Outside blue a few months ago my friend Shannon sent pictures of a failed baking project. Instead of a picture of a plate of crumbly cookies, she sent three consecutive pictures of the bare gears in her high-quality mixer, which was in the process of disintegrating.
“Should I bite the bullet and spend $ 3,000 on a Hobart n50?” She asked, referring to a professional model that looks like it can drive a small tractor across a rocky field, “which at this price should rub your feet and hit you.” I say you’re beautiful? “
I sent the photos of Shannon to another friend who deals with the winner, Tara, as a kind of joke, a la “look at the strange things that people send me!” Instead, she had an offer.
“Tell her to take Ankarsrum.”
“The Anchor room. He’s from Sweden. “
As a product reviewer, it’s always a little exciting to say, “I’ve never heard of such a thing,” knowing it’s pre-approved by someone who knows what’s in the kitchen.
I looked at it and this unique Swedish gem – $ 700 Ankarsrum Assistent – which was originally released in 1940, did not disappoint me.
Here in the United States, where the reference brand is KitchenAid, we are used to standing mixers whose motors and moving parts are above the bowl and whose main attachments – the dough hook, spatula and stirrer – all rotate in a bowl.
In Ank, as fans call it, the main bowl rotates, driven by a motor at the base of the machine. Once I started testing it, I would tell friends about it, usually accompanied by a short video I shot that would invariably elicit a “what the hell is this?” Response.
The Ank engine is powered by a pair of discs: one is for speed and the other is an on / off switch that also allows it to run on a timer for up to 12 minutes, something that is convenient when you want to perform several tasks but not overdo it. The metal bowl is a seven-liter cavern, and the company’s website advertises its ability to make five pounds of dough (11 pounds!) At a time. In the back corner of the machine there is a tower with a shoulder that swings over the bowl and attaches to a dough roller.
In what you would call its classic setting, the dough roll is attached to the shoulder, and the dough knife is cut into the tower to keep the side walls clean.
Turn it on and the dough gathers, the bowl rotates, the roll presses it against the side wall, the dough knife keeps that side wall clean. There is also the option of using a large dough hook instead of a rolling pin, which I did to mix carefully (and cleanly) a huge batch of meatballs. It is confusing that there is a second bowl that is stationary for other baking styles. This smaller pan-shaped plastic bowl has a pair of stirrers with a balloon for easy work and thicker cookie sticks for larger dough.
I went with classic breads to start testing, making sure to adjust the recipes to add liquids first – something like Ank’s requirement – I was immediately amazed at all the work done by rubbing. Yes, the bowl rotates thanks to the motor, but the roller rolls thanks to the grooved rubber ring around its upper part, which nestles in the edge of the bowl. The dough knife is naturally pressed against the side wall of the bowl. It quickly gives you the pleasant feeling that there is less to break.
Once the dough is assembled, you can rotate the arm and roll to the center of the bowl while it flows, allowing you to adjust the kneading pressure on the dough, occasionally allowing you to work through the step in the directions where you stop to scrape down the walls of the bowl.
Remaining in a similar, bread spirit, I made toast, following the recipe in the book that came with the mixer, and made four squat cakes that filled a half-sheet pan. I used some wonderful Moroccan olives to make more rustic bread. I also tried two different focaccia recipes and one that many people recommended I make: hala. For each of them, Ank felt impressive and must be on his feet.