Item: Ankarsrum Original Mixer
Price: $799 for the basic package, which includes all the mixer attachments; $39 extra for the citrus juicer; $89 extra for the blender.
Overall Impression: Smooth, stylish, incredibly versatile, and especially great for bread bakers. My new favorite stand mixer! (But oh, it's so much more than just a mixer!)
I first heard of Swedish-made Ankarsrum back in March while attending the Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. I was smitten over the array of colors available and intrigued by the unusual design and the promise it could replace, well, practically every other appliance in my kitchen. Could it really live up to all that? I put one to the test recently, and here's what I think about it so far:
Characteristics and Specs: 600-watt motor with self-adjusting speed control; 7 liter (7.4 quart) stainless bowl rotates at speeds of 45 to 130 rpm; 12-minute timer; weighs 19 pounds; measures 14.25"w x 19"d x 14.25"h. Machine turns on its side to accommodate extra attachments. All plastic parts are BPA-free except the 3.5 liter beater bowl, but that will be BPA-free by the end of 2013. Five year warranty on base, one year warranty on attachments.
Basic package ($699) includes: 7 liter stainless steel bowl, 3.5 liter double whisk bowl assembly (bowl, whisks, head gear, and shaft), dough hook, roller, scraper, spatula, dust cover / accessory bowl, cookie beaters, removable power cord, instructional DVD, owners Manual.
Optional accessories reviewed today: Citrus juicer ($39) and blender ($89).
Favorite details: The machine is an absolute beaut in person. The dials turn very smoothly, and it's also relatively quiet. Love the integrated bowl scraper, the huge bowl capacity (which can hold up to 28 cups of flour), and how the machine turns on its side to accommodate other attachments. Such a funny detail, but very smart!
Splurge-worthy? Yes, especially if you frequently bake for a lot of people, or are looking for an all-in-one machine that has the potential to do a lot of things beyond mixing and kneading. (Like grinding, slicing, shredding, etc - all of which are available as additional attachments.)
Good for small kitchens? Definitely. The Ankarsrum is advertised as a "kitchen assistant" because it's meant to be an all-inclusive machine. If you have a small kitchen and want to streamline your appliances (and save a little counter space), the Ankarsrum would be well suited to that.
A little background on Ankarsrum: the Ankarsrum mixer was first launched in Sweden in 1940, during World World II. At that time it was made by Electrolux, and it was developed to help Swedish families do all their cooking, baking, and preserving at home. (Everyone was trying to reduce their expenses during the war.) In 1969 the production of the mixer moved to Ankarsrum, Sweden, and hence that's how it came to be called that today. All of the aluminum parts — the arm, the arm attachment, the upper stand, the mincer and all its parts, and the electrical motor — are still cast, processed and assembled in Ankarsrum today. The plastic components are sourced and manufactured by companies in the region. (So, not made in China!)
Ankarsrum's mixer is the most powerful residential use stand mixer on the market. To give you a point of reference for the Ankarsrum as compared to KitchenAid: the Artisan KitchenAid mixer ($349) has a 325-watt motor and a 5-quart bowl capacity. The Ankarsrum has almost double the power at 600 watts and a 7.4 quart bowl capacity. This makes it more in line with KitchenAid's Professional 600 ($499) or 620 series ($899), but even there it's more powerful and has a greater bowl capacity, and the basic package comes with more accessories.
The biggest difference between the Ankarsrum and other heavy-duty, large-capacity stand mixers, though, is the way it's designed.
Whereas most stand mixers have the motor in the top of the unit and a tilt-back head, the Ankarsrum's motor is in the base. This means it's much easier to see the contents of the bowl and add ingredients to it. And I think (although I can't confirm this yet) that having the motor in the base means the machine is less likely to overheat, which means it'll have a longer life.
The motor-in-base design also enables one of Ankarsrum's two most unique features: the rotating stainless steel bowl! Instead of a fixed bowl and moveable attachments, the bowl itself spins, while a steel arm holds the scraper and the adjustable roller. It's hard to describe in person, but you can see it in action here:
I really found this design superb for kneading bread and pizza dough. And the side scraper is really a favorite feature. I love how neatly it cleans the bowl, whether I've got a large batch of cookie dough, cake batter, or bread dough going.
Included in the basic package is a separate 3.5 liter (3.7 quart) mixing bowl, along with a double whisk set and cookie beaters. This bowl is meant for making meringues, creaming butter and frosting, and can hold up to 18 egg whites! (I haven't made anything yet that uses quite that many, but I have no doubt believing it.) The white bowl doesn't spin like the stainless steel bowl; it locks in and the beaters rotate themselves while on a spinning axis. My egg whites were whipped in no time.
The citrus juicer is an optional accessory, and I thought it worked fine. I wasn't blown away by it, but I could see it being useful if I had the machine out anyway. The white juicer attachment rotates at your desired speed (I didn't have it going too fast) while you push the orange down to extract the juice. I can't verify that it gave me any more juice than had I done it completely by hand, but I did feel like the rotation enabled me to push down a little less hard than had I done it manually, so that's something.
Now we get to the blender, which showcases the second unique aspect of the Ankarsrum. For a number of the optional attachments like the blender, the Ankarsrum gets turned on its side. As you can see below, the 5-cup capacity blender screws into the side (now the top) of the Ankarsrum.
I was really impressed with the blender. I have a Blendtec, so I expect a lot of power from my blender. This pulverized smoothie ingredients in no time for a very smooth, non-chunky smoothie. It'a also supposed to be good for grinding grains, like steel cut oats, into a fine flour. I haven't tried this yet, but given the power I've seen in the blender, I'm feeling confident it'll be impressive. (I'll update this review when I do try that out!)
All in all, I've been nothing but impressed by the Ankarsrum mixer so far, and I would highly recommend it, particularly for avid bakers. It operates very smoothly, and is pretty quiet. The whole thing feels slick and incredibly sturdy. Definitely my new favorite kitchen tool!
Next up: I'll review the Meat Grinder Deluxe package for the Ankarsrum mixer, which is not only for grinding meat, but also straining and grating vegetables, spiraling out pasta, and shaping cookies. Look for it soon!
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Cambria Bold)