Whether you run a bakery, pizza shop, or cafe — commercial mixers are an invaluable item in most any kitchen. When it comes to kneading dough, mixing meringue, or whipping icing, commercial mixers do just the trick. Choosing the right mixer, however, can be a tough decision. It all depends on what you plan to mix, how much of it, and how often. Below are a few quick tips to help you choose the right mixer for your kitchen.
Types. Generally speaking, there are two different types of commercial mixers: planetary and spiral (the aforementioned being more of an industrial food processor).
Planetary. These mixers feature a stationary bowl with a revolving agitator — the name planetary comes from the similarity the agitator has to the way the planets revolve around the sun. Planetary mixers come in countertop or floor models, include a fixed bowl, stir speed controls, and standard attachments such as a dough hook, whip, and a flat beater. Additional attachments such as meat grinders or graters can also be used. This makes the planetary mixer a very versatile instrument in the kitchen. Planetary mixers also possess capacities of anywhere from 5-120 quarts, the smaller amounts for countertop models.
When trying to figure out what size planetary mixer is best suited for your kitchen, take into account what you are mixing and how much. These mixers can work well for cookie dough, donut dough, pizza dough, even grinding meat. To figure out what size will work, use the absorption ratio.
- Absorption ratio = pounds of water divided by pounds of flour — the lower the rate, the harder the dough will be to mix; thus, a more powerful mixer is probably in need.
Spiral. Different than planetary mixers, these mixers feature a spiral-shaped hook and use a revolving bowl rather than an agitator. Spiral mixers are mostly used for dough as the revolving bowl stretches the dough completely. Additional features usually include dual electronic timer controls, bowl job control, and a reversible bowl drive. Built to last and made for large amounts of dough, spiral mixers provide a heavy duty option for activities such as kneading bread.
Other features to consider.
- Drive system: belt or gear driven
- Mixer speeds
All this depends on what you will be mixing and how much of it. If you plan on just making cake batters and icings, a standard mixer will do fine. For more dough mixing and more frequent use, a medium duty mixer can be used. A heavy duty mixer is best when thick, heavy dough needs to be mixed constantly. Whether you plan to make red velvet cupcakes, pudding, speciality pizza, or French bread — there is a mixer for everyone.