What is the Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer?
This appliance by Swan is a relatively affordable stand mixer that boasts a die-cast build and an attractive ‘retro’ design, available in nine different colours.
While it whips up egg whites and cream without any shakiness, it does prove a little noisier than the pricier KitchenAid Artisan and Kenwood kMix machines.
When using the beater or the dough hook, the Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast mixer also tends to leave some dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl unmixed, requiring some further stirring by hand. Nevertheless, this mixer is an affordable yet solid solution for the occasional baker.
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Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer – What you need to know
- Beating: Creaming butter and sugar until fluffy took about 3mins, with speed gradually increased to 5. Combining subsequent dry ingredients proved trickier, leaving an unmixed layer at the bottom of the bowl.
- Whisking: Room-temperature egg whites formed soft peaks after 5mins 30secs, with speed gradually increased to 8. Then adding in sugar by spoonful, it took another 4mins to reach stiff peaks. At the fastest setting, the mixer started producing a louder, higher-pitched sound.
- Kneading: It took about 4mins to combine ingredients for a relatively liquid no-yeast bread dough, gradually increasing speed to setting 3. There was still a layer of dry ingredients at the bottom that had to be combined by hand.
The Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer has a solid, attractive frame – but it’s in the minor details, such as a missing handle, where the cost-cutting shows
With a stylish yet modest retro design that’s available in nine colours, this mixer will suit many kitchens. The model I reviewed is described as ‘green’, with a pastel olive green mixer head and a standard metallic body.
The stainless steel bowl here doesn’t have a handle though – which proves annoying when pouring mixtures into a baking tin.
The splashguard, with pouring chute, attaches easily straight on the mixer head. This means the mixer head needs to be lifted to remove it. However, it is possible to add or remove it without having to move your chosen attachment from its socket.
The Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer has eight speed settings, but can produce a racket at faster speeds
The lever for raising the mixer head is situated on the side. The speed control dial is below, on the main body of the machine, with numbers ‘0’ to ‘8’. The dial is tactile, producing a slight ticking sound when turned.
The product description on the Swan website claims a ‘soft start’ feature, but I wouldn’t consider this acceleration gentle. The manual recommends you to start processing ingredients at speed ‘1’ to avoid any spillage.
While this mixer wasn’t generally noisy, I noticed it producing a higher-pitched sound at the highest speeds of 7 and 8, potentially indicating strain.
I also detected a slight burning smell that often comes with new appliances – but it lingered even after four separate occasions of using the mixer.
The Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer has all the standard tools – but they feel a little on the flimsy side
This mixer comes with a stainless steel whisk and aluminium beater and dough hook. The whisk’s stainless steel frame seems pretty durable, but rather sadly, it’s attached to a plastic base. The beater is made entirely of aluminium, while the dough hook also has a plastic base. Other mixers I’ve tested have come with all-metal tools.
The whisk is meant for whipping egg whites and cream, while the beater is useful for any cake mixtures and the dough hook mainly for doughs. But for such a solid stand mixer, these tools feel a little lightweight, calling into question their long term durability.
The manual outlines some recommended uses, speeds and mixing times. However, on the whole, the instructions are very basic, with six pages taken up by information about an optional meat grinder attachment, which is sold separately.
Some facts are also in direct conflict with the product description on the Swan website. Thus, it remains unclear whether the mixing tools are dishwasher safe or not.
Should I buy the Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer?
For more regular home bakers, investing in a pricier machine, such as the KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L Stand Mixer, may be more worthwhile. Or you could consider a multifunctional appliance that also allows for shredding, chopping and juicing, such as the Bosch MUM59340GB Kitchen Machine Stand Mixer.
The Swan Retro 4.5L Die-Cast Stand Mixer can whip up decent meringues, but it has some problems combining dry and wet or sticky ingredients. Its bowl lacks a handle and it remains unclear whether the tools are dishwasher safe. But as this mixer is sturdy, and its at the affordable end of die-cast stand mixers, it could still be a solid choice for the occasional baker.
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