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Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Posted by johnliu (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 5, 11 at 15:13

I am thinking about getting a mixer.

My older Cuisinart food processor (CFP-5A) overheated working on bread dough w/ 3 cups of flour. My younger food processor (DLC-7) can handle the load, but dough works its way between the bowl and case for a sticky cleanup. Also, the dough heats up quite a bit.

I'm looking for a mixer that can handle bread dough with up to 5 cups of flour, with easy clean-up, that takes up as little counter space as possible. Whipping cream etc is not critical, we have a hand mixer if the counter mixer doesn't work.

A Hobart is big, tall (only 16'' clearance under my upper cabinets) and rather expensive for me - I've been checking them out at the restaurant supply store.

A KitchenAid stand mixer would be in the price range, so would a Cuisinart stand mixer. I'm not sure if those will handle the load? Which models would I need to look for?

There are also the Magic Mill mixers. Those are too expensive, but with patience I might be able to find one on Craigslist etc. What models are appropriate? I see DLX 9000, DLX 2000, and some others.

I'd appreciate any and all advice!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, think ahead to when you redo your kitchen. You have to have a chrome mixer!!!!!

The link below has the perfect one and at an excellent price. I bought mine a few years ago from this place and it is still going strong. I've had several small appliances from them that are refurbished and could never tell the difference from new and never any problems.

Nancy

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Collection


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Don't know if this will help you decide, but I will relay my experience. Hope this helps.

About three years ago, I decided to treat myself to a good stand mixer (hand-held before that), and ended up with the Bosch Universal Plus. It is a powerful machine and would be great for a large family or someone who does a lot of large scale baking, but for a two person household... not so much. After several unsatisfactory calls to Customer Service ("I have the same machine. I love mine and I'm sure you will too, just try different recipes," without ever addressing the problems I called about. I got better understanding and advice from this forum. Gave it to my daughter and did more research.

I ended up with the 7 quart Cuisinart and still love it. It lives on the counter and I just pull it forward a few inches to use it. I really like the timer feature. Just set the machine to knead or mix for x - minutes and you can walk away. The maximum capacity for yeast dough is 15 cups of flour.

I asked at a high end kitchen store, the kind of store that gives classes and demos and has a variety of mixers available for use. The clerk (and friend of my DD) said that while he prefers the Kitchen Aid for looks, for performance, he would choose the Cuisinart every time.

I know that many people on this forum love their Kitchen Aids, but I feel they are underpowered.

A few current comparisons:
Cuisinart 7 quart - 1,000 watts
Bosch Universal Plus - 6 quart - 800 watts
Kitchen Aid Pro - 6 quart - 575 watts
Kitchen Aid Commercial 5 series - 5 quart - 450 watts
Kitchen Aid Artisan - 5 quarts - 325 watts

I leave it up to you to compare costs, color, attachments, etc. Good luck with decision making.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

"---Cuisinart 7 quart - 1,000 watts -----"

That's about 1 1/2 horsepower. Way overkill for a kitchen mixer. IMHO.

For reference: I had a 3-cubic feet cement mixer that's 1/2 horse power. My washing machine is one horsepower.

Mixers have complicated (worm, planetary) gearing and (pin, roller) bearings. They get broken more often than the motor.

Just a guess, an overly powerful motor will strip the gears quicker, and may also be noisier.

dcarch


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Oh, come on, Dcarch, isn't that a little like saying "I won't buy this top-of-the-line Bosch drill because the company probably didn't build it strong enough to withstand the power of the motor."?

One has to assume that respected companies build their drills and mixers (gearing and bearings) to well withstand the power applied by the motor.

Just read the excellent reviews of the Cuisinart all over the web. Even on this forum, people have complained about the lower wattage mixers not being up to the tasks they ask of them. The newer mixers are not being built like the older models.

We can't compare horsepower to wattage, can we. We need to compare apples to apples, not oranges.

I stand by my first post, which boils down to performance over looks in the mixer department.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

adoptedbygreyhounds,

To begin, my post is not meant to be a put down or a challenge to your post. You have given very good information.

The 7 quart Cuisinart mixer is an excellent machine in many ways and has gotten many good reviews.

When I first looked into mixers, I was very curious as to why anyone will need 1 1/2 horsepower to mix dough, when 1/2 horsepower is sufficient for 3 cubic feet of extremely heavy cement/water. I still don't understand.

I looked into the reviews, apparently there are common complains amongst the negative reviews, (and there are a few), that the motor actually tends to overheat and shuts down. There are other motor related issues also.

Not having taken apart one to understand why, I am just guessing that there is a design issue that the 7-quart Cuisinart mixer has not resolved, a mismatch of the mechanism and the motor.

Just my opinion, when a motor sounds it is struggling, it may not always mean that it is underpowered.

Many pulsed-width solid state motor speed controls for universal motors (if that is the kind of motor)make it sound like the motor is struggling.

Again, I am sorry that if I sound like I was putting you down.

dcarch


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I just ordered the Breville stand mixer. A few years ago my Kitchen Aid lost 2 of the lower gears and I got the Bosch Universal Plus. My feelings about it are exactly the same as Adoptedbygreyhounds'. I just can't fall in love with it.
Didn't want another Kitchen Aid and the reviews on the Breville are great. I checked on their site, Amazon and Wiliams and Sonoma. It should arrive Thursday.

Here is a link that might be useful: Breville Stand Mixer


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, I can't help you with this. Just wanted you to know that even Hobarts can have a problem. Unfortunately Hobart isn't set up for consumer customers--the route techs can't come to a residence to repair a Hobart machine. I took my new, red Hobart 5 qt N50 into the service dept. over in Orlando. They had to pull a tech off his route to come to look at the machine. He found that a factory setting was incorrect and that the 30 min. of use I had with my machine nearly killed it. The service guy inferred that my machine had been sabotaged. They are going to replace a number of parts that were impacted by this act so that the machine acts as new. I hope it works ... just don't know when I get it back.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I believe that companies such as KitchenAid now building things so they will only last a few years and break so that we will have to buy new ones. KA apparently thought that they could just get away with making a shotty product and no one would notice. Well with the internet these days, people are noticing and the word is getting out that their machines are pieces of cr*p! They have started to address these problems and are now getting the plastic out of the motors and making them of metal in their more expensive pro models. But the KA reps will NOT admit that the plastic is inferior to all metal. If you don't believe me, go to facebook KitchenAid and read their discussions. They have closed down totally their old kitchenaid forum and many of the old members are very upset about this! Even the archives are not available. I believe this to keep consumers from reading how upset many people are that their new $400 mixer won't even knead a batch of bread dough.

If you are going to buy a KA mixer, be sure it's a newer model that has all metal...not just the gears but the housing too.

Just my 2 cents.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Approx. 16 years ago, hubby bought me a Kitchenaid mixer because I wore out cheaper mixers at an alarming rate. It's just a basic Kitchenaid, 325 watt motor (I think) and it is still going strong after all these years. I make bread dough about once a week, make cakes, and also use it for other stuff such as whipping cream, whipping potatoes, etc. It has a whisk and a dough hook attachment and that's enough versatility for me. :o) I don't know if Kitchenaid still makes them the way they did 16 years ago, but if so, I can definitely recommend them.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John:
I had the KA for about 3 years now and had no problems.

First had the Classic Model but had trouble with the Dough riding up the Dough Hook, no matter what I tried.

I sent it back and purchased the Pro Model.
No problems !!!

Maybe I got a Lemon !!! and happened to get a good one ???

LOU


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, I do the no knead breads with no machine. 30 seconds to a minute to combine the ingredients with my hands. Mostly, I use the Artisan Bread in Five formula, but I have done the Lahey/Bittman./ NYTimes with my puny little hands, too. I don't have a stand mixer and my old fp is buried. And I don't want to have to wash another thing, just my hands!

Just a fyi until you really decide what you want.

And how is your bread baking doing? I/we would love to see how it's going.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

petra, the answer is no they don't make things like they did 16 years ago! NO WAY! Everything now is made in China JUNK!


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Arkansas_girl, I think mine was made in China as well, but I'm not sure. The box is long gone, and so is the literature which came with it. But maybe back then, they used better motor parts.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Westsider, my bread making has slowed down, because all that bread was making me gain weight. I'm getting a fairly consistent loaf with plenty of oven rise and holes that are okay but not as big or as evenly distributed as I'd like, but a nice crisp crust, using about 80% hydration. My problem before was not kneading enough, the extra time in the food processor seems to help. My slashes remain pathetic, and I'm still not folding and forming the loaf correctly, I think.

My food processor can only make enough dough for about two medium loaves. I'd like to be able to make four medium loaves at a time, give one away, toss two in the freezer for the week, and eat the last. That would be about 6 cups of flour and about 3.4 cups of water.

The site Nancy linked to does have some tempting prices for KitchenAids.

As far as I can tell, even an old, used Magic Mill with some battle scars goes for $250+.

I haven't researched the Cuisinart mixers but will do that.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, I had a magic mixer and sold it on e-bay. Not that impressed. Have you considered a bread maker? They mix the dough very good....automatic....and then you can bake in the oven without the bread-making option. They are pretty inexpensive especially if you just want one for this task. Just an idea.

Duane


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Here are my 2c worth

I have a 6 QuickTime KA purchased about 6-8 years ago. I really don't remember LOL. I also have the Electrolux Assitent (correct spelling ;) ) DLX.

The KA is out on the counter and used daily for everything from cakes, cookies, whipping and creaming. I use it for everything EXCEPT dough. When I bake bread I am usually making 4-6 loaves at a time and the KA just can't handle that load. DH does use the KA for pizza dough and his small batch bread baking. Also he resists change and so does not want to learn to use the DLX.

The DLX is in a cabinet but is light and easy to haul out. It has a lower profile than the KA and I love that you can add ingredients without having them spray the entire kitchen.

Like I said, I use it for bread baking exclusively. There was quite a learning curve but, by jove, I think I've got it.

I tried creaming sugar and butter once using the rotary attachment but did not get the same whipped texture as the KA gives. This could have been the result of two possibilities: One, maybe I should have used the beaters and the center pole bowl (looks like a bundt) or two, possibly didn't have enough ingredient volume for th size of the bowl. That thing is huge. My dough recipe calls for 12-15 cups of flour and it is no problem at all in the DLX

If I were choosing just one, I would pick the DLX and invest the time (and ingredients) in learning how to do everything in it.

Call and talk to the wonderful people at Pleasant Hill Grain and see what they recommend.

There is also a mixer group on yahoo where you can get lots of feedback on different machines.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I'm laughing - having just watched the video on the Electrolux Assitent website. It kneads, it whips, it creams, it chops, it blends! It extrudes pasta, chops meat, mills grain, juices fruit, grinds coffee! Is there nothing this odd little machine doesn't do?

I'd write it off as an infommercial joke if it weren't a long-running Swedish appliance - and if some people didn't speak so highly of it, on places like Freshloaf and here. Oddly, though, I haven't yet seen anyone say they actually use their DLX for anything but kneading heavy batches of bread dough. What, no pressing lingonberry juice?

One thing I worry about - how is parts, service, etc for the DLX mixers, in the US? Suppose you need a drive belt or a gear? The US presence seems a bit, weird. For one thing, they can't seem to decide if the thing is an Electrolux or a Magic Mill, an Assistent or a DLX.

Cooks Illustrated rated the Cuisinart tops, the KitchenAid Pro next, and the DLX last, as in ''Not Recommended''. They were testing stand mixers on all sorts of tasks (kneading, creaming, whipping) and not solely as a bread dough maker:

[The DLX's] Wide bowl allowed easy access and capacity for nine bread loaves, but cookies, cakes, and even single loaves get lost in the abyss. The roller tool's grooves are a haven for butter, and the least intuitive user interface in the lineup had us constantly re-deciphering the manual before every task.

I have consulted SMWBO. Her input: the machine should make bread and cookie dough, it doesn't need to whip or cream or slice or juice or blend or do anything that a hand mixer, food processor, blender, meat grinder, and other devices around here can already do. Oh, ideally it should be shiny copper (yes, I know there is a copper KA.)


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

''Have you considered a bread maker?''

Alas, my (very) old bread maker is not working. The motor runs but the paddle does not turn - something broken. Anyway, it wouldn't fit any more dough than my food processor. I'm going to take it apart, see if it can be easily fixed, and then probably give it away.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I've got a kitchenaid pro, I think the 575 watt one, and it started making scary grinding noises when it kneads bread (even with the kneading hook on the recommended speeds) after about two uses-- something is not right in there. I think dcarch may be onto something. I'd be inclined to try that superpowered stainless one on Amazon, if there's any evidence that it's got sturdier parts.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, if the motor runs but not the paddle, then you may be lucky. Most bread makers use a geared rubber timing belt to drive the paddle. Either the belt is torn or the belt is off the pulley (unlikely). Just order a new belt for about $10.00.

jessicavanderhoff, I don't know which KA Pro you have. The new one has electronic PDW speed controller which permits load sensing soft start with full torque. Soft start is important so that your ingredients will not splatter, also this will make the gears last a lot longer, otherwise the high-speed high-power motor can quickly shock and strip the gears. If your KA mixer is older and have seen a lot of use, then you may check to see if the two carbon brushes in the motor are worn. Worn carbon brushes can cause the motor to make funny noises especially at low speed. The carbon brushes are easily replaceable and not expensive.

dcarch


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

John, I'm not feeling well enough today to write about my Electrolux but would like to tell you I've owned it for about 9 years, love it, & have never had a single problem. Prior to the Electrolux, I used a Bosch for 20-something years. There is a learning curve with the Electrolux but well worth the time/effort.

/tricia


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Thanks, tricia. Hope you feel better soon.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I have only scanned the posts BUT I bought an electrolux (whatever you want to call it) when my KA crapped out on me in the final stages of getting Thanksgiving on the table. I researched mixers looking for a workhorse...I'm tired of replacing things! We've had it about 15 months and I would buy again in a heartbeat. Simple to use ( there is a learning curve if you're used to a KA- maybe that was the issue with CI) and solid. We've used it for bread, whipped cream, cake, cookies, mashed potatoes...whatever we used the KA for. I suspect it will outlive me. Have not had a service issue yet, so can't address that. I will say my teenage daughter and her friends use it as well, and they love it too!


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

I eBay'd a Magic Mill DLX 9000. It is very old but per emails with the seller, seems okay. I had him measure runout at the bowl rim for me. Anyway the price was tolerable, and it is way younger than my food processors and my cars and my cameras . . . I seem to have old stuff, and I like it that way. So, prepare for some confused posts as I start ruining dough with this thing.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

OOh, John. I know exactly which one you bought. It showed up on my eBay RSS feed last week. You are going to love it!

jcox, please share how you do mashed potatoes and cookies.

I'd love to get to know mine better


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

When does it arrive, John?
I think you're going to have a lot of fun...and eat a lot of bread!

Now, will it grind the wheat too??? :-)

Deanna


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

It arrives in a week or so, I hope. I couldn't find any information about the ''9000'' model, but figured I'd take a chance. The seller said it takes the same bowl and accessories as the current model.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

My DLX 9000 arrived yesterday. I didn't have time to do any mixing, but played with it a bit.

The owners manual has two dates - 1986 and 1990, so I guess this is a 1980s design that was made into the 1990s, and that the machine is 15-20 years old.

I like the ''feel'' of the machine - it is sound, solid, square, and simple. 1980s stuff is often very nice that way. Think of a 1980s car - like an E28 BMW 5-series.

The instruction is a bit sparse. So, when I make my first batch of dough, what should I do? Let's say 4 cups of flour and 3 cups of water. I gather I'm supposed to put the liquid in first, then add the solids - ? Should the roller ride on the edge of the bowl, or be set at a distance? Why and when would you use the dough hook instead of the roller? Any thought on rpm?

I'm so excited! I will say, though - that steel bowl is awful cold when you bring the DLX 9000 to bed with you.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Congratulations! Let's see some cooking!

I would throw away the first batch. There may be oil(machine oil), wax (mold release) etc. with new items which can't be washed away easily.

I have two blenders by the same manufacturer, one old one and one brand new model. I took them apart, and found out that they have identical insides. Just a cosmetic modern exterior.

Also, in bed, try out the pulse function. :-)

dcarch


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

My DLX 9000 arrived yesterday. I didn't have time to do any mixing, but played with it a bit.

The owners manual has two dates - 1986 and 1990, so I guess this is a 1980s design that was made into the 1990s, and that the machine is 15-20 years old.

I like the ''feel'' of the machine - it is sound, solid, square, and simple. 1980s stuff is often very nice that way. Think of a 1980s car - like an E28 BMW 5-series.

The instruction is a bit sparse. So, when I make my first batch of dough, what should I do? Let's say 4 cups of flour and 3 cups of water. I gather I'm supposed to put the liquid in first, then add the solids - ? Should the roller ride on the edge of the bowl, or be set at a distance? Why and when would you use the dough hook instead of the roller? Any thought on rpm?

I'm so excited! I will say, though - that steel bowl is awful cold when you bring the DLX 9000 to bed with you.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

That was very easy. I tossed in 336g water, yeast, salt, then 420g bread flour, set the roller to contact the bowl rim, and set the timer to 5 min and the speed to medium. Came back and found a nice dough. Let it sit awhile, then another couple minutes of unattended kneading, and the dough was ready for the rising bowl. The dough temperature was 73F at the end of kneading, which is a lot cooler than after kneading in the food processor.

I am disappointed that the machine did not hop over to the sink and clean itself, but I'll get over it. A few minutes with metal polish and detergent, and Chomsky looks almost new. One of these days, I'll take a buffing wheel to the inside of the bowl, and see if a slick mirror-polished bowl works better than the current finish. I do that to my stainless steel pans sometimes.

That - ''Chomsky'' - is SWMBO's provisional name for him. I don't like it - am lobbying for ''Greta'' - so we'll see who wears the pants around here.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

You never refer to her as anything but SWMBO. Just sayin'.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

The people are revolting in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Iran and Bahrain. The oppressed will be free! SWMBO's favorite motif is the fleur-de-lis, traditional emblem of the French monarchy. We know how they ended. Just wait for 14 July! I will - uh - cook something for her.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Second batch of dough kneaded. Went a lot longer this time, 20 minutes, and dough temp still < 80F. Cool.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

You tell 'em, John!!


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer? - Not a Kitchenaid

Kitchenaid is not the great brand it used to be. They are using cheaper inferior parts.
I am on my second kitchenaid artisan mixer in 6 years. My first mixer's motor gave out after only 8 months and was thankfully still under warranty so I got a new replacement from Kitcheaid. However, the replacement mixer is now also having motor problems - the motor can't maintain the highest speed (whipping cream / egg whites). It constantly slows down and then picks up speed again.
I know that many other users also have complaints on the decrease in quality of Kitchenaid appliances. I also know that my new mixer is NOT going to be a Kitchenaid.
I also had a large Kitchenaid food processor that was great for about 5 years but then whenever I tried to make breadcrumbs or mix flours before making dough, it always left a thin layer of flour on everything around it (and me). Kitchenaid reps told me that it's my fault for overfilling or not closing the lids properly, neither of which was correct. I explained that it won't work if not closed properly, but they still insisted it's me not the machine! Unfortunately the warranty was expired. My 2 year old Cuisinart food processor is not only totally sealed, but the blades are sharper and it can handle really small amounts of ingredients unlike the kitchenaid.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

Swmbo isn't exactly accurate as you did not get a copper mixer! But I hope you greatly enjoy the new one.

I am interested in mixers, of course, but as mine sits on the counter all the time, aesthetics are extremely important.
My 15 year old KA still looks good thankfully.
Occasionally I think about what will replace it ....and it's still a KA if they are decent enough then.


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

i was just wondering how you used the cuisinart cfp 5a cause i just got one and it doesn't have any buttons, how does it start? or did they gave me a broken on? if they did that's sad.
i've been looking for instructions manual but nothing, can't find it nowhere.
i have a bread maker and it kneeds pretty good


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

"---how does it start? --"

It starts when you twist the top of the bowl close?

That's the safety interlock.

dcarch


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RE: Help Me Pick A Mixer?

(Like dcarch said)

The CFP 5A does not have a separate on-off switch. It starts when you turn the bowl lid to the fully closed and latched position. That presses a rod in the bowl, which pushes a micro switch on the base of the machine (round red or black recessed button, right under where the bowl's base sits, at the back of the machine). When you rotate the lid to away from the fully closed position, the motor shuts off. The bowl must be correctly seated and clicked into place.

This is actually the same mechanism used in later Cuisinarts work, but they added an on-off-pulse switch. You can add such a switch to a CFP 5A, I've done it to mine.

You can test the functioning of the micro switch, by depressing it with a chopstick end. There must be NO BLADE ON THE MACHINE!!! because the motor will start spinning the moment you touch that micro switch, and a mounted blade WILL cut off your fingers. It can easily take them off before you know what happened.

The CFP 5A is a good machine. It was made in the mid-1970s by Robot Coupe of France, the inventor of the food processor. The only thing to watch out for, is that the stems on the discs can be fragile (40 year old plastic) and split under pressure, especially if you get a hunk of something jammed between lid and disc.

The bowls, blades, discs, etc show up on eBay for pretty cheap. None of the accessories interchange with the later Cuisinart DLC models. The accessories from a similar-era Magimix or KitchenAid may fit.

Compared to the DLC models, the motor is a little bit less powerful on the CFP 5A, which only matters if you are kneading a lot of dough.


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