Saturday, 7 November 2020

How to choose a stand mixer + brief review of my new Kenwood Chef XL!

So I recently bought myself a stand mixer, since I've been baking A LOT this year. Especially now that it's CMCO. I feel that it's time to invest in a proper stand mixer, and I bought the Kenwood Chef XL KVL4100S! 


Buying any electronic/electric appliances I feel, requires a lot of research and due diligence as 

1. They are usually not cheap!

2. You would want to get a good quality product with the price you pay

3. There are too many choices out there! 

And thus, I've put together a guide/some of my thoughts on choosing my stand mixer, which I hope will be helpful for you if you are looking for one too! 

How did I choose which stand mixer to buy? 

I started by first listing down my non-negotiables/must-haves. I was very clear and firm with these:

1. It must be made out of steel. 

Plastic is a big no-no. Simply because I believe steel can last longer than plastic. Plastic may break easily should say an unfortunate mishap (like me dropping the stand mixer on the floor...) occur.

2. The parts must be easily replaceable

Because if a part of the machine is spoiled, I can easily replace that part rather than buying an entire new machine! 

3. It must be of a reliable brand

Simply because I really wanted the reassurance and peace of mind, knowing many other people have bought and used the machine without much problem.

With my three non-negotiables, my choices narrowed down to these two brands: KitchenAid and Kenwood. Both offers stand mixer made out of stainless steel (Kenwood has got some made out of plastic too, and titanium metal), you can replace any parts of the stand mixer easily for both brands, and they're both really reliable. Many have claimed that their KitchenAid/Kenwood stand mixer last them for many years! (Typically more than 10 years!) 


Kenwood VS KitchenAid


I have boiled down to these two brands and specific "series/range". And thus came my dilemma of deciding which brand to go for. KitchenAid seems to be a more popular brand, but Kenwood is significantly more affordable. And the specs are seemingly better. Both come with the same three attachments - the paddle, balloon whisk, and dough hook. 

Naturally, I was more inclined towards KitchenAid, due to its popularity. (Almost all the popular bakers I know use KitchenAid!). And truth to be told, do I need that big of a capacity? 4.6 and 6.7 L is a lot! 

And a quick Google search reveals that I'm not the only one fretting over this dilemma. And thus, I've decided to bring this offline and visit a physical shop that sells both this brand to ask for advice and assistance.

My Verdict...Kenwood Chef XL


Why? 
1. Price point

It is about RM1k cheaper than the KitchenAid...and the specs are seemingly similar! 


2. Seemingly better specs (on paper)
Now some may argue that even though the power of Kenwood is stronger than KitchenAid's, KitchenAid's stand mixer is more effective per se. 

I can't comment on that, but the salesperson managed to convince me about the specs. The salesperson also suggested that if I am going for the aesthetic, and would like some pop of colour, KitchenAid might be a more suited choice. But aesthetic was not one of my non-negotiable/must-have, and hence I was more inclined to get the Kenwood after that conversation....and I did! 

(Random reflection: I can't help but feel that the KitchenAid is like the Apple for kitchen appliances. Yes, they're reliable. And they take their design seriously. Their users are a big fanatic of the brand. But...they're expensive :P) 

How is it so far? 

I've been using it for a week now and have only tried out the paddle attachment to make banana bread and a few types of bread, but here are some of my initial thoughts after using it for a week! 

1. Power
It is pretty powerful. The machine can go up to quite high speed, but of course, it is not recommended to go the highest speed for too long. There's a recommended time based on the weight of your batter/dough in the user manual guide. Which...I haven't exactly read it through.
Cranking the speed from 3 all the way till the highest speed while working on a 500g dough

The machine rumbles (kinda) violently at the highest speed, thank goodness for its strong suction base holding it firmly to my kitchen countertop or I suspect my stand mixer will go flying off! 

Banana bread made using the paddle attachment 


2. Noise
The machine can be a little too loud I feel. Especially when you crank up the speed! 

So far...so good. Haven't encounter any serious problems...yet! Will give a more thorough update and review after one month! 

Unboxing Video

Lastly, here's an unboxing video from me. If you're interested :p


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