Little Dutch Maid Mixer
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.
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 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.
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.
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.