Assistent Original- the Grain Mill

assistent original || cityhippyfarmgirl

A couple of years ago I invested in an invaluable piece of kitchen gear. I bought this machinery of wonderfulness- an Assistent Original.

I researched and researched my options on a kitchen mixer that would hold up to my regular and large amounts of bread making. (If you are interested that research post can be found here.) I decided on the Assistent as it was the one machine that kept coming up while ticking all my requirement boxes. I then did a post on how the machine was faring six months after buying it, (which can be found here.)

I’m recapping a few details here, as it’s been nearly 2.5 years since I bought it and some people have asked do I still stand by it?

In a nutshell…YES! A big beautiful yes. I use the Assistent several times a week, I make several kilos of dough at a time (it can take up to 5 kilos) and it has never given me the slightest hiccup when it comes to bread mixing. For a baker enthusiast that isn’t at commercial levels but bakes more than the average home cook I would highly recommend it. Actually I do, for everyone!

assistent original || cityhippyfarmgirl

After sticking with the basic package, last year I decided I wanted to give a few of the other attachments a go. With the meat mincer, cookie attachment and grain mill now adorning my bench top what do I think about them?

linseed || cityhippyfarmgirl

sunflower seed || cityhippyfarmgirl

Grain Mill

Well hands down the grain mill is a winner in my book. I go through a fair chunk of grains in this household. Linseed, and sunflower seeds being used the most. I buy in bulk as it’s cheaper, that way I can make sure it’s grown locally and/or organic. By using the grain mill I can also make sure it’s kept at its freshest.

So how does it work?

The machine goes on its side, attachments on and grain or seeds in at the top. I adjust the consistency I want of the grain or seeds to be ground at, put the timer on and walk away. It looks a little odd, with the machine lying on its side, but it works beautifully, attaches easily, isn’t noisy and doesn’t make a mess.

assistent original || cityhippyfarmgirl

The cookie attachment and meat mincer I haven’t used as much to give a conclusive assessment at this stage. I would say the cookie attachment is best for larger amounts of cookie dough, (which really isn’t much of a problem in this household!) At this stage I spend more time cleaning this attachment up then benefiting from it properly- so this one will be continued. As for the meat mincer, (as she hangs head in shame, not used at all yet.)

The grain mill though? Yes! A big triumphant yes. And the Assistent Original as a machine for the home cook? 100 times yes. I love it just as much as I did when I first got it two and a half years ago, and would recommend it in a heart beat.

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the assistent- part two (bread nerd stuff)

cityhippyfarmgirl

A few people lately have been asking me about my Assistent Original mixer and how it has fared since I got it 6 months ago. Well, what to say?

I love it.

I love, love, love it.

Effortless. For any bread maker it really is effortless. The fact that I can put the ingredients in, dial up the timer and walk away from it, is truly a miraculous thing.

Not only that, it also does well with mixing non bread ingredients. Whipping two egg whites is a breeze, just as well as the bigger amounts of bread dough.

To date, I still haven’t put the mixer to the 5kg test that it apparently can go up to with bread dough. The most I’ve put in there would be about the 3kg mark in any one time (about 6.6 pounds.) With the larger amounts of my sourdough it does ride up the hook a little initially, but it should, that’s a whole lot of dough in there. The lowest setting is more than adequate for mixing the bread dough, and (quietly) mixes it really well. Even with a lower hydration dough and mixing the salt in after a fairly lengthy autolyse period- this dough still gets a good even work over.

cityhippyfarmgirl So have there been any problems with the machine, and any peculiarities or tips worth noting?-  The only tip vaguely worth mentioning is that when making bread, the machine likes the majority of the liquid in at the beginning, and sitting at the bottom, rather than the flour first. I always hold back my liquid a little, as flour, starter and other ingredients all have a factor in how much water is needed. (eg. If 625mls are needed, I’ll put 500mls in the initial dough mix, and then slowly add the remaining, in the first minute or two of mixing.

cityhippyfarmgirl Other Attachments- I still haven’t purchased any of the extra attachments that you can buy for the mixer. (Basic model comes with- dough hook, double whisk, cake beater, bowl scraper, dough roll, and lid.) I’d be very curious to know how some of the extra attachments work also seeing them in action, but at this stage I haven’t needed any. As the basic model suits all my baking needs.

So would I recommend one?- Yes. In a heart beat. I will wax lyrical to anyone that vaguely mentions the word ‘mixer’ to me. Kenwood, Sunbeam, Kitchenaid, Thermomix are all fine and dandy, but if you are serious about baking, bread making in particular and want more oomph in your kitchen, this mixer really is the bees knees.

How much love?- If my machine died today, I would order another one tomorrow, I love it that much. (However it won’t die, as I suspect this Swedish love is going to be around in my kitchen for the next twenty plus years.)

cityhippyfarmgirl

For more details on how I came to this mixer, what kitchen requirements I had, other reviews, and various other links, please see my original post on this machine.

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* I don’t get anything by writing this review, this is purely to help out anyone that might be in a similar position, looking for a new mixer and unsure of what to get for their baking needs. Would I recommend it?… Yes, it’s still awesome.

* If anyone has any specific questions that I might be able to help with, please do ask in the comments.

assistent original- possibly the nerdiest post I’ve ever done

It was finally here.

It, being the mixer I had decided on nearly three months ago. After writing this post. I researched, and researched what was going to be best suited for me. Which one to get… which one to get?

So why did I need a new mixer?

I make all our bread, and although my kids are still quite small, we go through a LOT of bread, so it’s only going to increase. Sourdough being the bread of choice or a sourdough/commercial yeast blend. I quite often use a fairly stiff dough that needs a bit of effort behind it incorporating the salt. While I have no problem with kneading, my kitchen has a problem with bench space… it’s very minimal!

With baby crawling around- getting in to things she probably shouldn’t be, four year old holding on to a leg singing me a sad sailor song, six year old trying to read out his homework, and a dinner pot on the stove probably close to burning. Even just the simple process of kneading salt into dough (in a very small kneading space) can be a little frustrating.

A good mixer, eases this. It really does.

Over the past few years, I had been using a Sunbeam Professional. I was really happy with it and it suited most of my cooking. Although it wasn’t until researching new mixers did I realise just what a flogging I was giving it. At the most I was mixing a little over 3kg of bread dough. The sunbeam recommended amount was less than half that. Lasting two solid years of sourdough making, (plus general kitchen baking 2 years before that.) I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

First I looked at the Kitchenaid Artisan KSM150.

Gorgeous colours, and looks solid. $749, 300watt motor, made in the USA, but only takes 1.3k of dough. Reviews also say it can run a little hot when being put to the test with bread dough, needing frequent cool off periods. It also may have times of creeping up the hook, if there is a larger amount of dough in there.

Kitchenaid Professional has definitely got more grunt and aims higher than the average home baker needs. However, as far as I could see it wasn’t available in Australia.

Next I looked at the Kenwood Premier Major KMM770.

No colour options (silver), 1200watts, 2.4kg dough capacity, 6.7L bowl capacity, and upwards of $700. Originally a British company, and is now all made in China.

The Kenwood Titanium Major was also a contender, with same colour, an increase in the watts- 1500, but no increase in dough capacity or bowl size. I was getting mixed messages as to whether an increased wattage in the different machines actually made any difference or not.

These machines did sound ok, but the dough amount still wasn’t enough and it was a sizeable machine for something that still wasn’t quite what I needed. Problems I had read about the Kenwood was ‘walking’ when it’s on and really noisy for the older machines, (not sure about the new ones.)

The Varimixer Bear Teddy- 5L I looked at, but the weight was concerning as the spot where the mixer was to go is again quite small. A lone stockist in Sydney was also quite vague.

Throughout my research another name kept popping up, Assistent Original. There didn’t seem to be any distribution in Australia, despite it being available seemingly everywhere else. It certainly didn’t look anything like any of the other planetary mixers I had looked at.

It did however, seem to be exactly what I was looking for.

Not too big, 7L bowl, could handle up to 5kg of dough, came with basic attachments and more if I needed them later.

It sounded good, really good.

But how to get one of these little gems? I didn’t think it would hurt to send an email, which went to a US distributer. That, then got bounced to Sweden, who in turn bounced it back to Australia, to a baking company who just so happened to be starting to import them. One load of ten had already arrived and disappeared into baking land, a second was to be shipped the next week from Germany. Was I interested?

Hell yes!

Fast forward several months, now with my Swedish mixer in my hot little hands… what could it do?

Let’s find out.

First up the instruction manual is not great. I watched the instructional dvd (also available on youtube) and that helped. I basically fiddled until I had worked out what was what,and mostly it was fine, (you do just have to play a bit.) The dough hook took the longest to get the hang of, (saying that, it was probably only half an hour) which worried me a little as this was the one I basically got the whole thing for. Finally I found if I brought the arm just a smidge more forward, the peg sat in fine.

There is an extensive recipe booklet that comes with it. It would be great to explore some Swedish recipes, but unfortunately it’s all in Swedish, and I can read not a word. With distribution of the machine in a handful of English speaking countries, I’m surprised they haven’t done an English language one.

In a nutshell…

Comes in lots of different colours- I got cream

800W and weighs 8.6kg. $682 plus postage

Developed, designed and manufactured in Sweden.

Has been around since the 1940’s

Previously known as DLX Electrolux, Magic Mill Verona- now known as my new kitchen love

Basic model comes with a dough hook, double whisk, cake beater, bowl scraper, dough roll, and lid

In built timer- this is sooooo handy. Dial it up and go and do other things, come back and viola.

It’s quiet. All you hear is a gentle mixing sound on the lowest setting, which for my bread is more than adequate.

When to use the different attachments- I’ve made, biscuit dough and cake batter with the double whisk, cake beater and dough roll. There isn’t a huge difference in the over all result. They all come up with the goods in the end. Dough hook definitely for the larger amounts of bread dough though. Initially I thought it wasn’t doing a whole lot, but it is. (Just be patient and let it do it’s thing.)

I was curious to know whether it could whisk a couple of egg whites as well as several kilos of bread dough. It could, and did. I haven’t done less than 3 egg whites at this stage, but for those three it worked beautifully.

The mixer has a lot more attachments available, and if I decide I want others down the track I can buy them singularly. For the time being though, the basic attachments suit my needs.

Problems with the machine- none what so ever. I’ll certainly edit this post if I come across any problems, but so far- using it is great. I’m still at the casually polish it as I walk by stage.

It is completely different to the other types of mixers on the market, which initially felt a little daunting on opening the box. I soon shook that off though…it’s good to be different. I’d be quite happy to have a machine like this in my kitchen for the next 20 years.

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Have a look here, if you want to see it in action using the dough hook.

Other reviews that might be handy and of interest

Planetary mixer advice– on sourdough.com (Australia)

Assistent Original vs Kitchenaid-  (USA)

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Where to buy it from if you are in Australia?

Blackwood Lane– who were very helpful when I had a lot of questions to ask before I purchased.

* I don’t get anything by writing this review, this is purely to help out anyone that might be in a similar position, looking for a new mixer and unsure of what to get for their baking needs. Would I recommend it?… Yes, it’s awesome.

** All food pictured has been mixed in the Assistent Original.