Baking Bread with the Bosch Universal Plus
or KitchenAid 600 Pro?
Home bakers around the nation are always looking for that perfect appliance to make their hours in the kitchen a little easier. I can’t seem to make a good loaf of bread without a machine to knead it for me. Purchasing a multi-purpose kitchen machine seems like the perfect way to get the job done, but which is the best? I’ve had a Bosch Universal, Bosch Universal Plus and a KitchenAid 600 Pro. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each mixer and see which is the better buy.
KitchenAid 600 Pro Specs
I started out with the KitchenAid 600 Pro mixer. Mine came with two, large 6-quart stainless steel bowls. It also came with a spiral dough hook, stainless steel whip, and a flat beater. The motor is all steel construction with 10 gears and 575 watts. The specifications of this machine say it can handle up to 14 cups of all-purpose flour at a time. This machine comes with a one year warranty.
Highlights of the KitchenAid 600 Pro
One feature that I especially liked about the KitchenAid was the stainless steel bowl with the sturdy handle to make pouring easy. I enjoyed the fact that it was extremely easy to clean. I also liked having three separate attachments to use for different types of mixing.
Cons of the KitchenAid 600 Pro
Although it was stated that the machine could handle up to 14 cups of all-purpose flour, I found it struggling with only 4 cups of whole wheat flour at times. The motor seemed to get hot to the touch and I needed to turn it off before I felt the dough was kneaded enough. I was never able to make a recipe for 4 loaves of bread and have it kneaded well enough to rise correctly. My bread did not come out with a nice, light, airy rise nor was the texture visually appealing.
It did come with a plastic guard to sit on top of the bowl to keep things from flying out, but I found it hard to add ingredients and rarely used this. The kneading action then caused a lot of flour to fly out of the top of the bowl and caused quite a mess to clean up. For most applications, I never used most of the 10 speeds, in fact, I probably used three of them for 90% of all uses. I’ve had to replace the metal gears that stripped out twice, once while whipping cream and the second time while kneading pizza dough. A friend of mine has owned one of these machines and has had to repeatedly send it in for repairs under warranty until finally the warranty expired and she was left with a worthless machine.
Bosch Universal Plus Specs
A couple of years later I was able to get a Bosch Universal mixer. It served its purpose of kneading bread very well for me. I regularly made 6 loaf batches 3 days per week and never had a complaint about the machine. Although I really loved this Bosch mixer, as soon as the new Bosch Universal Plus came on the market I wanted the newer version. This newer mixer has a whopping 800 watt motor. It comes with overload and motor start protection. Included attachments are a dough hook, wire whisks, and 6 ½ quart bowl. The bowl is heavy plastic, but a stainless steel bowl can be purchased. The mixer has four gears and a momentary switch, which is similar to a burst setting on a blender. This machine will handle up to 15 pounds of dough at a time. It does have a cover for the bowl, but the center is removed to make adding ingredients easy and holds both liquid and dry ingredients in the bowl where they belong. The motor/transmission comes with a three year warranty.
Pros and Cons of the Bosch Universal Plus
The larger motor of the Bosch mixer allows you to never feel you are overworking your machine. I can easily mix enough dough for 6-8 loaves of whole grain bread and have it turn out perfectly every time. When mixing this much dough, I have never even had to use the 4th gear on the Universal Plus. It just handles it without complaint. The dough hook of this machine turns the dough over on itself in a unique way that gives your bread a very smooth, professional appearance with a light and airy loaf. Near the end of the kneading time, the dough occasionally tries to climb out of the top of the bowl, but when the 2-piece lid is in place, it does great. It seems odd that a machine can make such a difference in the final product, but when a side-by-side comparison was done, the Bosch won, hands down in my kitchen.
Changes Made in the Bosch Universal Plus
The older Bosch Universal mixers had a 700 watt motor. This seemed more than adequate even when mixing 12 or more cups of whole wheat flour into bread dough. The old machine was often known to bounce around on the table while kneading, but the newer Universal Plus mixer now comes with suction cups to hold it to your counter or table. This is a huge benefit in that you don’t have to stand over the machine while it kneads to make sure it doesn’t “walk” off of the counter. Other improvements made are that the bowl now has a rim to hold onto while pouring and the center shaft of the bowl is removable for ease of cleaning. I would prefer a handle on the side of the bowl to make tipping it easier, but this bowl is easier than the older one.
When making a final decision on which machine to buy, the choice should be made by deciding what the major function of the mixer will be. If the major use is to make a batch of cookies once in while, or mash some potatoes for supper, the KitchenAid is more than adequate. If the goal is to start baking wholesome, whole grain bread for your family, the Bosch Universal Plus is the the best choice, since the Bosch Universal is no longer being made. As the costs are very similar, the Bosch gives you more for your money. It won’t be bogged down by the task of kneading and will always be ready to perform those hardest of kitchen tasks.
– - Review done by Jodi Hein