General-Purpose Mixers

NutriMill Artiste

NutriMill Artiste Stand Mixer
NutriMill Artiste

I got the Nutrimill Artiste bottom-drive stand mixer on sale in Fall 2023 for $200. The mixer has a label on the lid stating a max dough capacity of 6 lbs or 2.7 kg (2,700 g), more than enough for two larger or three smaller loaves.

Correspondingly, their website states that the appliance easily mixes up to 6 lbs of dough. This quantity converts to 2,700 g. The dough for two of my typical loaves weighs about 2,000 g, each weighing about 850 g after baking. That has worked for me so far.

However, the booklet states a maximum load for bread dough of 8 lbs, which is 3.6 kg or 3,600 g. This is not enough capacity for more than four loaves. I tried high loads of around 3,400 g in Bake #44 and #64, baking four 700 g loves. This large load of wet, high-hydration dough is tolerable to the mixer. However, the volume of the 3.4 kg load maxed out the 6.5-quart capacity of the mixing bowl as the dough rose way up the center column. The recommended max load of 8 lbs of dough is not to be ignored.

I use the Artiste to produce a much more consistent and well-blended mix than via hand-mixing, which is especially important in high-hydration artisan recipes. The mixer forms a denser gluten mesh, incorporating a lot of air inside.

The more the dough is developed in a mixer via longer and faster mixing, the fewer coil folds may be in order. Conversely, the shorter the mixing time, the addition of more coil folds may compensate for the development of the dough. Dough, however, continues to develop during bulk fermentation, that is past any mixing and coil colds.

I was unsure how the Artiste, with its center column, would handle a stiffer, low-hydration dough typical for soft German pretzels. I tried making pretzels in December 2023, and the mixer kneaded the 1,300 g dough for 12 pretzels into a cohesive ball very nicely. However, mixing a larger batch of stiff pretzel dough might be too taxing for the Artiste.

NutriMill sells a high-capacity, bottom-drive stainless steel bowl (a design without a center column) that can replace the Artiste’s 6.5-quart plastic bowl. However, NutriMill advised me that despite the larger capacity of the bottom-drive stainless steel bowl, the machinery in the Artiste itself should not be taxed with more than 6 lbs or 2.7 kg of dough.

The Artiste works very well for a home baker, but surely will not work for the demands of a cottage bakery.


NutriMill also seels the Bosch Universal, a stand mixer with a more powerful motor and gears than the Artiste. With plenty of attachments, the Bosch is perhaps an ideal mixer for people who bake a variety of breads and pastries.

Ankarsrum Assistant

ankarsrum dough mixer
Ankarsrum Assistant

Two steps up from the Artiste and a step up from the Bosch is the popular Ankarsrum Assistant stand mixer at some $750. According to the company, their mixer sports a 7-liter bowl. It can mix 5 kg of dough with the dough hook without a problem. The Ankarsrum is a favorite among many micro cottage bakers. They might open-bake in their home’s kitchen oven on stone or steel up to 4 large or 6 smaller loaves.

The maker of the Ankarsrum bottom-drive stand mixer says it is easy to use due to its user-friendly design. It has an intuitive control panel, a range of speeds, and a removable bowl, making it simple to get the perfect mix for each recipe. Additionally, it is equipped with a range of accessories, making it possible to produce a variety of recipes with simple steps.

A Step Up

A step up from a home baker’s Ankarsrum are the SpiralMac and Famag and Sunmix and Alpaha spiral mixers, costing between $1,300 and $2,000 and up. These machines are not general-purpose mixers with various attachments but dough mixers with only a dough hook. These mixers work with oomph. Spiral mixers are generally acknowledged to be the best for developing dough.

spiralmac sv5
SpiralMac SV8

The Italian-made SpiralMac SV8 Royal Queen mixes and kneads up to 17.6 lbs. (8 kg) of dough at 60% hydration (or more at higher hydration) but also handles batches as small as 2.2 lbs (1.2 kg) at 60% hydration equally as well. In terms of flour capacity, this is 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) down to as little as 1 lbs (0.48 kg). The capacity of the stainless steel bowl is 10.5 quarts (10 liters).

The Spiralmac mixer features a removable bowl while avoiding the complexity involved with a tilting head. Both the breaker bar and the dough hook are removable.

famag grilletta
Famag IM-8

The Italian-made Famag IM-8 mixes and kneads up to 17.6 lbs. (8 kg) of dough at 60% hydration (or more at higher hydration) but also handles batches as small as 2.2 lbs. (1 kg) equally. The IM-8 mixer is available in two dough hook RPM ranges: 98-345 or 130-312 RPM.

In terms of flour capacity, this is 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) down to as little as 0.88 lbs. (0.4 kg) of flour. The capacity of the stainless steel bowl is 11.6 quarts (11 liters). The kneading arm of the Famag lifts high for bowl access and removal and provides lift assist.

Alpha AVS-10T

The Chinese-made Alpha AVS-10T is the cheapest of the bunch but relatively unreviewed. The unique variable-frequency motor has numerous benefits, including quieter operation, more mixing speeds, more torque, and easier maintenance. The digital controller interface makes operation easy and includes features such as inching, reverse, and a removable bowl to help with the dough removal and cleaning processes.

This mixer may be great for doughs with low and high hydration levels. The digital timer allows a baker to set the mixer and walk away while working on other tasks. 

Spirals are best

A spiral mixer, expensive as they may be, is best. With the Ankarsrum, only the bowl is powered to turn. With the SpiralMac and the Famag, the bowl and the spiral hook are powered to turn. It better mixes dough into a uniformly supple state and does not warm it much. I compare the Ankarsrum to a car with a manual transmission and the spiral mixers to an automatic. Of course, capabilities come at a price.

James Bridges (Cottage Geeks group admin on Facebook, Feb. 5, 2024) quoted on the Famag mixers

“I have owned both Famag and Sunmix, and we have a Famag with a removable bowl at the bakery for R&D.

The tolerances are tighter on the Sunmix, with Famag having too much space between the breaker bar and the bottom of the bowl. There are also well-documented issues with the base of the bowl on the Famag, as well as the bowl sensors, which can fail so the mixer ceases to operate.

The Famag also has an exposed screw on the bowl spacer that makes cleaning the top challenging and is just an example of poor workmanship. There are also documented issues with the breaker bar bending under the stress of mixing due to how it is attached.

And finally, the Sunmix has better overall kneading action, so it performs better. I’m glad that Famag has an extended warranty, though; if yours fails, you might have a chance at getting it sorted.

They won’t say it publicly, but PHG isn’t pushing the Famag anymore and has pivoted toward the SpiralMac as their preferred mixer to sell. I’m a previous owner of Famag IM-40, and besides the IM-8S we already have at the bakery, I won’t ever own one again.

A perfect piece of bakery equipment does not exist, but after extensive use, I can confidently say Sunmix is the best spiral mixer available for home use. I recommend the Pro, but the basic is still a great mixer if one is on a budget. The Pro is better at handling wet dough, and the light and reverse are excellent.”

Both SpiralMac and Famag sell larger mixers than their 8 kg sizes as well.

Understanding Mixer Terms: Planetary, Spiral, Fixed Bowl, Removable Bowl

The following article is adapted from DoughTech and discusses mixer types.

Planetary Mixer

Planetary mixers are given this name because of how the mixers revolve around the center of the bowl, like a planet around the sun. The bowl stays in place as the mixers cycle rapidly around. These are usually single-motor, non-rotating bowl mixers designed for general purpose, with various attachments that can be used to shred, chop, or grate other ingredients like cheese, meat, and vegetables. 

However, as solely a bread mixer, they require additional attachments and are far more challenging to produce consistent and well-blended dough. A planetary mixer may be right for you if your business intends to produce more than just bread and has the necessary attachments and expertise. However, if your goal is solely to produce pizza dough, artisan bread, or baked goods, a spiral mixer is the tool for you!


  • Versatile


  • Less airy dough
  • Rougher & warmer mix
  • Slower dough development

Spiral Mixer

Unlike a planetary mixer, a spiral mixer has a rotating bowl that spins while the spiral hook spins and kneads the dough, similar to hand kneading. This produces less friction and less heat on the dough, ensuring proper temperature for fermentation and speeding up dough development by 20%-30%. They can easily produce a much more consistent and well-blended mix than a planetary mixer, which is especially important in high-hydration artisan recipes. Spiral mixers form a very dense gluten mesh, incorporating a lot of air inside.

A 30-quart spiral mixer can handle 18 kg of dough, that is make twenty 900 lbs loaves.


  • Gentler on the dough
  • Less heat and friction
  • More uniform dough
  • Faster Development (20-30% reduction in mix time)


  • Specifically for Dough 
  • No attachments are available.

Fixed Bowl Mixer

The term “Fixed Bowl” can be misleading since the bowl can rotate but not be removed. These are generally spiral mixers designed to be used in smaller bakeries and provide good baking speed for the price. They must be loaded and unloaded by hand every time, often requiring the baker to cut the flour into smaller-sized pieces for lifting.


  • Cheaper
  • Compact
  • Good for smaller operations


  • Have to cut out the dough
  • Can’t remove the bowl for washing
  • Slower workflow than with a removable bowl.

Removable Bowl Mixer

These mixers allow bowls to be removed and benefit significantly from this feature. Using multiple bowls can increase mixing capacity by 50-100%. By swapping a pre-loaded bowl every time, the time spent loading and unloading the bowl is simultaneous with the mixing process.

This reduces space on the floor compared to using multiple mixers and allows for further automation. Automated bowl lifters and tippers reduce heavy lifting from staff, lowering the risk of injury and labor costs and allowing them to focus on more skillful technical labor. 


  • Significantly Faster Workflow
  • Allows for Automation
  • Easier to clean


  • More expensive
  • More bowls take up space.


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