The “Bear Teddy” is no nonsense rugged machinery. It’s the youngest and smallest from an old family with prominent members. This is the 5 liter home edition for those who don’t want to compromise with their precious sourdough when they get home from the rig. This is what you want to bring on your shift to the Silo.
In my search for the ultimate Mixer Nirvana I’v been all over the World Wide Web – to US and Sweden and back again. Visiting various forums and reading more reviews than I’d like to admit. Turns out the answer might be found in my back yard: Meet the Bear Teddy /Varimixer from Danish Wodschow & Co.
This is nonsense raw
horse bear power, with a industrial look ‘n feel, promised to be “extremely powerful at low speeds when strength is needed to mix the heavy dough”.
Reviews on all over the world are very positive, stressing the superior strength of the machine, praising its quiet motor. Good vibes can be tracked from Australian post on a sourdough forums, to a review in Danish Gastromand. The machine seems to go with a high level of customers satisfaction, also after years of use.
Born among trucks and lifts
The company behind have made mixers for 100 year – the solid metal kind of mixers targeted at the professional marked, which also shows from the companies (modest) representation on social media and its own (B2B oriented) website:
You won’t find photos of house wifes and cup cake eating children. No, it’s bowl trucks, lifts and techspecs of products such as the “AR60 Marine BEAR“, a monster with 60 liter capacity for the marine sector.
The Bear Teddy is the home edition for those die hard fans and kitchen hacker enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise when they get home from the rig. This is also what I’d bring on a shift in the Silo.
Not sure about the WAF factor; it’s almost anti-design and sends a strong “tool; not toy” signal. Personally I find it beautiful. Especially in black.
The sound from the machine reminds me of the Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader – the cargo loading exo-skeleton in Aliens. Beautiful.
Features and accessories
The Bear Teddy comes with a beater, a hook a whip and a 5 liter bowl. You can trust it with up to 2,5 L of bread dough. It will even do up to 4.4 L of mayonnaise.
Additional accessories are limited to a meat mincer and a vegetable cutter. These share the same professional attributes and prize tag as the rest of the system.
Competitors? Any higher?
The Bear Teddy is around twice the prize of the Assistent/ “Ankarsrum” [se my preview], which seems to be the closest serious rival in the dough kneading department.
The Teddy does not provide the same amount of associates as the Ankarsrum (or Kenwood or KitchenAid). If your are looking for one machines to rule them all, that might point you in the direction of the Ankarsrum. If you do already have a food processor for slicing, blending etc, it’s a questions of power and prize.
I will of course post a reviews when I get my hands on this wonderful machinery. Even better: I’d love to do an in-depth Bear Tedd vs Ankarsrum comparison under different conditions. But before all that: Are these the two kings of bread kneading machinery out there, or did I miss something?
Update: Now hands-on preview of the Bear Teddy - more photos (Danish).
Features (top) photo: Gastromand.dk
Swedish Ankarsrum (formerly known as Electrolux “Assistent”) has been around for many years.
The Ankarsrum is often top rated in reviews for its kneading abilities combined with a quiet motor.
It comes with a huge bowl and uses a rare system, with the bowl itself as the rotating part, making it easy to see what’s going on, adding new ingredients.
In its latest edition the “retro” design is a the center. You wouldn’t be surprised to find such a machine in the kitchen below The Hatch.
The machine is available in several color (combinations), aiming at being welcomed as a central everyday part of the kitchen.
No doubt the design and story behind the Ankarsrum is refreshing among all the many KitchenAid products – sending international waves of attention from Sweden.
Features and accessories
An impressive arsenal of accessories is available for the machine, such as blender, juicer, grain mill and meat grinder.
.. which often means turning the machine on its side.
In this respect it is not merely a mixer, but should in theory eliminate the need for a handful of other machines in the kitchen.
Is this it?
The Ankarsrum might make up for a rational and interesting choice. Kneading capabilities are at the center (for the machine as well as for me). The great review combined with some good old skepticism in respect to the rotating bowl make makes you curious: Will it really manage as well as a good, traditional stand mixer – like professionals use in bakeries?
Another relevant question is if you really need the broad variety of extra equipment, or should rather stick to a focused mixer. You might already have a great food processor such as a Magimix (but then again: Will it last another 10 years?). And could the Ankarsrum be the machine which encourage to make that lovely homemade pasta a little more often?
And last but not least: Is there something out there even more powerful?
Don’t expect masculine street cred, and please be aware that you are no way an edgy first mover. Sourdough is sooo 2009.
That said: Prepare for a great hobby project. Sourdough has a geeky appeal. Sourdough (baking) is somewhere between a Tamagotchi and a Raspberry Pi: You have to treat it well, and there are endless possibilities.
The king of Sourdough in Denmark is Claus Meyer, chef and businessman. In his book he describes how he have sometimes left meeting, or split a busy day plan in two to rush home and check up on his precious sourdough. Very geeky.
Sourdough is a stable culture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast in a mixture of flour and water. Broadly speaking, the yeast produces gas (carbon dioxide) which leavens the dough, and the LAB produces lactic acid which contributes flavor. The LAB metabolizes sugars that the yeast cannot, and the yeast metabolizes byproducts of LAB fermentation. Biology and chemistry of sourdough, Wikipedia.
So, I started my journey into the land of home baking: Learning sourdough, experimenting with hot stone plate, feedback from core audience at home, fail and success. I’m on my way and, experimenting, learning, doing well.
So far I managed with a simple hand mixer and some serious manual work. Now it is time to take it to a new level – and to look for a suitable stand mixer. Food processor too weak and unfocused. Need something strong which can actually get the hard kneading job done.
The wedding present
Kitchen Aids stand mixers are very popular. They stand out as a mainstream design icon, and might be the one with the best WAF/quality factor. This the the pretty mainstream student in the class; and a popular wedding present or something you buy spontaneously as they are often found a great discounts.
Kitchen Aid is available in any color you can think of, leopard pattern included.
There’s also a Pro Line (which comes in black, too!) delivering more power.
Reviews are very mixed. I have heard several disappointed remarks about KitchenAid being more about looks than raw power.
The classic Swiss Army Knife
Kenwood seem to be less great looking buy strong and capable all purpose machine. Especially the “Titanium Major” with its 1500 watt motor and its impressive arsenal of accessories for every thinkable purpose.
Mainstream – and a little boring?
From a strictly rational point of view I’m sure both KitchenAid and Kenwood offer products that will make a difference compared to a lazy kneading effort. It might deliver power and encourage play and fun in the kitchen, and that all great.
But for a person who was a Mac-user when the rest of the city ran Windows, and switched to Linux when Mac started to get hot Kenwood as well as KitchenAid might be a little too mainstream and a little too boring.
Old news: Very geeky and obvious. Sourdough has a growing and geeky appeal – and now it looks as if hotels for sourdough are in business.
In Stockholm in Sweden Urban Deli run what has been called the worlds first Sourdough Hotel. Here you can handle in your sourdough and the hotel will take care of it and feed it while you are on holiday. Read all about on their a blog, and watch the interview with the founder credits: “Love Food, Share“).
I got this as a great holiday present to myself: An old school, charming Magimix 5100. Lid is broke. Work Bowl has seen better days. Accessories in good condition, including juice extractor. Got everything for around Euro 25 (~USD 30).
Now time to look for good prize on spare parts (a least for the lid) and a possible fix for the work bowl and see for how it will stand the test of time. Even if I have to buy both it still looks like a good deal (I hope….). Wonder for how long Magimix will provide spare parts for the 5100.
Juice extractor: Approved!
Will it blend? Oh yes!
Time to take the vintage machine (Magimix 5100) for a spin. Almost as exiting as turning the key in an old car, I guess. Motor makes a wonderful humming sound, turning half a kilo of chickpeas into hummus in no time.