Can Breville’s Bakery Chef Stand Mixer Hold Its Own Against a KitchenAid? We Put It to the Test
- Value: 17/20
- Functionality: 19/20
- Ease of Use: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 17/20
- Mixing Power: 19/20
I’ll be honest: I have a KitchenAid bias. It’s the first stand mixer brand I ever used—while fumbling my way through a cake decorating class at the International Culinary Center—and ever since, I’ve been convinced it’s the best. It’s the machine you see in the background of cooking shows, in chefs’ own kitchens, on every wedding registry. And while it’s never let me down, I began questioning my allegiances after seeing Breville’s Bakery Chef stand mixer. With its sleek, matte black design (the color is technically “chocolate truffle,” one of five hues offered) and 12-speed controls, I had to test it out. And I’m quickly becoming a Breville convert. Here’s why.
It Comes Stocked with Ingenious Attachments
At $400 for a five-quart, tilt-head stand mixer, the Breville Bakery Chef is comparable to KitchenAid’s Artisan series, which retails for $430. Both come with a glass bowl—great for seeing how a dough or batter is coming together at a glance—as well as a dough hook, whisk and paddle attachment. But the Bakery Chef also includes a four-quart metal bowl, a skinny silicone spatula that’s *just* the right size for scraping batter between whisk and paddle blades (if you know, you know), and its crowning achievement, the scraper beater.
At first glance, the scraper beater may look like any other paddle for whipping batter, except that it has thin, rubbery blades that scrape down the sides of the bowl as it mixes ingredients. And it actually works—so well, I might add, that I didn’t have to scrape down the bowl as I baked, and when finished, the sides of the bowl looked practically clean. (See the photo above for proof.) Sadly, the scraper beater can’t be used for all kinds of baking—Breville recommends using it for creaming butter and sugar, or when mixing frostings, cheesecakes and light batters—but for those instances when you can use it, it’s a dream. (It’s worth noting that KitchenAid sells a similar attachment for $35.)
The Dial Makes It Practically Foolproof
The 12-speed dial makes it easy to gradually up the ante—and pause it, if you need to double-check your recipe—but what I loved most was the guide alongside the controls. Rather than simply numbering the speeds from one to 12, the controls correspond to the type of mixing you’re doing, kind of like the controls on a blender. As the power goes up, you move from kneading to folding to light mixing to beating, then on to creaming, whipping and finally, aerating. It takes the guesswork out of which speed you should be using as you try new recipes, and it features load-sensing technology that can sense when you’ve got a thick, heavy dough, automatically adjusting the power to maintain the speed you’ve selected. (It whipped through even the densest cookie dough I threw at it, showing no signs of struggle.)
By comparison, KitchenAid’s five-quart model has ten speeds, all controlled by a lever that you push to adjust the speed. It’s easy enough to use; you just have to get a feel for the speeds as you use it, whereas Breville is a little more foolproof.
The Details Make It Worth the Counter Space
No matter how big your kitchen is, counter space is precious. At roughly 14 ½ inches long and 7 inches wide, the Bakery Chef takes up some serious real estate (about as much as your standard toaster oven or KitchenAid stand mixer). If you only bake three or four times a year, it might not be worth it. If you tend to whip up something every other week, it’s well worth the space. Plus, with its sleek style, you won’t mind leaving it out. I particularly appreciated the built-in LCD timer (which, BTW, has a “count-up” feature, letting you gauge mixing time so you can replicate results more easily) and internal cord storage, so you don’t have a mess of cables cluttering up your counter.
The Bottom Line
For the price and all of the attachments, this is an incredible mixer for a casual baker who’s looking to step up their game. Sure, you can’t turn it into a pasta maker or meat grinder (like you can with the KitchenAid, albeit at an extra cost), but if you’re primarily a baker, the Breville Bakery Chef has everything you need to whip up macarons, cakes, sourdough bread, even homemade pretzel buns. It’s the most powerful mixer I’ve come across at this price point, and what it lacks in colorways it makes up for in its sleek looks.
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