If you're reading this article, chances are you think you may need a stand mixer. If you are asking yourself this question, my answer would be "YES! Go for it right now!" However, the more people I talk with about the subject of mixers, the more I feel as if people may be wrong in regards to their needs, versus their wants.
A stand mixer is a great beautiful shiny appliance that you can proudly display on your countertop, but how often do you feel you would use it?
- Once a day?
- Once a month?
- Once a year?
Make sure to honestly ask yourself what use you will make of the stand mixer. Are you an occasional home cook who makes simple cakes and light batters, or are you more of a hardcore maniac in the kitchen who loves to dabble in the most crazy and dessert cookie and bread doughs?
These questions will also provide a partial answer to another question, should you get a blender, food processor or maybe even a simple stick blender.
I am a cook myself, and at the beginning of my home baking career I would knead all sorts of breads by hand, which was a tiring and demanding (not to mention time consuming) task. After about a year of this manual labor and scrounging up savings, I was able to purchase my first real stand mixer, and it totally changed the way I worked. From being able to handle only 1 or 2 doughs per day, I scaled to making up to 6 per day, which resulted in me opening a small home bakery, which without a stand mixer, really would not have been possible at all. I spent less time working and slaving, and could relax a lot more, all thanks to this wonderful device.
This is an example of my personal experience, what is yours? As previously mentioned, you may think you want a stand mixer, but in reality you need something else. For example, whipping up egg whites to make beautiful meringues can just as easily be complimented with a hand beater, which usually sell for about $ 20. Same goes for whipping cream. A simple cheap device will get the results you want.
If you need to chop up vegetables or fruits in large quantities, you should look into food processors, although some stand mixer brands sell attachment packages that could do all the things a food processor does, these packs may cost the same as a stand-alone food processor, which can also knead dough, if you are into baking or pastry making.
In summary, make sure if you are going to spend the kind of money a quality stand mixer costs, be positive that you will at least get a decent return on investment, not necessarily moneywise, but at the very least time and enjoyment wise.