Testing the luxury kitchen machine by Kenwood
Butter-smeared kitchen shelves, a dusting of flour everywhere and bowls and dishes piling up in the sink. I’ve done it again: Vanessa, 37, home baker (and not just since Covid). I love baking, but the clean-up is annoying, and I want to minimise (creative) chaos while baking. When I heard about the «Titanium Chef Patissier XL» by Kenwood, I was intrigued. In theory, the kitchen machine should make baking easier for me, and therefore the clean-up. Will the test confirm the theory?
The «Patissier-Chef» is the optimised version of the «Chef XL Titanium». With 1,400 watts, compared to the 1,700, it has less power, but it comes with an integrated scale and heating. Thanks to the heating function, ingredients such as chocolate or butter can be melted quickly and doughs are supposed to rise faster. These features make the machine especially exciting for amateur bakers. If you want to squeeze juices, process meat or grate vegetables, you can upgrade it with additional accessories.
First impressions: massive attack
Luckily, there’s an elevator in my apartment building. The bulky package weighs a whopping 15 kilogrammes. In addition to the «Chef», the set includes four mixing elements (a balloon whisk, a K and dough hook, and a Flexi mixing element), two mixing bowls, a two-piece splash guard, a heat-resistant spatula, and a dough scraper.
The machine is high quality and heavy. My old plastic Bosch (a ProfiMixx47) can’t compare. The metal design of the «Chef» looks elegant and is way too nice to be stored away. And that’s a good thing, since it needs a fixed place in my kitchen due to weight and size. The whisking elements alone seem bulky. It’s not surprising that the mixing bowl holds seven litres. If that’s too much for you, use the slightly smaller 5-litre mixing bowl, which can’t be heated, unlike the large one. It’s good for beating egg whites or when I simply need a second bowl for baking.
The practical test
The «Chef» has a 2.4-inch touchscreen in addition to the regular buttons. I have six automatic programmes to choose from: knead dough or let it rise, beat egg whites, sponge dough, melt chocolate and Swiss meringue. There are also manual modes, eight for mixing and nine heat settings (up to 70 degrees Celsius) and a timer.
Field test I: Swiss butter braid (functions: knead dough + proof)
To make my braid nice and airy, I usually knead the dough by hand. That’s why I’m a little sceptical if the machine can achieve the same consistency in only a third of the time. During kneading, the machine wobbles slightly. Given the amount and power required, I’m not surprised. In just under five minutes, the «Chef» kneads the braided dough into a smooth and even batter.
The dough hook is designed to reach all the ingredients so they don’t get stuck on the edge of the bowl. Simple and straightforward. There is also a special programme with a heating function for proofing. After 60 minutes, the dough has risen threefold in the large bowl. Knead a dough laboriously by hand for 15 minutes? I’ll never do that to myself again!
My personal highlight is the integrated scale, which I use to weigh the ingredients directly in the mixing bowl. This way I avoid extra dishes that I have to wash later. A nice, but unnecessary feature: there’s a light ring that illuminates the contents of the mixing bowl.
Field test II: chocolate sponge cake (functions: melt chocolate + beat egg white + automatic sponge cake programme)
While melting in the large, heated bowl, use the Flexi Stir Element to stir the ingredients until soft. My first attempt comes to a quick end: the chocolate pieces are too chunky and block the Flexi stirrer. After chopping the pieces small enough, the «Chef» needs less than two minutes to melt 150 grammes of chocolate. The stirrer, made of soft silicone, scrapes residue from the edge of the bowl to the middle. Melting butter takes some tuning, as it keeps sticking to the stirring element and spins along. Using a scraper, I make two attempts and push the butter into the bowl before it melts. Beating egg whites works a lot better and faster. With the automatic programme, the eggs show stiff peaks after two minutes.
Speaking of beating and stirring: the device has a two-part splash guard. It’s completely made of plastic, which makes it the odd one out when it comes to quality, but it proves valuable despite the rattling. Too bad the monstrous thing fits only on the large mixing bowl. When stirring sugar and egg yolks (programme: sponge cake) in the small bowl, the ingredients fly around my kitchen before they’re well incorporated. I notice that the «Chef» is designed for rather large quantities. This is also true for the K-hook: The stirring element (for preparing cakes, pastries and sugar glazes) struggles with little quantities: the ingredients will stick to the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. To mix them into a smooth batter, I have to help with a spoon. The K-hook works well for large quantities.
Last but not least: cleaning is particularly easy, as all additional parts are dishwasher safe. I wipe the «Chef» itself with a damp cloth after use. The only drawback: the large mixing bowl takes up a lot of space in the dishwasher. I have to push and squeeze to make it fit.
Very good quality at a high price. I’m hooked and no longer want to do without the «Titanium Chef Patissier XL». Not only is the quality good and the metal design chic, but it makes my baking easier in terms of efficiency and cleanliness. The Kenwood accessories can be washed in the dishwasher and, thanks to the integrated scale, I need fewer extra dishes. In addition, the power of the «Chef» with 1,400 watts is above average and works well with big amounts of dough.
The device is good, but it could be even better – considering the high retail price. The K-stirrer doesn’t bode well with small quantities and the machine melts chocolate only when I chop it extra small in advance. In addition, the large mixing bowl only fits horizontally in my dishwasher, and the plastic splash guard should have a higher quality finish and be compatible with the small mixing bowl. However, those who can overlook these shortcomings, have plenty of space in the kitchen and bake frequently and in large quantities will enjoy the machine thanks to its many features. A kitchen helper straight from the books.