I recently bought a KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6 Quart mixer, and on the first attempt to make bread, it started making a clicking noise. Not good.
I called KitchenAid, we talked it through, they listened to it, and decided to send me a new one.
After that incident, I decided to put the new mixer up against my old one. If it messed up again, or if it was not much better, I was going to just keep my old one. (This new one worked great!)
So I decided to do this side by side comparison for those looking to decide between the two.
The first thing I did was to put the warm water, yeast, and honey in the bowl. I put the paddle down, and mixed it for a couple of seconds to get it mixed in. Then I let it sit for 10 minutes to sponge. I forgot to add some of the flour to the sponge though, lol, but it still all worked out.
It got all nice and bubbly.
I then added 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. I used the paddle to mix it well until it looked like this. The dough hook just doesn't seem to get it mixed very well in the beginning.
Then I switched to the dough hook, and Kneaded it until it was done. I know you can't see it here, but it was a lot harder in the KitchenAid Classic to get the dough kneaded. It tends to just form a ball and then ride around on the hook. You have to take it off, and do it over a few times. No huge deal, but a little more work. I also had to get the flour/dough off of the bottom of the bowl, and put it on top for it to incorporate.
I added more flour to this one than I did the other one also. I am not sure why it was needed, but it was.
The recipe called for 5-7 cups of flour, but I only used 4 1/2 cups of flour in the 6 qt mixer. I still only used probably a cup more in the other one.
You can still make bread in the Classic, but it is a little more labor on your part. I think the bowl is just so much smaller that it doesn't have a lot of room. It tends to climb the hook.
It still worked though.
After Kneading was complete, I covered the bowls with damp towels. A friend of mine gave me this tip.
You can see that they both rose well.
After the rise, I kneaded them again. I only kneaded for a minute or two just to get the air out, and give it a little more knead.
I took the dough out of each mixer, and divided it in half. I formed a ball, and the rolled the dough out into a rectangle, and then rolled it into a log shape. I then put it into the oven that I had turned on for two minutes, then turned off, to let it rise. After it rose high enough, I left it in the oven, and turned it to 350 degrees, and baked it for 30 minutes.
Tada! The finished product. As soon as I took it out of the oven, and placed them onto the cooling racks, I could tell these were so much better than the bread I had been making. It was actually soft! HA
I have videos that I took of the kneading process so that you could see the differences between the two mixers. For some reason I can't get them to upload to my computer. I will keep trying to get them up, because they show how much better the 6 Qt did than the Classic during the kneading process. Hopefully I can get them up.
The conclusion: You can do bread in the smaller KitchenAid mixer, but it is a little more work on your part. You will have to remove the dough from the hook a few times, and make sure you get the stuff off of the bottom of the bowl. You will have to turn the dough a couple of times. But all in all, it is not that bad.
They both turned out great bread. Actually the bread from the Classic seemed a tad bit softer, but I think it was because they had more time to rise. Also possibly because they were in bigger pans. The differences were very minimal.
I am going to choose the bigger mixer because I didn't have to do anything in the kneading process, and I can make more in this at one time. It has a power knead dough hook that is more efficient at kneading heavier doughs.
If you were to use white flour, you can use up to 14 cups of flour at once in this machine. With whole grains, I think the limit is 8 or so. That means I could do 4 loaves at once since I only used 4 1/2 cups for these two loaves.
I hope this helps in your decision. If you can swing the bigger mixer, I would go with that.
If you already have a smaller mixer, or can't get a bigger on right now, it can be done in your smaller machine. Don't worry. You can still do it!