If you’re in the market for a new stand mixer – or a first stand mixer – Breville’s new 5-quart Stand Mixer is definitely worth a look as a solid option that will preform well in any home kitchen. I recently added one to my collection to see how it performed and what features it brought to the table when compared to the Vikings and Kitchen Aid models that I’ve used in the past.
The first thing to like about the Breville is its look. It is modern, with jut a hint of a retro aesthetic to its overall shape, and made of die-cast stainless steel with a brushed finish that will look great in just about any kitchen. Looks aside, it has many other great features. The mixer boasts a 550 watt motor, 12 mixing speeds and a backlit LCD timer that lets you really customize the way that you it, as well as lots of included accessories. The tilting head locks into place when in mixing position and when upright. The cord can be stored inside the base of the mixer so that it doesn’t clutter up the counter.
The mixer head uses a dual rotation motion, meaning that it the mixer head makes a kind of small looping shape while it is working and doesn’t just stay in place. It’s the difference between using a hand mixer and keeping your hand over the very center of your bowl, rather than rotating your mixer over the whole area of your bowl. The 12-speed control gives you tons of flexibility, more than most mixers I’ve used. The slowest setting is so gentle that you’re virtually guaranteed that even very powdery dry ingredients won’t fly over the sides of the bowl, while the faster ones will beat egg whites to stiff peaks in no time flat. Each setting is clearly labeled with a suggestion as to what that setting is most appropriate for – Aerate/Whip, Cream/Beat, Light/Mix and Fold/Knead. This makes it very easy to translate any recipe into something that can be made in the mixer.
One of the other great things about the Breville is that it comes with lots of accessories (which many stand mixers don’t) including a paddle attachment, a dough hook, a whisk and a Beater Blade-style paddle that scrapes the sides of the bowl with soft silicone blades as it mixes. I tried them all and was very pleased with how well the scraper paddle worked when adding flour to a batch of cookie dough. The attachments all go on easily and clean up quickly when you’re done. The mixer also includes a plastic pour spout that can be snapped onto the rim of the bowl to make it easy to funnel ingredients in while the mixer is running.
The LCD timer is an interesting feature. It counts both up and down, keeping track of the time that you’ve spent mixing. Make a note of the mixing time the first time you make a recipe, then set the timer to count down the next time – the machine will turn itself off when it gets to zero so you don’t overmix! Granted, not all recipes require a specific mixing time (my homemade marshmallows do, for instance), but it is a great convenience to be able to flip the mixer on and not worry about overmixing if you have to step out of the kitchen.
I used my mixer for a big batch of the aforementioned cookies, and both the regular mixing paddle and the scraper paddle performed very well. I also ran a couple of batches of egg whites/meringue and frosting through it and was pleased with both the mixer’s capacity and the speed at which it handled the tasks. I really like the wide range of speeds available, even if I usually can make do with just three or four speeds. I also made a batch of bread in the mixer and used the dough hook to knead the dough (no hand kneading in my test). It worked beautifully (I used the slow speeds), and produced a nice, elastic dough for me in the end. There is also a neat little loop on the plug that allows you to pull it out without getting dough/flour/food too close to the electrical socket.
It’s less expensive than some other brands, looks great and works very well. I’m definitely happy with mine. Right now, the mixer is being offered exclusively through Williams Sonoma, so if you want to give it a test in person, you should be able to find it in one of their stores in your area.