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KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer: The Future Was Then

KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in White


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(3.5/5)

Pros: Capable of performing the tasks it claims.  Multiple beater choices come standard.  Tilt-Head locking mechanism.  Power-take-off accepts attachments for juicing, pasta creation and other kitchen chores.


Cons: Weight may make it difficult to move for some.  Excessive motor noise and gear-clash annoying.  Dated styling and moderate footprint make countertop storage an issue.

The Attrezzi was sleeker and quieter - and it never had a chance.
The Attrezzi was sleeker and quieter – and it never had a chance.

For the past decade, I have had a successful bread-making relationship with the Jenn-Air Attrezzi stand mixer.  Also known as “Maytag’s Last Gasp”, this streamlined Italianesque small appliance was axed in April of 2006 when Whirlpool Corp. acquired Jenn-Air’s parent company.  With KitchenAid also beneath the Whirlpool umbrella, there was no need for the established brand to compete with an acquired inter-corporate rookie.

Mid-30s Moderne


The original KitchenAid Model K was produced by the Hobart Corporation and dates back to the Art Deco age when Raymond Loewy was the King of Industrial Design.  Though Loewy has been dubbed “The Designer of Everything” (including the Coca Cola bottle, automobiles and locomotives), the Model K was actually a creation of Egmont Arens – whose realm of design includes the ice cube dispenser and Electrolux vacuum cleaner.

Sensational in its day was the original Model K. [Image: Cindy Funk - Flickr]
Sensational in its day was the original Model K. [Image: Cindy Funk – Flickr]

Introduced in 1937 at a suggested retail price of $55.00, the Model K has been tweaked over the decades, but its appearance is essentially unchanged.  Though laudable for its longevity and basic form-and-function, the updated Model K shows its age when conspicuously placed in a 21st century kitchen.

Sensory Perception

The Artisan and crew get ready to mix-it-up.
The Artisan and crew get ready to mix-it-up.

The degree of Artisan drab becomes moot when the mixer is activated.  In the lower range of its ten available speeds, the motor spins with a growl and clash that startles and rankles.  While whipping fresh cream for a strawberry shortcake, several conversing guests fled the nearby counter stools – due to their inability to hear or be heard above the Artisan’s din.

To its credit, the Artisan has survived numerous kitchen challenges for more than a decade with a motor that sounds as if it’s been ready to fail since day-one.  Conversely, the Jenn-Air is handsome and quiet, but is fitted with a sloppy tilt-head lock that is inferior to that of the Artisan.

Utility

The Artisan with its standard equipment attachments and pour shield.
The Artisan with its standard equipment attachments and pour shield.

What KitchenAid delivers is variety.  Included as standard equipment are the wire whip, batter paddle and dough hook.  A clear plastic pour shield fits atop the 5-quart bowl to discourage flour waft and contain spatters.  Should an attachment make contact with the stainless steel bowl while in operation, a screw located on the underside of the tilt-head will adjust the attachment up or down.

A power-take-off shaft on the front of the mixer will accept more than a dozen optional attachments.  A juicer, food processor, meat grinder, grain mill and an assortment of pasta gadgets prevail.  Though I currently own none, the optional ice cream maker is the most tempting potential acquisition.  But how long will I have to endure the motor noise before chowing-down on the resulting frozen delight?

Work In Progress

Planetary action makes quick work of this Toasted Coconut Cake batter.
Planetary action makes quick work of this Toasted Coconut Cake batter.

The Artisan‘s planetary action spins the attachment in the opposite direction of the head – this all-inclusive dual orbit minimizes the need for continually scraping the bowl.  As a result, be aware that whipping heavy cream or egg whites to a desired consistency requires much less time to accomplish vs. a conventional mixer.

While kneading bread dough, the motor doubles-down on gear gnash, but its growl belies its durability.  I’ve never trusted the Artisan to a double-dose of dough, though there are those who do without apparent consequence.  Both the dough hook and batter paddle wear a plastic coating and are dishwasher safe – as is the 5-quart stainless steel bowl.  Due to its aluminum base, I always hand-wash the wire whisk.

Even when cornered, the Artisan lives large.
Even when cornered, the Artisan lives large.

Dependability was for decades the Maytag motto, but it also applies to the KitchenAid Artisan through corporate acquisition.  Its versatility, ubiquity and legitimate (though strictly utilitarian) retro heritage – along with a competitive price and variety of vivid colors – make it the current king of kitchen clamor.  Every kitschy cookhouse should have one – and probably already does.

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My Toasted Coconut Walnut Cake awaits the oven.

KitchenAid division of Whirlpool Corporation
Customer eXperience Center
P.O. Box 218
St. Joseph, MI  49085
800-541-6390

All images generated by the author unless otherwise noted.

8 thoughts on “KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer: The Future Was Then”

  1. Recalling your various past reviews of sundry kitchen/cooking products (and now this likewise splendid piece), I can only marvel at your evidently unflagging devotion to such cookery.

    By contrast, I’m rather lazy in the kitchen– generally content to perfectly poach two or three eggs in the microwave oven (I’ve mastered that three-minute trick involving an inch or two of water in a small bowl with a saucer as a lid) or to thoroughly blend frozen blueberries in my trusty Hamilton Beach blender’s glass jar (adding just a little water plus some nonfat dry milk but no sweetener, I’ve discovered how to make naturally [very!] sweet “milk shakes” that way).

    Thanks for the review!

    Mike

    1. Cooking eggs in the microwave requires bravery and an hour to clean-up the resulting carnage. I remember numerous stories of folks who tried to hard-boil eggs shortly after the newfangled oven was introduced.

      Love to cook – I just wish there were more people around here to consume the finished product. My favorites have evolved toward baked goods that freeze well. As yet, no blender in my arsenal – homemade smoothies are but a dream…

      1. I no longer have any problems whatsoever with “exploding” eggs in the microwave. I discovered that all that’s required (to prevent “carnage”) is to drop three eggs (just the yolks & whites) into a smallish (cereal-sized) Corning-ware bowl into which you’ve already put at least an inch and a half of cool/lukewarm tap water; place a “lid” (saucer) atop that bowl; and then set the microwave’s timer at precisely 2.25 minutes; then remove the bowl, lift its lid, and fully pierce each yolk with the pointed tip of a sharp knife (to prevent any subsequent explosion!), and finally replace the bowl (with lid) back into the microwave for an additional (final) 45 to 60 seconds. [Note: Those timer settings work with MY microwave oven; YOUR mileage may vary, so experiment (be brave yet cautious)!] 😉

        1. I have committed the tried-and-true times for my mini-omelet to memory – but there’s nothing better than some homemade hash browns and a pile of fluffy scrambled eggs (with or without the “raft”).

          An old fashioned frying pan is still the best route to achieving cacklefruit nirvana…

          1. For achieving cackle-fruit ecstasy, what sort of pan do you use (e.g., cast-iron)? And what sort of fat (e.g., bacon drippings)?

  2. Mike –

    I have abandoned all the non-stick, with the exception of a 7″ Farberware Millennium frying pan. The coating remains intact and it does a fantastic job of cooking scrambled eggs to perfection with just a bit of butter and a dash of olive oil.

    Of course, those chopped green peppers and onions and sliced mushrooms, ham and/or sausage additions help to get those scrambled eggs on their feet…

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