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As a professional baker, I rely heavily on my mixer. Were it not for this handy appliance, I'd be spending upwards of 30 minutes kneading brioche dough by hand—a task that, while doable, requires great exertion. Not only does my mixer save me time in the kitchen, but it makes baking easier on my muscles.

In a professional kitchen, you'll find mixers of all different sizes, but in my home kitchen, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer has earned a prime spot on my countertop. In my opinion, this storied appliance is a must-have for home bakers—you'll never catch me creaming butter or whipping egg whites by hand unless I'm in truly dire circumstances. But this useful equipment often comes with a hefty price tag. A stand mixer can be a substantial investment, so it's important to take good care of your mixer. Properly using your stand mixer will extend its lifetime and keep you baking for many years to come. Here are a few common stand mixer sins to avoid when baking at home.

Switching Speeds Too Quickly

When you're working with a stand mixer, you don't want to go from 0 to 100 too fast. Jumping to a high speed too quickly overworks the engine of your stand mixer, which will wear it down over time. When you want to reach a higher speed, be sure to start on the first setting and gradually increase the speed to your target point.

Not Lowering the Speed When Incorporating Dry Ingredients

We've all been there. You're making chocolate chip cookies and everything is going great. You've creamed your butter and sugar and incorporated your eggs. And then comes the flour. You forget to turn down the speed of the mixer and suddenly you're surrounded in a cloud of flour, the dry ingredients blanketing every inch of your skin and every surface in your kitchen.

Remember to lower the speed to the first setting when adding any dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Not only does this save you from a big mess, but it also prevents your dough from overmixing.

Baking in Too Large of Quantities

Stand mixers are designed to hold a certain quantity of ingredients—a common household stand mixing bowl can hold up to five quarts. If you're scaling up a recipe, it's important to consider just how much your stand mixer can take. Rather than overwhelm your stand mixer and fill the bowl to the brim, it's best to bake in batches, repeating the mixing process again rather than trying to add too much all at once.

Not Cleaning Every Part of Your Stand Mixer

Your stand mixer has lots of nooks and crannies that can hide dirt and grime. The last thing you want is your stand mixer to harbor bacteria, which might find its way into your next batch of cookies. After baking, be sure to scrub down every part of your stand mixer—particularly parts you might normally miss. Refer to this article for the full lowdown on how to thoroughly clean your stand mixer.