Meet Hieronymus the Bosch and look at some pizza

Ugh, I’ve been so busy lately. I haven’t had time to be very creative in the kitchen, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce you to my early Christmas present from Smark: Hieronymus!

Hieronymus is an 800-watt Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine. I asked for Hieronymus after killing two Kitchen Aid mixers in four years. When I first started getting into bread baking a few years ago, I came across recipes that called for 20 minutes of kneading and said, “no way!” I did a minimal amount of research and concluded everyone’s favorite Kitchen Aid would be good enough for my “kneads” (haha, you wouldn’t believe the mileage I’m getting out of that one lately), asked for one for Christmas and received it from my parents. And it did serve my needs for a while. I wish I had researched better or foreseen that I’d be making bigger, heavier batches of dough, because three years later the KA was dead, but as I told my mom (feeling pretty guilty that I’d killed my present in only 3 years when many people keep KA mixers for 20 years), I used it almost constantly in that time and I really solidified my seriousness about bread baking.

In a strange stroke of fate, the very day my original KA mixer gave up the ghost, my friend Lanet asked me if I knew anyone who needed a Kitchen Aid because she’d just upgraded hers although her old one was in perfect working order.

It took me only a year to kill Lanet’s mixer.

Kitchen Aids are simply not cut out for whole grain doughs or even large batches of white dough. What is cut out for whole grain and large batches of dough is the Bosch Universal Plus. Mark let me open the mixer as soon as it arrived even though it’s a Christmas present, because I was sad without a mixer. Plus Peter Reinhart is counting on me to test stuff! I immediately made two heavy loaves of whole grain bread and a dozen bagels. You may recall that in my bagel tutorial I said I had to knead the bagel dough in halves to avoid stressing out my mixer. Bagels are probably one of the #1 things that contributed to my mixer demise; they are a very stiff dough. My new best friend Hieronymus, however, kneaded the full batch with nary a complaint, in fact, I’m pretty sure he could have handled a double batch!

Hieronymus may look a little different than you are used to mixers looking. The drive shaft is located in the middle of the mixing bowl – which looks therefore a bit like a bundt pan – instead of separately, above it. This is the dough hook, which it comes with:

This gives the mixer a lower profile (fits better under counters) and means you can keep the ingredients completely contained during mixing (goodbye flour-covered counter tops!!), although it does make it a little awkward when removing sticky doughs after kneading. The pros outweigh the cons on that issue though.

It’s also not as noisy as my old mixer. I don’t have to pre-mix dough ingredients, I just weigh them, dump them in, and let the mixer bring them together into a ball. It’s SERIOUS about kneading and didn’t strain at all, no matter what I threw at it. Like six 12-ounce whole wheat pizza crusts. At once. Man, I love Hieronymus!! I’m completely enamored of this mixer.

Not only that, but the blender attachment came free with the package Mark got me. In fact, that’s what convinced me to switch from the DLX to the Bosch at the last minute and I do not regret the decision for a minute.

The Bosch was cheaper and I think probably easier to use (based on what I’ve read in many forums), and the blender is AWESOME! I’ve never used a Vita-Mix, but I’m willing to bet the blender on Hieronymus would give it a run for its money. My old favorite kitchen appliance was the mixie, but I’m afraid the Bosch is outdoing the faithful old mixie. I needed almond meal the other night. The dry grinder attachment on the mixie choked with just half a cup of almonds in it. I put two cups of almonds in the Bosch blender and in two seconds had perfectly ground almond meal. The blender can crack twice as many soy beans at a time as the mixie can, and it cracks them nicely. I haven’t tried making peanut butter in it yet, but if I can do that, I’m not sure what charm the mixie will have over me any more…. Poor mixie.

I REALLY researched the mixer I wanted this time. I’m on a lot of bread baking forums and mailing lists these days and the topic comes up often. Pleasant Hill Grain came up nearly as often as a great place to buy from, and if I’ve convinced you that you also need a more powerful mixer, I definitely recommend them. I was shocked to see the package arrive two days after Mark ordered it and that was with free shipping!

Do I sound like a commercial yet? I hate sounding like a commercial. But I really love my Christmas present and wanted to share!

And just so this isn’t a foodless post, here are some pictures of the pizza I made for dinner last night. I’m usually a very minimalist pizza topping person: I just like “cheese” pizzas, light on the cheese at that. But I had some rapini I needed to use up, so I sauteed it with some onions and garlic …

… added some red pepper strips for color and sweetness …

… and topped one of the whole wheat crusts I was telling you about:

I think vegan sausage would have been good on this particular pizza, too:

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