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The Kitchen Cabinet

An Oldie-but-Goodie Resurfaces

June 26, 1986|MINNIE BERNARDINO | Times Staff Writer

The Mixmaster electric mixer is an oldie. It's been around since 1930. Although it was a Johnny-come-lately, arriving two decades after the first cake-batter mixer was introduced, the Mixmaster from Sunbeam (at that time the Chicago Flexible Shaft Co.) stirred up a lasting widespread interest that its predecessors failed to do.

Meet the new Mixmaster. Given a sleek high-tech styling in European white, it looks clean, is easy to clean and appears uncomplicated. Sunbeam calls it High Efficiency.


Although it is not in the category of larger or deluxe stand mixers (it's a step up from Sunbeam's smaller models), this new mixer performs almost like one. Slim and scaled down (like the Oscar, Sunbeam's popular little food processor), this compact mixer has a powerful 175-watt motor. We put it to test with chocolate chip cookie dough, one of the stiffest doughs around, and it mixed easily. And quietly, mind you. It's nice to have a machine with a quiet motor so you can talk, hear the phone ring or listen to music while it's in operation.

The electronic controls in High Efficiency not only make it possible to have a range of 12 speeds but they also monitor full power at each speed. The system also adjusts instantly to changes in dough or batter loads. A black control dial on one side easily rotates for turning on and off and for selecting the 12 speeds. The range of speed includes: (1) fold, (2) stir, (3) blend, (4) mix, (5) combine, (6) cake mix, (7) cream, (8) whip potatoes, (9) whip cream, (10) desserts, (11) frostings, (12) egg whites. The last one is used when directions call for high speed.

The mixer includes a pair of dough hooks, which must go into correct sockets for the machine to operate. When we made bread dough, the mixer head was rocking up and down. Relief came after reading instructions saying that this action was normal, with a precaution not to hold the mixer head down, which may interfere with the kneading action. The spiral-shaped dough hooks will knead up to 1 1/2 pounds of bread dough.

For its compact size, High Efficiency lives up to its name in function, but the significant change comes from its contemporary design. The lightweight machine's low-profile styling is a marked change from the existing Mixmaster designs or that of the $18.95 Mixmaster offered in 1930.

The pioneer mixer, which seemed bulky and heavy, was a stainless steel structure mounted on a heavy cast metal base equipped with two stainless steel bowls and a ball-bearing turntable. Many features are still in the new mixer, such as two sizes of mixing bowls, which are made of glass, and the tilt position for easy removal of the beaters. The turntable automatically rotates the bowl for hands-free mixing. The new product has a press-down ejector button on the mixer head.

What brought about the change in appearance?

Wayne Smith, public relations director from Sunbeam, explained: "We felt a change toward a clean, modern styling was needed. Most mixers offered the same appearance. Even professional units, although just bigger, have the same general lines as the Sunbeams of the middle '60s. We felt the consumer would respond to the modern white--the uncluttered look. The market was right. . . . The mixer resembles Eurostyling, which is quite popular in many fields these days."

The Sunbeam High Efficiency Mixmaster is available at selected May Co. stores for $79.99.

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