What You Need to Know About Your KitchenAid Mixer
So, your brand new KitchenAid stand mixer has arrived, and you can hardly wait to get it out of the box and get started. We can’t blame you. There’s a reason that this KitchenAid mixer topped our list for the best home mixers. But first, there are some things you should know so that you can set it up properly, use it correctly and not invalidate that sweet warranty.
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Do your paperwork
If it malfunctions, the whole warranty-fulfillment process is much more efficient if your registration is complete. And if something goes wrong with your house—say, burglary or fire— your registration provides a handy off-site, non-flammable proof of purchase for any insurance loss claims. Also, if there are any safety notifications or recalls, the company can contact you quickly. Be sure to tuck your receipt into your user manual and file it away for safekeeping. If you do need to make a claim on your warranty, you’ll need your receipt as proof of purchase.
Also check out the new KitchenAid light and shadow stand mixer we want ASAP.
Wash the bowl and beaters
It’s always a good idea to wash your new equipment before its first use to remove any residue left from the factory or from packing and shipping. Dishwasher-safe parts—the bowl, bowl lid, flat beater, flex-edge beater and pouring shield—should be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher only. Most wire whip attachments have a burnished aluminum hub and should be hand-washed; if your mixer has an all-stainless steel whip attachment, it can go in the dishwasher, too.
For cleaning, use mild detergents and steer clear of harsh chemicals or antibacterial cleaning products. Mild dish soap with a scratch-free scrubbing pad or a sponge is ideal.
Check out the 10 best KitchenAid attachments you can buy.
Check if more cleaning is needed
Occasionally, your new stainless steel bowl might arrive with a visible residue—this is a result of the polishing process during manufacturing. The residue is not harmful, but it can turn your ingredients a gray color.
If the residue doesn’t come off with normal washing, the easiest way to remove it is to use olive oil. Pour a little into the bowl, spread it around to cover the entire inside surface of the bowl. Let it sit for several minutes, then wipe out the oil with a paper towel and wash the bowl with hot water and a good dish detergent.
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Check the beater-to-bowl clearance
The height of the beater shaft is set at the factory, but it’s always a good idea to double-check it after the mixer has been packed and shipped. Use the “dime” test and adjust the height of your beaters if necessary. (If your mixer has coated beaters, it’s important to make this check part of a regular routine, to avoid chipping the coating. If your beaters chip, they should be replaced, and that’s not cheap.)
As a side note, the dime test works only with stainless bowls, not glass or ceramic. Due to the nature of glass manufacturing, clearance will be slightly different. Make any adjustments based on mixing performance until you’re satisfied—the head locks in place as designed and the beater isn’t bumping and scraping, but ingredients aren’t left on the bottom of the bowl.
Think about where it should live
KitchenAid stand mixers are heavy, so think about where you’re going to put it, in terms of both safety and convenience. If it’s going to remain on your countertop, but tucked out of the way, place it on top of a folded kitchen towel, a textured drying mat, or a flat tray—any of these will make it easy to slide the heavy mixer across the counter to where you’ll be working.
When it comes to baking, you’re going to need to have your mixer easily accessible but you’ll also need counter space for cookie or cake assembly. If the mixer needs to be tucked out of the way in a corner of the kitchen or pantry, consider creating a mixing station for it—place the mixer on a sturdy wheeled cart and move it where you want it when you need it. A cart with a lip, like a bar cart, works best, and shelves for attachments, spare bowls, and kitchen tools, are both useful and attractive.
Find the right place to plug it in
For safety, you want your mixer to be close to a wall outlet. Never plug your mixer into a power strip or an extension cord. Why not? Power strips are designed for light-load appliances, like computers, phones, lamps and clocks.
Most kitchen appliances draw too much energy for a power strip to be used safely—the strip can overload, causing melting and a fire hazard, and can also damage the appliance’s motor. (And no, it won’t be covered by your warranty. More on that in a minute.) That includes appliances that you might not think require that much power, including coffee makers, toasters and, yes, stand mixers. Power strips also shouldn’t be used in damp or potentially wet areas—which means kitchens are a no-go.
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Some notes about speed
Because your mixer is such a powerful tool, the temptation to crank it up to its top speed and watch it go is strong. Really strong. But take a moment and familiarize yourself with the recommended speeds (helpfully listed in your manual).
KitchenAid uses what’s called a “planetary mixing action,” meaning that the beater spins on its own and also rotates around the bowl, so you get twice the mixing performance. You will rarely need to run the mixer as high as you think you do, and in fact, some of the higher speeds are best avoided depending on the attachment you’re using. Once you know which speed to use, you can use your mixer to combine practically anything, even things you never expected.
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Kneading yeast dough
We love using a stand mixer for kneading bread dough, because it cuts the time and effort considerably. How much? Try a factor of five. It’s true—kneading in your stand mixer for two minutes is equivalent to kneading 10 to 12 minutes by hand.
This is one of those instances where faster isn’t better. Use the dough hook to knead dough and use only speed level two—with the heavy dough, higher speeds are harder on the mixer motor, and lower speeds don’t provide enough momentum to knead properly. Recommended kneading time in your mixer is two minutes, and total mixing and kneading time shouldn’t be longer than four to six minutes. You’ll know the dough is kneaded when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to climb up the hook.
Old-style mixers often had “creaming” at the top of their numerical scale, and it can be a hard habit to break to not just zip right up to 11. However, on a KitchenAid stand mixer, the appropriate speed for creaming is 6-7, or medium-high. This is also the maximum speed for using your flat beater; speeds 8-10 are for whipping egg whites or cream, and call for the wire whip attachment. So when your favorite cookie recipe tells you to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, set your mixer to level 6.
About that warranty…
KitchenAid offers a one-year warranty on most of their stand mixers; the warranty is good for either replacement parts and repair costs or a full replacement of a defective mixer. (Some of the higher-end professional models have a five-year warranty.)
Repairs are done through authorized service centers—you can find one in your area by contacting KitchenAid directly. If a new replacement mixer is supplied, use the packaging for the new mixer to return your old one to the company; the postage is already paid.
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When doesn’t the warranty work?
There are some cases where your warranty won’t apply. Warranties are good only for faults in the equipment, not damage caused by external mistreatment, so if you drop it or if your toddler bashes it with a hammer, that’s not covered. Also, you have to abide by the safety guidelines in the manual. There’s a reason you’re instructed not to dunk the mixer in water or use a power strip. These things are not safe, and the best-case scenario is that you may only damage the mixer. But any damage that happens because you’ve done something the company specifically advised you not to do is not covered.
There are some other conditions, too. Misuse, which is using the mixer for something it was never intended for, will not be covered. (Do not use it to mix cement, for example!) And alteration, such as removing the grounding prong so the plug can be inserted into a two-prong socket—this is just asking for trouble, so the company won’t cover that, either. Using your mixer with products not approved by KitchenAid is also a disqualifier. KitchenAid has a wide selection of accessories and attachments; you should be able to find the one you need. If you’re using something that isn’t designed to fit your mixer, and something goes wrong, your warranty probably will not apply.
One easily overlooked condition is that most KitchenAid stand mixers are intended for use in a single-family home, and the warranty reflects that. KitchenAid makes several industrial mixers that are designed to handle the constant use and higher capacities of a professional kitchen, so if you’re running a catering business out of your garage, step up to a pro-level mixer or realize that your warranty most likely won’t apply.