Ankarsrum Original Review
Pros: Unique dough roller, cavernous bowl, powerful motor
Cons: Long learning process, primarily focused on baking applications
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Our Analysis and Test Results
What sets this machine apart from the other models in the class is that the bowl rotates on the stand while the attachments remain stationary. The primary attachment is a dough roller which is connected to a spring-loaded arm that can be set to accommodate double and even triple batch recipes. As a result, the kneading action occurs without the motor having to bear much of the burden. If whipping is what is called for, this machine employs two whisks that circle the bowl creating an effective triple whipping action. On the downside, this machine isn't easy to learn how to use, even if you've used other standing mixers in the past. As such, we don't think that this machine will appeal to many cooks, especially given its cost.
The main appeal of the Ankarsrum Original is that it has a huge bowl and the power to mix large quantities of dough. This ample space leaves plenty of room for dough to rise in the bowl. A built-to-purpose lid for this application comes standard. Unlike smaller models in the class, the bowl capacity allows dough to be kneaded periodically with the turn of a dial.
The Ankarsrum's powerful motor and continuous speed setting dial promotes high-quality whipping. The mixing system uses two wire whisks that rotate individually on their axes while orbiting the bowl. This action whips up egg whites and cream to great effect.
We have two main concerns with this machine that prevented it from ranking high in our review. The first is the difficulty in learning how to use the machine. Ankarsrum does not provide recipes and suggested methods that common with the other mixers in our review. This machine is not intuitive, and the lack of guidance from the manufacturer requires experimentation to release the full capabilities of this unorthodox machine.
The second issue we take with this machine is that its primary function is working dough for baking. This design focus is great if baking is your primary purpose for buying the device. However, if you have other uses in mind, such as mixing batters or whipping cream, then you'll have to bring to bear a second bowl and the mixer attachments. This means that the mixer will eat up additional space when stored. Additionally, these extra components are made of plastic. While this isn't necessarily bad, we feel that their durability is in question given the size of the bowl and the power of the motor.
The Ankarsrum Original is a costly mixing machine. If it fits your needs as a baker and you're willing to learn its nonstandard uses, then it may be worth the money. However, our testing suggests that most people will find this machine to be frustrating, difficult to use, and ultimately not worth the high cost. As such, we do not think of this machine as a value item.
In the world of stand mixers, the Ankarsrum is a bit of a black sheep. The mixing action is produced by rotating the bowl as opposed to the mixing attachment. The primary attachments are secured on an arm that swivels across the bowl opening so that the attachments can be positioned to accommodate a range of needs. In this configuration, the mixer shines. Unfortunately, many of the mixing needs of the home cook require the use of a second bowl and attachments. As such, we see this machine as a specialty item that will appeal to a narrow group of dedicated home bakers.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell