Not all restaurant kitchens are created equal. Some may have more space than others, or different shaped ovens. But one kitchen appliance that all restaurants have in common is a dough mixer. Mixers come in two different varieties – spiral and planetary. But what’s the difference between the two, and which is better for a restaurant kitchen? Find out in this article!


What is a spiral mixer
What is a planetary mixer
The difference between spiral and planetary mixers
Which mixer is right for your restaurant kitchen
Key Considerations for Purchasing a Planetary Mixer

What is a spiral mixer?

A spiral mixer is a type of commercial kitchen mixer that has a horizontal mixing bowl and a set of spiral-shaped blades that rotate around the bowl. Spiral mixers are often used to make dough and other thick batters, as the spiral blades help to knead the ingredients together more thoroughly than other types of mixers.

Spiral mixers typically have a higher capacity than planetary mixers (also known as stand mixers), making them a good choice for restaurants that do a lot of baking or that make large batches of dough. Spiral mixers can also run for longer periods of time than planetary mixers, so they’re better suited for tasks like kneading bread dough, which requires a lot of time and effort.

The main downside of spiral mixers is that they can be more expensive than planetary mixers. However, if your restaurant does a lot of baking or makes large batches of dough, then a spiral mixer may be worth the investment.

What is a planetary mixer?

A planetary mixer is a type of commercial mixer that typically features a large, horizontal mixing bowl and a central, vertical shaft. The mixing paddles on a planetary mixer rotate around the shaft as well as around the bowl, giving them a spiral-like motion. This motion helps to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Planetary mixers are often used in restaurants and other commercial kitchens because they are very versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, such as mixing dough, whipping cream, or even grinding meat. They also tend to be more durable than other types of mixers and can withstand heavy use.

If you’re considering outfitting your restaurant kitchen with a new mixer, you may be wondering if a planetary mixer is the right choice for you. Here’s a look at some of the key differences between planetary mixers and spiral mixers to help you make an informed decision.

The difference between spiral and planetary mixers

If you’re in the market for a new mixer for your restaurant kitchen, you may be wondering what the difference is between a spiral mixer and a planetary mixer. Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences between these two types of mixers:

Spiral mixers are ideal for doughs that are high in gluten, such as bread doughs. The spiral mixing action helps to develop the gluten in the dough, resulting in a smoother, more elastic final product. Planetary mixers, on the other hand, are better suited for doughs that are lower in gluten, such as cake or pastry doughs. The planetary mixing action helps to keep these types of dough from becoming over-worked and tough.

Spiral mixers also typically have a higher capacity than planetary mixers, so if you’re looking for a mixer that can handle large batches of dough, a spiral mixer is the way to go. Planetary mixers usually have attachments that allow them to perform other functions as well, such as chopping and grinding, making them more versatile than spiral mixers.

Accessories list for Planetary Mixers

1. Mixing Bowls: Different sizes of mixing bowls are often available to accommodate various batch sizes and recipes.
2. Flat Beater/Paddle Attachment: This attachment is great for general mixing, creaming, and mashing tasks. It’s perfect for cookie dough, cake batters, mashed potatoes, and more.
3. Wire Whip/Whisk Attachment: Ideal for whipping, aerating, and creating light and fluffy mixtures. Use it for whipping cream, egg whites, meringues, and even certain types of frosting.
4. Dough Hook Attachment: Designed for kneading and mixing yeast dough, such as bread, pizza, and pasta dough. It ensures thorough gluten development and consistent results.
5. Flex Edge Beater Attachment: This attachment has a flexible edge that scrapes the sides of the bowl as it mixes, ensuring all ingredients are incorporated evenly. It’s great for mixing and scraping thicker batters.
6. Bowl Guard: A transparent cover that fits over the mixing bowl, providing protection and preventing ingredients from splattering during mixing.
7. Pouring Shield: Attaches to the top of the mixing bowl to help prevent ingredients from spilling out while adding them to the bowl.
8. Slicer/Shredder Attachment: Allows you to slice or shred vegetables, fruits, and cheese quickly and efficiently.
9. Meat Grinder Attachment: Transforms your mixer into a meat grinder, allowing you to grind your own meats for sausages, burgers, and more.
10. Pasta Roller and Cutter Attachments: For making fresh pasta, you can find attachments that roll out and cut dough into various pasta shapes, such as fettuccine, linguine, and lasagna.
11. Ice Cream Maker Attachment: Turns your mixer into an ice cream maker, allowing you to create homemade ice cream, sorbet, and gelato.
12. Food Processor Attachment: Offers chopping, slicing, and shredding capabilities for a variety of ingredients, making meal prep a breeze.
13. Juicer Attachment: Extracts juice from fruits and vegetables, allowing you to create fresh and healthy beverages.
14. Grain Mill Attachment: Grinds grains like wheat, corn, and rice to make flour for baking and cooking.
15. Pasta Extruder Attachment: For making specialty pasta shapes like rigatoni, bucatini, and more.
16. Splash Guard: Attaches to the top of the bowl to further prevent splatters during high-speed mixing.
17. Bowl Scraper Attachment: Provides continuous mixing while ensuring the sides of the bowl are scraped for consistent results.

Accessories for Spiral Mixer

1. Dough Hook: This is the main attachment of a spiral mixer, specifically designed for kneading dough. Different sizes and shapes of dough hooks are available to accommodate various batch sizes and types of dough.
2. Bowl: Spiral mixers typically come with a fixed bowl where the dough is mixed and kneaded. Different bowl capacities allow you to choose the appropriate size for your production needs.
3. Bowl Dolly or Trolley: A wheeled cart that helps you move and transport the heavy mixing bowl, making it easier to load and unload ingredients.
4. Safety Guard: A transparent cover that fits over the mixing bowl to prevent ingredients from splattering and to ensure safe operation during mixing.
5. Digital Control Panel: Some spiral mixers come equipped with advanced digital control panels that allow you to precisely set mixing time, speed, and other parameters.
6. Stainless Steel Bowl Guard: A protective shield that covers the mixing bowl and helps contain any potential mess during the kneading process.
7. Bowl Scraper Attachment: Ensures thorough mixing by scraping the sides of the bowl as the dough hook rotates.
8. Timer: An integrated timer that allows you to set and monitor mixing or kneading durations.
9. Additional Dough Hooks: Some spiral mixers offer interchangeable dough hooks with varying designs to accommodate different dough consistencies.
10. Flour Duster: An attachment that evenly dispenses flour onto the dough during the mixing process to prevent sticking.
11. Bowl Lifter: An accessory that assists in lifting and lowering the heavy mixing bowl, reducing the strain on the operator.
12. Mobile Base or Stand: Provides mobility to the mixer, making it easier to position it where it’s needed in your commercial kitchen.

Read also: How to Mix and Knead Bread Dough Like a Pro

Which mixer is right for your restaurant kitchen?

There are a few key differences between spiral mixers and planetary mixers that you should consider before making a purchase for your restaurant kitchen.

Spiral mixers are best for doughs that are stiff and require more mixing time, such as bread dough. The large, spiral-shaped blades of these mixers can knead dough quickly and thoroughly. Planetary mixers are better for lighter doughs, such as cake batter. The multiple attachments that come with these mixers give you more flexibility in terms of mixing speed and direction.

You can use a planetary mixer with dough hook attachment to mix dough. The planetary mixer also has attachments for cheese, meat and more for other types of food prep. A spiral mixer is better for a craft pizzeria as the dough quality is their selling point. However, if you have more than pizza on your menu, you should use a planetary mixer because it saves time and money by using the same attachment for different foods.

Key Considerations for Purchasing a Planetary Mixer

1. Rugged construction

An industrial mixer is an expensive piece of equipment, and it needs to be built to last. Look for mixers that are constructed of sturdy stainless steel or cast aluminum, with riveted joints and reinforced gear boxes. The frame should be rigidly welded and the bowl should be firmly seated on the frame with no wobble or play. The attachments should fit securely into their mounting bosses and the switches need to be durable enough to withstand years of heavy use without burning out or failing.

2. The Transmission

What type of gear does the mixer have? It can be either belts, gears, or electronic speed control (variable speed motor). Each technology has its pros and cons. The gear type of transmission provides more torque when the dough is mixed, especially when it has a heavy load.

You don’t want your mixer down for maintenance when you need it for production, so ease of access for cleaning and component replacement is important. The mixer’s gear box should have easy access covers to allow servicing without having to disassemble the entire mixer. And, speaking of gear boxes, look for ones that have been designed with a grease slot rather than grease fittings – grease slots make it much easier to maintain adequate lubrication levels in the gear box by simply squirting grease into them with a grease gun rather than having to remove plugs and insert a new greasing fitting every time you need to service the gears. If you are mixing large batches of product, you’ll also want a bowl lift on your mixer to make it easier to raise and lower the bowl.

3. Safety features

Most industrial mixers are equipped with interlock switches that prevent the mixer from being turned on when the bowl is lowered, to avoid serious injuries from the mixer attachments. However, some models also come with “no-voltage release” switches that keep the mixer from being turned on until all of the power is removed from the motor – this is an important safety feature, as it prevents the mixer from being accidentally turned on while someone is servicing it. And, if you are mixing large batches of product, look for a model that has an emergency stop button within easy reach of the operator in case something goes wrong during mixing.

4. Controls & Timer

What control and timer is used, and where are they located? Mixers may contain digital or mechanical timers, and some may not have any timers at all. Some are on the front of the mixer for easy visibility, so operators can see how much time is left across the kitchen. Digital timers are often thought to be more accurate than mechanical timers, which provide consistent batch results each time.

Read also: Top 7 Must-Know Maintenance Tips For Commercial Dough Sheeter Machine