Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that I had been dithering about whether to buy a stand mixer for ages to make baking with arthritis easier. I have a very old but faithful electric hand beater that I have been using for years but it's pretty heavy to hold and after one incident of dropping-it-in-cake-batter-and-redecorating-the-kitchen too many, I finally decided to get a stand mixer. I spent a long time researching which to get and eventually settled on a Kenwood Kmix after fiddling with lots of them in store and finding the Kenwood easiest with my arthritis. My decision was helped by the fact that it had a discount on it too, making it £150 cheaper than a KitchenAid. I was also swayed by Kenwood's customer service, having found KitchenAid's somewhat lacking after my food processor bowl cracked. Over a month later, and I've used it enough to give it a thorough review:
What does it do?
It beats, whisks and kneads. The kMix comes with a 5-litre stainless steel bowl and powerful 500w motor. It has a range of speeds and even a folding action for blending in things like egg-whites into a mousse base. It comes with a whisk, beater, dough-hook, batter-paddle and splash guard. You can also buy extra attachments to roll pasta etc.
Does it work?
I've used it for cakes, bread and whisking egg whites so far and it has handled them all easily. It smoothly works up to the set speed and automatically stops if you lift the mixer head. Occasionally, mine doesn't seem to want to get going when I initially turn the dial but this seems to be a freak occurrence. It does a much better job of bread than a hand-mixer and cakes have been very light and fluffy.
Does it make it easier to cook with arthritis?
For me it has made things much easier. My right shoulder and elbow can get very sore and holding a hand-beater is tricky. I like the fact I can just switch the kMix on and leave it to knead etc without any arm-pain at all - I don't think I will go back to a hand-whisk, especially as it manages small quantities well. I find the mixer head-release easy to lift up and down; it's heavy but the weight is well distributed so it tips back easily. The bowl is nice and light although I sometimes struggle to get it in and out, I don't think that is an arthritis-issue but more me still getting used to the machine. The attachments are a doddle to fix in and extremely easy to clean. My only real gripe is that I would like spare bowl attachments to be available so you can mix up a cake and icing etc without having to wash-up in between.
The mixer is far too heavy to be moving around the kitchen counter so you do need to be happy to leave it out. Luckily, the kMix looks lovely and comes in a range of colours. It's also very easy to wipe down as it's got smooth sides.
A Pricey but worth it if you are a keen baker with arthritis. It is a quality piece of kit.