JohnMello is a writer, composer, musician, and author of books for children and adults.
It's sleek, easy to use, comes with a bundle of attachments and accessories, and can turn even the most reluctant chef into a kitchen dynamo. If you like the idea of being able to make pastries, dough and cakes with a minimal amount of effort, then perhaps you should consider getting your hands on the Kenwood Multi-Pro Food Processor.
Kenwood produces a range of Multi-Pro products, but for the purposes of this review, the model in question is the FP586.
The Kenwood Multi-Pro Details
Like most food processors, the Kenwood Multi-Pro presents a combination of tools and appliances in an all-in-one kitchen ensemble. Everything operates via the central motor, designed to take up as little space on the kitchen counter as possible. The main mixing bowl has a 2.9-liter capacity, and the processor has two speeds. There's also a pulse button for combining ingredients manually.
The Kenwood Multi-Pro comes with a recipe book that includes the following:
- Instructions on using the various attachments
- Tips on using the food processor to make bread, batter, cake, sauces, ice cream, mayonnaise, milkshakes, dips, shortcrust pastry, soups, purees, and dressings
- A guide on how to prepare food with the machine, including fruit, vegetables, biscuits, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, herbs, meat, mushrooms, and nuts
- Recipes for making batter, bread, pastry, pizza, sponge cake, hummus, and chutney
- Meal ideas for soups and starters, meat and poultry, fish, vegetables, cakes, and desserts
On the side of the box, the manufacturers boast that this product has 25 functions. Generally speaking, the knife blade is used for mixing, chopping, mincing, mashing, rubbing in, and making purees. This is the attachment you will probably use most often.
The plastic blade is ideal for making pastry and dough. The less you work these with your hands, the better—so in that sense, the food processor is ideal.
The whisk is a geared twin-beater design, perfect for whipping up egg whites to make meringues, thickening cream, or combining eggs and sugar as the base for a cake.
The liquidiser holds 1.5 liters and can be used to crush ice, make mayonnaise, and create pates and dips, soups, milkshakes, smoothies, and purees. The mill is about the size you would expect for grinding a handful of herbs or a cup of nuts or seeds. Both attachments simply twist onto the central hub of the machine.
The food tubes help push vegetables into the path of the cutting discs, and the smaller of the two includes measurements for liquid ingredients up to 80 ml.
Pros and Cons of the Kenwood Multi-Pro
As you might expect, the Kenwood Multi-Pro Food Processor does most things well. It takes the hard work out of making pastry and dough, for example, and because you usually put all of the ingredients into the main mixing bowl, there are fewer bowls and dishes to clean. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:
- It's easy to use - I use it to make bread, pizza dough, cakes, cookies, smoothies, and soups, and I'm generally pleased with the results. I always make pizza from scratch, using a recipe variation adapted over years of trial and error, but it's never been as easy as this. Everything goes into the food processor and comes out as perfect pizza dough every single time.
- It's dishwasher safe - Everything, including the attachments, can be shoved into the dishwasher. It's just as well because they're difficult to clean otherwise. This way, you can avoid the very sharp edges on the cutting tools, too.
- It's a whirling dervish - The ingredients in the bowl tend to fly out from the center, meaning that the blades don't always blend things as well as they should. Sometimes the mixture finds its way underneath the blades, which means that if you want to use the machine more than once during a session, you'll have to remove the bowl and blade and clean them before continuing.
- It's misleading - The recipe book is extremely useful, but some of the recipes have incomplete information, such as the recipe for scones that lists 50g caster sugar and 2 tablespoons golden granulated sugar. The latter should be sprinkled over the scones before they go in the oven, but there's no mention of when or where to use the caster sugar. This a small point, but a crucial one if you've never made scones before.
- It's got construction issues - There's a note in the instructions that come with the food processor about the delicate nature of the whisk beaters. The advice is:
"Use for light mixtures only. Heavier mixtures such as fat and flour will damage it."
They're not wrong. I tried to mix soft butter and sugar, and one of the beaters snapped, as in the picture below. Obviously, I should have been more careful, but that's not what's so annoying. The rest of the food processor and attachments are sturdy enough to do the job. The knife blade, liquidiser, discs, and mill all have metallic cutting surfaces that will last forever—so why not make the whisks out of metal too? Now I have to go out and buy a free-standing mixer because I can't use the whisk tool any longer.
Would I recommend this product?
Yes, I would, but not to seasoned professionals. The flimsy nature of the whisk attachment would worry most people, and the recipe book while useful is very basic. It suits me because I use it for certain recipes only, but an experienced cook or baker might not find it any easier than doing things the way they always have.
I bought the Kenwood Multi-Pro when it was on sale, and despite the whisk-related problems, it does a good job most of the time. The discs are extremely sharp and should be handled with the greatest of care. I managed to scrape a piece off my finger, just getting them out of the box.
I recently used the processor to make a pear and almond tart. The recipe was in the book, including the pastry, and it worked well enough. However, the book recommended cooking the tart for 55 minutes. After 45 minutes, I had to remove it from the oven—and just in time. It was still too dark for my liking, and the pastry was crisp, to say the least, but perfectly edible.
All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons, and if more speed and less mess are important considerations for you, then the Kenwood Multi-Pro Food Processor will be worth owning.
To show you how well it does work, I've included my pizza recipe below. It's for a vegetarian pizza using two kinds of cheese and red pepper, but as you know, once the base is made, you can add any number of toppings to suit your taste. I hope you'll be tempted to try it for yourself.
Easy Peasy Pizza Dough
As promised, here's my recipe for perfect pizza dough. It uses white and brown flour in a vain attempt to make it seem a bit healthier. I've also included a few handy tips I picked up after making dozens of pizzas which might make things easier for you.
Good luck, and enjoy!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 30 min
1 hour 42 min
Serves 2 people
- 1 sachet (7g) fast acting yeast
- pinch of sugar
- 3 tablespoons warm (not hot) water
- 200 g strong white bread flour
- 150 g strong brown bread flour
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons (plus extra to grease) olive oil
- 150 ml hot and cold water
- 1/4 cup creamed tomatoes
- 250 g grated cheese
- 1 medium red pepper
- 100 g goat's cheese
- 6 basil leaves
Making the Pizza Dough
Building the Pizza
- Place yeast in a bowl, add a pinch of sugar, pour over 3 tbsp warm water and whisk together. Leave for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Place the plastic blade in the mixing bowl. Weigh 200 g of strong white bread flour. Add salt and oregano and then put into the mixing bowl.
- Weigh 150 g of strong brown bread flour. Place in the mixing bowl with other dry ingredients. Pour in yeast mixture.
- Mix 100 ml of cold water with 50 ml of boiling water. Add 2 tsp of oil to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and begin mixing on lowest speed. Gradually pour in the 150 ml of water.
- As the mixture combines, the dough will begin to come together. Let it continue to rotate for an extra few minutes to knead the dough thoroughly.
- Grease a large bowl with some oil. Remove dough from machine, shape into ball, and place in oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about one hour.
- When dough has risen to about double its size, remove it from the bowl, punch it down and knead on a lightly floured surface for just 1 or 2 minutes. Then let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Grease a pizza tray with some oil and prepare your toppings. See cooking tips below for help with tomato sauce.
- Roll out the dough to form a shape suitable for your baking tray, and then place it on the tray. Spoon on tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Add toppings of your choice, which in this case includes chopped pepper, sliced pepper, crumbled goat's cheese and a few basil leaves.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the power of your oven.
- Slice and devour!
I use creamed tomatoes as the base for my pizza. These come in cardboard packs from the supermarket, but there's too much in a pack for just one pizza.
Once the pack has been opened, I pour the excess into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then when I need more, I pop 6 or so cubes into a bowl, microwave them for a minute or two, and spread the tomato mixture over the pizza base. That way, nothing ever gets wasted.
- You can use the Kenwood Multi-Pro to grate cheese, or you can buy it already grated. Cheddar or mozzarella work well, but of course it depends on your own personal tastes. This recipe includes goat's cheese as one of the toppings, so I used mozzarella as the base.
- The more toppings you use, the longer the pizza will need to cook. One way to get variety without going overboard is to use a single ingredient in different ways. I chopped up half a pepper and sliced the other half, which produces a satisfying look and adds texture to the finished product.
I used this food processor so much that the lid of the bowl—which is plastic—got chipped at the point where it connects to power the motor. I purchased a replacement part which cost about £15 including postage (approx. $18) and will carry on using it for as long as I can—which is much better than spending cash on a new machine and consigning this one to landfill. There's a UK company called espares that sells replacement parts for all kinds of household items and appliances.
© 2012 JohnMello