Planetary Mixer -any advice?


My second (ancient inherited) Kenwood Chef has gone to heaven, and I'm looking for a new machine (in AU)

I use it mostly at the mixing/ autolyse stage, not for folding/kneading. Three batches once a week is the usual workload. The Kenwoods both broke at the planetary section, and I suspect that the root cause is my gradual move from a high hydration instant yeast ciabatta style to a lower hydration starter based sourdough.

I only need the basic functions (no power take-off accessorising), but has to be benchtop machine. My current options under consideration are:

1) Refurbed Kenwood Chef Major 1200watt ($7-800)

2) Birko 7 liter commercial mixer ($7-900)

3) Various look alike machines on Ebay ($4-500)

4) More professional looking Anvil 10lt planetary mixer ($1000+)

Others are the Varimixer Teddy (if I win the lottery) or KitchenAid. I've reports from someone who owned a Kenwood and a KitchenAid, uses them frequently, and prefers the Kenwood for bread dough, which is why it's off the list.



10 users have voted.


Panevino 2011 September 8

I heard that the newer kitchenaid dough mixers are of very poor quality.  The inside parts are made of some sort of composite material that just can't take it.  Designed to fail, me thinks.  They're spending all their R&D money on nice colours and marketing.  BTW, I have an old one that just won't quit.  Does everything from bread to stiff nougats.

mozzie 2011 September 8

Sounds like you have one of the originals made by Hobart, one of the premium manufatcurers of commercial equipment.

Panevino 2011 September 9

Sounds like you have one of the originals made by Hobart, one of the premium manufatcurers of commercial equipment.


I have an old kitchenaid with the bowl lift. That's what I mean't to say.

Panevino 2011 September 9

Sounds like you have one of the originals made by Hobart, one of the premium manufatcurers of commercial equipment.


I have an old kitchenaid with the bowl lift. That's what I mean't to say.

patissiere 2011 September 8

i would suggest a kitchenaid professional model, one with a lift up bowl lever instead of a twist in bowl made for home use, at Le Cordon Bleu they survived students not watching them and then falling onto the floor at times, they were picked up, plugged back in and kept working (of course not each time they fell on the floor did they work again)


Kitchenaids for home use are great like the artisan model, but the professional for a little more money is well worth it. I got my last one from ebay of all places, it was an unwanted gift that they auctioned and I saved a couple of hundred pounds (UK)


that is my suggestion anyway.


Good luck

JODoughMaker 2011 September 8

I don't know what is inside my Kitchenaid mixer, but it is one of the bigger models, the bowl snaps down on two pins, with a pressure finger at the rear to hold it steady. I would be afraid of getting any part of my body caught in it at any speed, I don't think it would stop before I lost a body part,  It can hold approx 15 cups of flour.  I just made a batch of dough, and it was 8 cups, and it looked small inside the bowl. 

Panevino 2011 September 9

One thing I do before buying an appliance is to phone a local, non affiliated service technician.  They know what breaks in a hurry and what doesn't.

Chow 2011 September 9

 I am a big fan of Hobart mixers and buying secondhand from the internet, it just takes time. Ebay is good but all four of my mixers (three Hobarts and a spiral) came from local websites. 

You might also consider waiting to find a small bench top spiral mixer if you're doing that many batches a week. I saw one new a few months ago at a Italian deli/kitchenware shop for around $900 but they come up on line as well. 

For a small bench top mixer it is hard to go past the Hobart N50. I think it is the same as the top of the line Kitchenaid without the fancy paintwork. 

mozzie 2011 September 10

The Hobarts on Ebay were SERIOUS money AUD3,000 +.(out of my range). Tried Ebay, Trading post, Grays online.

The Kitchenaid K5 is available for about $900 (but I still have reservations - doesn't seem to be the same as the US professional models).

The Varimixer Teddy does not seem to be available locally. I have 2 emails from the AU distributor, one saying they no longer sell them, the other saying basically, "go away and buy a Kenwood from David Jones" ( a high end retailer, who usually only sell at RRP). Available in the US for USD1100 or so (but 110v), and in Denmark for DKK6500 = AUD 1200. If the new machine doesn't work out, I may make longer term plans to get one from there.

Looked at Robot Coupe 5 and the Anvil clone but decided these were a bit big for kitchen.

Ordered a Birko 7 litre commercial mixer for about $700. The fact that Birko has a reasonable AU presence, meant this seemed an OK option.

Also saw that interesting Spiral Mixer on Ebay (and was tempted), but wanted the whisk function as well as the dough hook.

mozzie 2011 September 11

The Australian Electrolux site does not list any mixers.(I identified my location in the OP).

This is probably due to our 240v (single phase) supply. Amazon Uk have a dual voltage version for GBP 650, but thats a little rich for me, especially if you add freight.

Chow 2011 September 12

 Yeah, you have to hang out on Ebay for quite a while to get a well priced Hobart. Let us know how the Birko works out. I've been wondering about them for a while. A friend uses one in his cafe for all his cakes, muffins etc but around here it's bread doughs that are the acid test.


mozzie 2011 September 24

As recounted aboveI was looking at the Varimixer Bear Teddy 5L (made in DK), but assumed that it would be out of my price range and then couldn't get a local price.

The response from the distrbutor got up my nose a bit, so I contacted the manufacturer in Denmark who were very helpful and responsive. They agreed to sell me one direct, and the price turned out to be very reasonable. So the deal is done, and one is on its way!

JODoughMaker 2011 September 24

 The Electrolux is my dream mixer. I hope to have one as soon as I'm ready to find a new woman.  What she actually said  was " I hope that mixer comes with a girlfriend attachment"   I'm pretty sure it doesn't, so I'm shopping for a new girlfriend. 


All joking aside. The Kitchenaid is great for some things, but it would blow a gasket to keep up with the Electrolux when it comes to kneading dough. Now for shipping cream, or some other mixing, I prefer the Kitchenaid. I actually made some fantastic dough with it, but I run it a a higher speed than suggested, and yes, I have to hold onto the bowl. I also can't stand the dough creeping up on the hook, past the top. That sort of thing would never happen with the Electrolux. It would also make superior dough in shorter time.



zest 2011 December 24

 I opened a Cafe in Hua Hin, a resort town in Thailand. My wife bakes excellent cakes and pastries. We were invited for a demonstration by a leading chef and they were using Kitchen Aid. We saw it was easy and when we asked the chef, he said Kitchen Aid was good but if we had the budget, we were suggested to go for the Teddy.

As we could not find the local distributor, I checked the website in Denmark and sent an email to ask about the local distributor. I was pleasantly surprised when Michael, the director of international sales replied almost immediately and emailed to me and the local distributor. The local distributor quoted me US$ 2140 (64,200 Baht). It sounded expensive so I sent another email to Michael to ask him if this should be the price. Again, I got an immediate email telling me that it must be a mistake. After 2 hours, another email telling me to contact another distributor at half the price of 32,500 Baht (US$ 1000).

The people working in BEAR are amazing!! Their service level is unbelievably good. I have ordered one Teddy 5L and will be getting it in 2 days. I am excited to find this forum to share my good experience with the service-minded people at Denmark. Highly recommended.


mozzie 2011 December 24

My Teddy is working in a less stressed role in my home kitchen than you will have in your commercial kitchen, but copes easily with 3-4 batches of 70% hydration sourdough a week. It also gets the occasional "light duty" on cheesecake, orange cake, and meringue but sourdough is the real workout.

Have to agree that the people at BEAR are great to deal with ... but the local reps can be problematic. Glad you found a good one locally. You may find that there's a bunch of Australians suddenly deciding to visit Thailand to collect a Teddy! Among other reasons (awesome food, wonderful people, great culture and a number of pleasant beach resorts).


zest 2011 December 25

Hi Mozzie,


I just moved from Bangkok to this seaside resort 2 hours away from Bangkok from Hua Hin after selling my business with my family. It is a beautiful place with relaxed atmosphere and found a good location to open a cafe. 


Yes, you are right in saying that Thailand is a good place to visit and relax. 


I am not too sure on the after-sales service for the local distributor but I feel good just knowing that the Denmark team is very supportive. I have read reviews in many places and they all vouch for their Teddy.


Have a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

God Bless,



panfresca 2011 September 27

That looks very sturdy, and a nice design.

Do you mind saying what you paid for it (was it the full $1200?), and how much freight was from Denmark?

Also what are the specs? Presumably a bit heavier duty than the somewhat underpowered Kitchenaid?

mozzie 2011 September 28

You'll have to discount the following for post purchase rationalisation, of course.

Panfresca, it's solid. 20+ kg, 500w motor (according to the spec label underneath) , all s/s hook, whisk & beater. Somewhat bigger in real life than I imagined , but it's a handsome beast so it has permission to sit on the benchtop (I really wouldn't want to wrestle it into the cupboard on a regular basis).

I'd rather not put down prices - I'll just say that the company was VERY helpful.

Made white sourdough (Laucke Wallaby) with 1.2kg flour 500gm in the levain + 700gm in the autolyse.

Mixed 2m at 1 and 3m at 3 and no movement of the mixer. Quiet operation, and no sense of drama (the Kenwoods were a pair of dancers). The "splash guard" is quite useful in stopping the flour "puffing" at the start of mixing, and it provides a good enough cover so that there's no need to remove and cover the bowl when doing the autolyse.

mozzie 2011 October 3

The Teddy is brilliant - and so much easier to use and clean. Its big, though - here's it with the Kenwood for comparison.

The Kenwood(s) had Aluminium hook/beater so I was reluctant to bung them straight in the dishwasher, and the fiddly area where the various implements attach was difficult to clean (dough tends to climb up the hook and get into odd places). No such problem with the Bear - the top is flush and the attachment point is simple/ easy to clean. Implements are stainless steel, and all go in the dishwasher.

The speed control is very easy, and the mixing is so efficient that I suspect I'm undermixing. Checking that in the Calvel book (Le Gout du Pain), where he suggests 1000-1100 revolutions, confirms that I'm about 10-15% under mixed.

I used the beaters yesterday to make a cake (orange flourless) and these also performed beautifully. I do admit that it wasn't much of a challenge, but the Kenwood beaters always needed more spatula work. Fruitcake would probably be a better test, but its such a fuss!

KitchenAid do have all stainless steel attachments - I was talking to a KitchenAid owner, who says she keeps a spare dough-hook in the cupboard as they last only 10-12months of steady use.



simon3030 2011 October 4

I used to work for Hobart here in the UK (left 10 years ago, after 10 years there) and would alwyas recommend their old style mixers, over here sold as the N50, A120 and A200.

If memory serves me right, the N50 was US made, the A120 & 200 made in Barnstaple, UK.

All had a planetary mixing action, (like a Kenwood - the beater head revolves one way, the beater itself rotates in the opposite direction) with a 3 speed gearbox, rather than a variable speed motor, as a Kenwood (or similar ) has. Newer Hobart models (currently named HSM10, HSM20) were never perceived to be as good - the final drive to the beater is via a toothed belt, hence the need for a bigger motor for the 10 litre bowl in the HSM10, than the 12 litre in the A120. They were designed with a vertical motor, so that they took up less space on the bench (or floor, as the bigger versions are floor standing). They were also lighter, as the construction was not primarily castings...

N50 has a 5 quart (US) bowl, the A120 has a 12qt/12 litre bowl and, guess what, the A200 has a could fit a 20 qt bowl onto an A120, as long as you had a set of 12 qt tools...

I'm fairly sure the N50 was dropped for a while, as there wasn't an interlocked bowl guard available (to shut off the mixer if you lifted the guard), but it is still available in the UK at around £2,500 !

The majority of the mixers sold in the UK were A120s, designed in the 1950's, I think, (every school kitchen has one, with some exceptions) and are still going strong, on the current Hobart website.

In my time there we were often told not to sell the A120 or 200 for bread making, but the proof of the pudding, as they say....

 Mind you, the Teddy mixer looks the business, particularly with S/S tools - as you mentioned, Kenwood (and Hobart dough hooks are cast aluminium, so not dishwasher friendly....Bear mixers were always a good competitor for Hobart, and looks like they still are...


diramu 2011 October 5

I'm been trying to replace my wifes old kitchen aid.  It a 4.2l model, that is  not stand up to the weekly bead dough we make. 

I'm interested in any review on the Birko, I've seen it for under $AU700.

My research on getting another Kitchen Aid. In Australia, now KA only offeres 4.8 litre models. The Artisan or the K5 Delure or  the KPM50 or K5SS, The last three are same machine just different acessories and colour. There last 3 are meant to be the commerial versions with a lift up bowl vs twist in bowl of the Artisan.  KA makes a 6 litre "pro"  model, but USA only. my choice here would be the K5SS or KPM50, they come in white.


The Hobat N50, would be great, but at $3000 its not going to happen.

The Robot Coupe is just a little big.

The Teddy 5 litre mentioned in this tread looks great, but I have not found a price or availablity in Australia. Anyone seem it here?

panfresca 2011 October 6

Mozzie ended up getting the Teddy direct from the manufacturer, and at a substantial discount. If you read the posts above, the local distributor was less than helpful, so that might be your only path.

I suppose the issue then is parts and warranty service, but I don't think that would bother me - these are robust machines which go on forever, more so in a domestic situation. In the extremely unlikely event parts or service is needed, you would probably have to pay the local distributor, a very tiny risk.

mozzie 2011 October 6

The Birko looked like a good unit - IIRC 3 fixed speeds vs continuous adjustable 120-400 rpm for the Teddy. My dealings with Nisbets ( were good, and they offer fixed price delivery. It's the second item among all the Kitchenaids.

The AU Bear Varimixer distributor is

To contact them directly in DK (, I just used the email under Contact tab.


#edit - The Birko is somewhat larger capacity at 7lt and physically bigger.

diramu 2011 October 7

Moffat actually returned my enquirey, after 2 days.   Not sure if I like the price, and the comment about not doing bread doughs. I assume, he thinks I want if for a full time bakery, not as a domestic unit.

Subject: Bear Varimixer, 5 Litre.

The Price will be $2,025.00 + GST
Lead Time of 12 weeks as we don't have stock in Australia.
The Mixer won't do bread doughs or similar products.This Mixer mainly used for creams, cake mixes etc.


As for the size of the Birko, its listed as 410(h) x 250 x 400 vs 400(h)  x 222 x 462 for the Teddy Bear.

The Birko is listed as a capacity of 1.2 kg dough (dry flour) and the Teddy Bear as BREAD DOUGH (50%) 2.5kg.

Not sure how to interpret either of  these ratings?



mozzie 2011 October 7

I reckon that sounds like a "discouragement" price


On using the Teddy for bread dough ... The Head of Sales at the manufacturer included the following comment in his response to me  ...

"In a teddy you can make 2,5 Kg heavy duty ciabatta or pizza dough per charge –  and you can do that 24/7  - ..."


The "2,5" is just European for 2.5 btw. The 50% you noted is (I suspect) the AR% measure.

From the US model spec sheet:-

%AR= weight of water/weight of flour
Batch size and/or speed reduction is required if
any of the following conditions exist.
1. High Gluten Flour
2. AR % under 40%
3. Water Temperature under 65 Degrees F




diramu 2011 October 10

Thanks for that ebay link, I'll follow that up.


I the meantime, I sent an enquiry to manufactures of the Teddy Bear for a direct purchase. No response yet.



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