Aucma 6.5qt Review
Pros: Easy to clean, one-handed operation, large bowl
Cons: Broad bowl/attachment gap, fiddly splash guard
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While it is true that many mixers look alike, our test revealed that this machine is sturdy, easy to operate, fully equipped with the standard attachments, and straightforward to clean after use. At the same time, this unit keeps the price extremely competitive in light of features such as planetary mixing action, one-handed bowl removal as well as the power to mix dense doughs. Make no mistake, little is sacrificed to keep this unit's price low.
What would a stand mixer be good for if it didn't have the umph needed (pun intended) to mix big and heavy batters and doughs? You need not answer this rhetorical question because the Aucma has the sensitive touch as well as the elbow grease of a seasoned baker. However, the unit requires some spatula work from the user due to a significant gap between the mixer attachment and the mixing bowl. We know this to be the case as we tested the unit by mixing ultra-demanding cowboy cookies, heavy pizza dough, and delicate frosting.
As was alluded to above, our mixing analysis makes use of three recipes: cowboy cookies, buttermilk frosting, and pizza dough. The Aucma showed what it was made of in the first of these tests by working through the conglomerate mass of nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes quite evenly and without struggle. However, it left a little bit of dough at the bottom due to the conspicuous gap between the paddle and the bowl.
The said gap between mixing attachment and mixing bowl hurt the Aucma in the frosting evaluation as this cleavage resulted in ingredients being pasted to the side of the bowl instead of incorporated in the bottom. This result required the user to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate the ingredients properly. Conversely, the pizza dough mixed well with the exception of one little that ball kept separating itself out requiring the user to push it back down into the main mass.
Ease of Use
As the name suggests, the ease of use metric takes stock of the aspects of the mixer's design that make the use of it more or less demanding. Specifically, we look at the user interface — in this case, the tilt head release, the speed setting knob, the mixing action, and whether or not the machine can be operated one-handed. Spoiler alert, the Aucma is really easy to operate one-handed. This is perhaps the best thing one can say about a mixer when discussing its ease of use. We also look at sturdiness, cleanliness, and overall experience during operation.
As has been mentioned previously, the extra work resulting from the gap between the bowl and attachment is a pain in the rear. In the course of our testing we had to stop multiple times while mixing to incorporate ingredients stuck to the bottom and sides which is an annoying extra step. On the other hand, the unit boasts 6 speeds (plus a high-speed pulse), planetary mixing action, and a tilt head and bowl that can be managed with just one hand.
Given the muscle this machine is packing, it's a good thing that it's sturdy. What does this vague term mean? Well, the unit has a tiny bit of wobbling when running on high or when under a heavy load, but nothing worth concern. More to the point, the Aucma has suction cup feet that hold it to the counter. In fact, the suction cups hold it so well that it is a bit demanding to move it once set.
As a last consideration, we looked at cleaning the unit. It's all fine and dandy when a mixer is easy to clean, but better yet is one that limits the need for cleaning by design. The Aucma has both a splash guard and a slow start-up function, both of which help to limit flinging or sloshing ingredients. Also, the tilt head helps with introducing ingredients without spillage. Finally, the unit has a simplistic design with few nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in. As such, the unit is a breeze to wipe down.
The Aucma delivered an above average performance in the whipping evaluation. Were it not for the prominent gap between attachment and bowl, this machine would have topped the class in this metric. As it is, this design oversight rendered poor results in our small batch whipping test. However, in our cake rise test — which involves a greater volume of ingredients — the Aucma really shined.
The reader might be wondering what in the heck a cake rise test is, and what it has to do with whipping. Well, the better whipped the egg whites happen to be, the more rise the cake sponge will have while maintaining its structure when it's resting. While the Aucma had one of the better cake rise results for the class, the same can not be said for the results of the small batch whipping test.
For the small batch whipping test we take a half cup of heavy whipping cream and agitate it into stiff peaks. This test measures the time taken to reach stiff peaks, but — as aeration is critical to this process — it also measures the increase in volume. As the whisk couldn't reach all the way to the bottom of the bowl, the Aucma really struggled here, producing just 3/4 of a cup of whipped cream where others produced over a cup.
Last, but certainly not yeast, is the kneading evaluation. Given the Aucma's previously discussed raw horsepower, it should come as no surprise that its motor and planetary action can work dough upon its hook the way a potter works clay upon a wheel. That is, with authority. For this test we use a one bowl pizza dough recipe. Aside from requiring a bit of spatula work for the operator, this machine's performance left little to be desired as the hook worked the dough into a well incorporated, elastic ball ready to be tossed.
Given the accolades laid at the foot of this fine machine, we feel confident in saying that it is a pretty darn good value. To assay this assertion, one need only look at the price tag of the Aucma and balance that against the performance discussed above. The positive tipping of the scale and the concurrent balance of your bank account will likely have you smiling.
This hands-on review of the Aucma stand mixer focuses on the machine's mixing, kneading, and whipping effectiveness, as well as its ease of use features. Our evaluation revealed that this machine is not only affordable but also reliable when executing demanding tasks such as mixing dense mediums like cowboy cookie dough. Moreover, the unit cuts few corners to keep the cost low. All in all, this is a quality machine worth considering for your home kitchen.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell