Bosch Bread Mixer
If you love homemade bread as much as I do, you probably already know how much easier it is to make the dough with a bread maker. And even though the Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine does much more than make bread, it's easily my favorite appliance for the job. And clearly I'm not alone, as it's often called the "Bosch Bread Mixer."
When I had the opportunity to try one of these out, I was amazed at two things:
1) It's power and ease of use, and
2) The complete lack of thorough reviews on the internet.
So I figured I'd address that second point, and hopefully help anyone who's wanting to buy a Bosch bread mixer a little extra "help" with their homework. I hope this review helps in your decision.
Bosch Bread Mixer Features
For decades, Bosch has been making kitchen appliances that fill the void between consumer level and professional level, and this Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine (it's official name) is no exception. It's small enough to fit in any home kitchen, yet has enough power and capacity for many commercial applications. In fact, a couple of my professional caterer/baker friends rely on these machines exclusively in their businesses and in their homes. That's actually how I tried one of them out for the first time, kind of a "You've got to try this" testimonial.
Here are the Bosch Bread Mixer's technical specifications:
- 800-watts of power (that's a lot!)
- 6.5-quart capacity: enough for 15 pounds of bread dough
- Four speeds, plus a "pulse" speed
- A giant dough hook
This unit has plenty of power to handle almost any job, but also has the finesse to tackle the most delicate and small recipes. That was a huge concern of mine going in, as I was thinking to myself, "Okay, my friends use this machine to feed groups of hundreds of people, but all I want to do is make some homemade bread - can it handle that?" And it did. Very well, actually.
My Experience Making Bread With The Bosch Bread Mixer
I can only say: "Wow." There's something to be said for professional power. Like I said, I love homemade bread, so I've gone through several bread makers in my time, and nothing compares to the Bosch.
My most recent bread maker recently wore out. So I was mixing my bread dough the old fashion way: by hand. Not that there's anything wrong with this method - I actually kind of like it, you feel a little more "attached" to what you're cooking - it's just that its both time consuming and monotonous. When I had plenty of time to whisk the eggs, mix the ingredients and hand kneed the dough, I had lots of fun. But when I was pressed for time (aren't we all?), it was a chore I despised. It was just one more thing to do in an already busy day.
A friend of mine noticed my calamity and had me try out her Bosch bread machine. She said I'd never look back. I was skeptical - very skeptical. All I wanted was one tin of bread, and here I was looking at a machine clearly made for much heavier uses. She was determined I try it though, so I did.
"All bread mixers are the same," I said. "They all serve the same function: Mixing dough. What's so special about this one?"
She simply insisted that I try it. And I'm glad I did. This thing absolutely rocks. I've since used it several more times (she loaned me one that she's not using - and I'm planning on buying my own very soon).
For starters, the Bosch bread maker never even bogged down, even when the dough started to take form. Every bread maker I've owned gradually bogs down under the increased resistance of yeast dough. Then again, I kind of expected that, considering my dough mix was only taking up the very bottom of the bowl. But what I didn't expect was a perfect mix in such a low capacity. I figured a machine built to handle several pounds of dough wouldn't work as well in small doses. But I was wrong. This thing did just fine.
Would any other bread maker work just as good? Probably. But if there's one thing I've learned about kitchen appliances, it's that the lighter they are, the shorter their lifespan. Like I said, I've burned through a couple in just a few years. They worked just fine while they were working, but they're useless now. Given the industrial construction of the Bosch bread machine, and the fact that it didn't even break a sweat on my favorite bread recipe, I'm fairly confident it would last much, much longer than a cheaper, pure consumer-level appliance of the same type.
The Bosch Bread Mixer: Not Just For Bread Dough
As if my review of this handy kitchen gadget isn't postive enough already, let me sweeten the pot by saying that unlike my other bread mixers, the Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine can do much more than mix bread dough. It can mix pretty much anything you can fit into the bowl. While my other bread machines did the "bread dough" task just fine, they weren't designed for anything other than bread making.
I'm not a big time cook. Heck, I rarely cook at all. If I can avoid the kitchen, I normally do. Which again is why I like automatic bread makers, because you can "set it and forget it" and still enjoy the home made tastes you won't find at the store (and in my case, you'll end up with healthier foods, too).
As such, if I can streamline whatever cooking and/or baking I can to still achieve the same results, I'll take it in a heartbeat. And because this Bosch unit does so much, I'm finding myself cooking and baking more than I ever have; and not just because it's efficient, but it's also fun. Like I said earlier, I don't usually have time to make foods from scratch because it's just too labor and time intensive. But now that I've got a borrowed Bosch bread mixer in my kitchen, I'm finding all sorts of excuses to make foods by hand.
Bosch even makes a huge assortment of accessories for this machine, making it even more flexible than it already is.
Drawbacks Of The Bosch Bread Mixer
Okay, by now you know I'm a huge fan of this unit. But there have to be some downsides to it, right?
Of course there are.
Life's all about trade offs, isn't it?
In the case of this bread mixer, I have to admit that cleaning it is a giant pain. You have to clean it entirely by hand (true of any appliance), but that's only the beginning. Dough seems to get stuch everywhere, and in many instances it's very difficult to remove. For instance, there is a place where the accessories plug in - but if you don't have any plugged in, food gets up into the mechanical gears and is very difficult to remove.
And then there's the size. While this isn't a pure commercial grade machine, it's bigger than your average consumer-level appliance. You'll need plenty of counter space for this guy. If you've got a big enough cupboard, perhaps you could store it out of the way, but in my case it's not feasible. Then again, looking at it every time I walk into the kitchen entices me to make some home made food - which probably wouldn't happen if it was "out of sight, out of mind."
All in all, I still think the the Bosh Bread Mixer is the best system I've ever used.