Answers to your questions about… the Ankarsrum mixer
What is the Ankarsrum® Assistent?
It’s one of the oldest kitchen mixers on the market, with a huge following the world over, due to Ankarsrum’s reliability, powerful motor, beautiful design and wide variety of attachments: from easy bread dough to pasta making, make fresh ice-cream, grind meat for your own great hamburgers, blender for smoothies and soups, juice citrus without any effort. The Ankarsrum® Assistant is made in Sweden by Ankarsrum Kitchen AB, but was originally designed and manufactured in 1940 by Electrolux: today the Ankarsrum company is run independently, and based in Ankarsrum, Västervik, in the beautiful Kalmar County, near the World Heritage protected island of Öland. Ankarsrum has huge green credentials that few of its competitors can match. The mixer factory plant is powered by 100% wind power, the mixers use 100% recycled aluminium from Sweden and can be recycled again and again. The company is dedicated to using as much recycled and renewable plastic in their mixers as possible, and all the plastic in Ankarsrum accessories is 100% free of Bisphenol A, making it extra safe when in contact with food ingredients.
You've spelled assistant wrong. Will you correct it?
Give me strength. I haven't, it's a Swedish company and Assistent is how "assistant" is spelled in Swedish.
What kind of mixer is an Ankarsrum, and what makes it so special?
The Ankarsrum is a kind of kitchen mixer that uses a rotating bowl and a static dough hook, rather than a rotating hook (Kitchen Aid, Kenwood), or both bowl and hook rotating (Spiral Mixers). To achieve this the motor and its gear - used to rotate the bowl - are located in the base of the machine. This unique design allows more force to be applied to the rotation of the bowl, and the result is a more powerful and quieter mixing action. The overall machine design, both sleek and stylish, has a practical aspect too: the wide base allows the relatively light-weight mixer to stay stable on the kitchen worktop without wobbling or “walking” at higher speeds or with large quantities of dough as competitors machines are prone to do, risking the machine falling off the counter.
How much dough can an Ankarsrum mixer handle?
In basic terms it can handle 5kg (11 lbs) in the dough bowl with the paddle and scraper attachments: so that’s a recipe where all the ingredients add up to 5kg (11 lbs) in weight, e.g. 3kg + 2kg water. And that’s enough for ten x 400g loaves of bread, more than any home would have oven space to even bake. But to avoid overstraining the motor, look beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations. When dough is very simple, say like a basic bread or sourdough, I’d make 4.5kg to the maximum limit. But when dough is very viscous, say like a firm multigrain rye dough, aim for a max of 4kg.
How do you make bread in an Ankarsrum mixer?
Pretty much any kind of bread you will ever want to make, or can imagine making, can be made in an Ankarsrum mixer: from basic breads to sourdough, pizza, brioche, focaccia, an almost endless list. How it turns out comes down to more that the mixer: depends on the recipe you use, how you guide the dough through its rising and shaping stages, and of course how you bake it.
How do you use an Ankarsrum mixer, and is it easy to use?
It’s pretty straightforward the moment you get it out of the box, and somewhat puzzled by reports of it having a steep learning curve (surely that applies to all mixers and bread recipes, really). It arrives with the stainless-steel mixing bowl in place, so once it’s placed on your worktop you simply lift and pull the pin on the kneading arm and push that over the bowl (it’s a spring-action, so hold onto it) then attach the white dough roller while your holding it. Then slip the dough scraper (“knife”) into the hole so it’s held again the inside of the bowl. Though you have effectively two attachments in place – the dough roller and the dough scraper – this means you don’t have to scrape the sides of the bowl down, often useful with competitors machines at the start of mixing so everything is incorporated into the dough at once. It’s pretty easy.