Pastry chefs, bakers and related foodservice industry staff understand the importance of a durable, reliable bread mixer. The tougher question – planetary mixer or spiral mixer?
Which type of mixer do you want to create pies and cakes; bread, cookies and pizza?
This buyer’s guide will identify the uses, features and benefits of both options, including the differences between the planetary mixer and spiral mixer.
Kitchen Usage Planetary mixers, also referred to as vertical mixers, are the most common mixer found in commercial kitchens. The name is derived from its unique motion – an offset shaft rotates around the fixed, non-rotating bowl, similar to the way planets rotate around the sun in our solar system. Hence, the name.
Parts Planetary mixers are purchased with a dough pot and related accessories, including a dough hook (kneading the dough), mixing paddle (mixes items) and whisk (utilized to beating eggs, whipped cream, and other soft creams).
Features / Benefits Most planetary mixers include a power hub in front of the item. This feature gives the bread mixer the ability to accommodate additional interchangeable utensils or mixer attachments, increasing its versatility.Because of this, planetary mixers can handle dough, as well as whip potatoes, create batter, slice or shred vegetables or grind meat, thanks to add-ons.
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“With planetary mixers, the head is constantly moving around, hitting the dough. When it does that, it creates energy… and heat… and starts to proof. So the proofing process is going to take place during the mixing.
“A lot of people that make bread, pizza dough, they don’t want the proofing process to start. So they prefer spiral mixers: the bowl revolves, while the head stays in one location. It allows the dough to relax and cool as the ball comes around. It slows the energy process down, which slows the proofing process.
“You’ll also see people utilizing a spiral mixer pour ice water on it to mix it down. They may only want to use a small portion of that dough right now. They’ll use the rest of it later in the day. They may be mixing enough dough for today and tomorrow, so they don’t want the proofing process to take place.” - Kelly Utley, Regional Sales manager
Kitchen Usage Foodservice establishments focused on high-volume – and less on versatility – tend to opt for the spiral mixer, also known as a dough mixer. The rotational movement of its spiral hooks and rotating bowl makes the spiral mixer great for creating homogeneous dough. The way this works:
The bowl's spinning motion creates torque to handle dense dough - like pizza dough or other high-density, specialty and ethnic dough.
The spinning bowl, along with the spiral hook, creates a “gentler” environment for dough during the mixing process.
Spiral mixers are packaged in a variety of capacities. Larger models tackle up to 600 pounds of dough at a time, making it a great bakery mixer or a bread mixer for large operations. Pizzeria, anyone?
Parts A standard spiral mixer will typically include a dough hook and bowl.
Features/ Benefits With high volumes of dough, a spiral mixer is more efficient than a planetary mixer.
It’s important to know when to call a service technician. For example, if the main power switch is “On” but the spiral hook does not start, the micro switch on the bowl guard may be defective – call a technician to replace the bowl guard. Do not use extension cords to connect power.Follow the capacity chart for mixing dough. Your spiral mixer includes a manual guide with recommendations.
Buying the Right Mixer
Planetary mixer vs. Spiral mixer: To make the best decision, consider the final product and production volume.
For smaller operations, an adaptable planetary mixer should work just fine. With it, you will not only be able to mix dough, but with the different attachments, slice vegetables, grind meat and whip product.
If you are running a pizza powerhouse or a busy bakery that produces large batches every day, invest in that spiral mixer to tackle large quantities!
Ready to invest in a bread mixer? Still debating between a planetary mixer and spiral mixer? Stop by our showroom in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross or speaking to one of our experts at 404-752-6715.