Out of the blue a number of months again, my power-baker buddy Shannon texted photographs of a failed baking challenge. Instead of an image of a plateful of crumbly cookies, she despatched three successive pictures of the stripped gears in her high-end stand mixer, which was within the technique of falling aside.
“Do I just bite the bullet and shell out $3K for the Hobart n50,” she requested, referring to a professional mannequin that appears prefer it may energy a tiny tractor by means of a stony area, “which at that price, should rub your feet and tell you that you’re beautiful?”
I despatched Shannon’s footage to a different power-baker buddy, Tara, as one thing of a joke, à la “look at the weird stuff people send me!” Instead, she had a suggestion.
“Tell her to get the Ankarsrum.”
“The what now?”
“The Ankarsrum. It’s from Sweden.”
As a product reviewer, it is all the time a little bit of a thrill to say, “I’ve never heard of such a thing,” figuring out it is preapproved by somebody who is aware of what’s what within the kitchen.
I regarded it up, and this distinctive Swedish gem—the $700 Ankarsrum Assistent—which initially got here out in 1940, didn’t disappoint.
Here within the United States, the place the model of reference is KitchenAid, we’re used to face mixers whose motor and shifting elements are all above the bowl and whose major attachments—the dough hook, paddle, and whisk—all spin round within the bowl.
In the Ank, as aficionados name it, the principle bowl spins, powered by a motor within the base of the machine. Once I began testing it, I’d inform pals about it, often accompanied by a brief video I took, which might invariably elicit a response alongside the traces of “what the hell is that?”
The Ank’s motor is managed by a pair of dials: One is for the velocity, and the opposite is an on/off swap that additionally permits it to run on a timer for as much as 12 minutes, one thing that is helpful whenever you wish to multitask, however not overmix. The steel bowl is a cavernous seven quarts, and the corporate’s web site touts its capacity to make 5 kilos of dough (11 kilos!) at a time. In the machine’s again nook is a tower with an arm that swings out over the bowl and attaches to a kneading dough curler.
In what you may name its basic setup, the dough curler is connected to the arm, and a dough knife slots into the tower to maintain the sidewalls clear.
Turn it on and your dough comes collectively, the bowl spinning, the curler squooshing it up in opposition to the sidewall, the dough knife maintaining that sidewall clear. There’s additionally the potential for utilizing a giant dough hook instead of the curler, which I did to softly (and cleanly) combine collectively a large batch of meatballs. Confusingly, there is a second bowl that is stationary for different baking types. This smaller, plastic bowl within the form of a bundt pan has a pair of balloon whisks for gentle work and thicker wired “cookie whisks” for chunkier doughs.
I went with basic breads to start out testing, ensuring to regulate recipes so as to add liquids first—one thing of an Ank requirement—instantly marveling in any respect the work accomplished by friction. Yes, the bowl spins because of the motor, however the curler rolls because of a grooved rubber ring round its prime that nestles into the bowl’s lip. The dough knife is of course pushed in opposition to the sidewall of the bowl. It rapidly offers you the pleasing sense that there is much less to interrupt.
Once the dough comes collectively, you may pivot the arm and curler towards the middle of the bowl because it runs, permitting you to regulate the kneading strain on the dough, sometimes permitting you to work by means of the step within the instructions the place you cease to scrape down the edges of the bowl.
Staying in an identical, bready vein, I made toast bread, following a recipe within the e book that got here with the mixer and makes 4 squat loaves that fill a half-sheet pan. I used up some beautiful Moroccan olives to make a extra rustic loaf. I additionally tried two completely different recipes for focaccia, and one which many individuals really helpful I make: challah. For every of those, the Ank felt spectacular and certain on its toes.