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I've been baking for the past few years, running a home based bakery business. I had a Kenwood Prospero, a great little mixer for those who don't have a lot of space. As my business was growing, I realised I needed something bigger. So I started researching bigger Kenwood mixers, I wanted to stick with Kenwood as the Prospero had done me so well and they have a great reputation for being long lasting, reliable machines, if a little on the expensive side but with these type of products, I do strongly believe, you get what you pay for.
It's a bit confusing when you start looking at all the different Kenwood's, there seem to be a lot that are almost the same, but different?? It took me weeks to settle on one and then it took me days of looking everywhere for the best price. I eventually purchased my KM020 from Kenco Spares, which is based in Belfast. It was £400 including delivery; you can pay over £500 for the same machine from John Lewis or other online retailers, so it's definitely worth looking around.
Now, you might have just got a little light headed when I said this cost £400. Yes it an awful lot of money, was a bit worried for my Dad's heart when I told him! But this machine is a beast, it's huge, it's efficient, it's versatile and I'm sure, it's going to last me decades and I will be able to pass it on or sell it on if I ever need to upgrade to anything bigger.
I'll tell you about all the attachments and things that came with it, firstly, when you're taking delivery, have a big strong person to shift it, because it is HUGE. Honestly the box on its side was taller than my 2 year old nephew.
Inside the box you'll find the actual Kenwood mixer, wow it's big. So much bigger than my old one but not necessarily better looking, I was hoping it'd be prettier, but I erm, anyway that's not really important is it. If I wanted something pretty, I would've bought a KMix, no I wanted something strong and steady, something that would whizz up cake after cake and not cry about it.
You'll also find several smaller boxes that contain the Food Processor and the blender; these are in proper Kenwood boxes as they are also sold separately. There are several smaller packages with the attachments. There are quite a few little packages, as there are the attachments for the mixer part, like the K Beater, the creamer, the whisk and the dough hook. Then there are the different discs that attach to the food processor for slicing and grating. You also get lots of little booklets, a really good manual/recipe book and a spatula, which is, for the record, not heat proof (eek!)
There isn't much assembly required, there's a fair bit of plastic wrapper and tape to remove and some boxes to open but really to get it all set up and ready to use, it'd only take maybe 20 minutes. It's pretty hefty, weighing in at 9.67kg, so be careful moving it around. I found mine a place to live and it stays there.
What I noticed first about this when I used the mixer, is how noisy it is. It's a lot nosier than my old one and when you have it on full power, well I won't say it scared me because erm that would be silly but it does sound somewhat like a plane taking off. It not actually an uncomfortably loud noise, it's quite smooth but you will have to turn your music up a touch when it's on.
The bowl that comes with the mixer doesn't look that big and I was thinking, no way can that fit double what my old one could but it's really deep, deceptively so. It can hold up to 6.7L, cake capacity is 4.6kg which is frankly HUGE, dough capacity is 2.6kg and it can mix you up a 16 egg meringue without batting an eyelid. The bowl comes with a splash guard that is quite useful for when I'm making buttercream, that icing sugar flies everywhere otherwise. I wouldn't say the splash guard is that great though, it just sort of sits on and falls off quite easily, it's held on above the k beater attachment or whichever attachment you have on so it doesn't fall off properly but it's still not very secure. That is something that could be improved upon and for the price; I'm surprised they thought it was good enough.
You can use the Mixer for so many things, it comes with a really useful manual that lists all the uses for it and I was surprised by some. I now make my mash potatoes in my mixer using the K Beater and they are always deliciously smooth.
The balloon whisk is good for making royal icing or meringues but it's a bit fiddly to clean.
The dough hook is a good for making, well dough! I use it mostly to make my gingerbread dough and it's very easy to get all the mixture off and to clean it.
I have only used the creamer once and didn't think much of it; the K Beater will cream your butter and sugar up just as well and can then be used to mix the rest of the ingredients together.
The food processor is very sturdy, very good quality and very useful. It can be used for lots of things, crushing biscuits, making breadcrumbs, making pastry etc. I use it a lot and it's the reason I chose to buy this particular Kenwood machine, I could've got one cheaper without the food processor. You've got disc attachments that come with the food processor which are great for chopping, grating and slicing. They're a bit fiddly to clean and they're very sharp so be careful.
The blender is made from Thermo Resist glass so you can liquidise hot and cold food, which is great because we use it a lot for soup. It can hold 1.2L of hot food and 1.6L of cold food. It's easy to clean as the bottom part comes off, again be careful as it's really sharp.
You can also buy other attachments for this machine, such a meat grinder, mini blender, ice cream maker, potato peeler! There are many more. They cost from £25 each from what I've seen. I don't own any of these are I primarily use the machine for cake mixture and similar things, as opposed to savoury things so I don't have much need for the grinder or potato peeler.
What you need to be careful with is, there's no lock on this Kenwood, on my old one, the Kenwood wouldn't switch on if certain things weren't clicked into place, or if the top was lifted up. This machine doesn't have that, perhaps assuming if you're grown up enough for this machine, you're grown up enough to remember to put the lid on something before switching it on, er...yeah so be careful with that.
The Kenwood website is very good, it has copies of the manual, links to where you can get the Kenwood serviced, recipes and other bits and bobs.
I hope you've found this review useful, happy baking!
In general, I love anything to do with baking. I've been baking as often as I can for the last 20 years. When I was growing up, we had an older kenwood mixer in our kitchen, they were truly one of those iconic pieces of design in the 60's/70's, every self-respecting housewife had one. If truth be known, I think my mother just wanted something to fill a corner and make the kitchen look a bit more used.
For the main part, I don't like using mixers, I tend to take the traditional approach that doing things by hand is best... for any kind of pastry a mixer just completely obliterates the texture. However, recently I started baking bread on a regular basis and well, mixing 3 kilos of dough is no fun twice a week if I'm honest.
I looked into a fair few mixers, I was quite tempted by a pretty red thing like my mother had, however I had doubts about whether it would withstand 10 minutes of mixing a fairly dense dough, and as such I opted for this more industrious looking Kenwood. It has all the standard features which I dont think I really need to go on about, needless to say it can go at various speeds and intensities
As well as the sturdiness of it, there's also the advantage of the larger mixing bowl, its bigger than I've ever found a need for even with all this bread mix, it's a lot better than some I've seen that look although they'd overflow If I made some cupcakes.
Additionally kenwood are GREAT for accessories, I bought my mixer online from a small online seller, after some negotiation they through in all sorts of accessories, namely various types of hooks that one can buy for different doughs and pastries...... the only one I ever use is a really heavy dough hook I purchased separately. I've even been told that one can get a bowl that allows ice cream to be made.
Like all mixers, the Kenwood is a little noisy and vibrating, nothing that can't be drowned out by the television, but still, its not silent, if you happen to live in a small apartment block you might want to consider the poor fool that lives below you who's ceiling is going to be vibrating on and off.
Overall I couldn't live without my Kenwood mixer now, Though I was apprehensive and preferred to do everything by hand, it does have severe time saving advantages, and its consistent too, I need a break half way through some heavy kneading, it powers through.
There is ONE cautionary tale... ENSURE that you put the mixer away from the edge of a countertop, and preferably put it on some kind of rubber mat. The first week I had mine I left it near an edge and went to make a phone call, my kitchen floor was adorned with a delightful crack on return.. need I say anymore.
Of all the appliances in my kitchen the Kenwood Major Chef is my favourite. My mother had a Kenwood Chef when I was growing up and, as I became better at baking, it became my most frequently used appliance. As soon as I was able I bought my own Kenwood, but decided to buy the larger titanium version. My love of baking has never left me and I cannot do any baking without my Kenwood. It has a wide range of speeds for mixing ingredients and I never have to worry about a mixture being lumpy. Apart from the general fitting for mixing and beating, it also has 2 other fittings for mixing or kneading thicker dough. There is also a multitude of attachments that can be purchased to add to the functions of the Kenwood.
The larger bowl capacity of the Major Chef means that you can mix up larger quantities without worrying that it will spill over the top of the bowl.
All the Kenwood products are very well made and last for years and years. I have shipped my Kenwood (wrapped in a blanket) and when it emerged on the other end after the move, it still worked perfectly.
Additional tip: To keep the metal bowl shiny I rub some olive oil onto the bowl with a clean cloth after it has been washed.