I still remember standing in line at Gemco when it was going out of business so that I could get my first Kitchenaid stand mixer at the best possible price over 30 years ago. This was just after I’d sheared off the dough hooks on my Sunbeam Mixmaster that had been a wedding gift because I was trying to make 100% whole wheat bread. Luckily, the glass bowl didn’t break and it didn’t destroy the mixer, but I knew if I was going to have a chance to make true whole wheat bread I’d need the Kitchenaid. And back then, the Kitchenaid did not disappoint. Early on I purchased the grain mill attachment and managed to seize up the motor when a rock slipped in with the grain and locked down the grinder. Off it went to an appliance repair shop, where they actually fixed it (those were the days!) and that machine lasted over 20 years until it started really sounding tired. So I bought another one. What a sad difference. The new one just couldn’t power through the bread dough. Then I tried a Breville. Same thing. Then I tried a bigger, more expensive Kitchenaid with a “more powerful” motor. Same thing. A little online research turned up this new kid on the block, an Ankarsrum Assistant sold by Pleasant Hill Grains, and King Arthur Flour. I bought mine from Pleasant Hill because at the time they were having a sale. It seemed an extreme amount to spend on a mixer at the time, even on sale, and possibly a mistake because this mixer uses a completely foreign concept in mixing techniques. But I was desperate to find a mixer that could power through the stiffest possible bread dough and bring it to supple perfection without grinding to a halt and/or smelling like smoking motor grease. Done. This beast laughs at 100% whole grain bread dough. It also does a fine job with cookies and cakes and everything I do with a mixer. Unfortunately, although it has lots of accessories it doesn’t have a spiralizer, so I had to keep my Kitchenaid just to make Zoodles with the Spiralizer Attachment and that’s okay because I was able to make space for it and so far it can manage to run that attachment without complaint. But if you think you want to make 100% whole wheat bread, do not hesitate, the Ankarsrum can manage whatever dough you throw at it, our current favorite being Featherpuff Bread from the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book.
A word on whole wheat. You really do want to grind it yourself unless you have a miller in town who grinds fresh flour daily. Yeah, I thought not. You will be amazed at the difference in your bread if you grind your own grain and bake it the same day. The flavor is incomparable.