistent. It’s a completely different design than a Kitchen Aid, in that the drive is on the bottom rather than the top. It’s a little bit more expensive than the Kitchen Aids, but we really like it a lot.

  5. glutonicwoman says

    I have a Kitchen Aid and I have always been happy to have it–especially now that I’m gluten free! I’m considering buying the grain mill attachment so that I can make my own rice and bean flours.

  6. Gina says

    I don’t have one, but my friends and relatives who do have one all own the Kitchenaid stand mixer. They all love it, and it gets a lot of use. The downfall: it takes up a lot of room! I haven’t tried making gluten-free bread yet, but it’s good to know that a stand mixer will be required.

  7. Pambobanker says

    When my husband was diagnosed with CD last year – I bought the Cuisinart mixer – after a couple of attempts at trying to mix bread with a hand mixer – which doesn’t work. I love my mixer – and all of the parts can go in the dishwasher!!

    • says

      Thank you! I have been trying to decide which stand mixer to buy for gluten free bread and have seen some bad reviews for the KitchenAid and was looking at the Cuisinart SM-55 and it has a better warranty. You just made up my mind.

  8. Diane-The Whole Gang says

    After finding out I could not eat gluten I put my mixer away and have not gotten it out. Actually it’s my son’s Kitchen Aid mixer. I think I’ll get it out and give it a thorough cleaning. Is your dad available to help?

  9. lgstarr says

    My old Rival stand mixer started leaking oil…after a lot of research I'm convinced this is the absolute best choice:

    I have read a ton of reviews of Kitchen Aids that have the leaking oil problem and people are very disappointed (I think the company was bought by another one recently–but something changed with KitchenAid!).

    The new Bosch Universal Plus takes up less space, too, and ways 10 pounds less that a Kitchenaid Pro!

  10. Anne Hargrave says

    Hi, Found this post by searching for information about heavy duty mixers for making GF bread. I’ve blown the motor on several hand helds because, as most of us know, GF bread dough is really not a dough. It’s more of a thick gooey batter.

    I have often used Bob’s Red Mill’s bread mixes and thought they would be able to answer my question of “What actually consititutes a heavy duty mixer”? After all, they recommend the use of one in their recipes.

    Alas, they didn’t have an answer for that, but just recommended a few brands. I”m not crazy about jumping on the KA bandwagon – they are heavy and unless you spend time tracking sales and exact model numbers, you will pay a lot of money. Plus this leaking oil keeps coming up and I could do without that.

    So, I’ll ask this forum: Does anyone know what the criteria are that constitute a heavy duty mixer? Is it just motor wattage? Is it having metal versus plastic gears? Can you assume that because there is a dough hook that the motor will be able to handle the goo of GF bread dough?

    I will start with the understanding that they are stand mixers. Beyond that, what else do we need?

    • says

      Anne, that’s a good question, and I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t think I have ever heard exactly what heavy duty means. I have used two KitchenAid mixers. One used to be my mother’s and has worked well for decades. The other is a new model that I have had for about a year, and it has worked beautifully. Dough hooks are not used for gluten-free dough. They are intended for kneading gluteny dough. Since gluten-free dough is much more wet, the regular mixing paddle works best.

  11. Anne Hargrave says

    Thanks for telling me what tool to use. I did know that dough hooks are for gluten containing dough, not gluten free, but the thought did cross my mind – if I get a stand mixer, what exactly do I use?

    My thinking about the dough hook was more that if a mixer was heavy duty enough to handle bread dough by having a dough hook, it would likely be able to handle GF dough. Just an indicator that’s all.

    I’ll keep looking!

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