The Great British Baking Gear

Great British Baking Show Mixers

January 31, 2021

TLDR: Except for a short stint in season 3 bakers on The Great British Baking Show have been using the Kitchenaid ArtisanĀ® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (Purchase on Amazon). The brief stint with another mixer involved the Kenwood kMix Stand Mixer.

What The Bakers Use

Kitchenaid ArtisanĀ® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (model KSM150PSAQ) (Amazon Link)

Undoubtedly you've noticed the mixers that the bakers use literally every episode of The Great British Baking Show (Bake Off for my UK friends!) and that's probably why you're here! the bakers have been using Kitchenaid stand mixers in that same tent since 1902... I can only assume the Bake Off has been going since the inception of the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and PBS is just reluctant to bring the early seasons to the US.

Since season 1 they've been using the Kitchenaid ArtisanĀ® Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (Amazon Link). They are a solid work horse and are known to last years. And if they don't Kitchenaid has a pretty decent 1 year warranty.

True the Great British Baking Show did use the Kenwood kMix Stand Mixer for a while. And while it did get REALLY good reviews (often beating out the Kitchenaid mixers) it is near impossible to get in the United States. So lets pretend this didn't happen.

So, why the Artisan series? Well as far as I can tell it is because of the color options. Kitchenaid has a pretty extensive lineup of stand mixers discussed below, but the Artisan series comes in 47 colors. Is there a huge difference between Ice and Aqua Sky? Not really but its fun to have the choice. And the Great British Baking Show seems to use them as a piece of colorful flare in addition to their utilitarian values.

One of the coolest things I noticed on the early seasons was the engraved union jack on the back of the mixers. It made me happy. However, in the newer series they've moved from the pastel colors with the engraving to bolder and stronger colors and for some reason omitted the union jack. Sadness.

Why mix it up?

If you're really trying to get your arms jacked you have no need for a mixer. You can use a whisk, a large metal or wooden spoon and a mixing bowl to do the same thing. But are you trying to get arms like The Hulk? Perhaps not, and that is where the mixer comes in.

It is incredibly easy to use a stand mixer. Basically you attach the bowl, the right mixing head, turn it to a low setting an pour in your ingredients. The mixer does the rest of the work for you.

There are more or less three primary mixing heads. A paddle mixer, a dough hook and a whisk. The general paddle mixer makes short work of fairly large amounts of mixing and keeps your arms feeling fresh. The whisk is seen in every episode where the bakers make a meringues. Instead of whisking forever - the mixer goes to town and creates that fluffy mess for you. And lastly the dough hook.

Perhaps the dough hook is the most controversial attachment because you lose the 'feel' of the dough. You can use the dough hook to get your dough to pass the 'window pane' test in just a few minutes, no need to knead! But you're missing out on how sticky the dough is. Is it sticky? tacky? supple? smooth? you don't really know. But fret not! A fun strategy is to use the hook to get you 80% of the way there and finish the kneading by hand. You save time and still get that doughy goodness feel!

What about that peeling thingy?

Kitchenaid Pasta Sheet Roller (Amazon Link)

You may have noticed on the show is that the bakers occasionally will use the mixer to peel something, grind something, roll out or cut pasta. Basically its witchcraft. Just kidding.

The Kitchenaid mixers also have a variety of other attachments that can harness the power from the motor to do some more of the rote tasks you may find yourself doing.

Of note are the spiralizer which is great for prepping vegetables and the pasta sets. Sadly the pasta sets can get expensive as each attachment performs a different task - from flattening the pasta (the hardest part!) to cutting it (honestly you can do this!). So if you just want to get the hard part out of the way look for the pasta roller on its affordable own!

Classic vs Artisan vs Pro vs Artisan Mini

If you're a home baker and venturing out into the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer world you're going to come across some options. Not just the 47 colors - but some other models. Namely the classic series, the Artisan series, and the Pro series.

So which one is right for you? Well first know that the Artisan and the Classic are on just about the same level. The Artisan has better color choices and a bit more power. Additionally it sometimes comes with a splash guard which is nice. Both the classic and the Artisan are swivel mixers. That means that the whole motor and head mount rotate so that you can change out heads and easily get things in and out of the bowl. Honestly this is really really nice, but does allow the head to wobble a bit.

The Pro series are lift mixers, that is the whole bowl moves up and down - this allows for the motor to be heavier (thus more powerful) and eliminates the wobble in the Classic and Artisan.

So why not just go for the Pro? Well A. It is heavier. B. Not being able to rotate the head out of the way to get in and out of the mixing bowl is a pain. C. Changing the mixing head can be a pain. D. It is TALL (17 inches tall vs 14 for the Artisan and Classic). If you're thinking about keeping this on your counter measure it first does it fit? And lastly E. Because of the Covid scarcity on these things retailers on Amazon are listing the Pro 600 at $700+ while the retail is $499 (Try to get it directly from Kitchenaid!). Ohh fun - Costco has it too for $329! (I am not a Costco affiliate - but do value you saving $money!) You'll need a Costco membership, but if you're looking for the Pro 600 and have a membership that's a great option!

If you're 100% the size minded person there is also the Artisan Mini option. Its about 20% smaller than the Artisan or Classic and stands just under 13 inches tall. However, it only has 275 Watts of power and a 3.5 quart bowl. But if you're short on counter space or looking for a slightly less expensive option - this may be for you.

KitchenAid Professional 600 Series (Amazon Link)

More affordable options?

KUPPET Stand Mixer, 8-Speed Tilt-Head Electric Food Stand Mixer (Amazon Link)

So during the Covid pandemic everyone and their awesome pets have taken up baking. Which is awesome! However, its created a scarcity of Kitchenaid Stand Mixers. Personally I've seen them sold out at Walmart, Target, Williams and Sonoma, Sur La Table, Best Buy (Bestbuy online now has a couple Red Artisan Mixers) and some other random kitchen supply stores. Which has sadly given way to scalpers on both Amazon and Craigslist! If you can get the mixers at suggested retail price through a reputable vendor - do!

If you're not looking to drop roughly $350+ for a Kitchenaid stand mixer or put a scalper's kid through college (Amazon has mixers going for $700!?) but are still in the market there are some other decent options. A quick search on Amazon reveals some other brands. I've not tried any of these so your mileage may vary!

There are quite a few with good reviews such as the Kuppet stand mixer, and the Hamilton Beach Electric Stand Mixer both clocking in under $100. Both seem suspect to me.

Cuisinart makes a decent option for about $200, but then you're getting back up there in price :(

To me, it really feels like you're going to get what you pay for :(. Having been burned (literally) by Hamilton Beach products I'm not really going to recommend them. Rather I'm going to say "You're here for the Great British Baking Show Mixer... go for it. Kitchenaid all the way."