Prepping 101: Off The Grid Hand Crank Mixer & Food Processor

The Little Dutch Maid mixer is an old product that has been produced for a generation. It is made by the Amish, and is popular not just in the off grid market, but also by fans of the local fair cookoff.

The Little Dutch Maid mixer is an old product that has been produced for a generation. It is made by the Amish, and is popular not just in the off grid market, but also by fans of the local fair cookoff.


Little Dutch Maid Mixer
http://www.cottagecraftworks.com/ldm

From the beginning this column has been about actually going and doing what most people only think about doing. At the height of the “prepper craze,” when the mindless and completely fake cable “reality” shows were popular, it was estimated that for every 10 people thinking about off grid survival, only one was actually taking actions at all. These days, when survival food is on clearance at Walmart, even more people have lapsed into “it isn’t going to happen here.” Because as it turns out, prepping is expensive, and very involved. This $479 “Little Dutch Maid” mixer is a good example of what many people would consider taking prepping to the extreme. But when you look at life after a collapse, under the best circumstances, where you actually did put away quantities of food fit for long term storage, you are going to be making all of what you eat. Loaves of bread, quiche-like pies made from egg and milk powders, with freeze dried vegetables, fruit breads, and smoothies will be the most elegant of your food, and a good mixer certainly won’t hurt. Once you begin to grow your own food it will become even more important, especially if you are cooking for a large group.

The Little Dutch Maid is a hand crank base unit for an older generation of the Bosch Mixer. This is the bottom of the bowl drive train.  The new Bosch bowls and accessories are retrofitted by the company to the old design.

The Little Dutch Maid is a hand crank base unit for an older generation of the Bosch Mixer. This is the bottom of the bowl drive train. The new Bosch bowls and accessories are retrofitted by the company to the old design.


Can you mix and kneed bread by hand? Of course! If you are prepping on a budget and you have lots of climate controlled space, for $479 you can more than a hundred 5lb. bags of flour. That’s no joke when it comes to real survival. But if you already have a ton of food put away, the Little Dutch Maid is a product you can use and enjoy for a lifetime, that also will come in really handy in a grid collapse. We looked at this mixer a few weeks ago in our overview article “Live Well.” Now that we’ve covered most of the core elements of survival, we are going to take apart more of specific products and test them. You just don’t know until you do, so when it comes to survival, testing your stuff in advance is a good idea. And if the collapse never happens, and hopefully it won’t, at least you got some use out of your stuff.
The hand crank can be used at low or high speed.

The hand crank can be used at low or high speed.


The Little Dutch Maid is made by a small Amish company and sold through only a few retail outlets. Sales of the mixer don’t survive on prepper business. The Amish walk the off grid walk for real, and the Little Dutch Maid is a lifetime investment that comes with a stack of bulletproof reviews worldwide. It is also popular with the country fair “cookoff” regulars, and even though $479 seems like a lot for just a mixer, the electric version of the same mixer goes for $399. The Little Dutch Made is essentially a hand crank base unit for the Bosch electric mixer platform. But BEWARE, I asked Paul at Cottage Craft Works if it was possible to get extra bowls and stuff cheap on Ebay and he said no. The Little Dutch Maid is one specific version of the Bosch linkage, and it has changed since. Even Heat, the company that makes this hand crank system, retrofits the new Bosch bowls and food process to the old linkage. Pictures of the linkage are shown here so that you don’t go buying extra stuff on Ebay for naught.

We purchased the mixer from Cottage Craft, along with an extra bowl kit ($172.95), the food processor system ($145), and the cookie dough paddles ($29.95), for a total of $826.90. Ouch right? But compared to an electric KitchenAid stand mixer and either the Kitchenaid attachments for shredding, or a standalone extra high end food processor, the costs are not that far apart, if at all. Cottage Craft also does offer a hand crank retrofit for all KitchenAid mixers (and yes, we sent in a stand mixer for a later article), but if you don’t own a KitchenAid already, I strongly suggest the Little Dutch Maid instead.

My basic first test, as you can see from the pictures, was to mix a 5 lb. bag of bread flour into dough. The larger KitchenAid 5 quart can handle this much flour, but once the dough is mixed the motor usually starts to bind. The hand crank Little Dutch Maid handled it easily. The way it is built, there is a platform you can lean on with your left arm while cranking with your right. For heavy doughs like this you can start on fast speed then switch the handle to slow once the ingredients are mixed. Note, however that overmixing is a common error of amateur cooks. Once the ingredients are well mixed most breads will only be hurt by further mixing, and it is something of a trade secret for cakes and cookies that you should mix as little as possible. 5lbs. of flour was not effortless, but my 10 year old daughter had no trouble turning the crank with the bread dough.

Our test was 5 lbs. of bread flour in one batch. For heavy dough you can lean on the white platform next to the bowl and it works great.

Our test was 5 lbs. of bread flour in one batch. For heavy dough you can lean on the white platform next to the bowl and it works great.


I also tested the cookie paddles and shredded a bunch of potatoes with the food processor. If you are cooking for a lot of people and you don’t have electric, the shredder is a huge labor saver. For regular old survival food for a family your money is probably better spent elsewhere, because the food processor doesn’t come with a chopping blade that could be used for smoothies and blending egg powders with solid ingredients. We are going to take a look at a hand blender and 12 volt blender in a future episode of this column as well, and either would be a better investment for those things.
The food processor bowl and cutters come in an actual Bosch box and have been retrofitted to the old gearing.

The food processor bowl and cutters come in an actual Bosch box and have been retrofitted to the old gearing.


If you bake a lot and have used a KitchenAid stand mixer in the past, you’ll appreciate the fact that there is no machine head blocking the top of the bowl on the Little Dutch Maid. Fans of the electric Bosch Mixer probably consider themselves an exclusive club of those who know better, and the hand crank version is no different. Even the old Magic Mill has an arm on the top, and the current version of that mixer is $799 alone. When you view the Little Dutch Maid in that light, it isn’t so expensive.

And no, we did not get our mixer for free, nor does the company advertise here or plan to. You can thank Springfield Armory, Fiocchi, Daniel Defense and the many other advertisers that spend money to reach you, our readers, here at GunsAmerica. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to cover as much as we do with such depth and care, and that includes this prepper series. Stay tuned! We all hope that there will be a way out of the precipice that anyone who pays attention will find themselves standing upon. Ruthless printing of Federal Reserve notes since 2008 sure looks like it has to collapse at some point soon. But if it doesn’t, I sure have a great mixer, and maybe you will too.

The shredder works great and will be really useful if you are cooking for a lot of people off-grid. Otherwise it is probably overkill.

The shredder works great and will be really useful if you are cooking for a lot of people off-grid. Otherwise it is probably overkill.


The aluminum dough hook is better than the KitchenAid and there is no toolhead in your way.

The aluminum dough hook is better than the KitchenAid and there is no toolhead in your way.


This is the handle linkage. You couldn't ask for a heavier and more rugged system.

This is the handle linkage. You couldn’t ask for a heavier and more rugged system.


The Little Dutch Maid is an heirloom quality mixer that shouldn't scare you away at $479. It's a great product and well worth the investment. You won't go back to an electric once you try the Little Dutch Maid.

The Little Dutch Maid is an heirloom quality mixer that shouldn’t scare you away at $479. It’s a great product and well worth the investment. You won’t go back to an electric once you try the Little Dutch Maid.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Big George July 18, 2016, 4:34 pm

    This is a great item however I still have a long SHTF list of things I’d like to buy. So spending over $800 bucks on just this would be impractical IMO. Besides yesterday after leaving my dentist, I had an epiphany…if you CAN’T eat, then what good is all your stored food?! As a former LE/Paramedic I have put together an awesome med bag which would allow me to handle just about any emergency, including a new portable defibrillator. But the one thing I forgot was the mouth (read: teeth)! I had a painful tooth which cracked eating BBQ ribs over 4th. of July. It required a new crown. I thought about an apocalyptic SHTF scenario and realized I had nothing in my med bag to address teeth issues, not even a bottle of clove oil!

    • Paul Helinski July 18, 2016, 5:55 pm

      There is a very good article on survival dentistry here, and a medical kit article as well. The link you offered is horseshit in comparison.

    • James July 19, 2016, 12:48 am

      check out Doom and Bloom They have an awesome deluxe dental kit and more. You get what you need and you get what you pay for. Well done kits and instructions.

      • Paul Helinski July 19, 2016, 10:25 am

        No they don’t, and if you bought their $199 kit you wasted your money. They are buying those tools from the links I gave them on Ebay, and the “packet” of Zinc oxide is barely enough for one **temporary** filling. I doubt they even read the book they are selling with the kit, because just like everyone else selling into the prepper market, they are not actually preparing for anything. It is just an opportunity, because they can’t get a real job.

        You are much much better off to plan you own system for off grid consequences if you have the resources. If a kit like that was good, I would say have at it, but without injectable lidocaine, not topical benzocaine like in the kit, you are not going to be a happy camper. For that money you could stock supplies, including antibiotics from India, for a small group of people.

  • Derek K July 18, 2016, 10:02 am

    This author is in my opinion, the most well informed person about preparedness. Most so-called preppers buy some supplies, store them away and congratulate themselves on being ‘ready’ for WTSHTF. A good line I ran across is ‘Prepping is a lifestyle, not a hobby’. I spend time and money learning post-grid skills, and rehearsing scenarios. This author does too, and it shows.

  • Brad Mottishaw July 18, 2016, 9:28 am

    This would be great for those who want to make more complex dough’s, but the simple artesian bread recipe takes about 4 minutes to put together and doesn’t require you to knead it at all.
    Recipe:
    13 cups flour
    3 Tbsp Sea Salt
    3 Tbsp SAF instant yeast
    6 cups of luke warm water.
    Mix it all together and let rise 1- 2 hours on the counter. Then chill if you can and when ready form into a loaf (Round). Score the top to allow better rising. Let rise on the counter for 20 minutes then heat oven (Dutch Oven works as well). When oven reaches 450 put round on a baking stone, add hot tap water to a pan in the oven if you want a crunch crust and moist loaf, and cook for about 30 minutes.
    In this method there is no kneading, or repeated rising, and it makes an easy rustic loaf of bread that you can add flavors too if you want when you form the round (garlic, rosemary, onion, sun dried tomatoes, etc.)

    Good luck

    • Rob July 18, 2016, 10:29 am

      Thank you for posting. That is exactly how I make my bread also and I make about 3 loafs of bread per week for the family.
      For whole wheat flour the times and temperatures are about 45 minutes at 350 F.
      I experimented with baking soda as a substitute for yeast and that works really well for rising the dough. Baking soda is much cheaper and there is no expiration date on it like with yeast.
      I also experimented with grinding Jasmine brown rice to a flour and adding it to the mix (NOT grown in the US due to the arsenic content of American rice). Adding the ground brown rice makes for a really good taste and texture of the bread.
      I mix all of the ingredients by hand and use cast iron loaf pans.
      Everything that has the word “Dutch” in it’s name is bound to be a very good product ( but I am biased in that regard…”If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much”…) so this mixer is a good deal at the price but there are a lot of folks out there who don’t even have $479 to pay the rent so this mixer is out of their reach.

      • Marsha July 5, 2017, 9:49 pm

        How much baking soda do you use per pkg of yeast .

  • Phil B July 18, 2016, 9:11 am

    I am starting a new savings jar specifically for this mixer! The price is irrelevant. Well, sort of. Price is always relevant to the amount of money you have in your pocket at any given moment. To use a tired analogy, I used to smoke when cigarettes were under $3 per pack. At a pack a day, that savings adds up to $900. in ten months which is more than enough to get the Little Dutch Maid and all the extras. Plus some health benefits from not smoking, or so the wife and doctors tell me. Besides, when was the last time you bought anything that was built to last more than a few months to a year?
    To Guns America and the author: Thank you for producing this type of content. I enjoy the gun and equipment articles but the Prepper series is fun to read and contains information not found elsewhere. Keep up the good work.

  • michele February 13, 2015, 9:04 am

    If you are baking bread often enough and want to stretch your families meals this makes economical sense. No electric motor to go out, fresh bread and no tired arms from kneading. Think about all the times you will spend money on fresh pizza. Think about making it at home. Spending less money. Wheat has a hundred twenty vitamins minerals and nutrients when first grained. I have a friend who lived overseas that said the rats would not eat the white flour but the freshly grained wheat they would. They knew the nutritional value we humans don\’t. Somebody asked a German Holstein farmer what would happen if these a animals ate white processed flour like we do and they answered they would all get fat and die. I would rather make the investment nnow rather than later in me or my families health.

  • michele February 13, 2015, 9:01 am

    If you are baking bread often enough and want to stretch your families meals this makes economical sense. No electric motor to go out, fresh bread and no tired arms from kneading. Think about all the times you will spend money on fresh pizza. Think about making it at home. Spending less money. Wheat has a hundred twenty vitamins minerals and nutrients when first grained. I have a friend who lived overseas that said the rats would not eat the white flour but the freshly grained wheat they would. They knew the nutritional value we humans don’t. Somebody asked a German Holstein farmer what would happen if these a animals ate white processed flour like we do and they answered they would all get fat and die. I would rather make the investment nnow rather than later in me or my families health.

  • Paul September 30, 2014, 10:22 am

    Very interesting article. Probably a bit on the expensive side but definitely looks like a solid mixer.

  • DaveM September 29, 2014, 10:38 am

    If you are going to need to prepare food on a scale that requires a commercial-model Kitchenaid, this definitely looks like a great unit–and you’re quite right about the price. That is, if you will be cooking and preparing food for 10 or more people.

    On the other side of the coin, one can look back to Grandma’s day, which in rural areas often involved feeding a large family and farmhands besides. She did it with a meat grinder, a grater, an egg beater, possibly a Foley Mill and her hands (for dough). One can also get hand-operated dough mixers, a Mouli-Julienne (and other hand-operated food processors), etc. AND a few visits to thrift stores and garage sales will probably turn up all of them for a total of $20 or less.

    I’m not knocking this unit, which as you note appears to be built for the ages. But as you also note, the amount of money involved will buy plenty of food. And in an off-grid situation, I would expect there would be plenty of helping hands available. With multiple tools, one can accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously.

    • SmokeHillFarm September 30, 2014, 3:32 am

      I was also pretty shocked when I saw the price tag on this. It’s basically a heavy-duty eggbeater, at ten times the price (at least). No doubt it’s a sturdy, hi-quality tool, but that price seems really over the top.

      I’d tend to stick with my grandma’s simple tools (including hands), or perhaps adapt one of my old 12-volt or 18-volt cordless drills to do the heavy work, rechrarged by a solar cell. Most of those drills can be run straight off a car or tractor battery, too just by running 12-g wires from the drill charging terminals to the battery posts, and of course solar chargers are commonly available for automotive batteries ($20 from Northern Freight, $10 on sale recently).

  • MisterSprout September 29, 2014, 7:16 am

    Thank you for your prepper articles and reviews! I always look forward to seeing your email hit my inbox.

    I must admit I was a bit shocked at the price tag on this mixer, but it looks like its built to be left in the estate upon my passing. That might be worth the money. Its only a matter of saving up for a few months so we can get one.

    Have you done reviews on other hand powered kitchen gizmos like meat slicers, dehydrators and smokers? If you have, I missed them. I am always looking for these kinds of things at garage sales and such.

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