When we first came across the Ankarsrum Assistent Original stand mixer, we were sceptical. It’s not a name many people have heard of outside of its native Sweden—where the machine is 100% manufactured—and it’s a unique machine that works a bit differently from other stand mixers. Then we tested it, and tested it, and tested it, and kept being impressed by how effective, versatile, durable, and useful it is for the home baker.
Several very clever design features set the Ankarsrum mixer apart, and we’ve broken them down by component below to show you exactly how.
The Ankarsrum mixer’s 1500-watt motor is at the base of the machine, which causes everything to rotate: the bowl and the attachments. This rotating motion ensures every little bit of the ingredients you’re mixing is equally and evenly mixed—and you don’t have to do any extra work by turning the machine on and off, or scraping down the sides periodically (more on that below). With the weight at the bottom and not the top, the machine is also very sturdy. It does not ‘walk’ across the counter or make too much noise.
Since the Ankarsrum is designed to perfectly replicate kneading by hand, the lowest setting on the mixer is very gentle—which is not the case for other machines, says Buying Director Simone. ‘You don’t have to worry too much about overworking dough.’
Above: The top is flexible and can be swivelled around the bowl; use the screw to lock it into place.
You also never have to worry about overworking the machine. ‘A lot of times, recipes will warn that certain doughs, like low-hydration bagels, or a large amount of dough, might overwhelm the motor—so you have to keep stopping and starting, or being extra careful,’ says Copywriter Nikkitha. ‘The sheer strength of the Ankarsrum eliminates all that.’
The Shape & Capacity
The Ankarsrum mixer comes with a large stainless steel bowl for bread making, and a smaller BPA-free plastic bowl for cakes, cookies and creams. The dough roller, dough hook, and dough knife attach to the stainless steel bowl; the cookie and balloon whisks attach to the plastic bowl. These bowls stack in one another for easy storage.
The stainless steel bowl can hold up to 5kg of dough. For perspective, that’s enough dough for four baguettes. This doesn’t make the machine larger than other stand mixers, because the bowl is not bigger—it’s just shaped differently, with a cylindrical bottom instead of one that narrows. The wide mouth also allows you to look into the bowl or add ingredients without any awkward manoeuvring. Sourdough fans will be happy to know that the flat-bottomed shape makes the bowl perfect for the four-folding technique.
The plastic bowl is doughnut-shaped, so the whisks attach to the top of the machine by connecting to the bottom’s motor. Because the rotating doughnut shape allows for thorough and consistent mixing throughout the batter, dough or cream, there is no need to stop and start the machine periodically to scrape down the sides. The machine is already making sure all the ingredients are mixed evenly.
‘The plastic bowl is actually robust,’ says Cook School Assistant Hadia, who also has a pastry catering business (which she uses the Ankarsrum for). ‘I use it to make Italian meringues, which involve a sugar syrup at 120°C.’
Left: Stainless steel bowl. Right: Plastic bowl, which fits in the stainless steel bowl for easy storage.
The Bread Attachments
Because the Ankarsrum’s bread making attachments work differently from the baking attachments, we’re explaining them separately here.
The bread-making attachments, particularly the dough roller and dough knife, work in tandem to perfectly replicate hand-kneading bread. This roller is slower and less aggressive than other machines’ dough hooks—as Cook School Director Terry said, 'even the lowest setting on other stand mixers can be too aggressive for mixing doughs'. Cook School Assistant Hadia agrees: ‘It seems counterintuitive, however, this [slower, more gentle kneading] allows a full hydration and better texture of the finished product.’ Simply put: The bread you make in it tastes 100% handmade.
Left: dough roller and dough knife. Right: dough hook (with roller in the bowl).
The dough roller attaches to the arm of the machine, which allows you to move it over any part of the bowl. You’ll see the dough go up and down as it mixes, the way a human hand would press bread dough on a surface then roll it back when kneading.
The dough knife ensures the sides of the bowl stay clean as the dough mixes—which means you don’t have to keep stopping and starting the machine to scrape down the sides. It also means you’ll spend less time doing the washing-up.
The dough hook, which also works in tandem with the dough knife, is slightly more aggressive. Large and thorough, it is best used for high-hydration doughs that stand up to heavy mixing—like many sourdoughs or doughs enriched with milk or butter (brioche, Japanese milk bread, etc).
Left: Dough spatula, which can be used as a dough scraper. Right: Proofing lid for stainless steel bowl.
Two small extra bread-making accessories are included with the Ankarsrum Assistent Original. A dough spatula, which is essentially a dough scraper with a small handle, is useful for when you need to take the dough out of the bowl for shaping. It has a small ridge that complements the dough roller, so you can use it to scrape the dough off it when cleaning. A proofing lid perfectly fits on top of the stainless steel bowl, eliminating the need to move the dough into a different bowl for proofing. It’s just another way the Ankarsrum Assistent Original streamlines the process of bread making (and cuts down on washing-up time). ‘This lid is also great for keeping on the machine when not in use,’ says Hadia, as it prevents the stainless steel bowl’s interior from getting dusty between uses.
The Baking Attachments
While we believe the Ankarsrum is perfect for bread baking, it is perfectly suited to mixing cake batter, biscuit or cookie dough, and whipping pastry creams or meringues into shape.
A set of cookie whisks, which look like single looped wires, work to ‘cut’ dough, and are therefore perfect for foods with a short-crusted texture—think tart pastries, shortbread, and chocolate chip cookies. (A reminder: Since the Ankarsrum is gentler than many other stand mixers, the risk of overworking dough is low.) You can also use cookie whisks to make cakes and quick breads (banana bread, courgette loaf, etc)—this will yield a slightly denser dough than if you used the balloon whisks (below) for the same task.
Above: Using the cookie whisks to make peanut butter cookies.
A set of balloon whisks have more wires than the cookie whisks, and are meant to be used for airy-textured ingredients. Think pastry creams and meringues, as well as chiffon cakes. As mentioned above, you can also use it for cake batters and quick breads, keeping in mind that the more you mix, the more air these whisks will introduce into the batter. It all comes down to preference: If you want a richer, denser texture, use the cookie whisks; for a looser crumb, the balloon whisks are best for the task.
NB: An Instagram or YouTube search of Ankarsrum mixers will show you how versatile the machine is. We’ve seen bakers use the dough roller to make cookies, for example, or the balloon whisks to make mashed potatoes. It’s a machine that is perfect for creative bakers who are welcome to try different mixing techniques to see which one yields the best results according to their own preferences.
More Reasons We Love It
The Ankarsrum Assistent Original is a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of machine. For example, it has a built-in timer at the base. There’s no need to set an alarm on your phone or run back to the machine if you’re in a different room, as the Ankarsrum will stop mixing once the timer is done. This, along with not needing to scrape down the sides of the bowls, makes it truly hands-off.
All the attachments mentioned above come with the purchase of the Ankarsrum Assistent Original. To multiply the uses of this machine, Ankarsrum offers the following attachments:
A blender (1.3 litres) for soups, smoothies and more, which is strong enough to blend nuts and ice. An inner lid lets you push the lid all the way down in order to blend small amounts of herbs
A meat mincer with different discs for coarse to fine grinds, which include sausage horns
A strainer for making fruit and vegetable purees
A grater for cheese, nuts, and spices
Pasta discs, which attach to the 'meat mincer' in order to make fresh pasta (the meat mincing mechanism needs to be fed pasta dough)
A Pasta roller, made by Marcato, that rolls fresh sheets of lasagna
A Pasta cutter, also made by Marcato, which can be used to cut fettuccine
A cookie press for making biscuits in round, star, and ridged shapes
A citrus press for quickly juicing oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes (the machine does not need to be turned sideways for this)