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Bake Off 2018: which appliances are in the tent and should you buy them?

From retro stand mixers to futuristic ovens, the Bake Off tent is full of attention-grabbing gadgets. We reveal if they are the best options for budding bakers

The Great British Bake Off is back, but do this years bakers have the kit to help them whip, whisk and bake their way to success?

There’s no doubt the stylish gadgets on show look great in the Bake Off tent, but before you put one on your wishlist, you’ll want to know its the best in the business, rather than a case of style over substance.

We’ve scoured our reviews to find out just how great the Bake Off kit really is. We’ve even spotted one product you should be wary of buying.

Whether you’ve got Bake Off fever or are simply looking for the best gadgets to deck your kitchen out with, make sure you read our kitchen gadget reviews first – it could be the difference between being star baker and going home.

Read on to find out more about the products featured in the tent this year, and whether you can get the look for less.

The statement KitchenAid stand mixer

Perhaps the most tempting pieces of kitchen kit from the show are the glamorous stand mixers which take pride of place on each baker’s workstation.

The show regularly switches between the popular KitchenAid Artisan and Kenwood kMix mixers. Last year the Kenwood was in pole position, but in 2018 it’s KitchenAid in the limelight.

Why pick the KitchenAid mixer?

KitchenAid Artisan mixers have long been popular thanks to their bold retro look, sturdy metal exterior, and the wide range of colour options available to match every kitchen, including trendy copper (though the Bake Off tent favours pastel shades).

They have a simple speed control lever, and few other bells and whistles to clutter up the design, though you can buy plenty of accessories, including everything from an ice-cream maker to a spiralizer attachment.

The standard option is the KSM125 mixer (£450) which comes with a 4.9-litre steel mixing bowl, a splash guard and the three basic attachments – a balloon whisk, beater and dough hook.

The KSM175 mixer, which is usually around £50 more, comes with an additional mini mixing bowl, and a flexible edge beater. This has a silicone wiper on one edge to scrape ingredients from the side of the bowl as it mixes.

A couple of other variations are available, including the older KSM150 model and a compact Artisan Mini version. All will set you back several hundred pounds, but are they really the cream of the crop? See our KitchenAid Artisan mixer reviews to find out if it’s worth splashing out.

Get the look for less

If spending £300+ on a mixer sounds like far too much, you could be tempted by the similarly stylish Kenwood kMix KMX754WH mixer, KitchenAid’s biggest rival. Often discounted down from £430 to £200, this is one of the more affordable retro stand mixers on the market.

It’s only available in four different colours: classic red, cream, black and silver – though Kenwood has released special editions before, including an on-trend rose gold kMix bundle.

Just want the best? Get our verdict in our guide to Kenwood vs KitchenAid mixers.

Those famous sliding oven doors

Bowled over by the flashy built-in ovens used in the show? Anxious bakers can get up close and personal with their creations by sliding the door neatly underneath the oven cavity, making it easier to place and retrieve large items – or a precarious tray of batch-baked goods.

Only top-of-the-range Neff built-in ovens have this trademarked ‘Slide&Hide’ feature, but getting one of these will cost you at least £650. So do these pricey single ovens warrant their high price tag?

We’ve tested 16 Neff built-in ovens and found some Best Buys, and others that don’t quite live up to expectations. See our Neff oven reviews to get our verdict on the best options.

Get the look for less

If you’re looking for something cheaper, we’ve found some brilliant built-in ovens for less than £300. They may not have the fancy sliding door, but they have proved themselves in a series of tough baking tests, so you can be sure they’ll stick to the temperature you set on the dial, bake evenly and heat quickly.

We’ve also found Best Buys with smart touchscreen displays, similar to the Neff models, from around £500.

See our top picks for single, double and built-under ovens in our round-up of Best Buy built-in ovens.



Check before you buy a retro-style fridge freezer

Swanky 50s-style fridge freezers have been a staple of Bake Off since the tent first pitched in 2010, with Gorenje models currently featuring. Handily, they and kitsch brand Smeg usually come in colours to match the KitchenAid mixers. Ideal if you have your heart set on replicating the Bake Off setup.

However, we recommend taking care if buying a retro-look fridge-freezer, as we’ve found both these brands have used potentially unsafe plastic backing on some models. Our fire tests have shown that this type of backing dramatically increases the spread of flames in a fire.

Gorenje and Smeg have told us that they are upgrading these fridge-freezers to have flame-retardant backing, but for now we’ve kept Don’t Buy warnings in place on these models as the plastic-backed versions are still on sale. Find out more by checking our Smeg fridge freezer reviews and Gorenje fridge freezer reviews.

What’s the risk?

If you already own one of these products, be reassured that the risk of a refrigeration appliance causing a fire in the first place is low. The material used in the backing allows an existing fire to spread, but isn’t the cause of fire itself.

Find out more about our research, and check whether your fridge freezer is metal or plastic-backed, in our full fridge freezer safety guide.

Avoid your own ‘bin-gate’ with a speedy freezer

A great fridge-freezer will keep cool and stable even through big fluctuations of temperature. But the worst won’t be able to handle the heat if the great British summer comes through unexpectedly.

This means that any sudden inspiration to tackle a Baked Alaska, or keep your pastry cool, could be thwarted by a less-than-chilly freezer.

Our fridge-freezer testing goes to both extremes; we raise the room temperature to 32°C and then lower it to 10°C to see whether the contents inside remain safely chilled throughout.

Our Best Buy fridge freezers will not only chill and freeze quickly, but will also have an accurate thermostat setting and, to top it all off, be energy efficient – so you don’t end up with unnecessarily high energy bills.


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