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Food Processors

Posted by gardenlad (My Page) on
Thu, May 24, 07 at 7:34

I know we've probably discussed this before. But my venerable Hamilton Beach is on it's last legs, and I'm looking to buy a new food processor.

Price, within reason, is not an issue. But I want quality, versatility, and performance at least the equal of the HB---which is almost 20 years old.

So, any recommendations? Please list the features that make your choice #1, as well as the make/model.

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Food Processors

Depends on what you want it to do. Chop huge amounts of stuff and have a large capacity? Be able to knead huge quantities of dough and puree big batches of dips and stuff? Be small and sit there and not take up space until you want to chop a few onions or some nuts? Slice in a 1 mm thin slice and also be able to make 4 and 6 mm slices of veggies and things? To be able to grate parmesan cheese so lightly it's like a cloud? Have a wide feed tube? Have a "chute" so you can process stuff directly into a bowl?
Now I will tell you what I have and why I love it.
I have a 7 cup 20 year old Cuisinart. It sits on the counter and takes some space, but is not enormous. It has enough power to knead 4 cups of flour into 2 loaves of bread. It holds enough shredded cabbage for slaw for 6 people....and is easy to dump if I need to make more. There are many many blades available for this model and I have 7 of them. The feed tube is large enough so that I can slice a lemon and a small potato, or tomato....and it fits easily into my dishwasher.

Here is a link that might be useful: DLC-10S


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RE: Food Processors

I must comment on the Cuisinart and their horribly customer service. April of last year I purchased the 14 cup unit from amazon.com. Everything worked great until the unit was exactly 2 days from it's one year anniversary and a plastic piece broke off of the lid. This piece is what engages the motor and is very necessary. I was surprised that this broke since I thought I was very careful with it, but figured it's plastic and they'll probably send me a new one no problem. NOT! I called the customer service line for 2 days straight and never got through to anyone. I would sit on hold for a half an hour at a time. Getting very frustrated, I e-mailed their website and waited another day for a reply. Finally someone replies and she tells me she can't help me unless I have a receipt. I was able to retrieve a receipt from amazon.com and e-mailed this back to her. I waited and waited for another 2 days and finally contacted amazon.com to complain to them. Amazon.com was incredible! I can't say enough good things about those folks. They actually apologized for Cuisinart and refunded me $30 to buy a new lid. I ordered a new lid from Cuisinart. A week passes and finally someone from Cuisinart replied to my e-amil (oy) and informs me that they will not send a replacement lid until I send the broken lid back (on my dime) and enclose a letter explaining what happened and a check to pay for return postage of a new lid! Okay, Not for nothing, but what a bunch of cheapskates! This would've left me without a working unit for weeks! UGH! For a $200 appliance, this was the worst customer service I have ever encountered. The new lid that amazon paid for came and I used the same box to ship the broken lid back to cuisinart. One month later, new lid appears from Cuisinart. Now I have an extra, thanks to Amazon, but sheesh. Next time I refuse to buy a cuisinart. I know there are much better units out there and hopefully better customer service. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


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RE: Food Processors

That story is almost the polar opposite of every KitchenAid customer service experience I've heard about!

I've read about people calling KitchenAid about their 10-year old mixer dying, and KA picks up the entire bill or exchanges for a refurb unit, and so on.

I don't have any Cuisinart products, and I don't plan on owning any of it! Thanks for the reminder...


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RE: Food Processors///

Oh, and for what it's worth, KitchenAid food processors are currently made by the original manufacturer for Cuisinart, Robot Coupe of France. When Cuisinart started cutting costs, they moved their production to China.

My 7-year old (made in France) KA food processor is workin' just fine...

Here is a link that might be useful: About Robot Coupe USA


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RE: Food Processors

My KA food processor is over 15 years old and still going strong. It was made in France even back then (states it right on the unit). I use it at least 3 times a week for tons of stuff, such as grating hard cheeses, mixing small batches of pizza dough, cookie dough, chopping veggies, slicing veggies for salads and platters, mixing milk-based or mayonnaise dressings, and chopping herbs. I've never had a problem with it.


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RE: Food Processors

Funny you mention it, Joe.

As part of my research I figure I better check out Robot Coupe. Go to their product page, which starts at the top end, and works down.

So, right of the bat, there is there big, vertical, 72 (or is it 92?) cup, continuous action machine. Suggested list: $6,400 and some change.

In case there's any doubt, you start saying that number "six thousand....."

Once my heart restarted I worked down the list to their consumer level models. Even the R1 is beyond me, at $500. But if you look at the features, the 16-cup R1 runs rings around the new, $700, 20-cupper from Cuisinart.

Many of my friends in the food service industry love the R2 (affectionately known as R2D2). But, even putting the 800 buck pricetag aside, it's really way too much for a home unit.

At any rate, I've pretty much decided on the Kitchen Aide 760. Three bowls (12 cup, 10 cup, and the 4-cup mini); the largest feed tube in the industry; 7 standard blades plus the mini-multipurpose. Other goodies. It lists at $269, but I've found it for $199, plus a $20 rebate.

BTW, for anyone not familiar with Robot Coupe, they bear the same relationship to food processors as Hobart does to stand mixers. That is, they started the whole thing, and, on the commerical level, remain kings of the heap.


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RE: Food Processors

GL I think you are buying the one I have. The citrus press and egg whip ROCK and I would buy this unit again for just those two items. Customer service is fabulous - a blade broke and gashed the bowl when I tried chopping (dark) chocolate and they sent me a new bowl. The motor is very strong, and the base feels heavy and sturdy. I find a quick 'pulse' does exactly what I need, and the shredding disks are great.

That being said I wouldn't discount the Cuisinart. Things I'm not happy with the KA - in the following recipe, when doubled to two cups, (1) the liquid usually spills out the top between the lid and bowl, and the honey doesn't all get incorporated - a thin film remails stuck to the bottom, below the blade. Also, with my old Cuisinart, if I wanted to remove the bowl with the blade on it, that was no problem, but with my unit (AnnT doesn't seem to have this problem) I have to twist and lift the blade up a bit before the bowl will come off the stem, sometimes resulting in a mess. Oh FWIW I don't use the smaller, nesting bowls because they they need to fit inside the big one to work, and the one time I did that all three bowls needed to be cleaned!

Lime-Chipotle Sauce - Sunset Magazine

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons brown mustard -- or dijon
1/2 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Season with salt and pepper

Blend in food processor. Serve sauce as a marinade grilled meats, poultry, and fish if your guests don't get to it first with tortilla chips. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Source:
"Jessy- from Sunset Magazine"


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RE: Food Processors

Thanks for the input, Jessica.

I don't recall any mention of a citrus press, when I looked at the specs. But I may have just overlooked it.

Nor am I sure about nesting bowls. The info made a point of having the chef's bowl (the 10 cupper) so that you could continue using the machine without having to clean the 12 cupper first.

I took that to mean put the 12-cup bowl in the sink while you work with the 10 cup bowl. And I was certainly under the impression that the mini-bowl works by itself. But I could be wrong on both counts.

We'll see when it gets here.

But all of that is why I usually don't order anything I haven't seen and handled. Nobody around here stocks these bigger units, so I made an exception and ordered it on-line.


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RE: Food Processors

GL, you can read the 'Use and Care' guide online, through my link above. I'm happy with the machine, really, and I'm sure you will be too, but I would take a second look at the Cuisinart next time.

Here is what it says about the chef's bowl....note, you can't chop in it, just shred and slice.

'Chefs Bowl Assembly

Place the chefs bowl inside the work bowl over the power shaft. Rotate the chefs bowl until it falls into place. When properly seated in the work bowl, the chefs bowl cannot be rotated.

The chefs bowl can only be used with the slicing and shredding discs the multipurpose blade cannot be used.'


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It's Here! It's Here!

The UPS guy just dropped off my new processor, and I've got all the parts and pieces spread out over the counter.

Jessica, how come you didn't warn me about figuring out where to put all that stuff? Omigod! The accessories box, alone, measures 8 1/2 x 11 x 4 inches deep. And I have no idea where to put the juicer.

Now to get everything washed, dried, and put to work so I have an informed opinion as to whether or not I like it.


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RE: Food Processors

I'm thinking about buying this same food processor. So after using it, are you still happy with your decision to purchase it?


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RE: Food Processors

Come on GL you've had it enough time to play with it (grin).

Fess up with a review.


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RE: Food Processors

Actually, I haven't. The day it arrived I seriously cut my finger---almost took the tip off.

Between that and work pressures I haven't been doing much in the kitchen at all. But the finger is now healed, and work should settle down, and I'll get back to it.

Soon as I know something, I'll post a review.


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RE: Food Processors

oooouuuuccchhhh I hope you heal well!


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Test #1

So, ok. Tomorrow night I'm making veal finger pies, using a cornmeal pastry crust. Figured I'd use the machine to mix up the dough.

Naturally I reached for the dough blade. What a joke! It merely rotated in the middle of the ingredients, most of which were merely pressed against the sides.

Then I checked the manual. The dough hook is for yeast doughs only.

This is symtomatic of one thing I dislike: many of the accessories are so single-purpose that you're better off without them. I have a stationary mixer with a 6 quart capacity bowl. Why would I even think of mixing yeast dough in the small capacity bowl of the processor? And if I have to use the general purpose blade for pie doughs, what do I need the dough blade for in the first place.

So it is with other accessories. Nice that there are two large bowls. But if I can't use the general purpose blade in one of them, what's the point of having it?

Sometime in the next week or so I'll really put the machine through its paces, and we'll see what there is to see.


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RE: Food Processors

I love my Kitchenaid Food Processor. I initially bought the KFPM770 which I think is basically the same as yours but has the nickel finish. I had a problem with the grating blade fusing to the shaft and had to return it. I upgraded and exchanged it for the 16 cup Proline series. I actually bought it more for doing bread than anything else. I had a perfectly great Cuisinart FP that I wanted to give to my son who was getting into cooking and baking his own pizza. He uses it to make his pizza dough.

My stand mixer, is one of the older Hobart Kitchenaids and I also have a Magic Mill Electrolux mixer that I bought for making larger quantities of dough. It will actually hold up to 23 cups. But for my everyday bread baking you can't beat the food processor. Even Julia Child thought the food processor was great for kneading bread. Certainly a time saver. I can knead over 6 cups of flour in about 45 to 60 seconds in the FP. I only get out the Magic Mill now if I'm going to use more than 8 cups of flour.

And if I'm using the food processor to cut the fat into a pastry dough I always use the metal blade. I never add the liquid to pastry dough in the processor though. You have the option of using either the dough blade or the metal blade when making bread doughs. You just have to be careful that the metal blade doesn't heat the dough to much. I found that to be a problem with the new food processor because it is so powerful. So I only use the dough blade now. When I had the slightly smaller Food Processor like yours I would use the metal blade to knead dough.

I agree that the extra two bowls aren't really a necessity. I've only used mine a few times.

Ann


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RE: Food Processors

Six cups of flour? My manual says not to use more than 3-4 cups. Basically, one loaf of bread. I never do just one loaf at a time.

But it's irrelevant, cuz that's what I have the stand mixer for.

Anyway, we'll see how I feel once I've really had a chance to use the processor.


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RE: Food Processors

I agree, Gardenlad, I never make just one loaf of bread at a time either. I usually do three loaves at a time. My FP has a larger capacity and the manual says 6 cups. But your new processor should handle at least 4 cups without a problem which would give you two loaves. If you have never tried kneading bread in the food processor you should give a try at least once. It does an amazing job,even better than the stand mixer and certainly much quicker.

Ann


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RE: Food Processors

Ann, I'm curious what bread recipes you have that only call for 2 cups of flour each??

Granted, I'm not much of a baker, and never claimed to be. But all of my recipes call for more flour than that, or a combo of flour and other grains---which amounts to the same thing..

Examples: We have three everyday breads. Here are the requirements:

English Muffin Bread. 6 cups bread flour. But makes 2 loaves. Even so, that's a third more.

Cheddar Sage Bread. 3-3 1/4 cups flour.

Oatmeal bread. 3 cups unbreached bread flour plus 1 cup rolled oats.

Out of curiousity I just cruised Eric Treuille & Ursala Ferrigno's great "Ultimate Bread." Of almost 100 yeast bread recipes, only three of them use less than 3 1/4 cups. Each of those three use 2 3/4 cups.

So, if you're making full loaves out of only 2 cups of flour, I sure want the recipe.


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RE: Food Processors

Anyone who has spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking pies would know off the bat that you have to use a blade, not a dough hook, to make pie crust. What makes a flaky crust is using very cold ingredients (butter/water) and combining the butter and flour so that you can still see small lumps/pieces of butter in the mixture. The pieces of butter melt and expand into the flour as it bakes, creating a flaky crust.

Using a food processor like KA or Cuisinart with the blade attachment is the equilivant of the old fashioned method, pre-FP days. My mom used the hand-held device looked like a wooden handle with a lot of curved metal, parallel blades attached to it to mix the butter and flour together using a chopping motion. The technical method for mixing the shortening with the flour is called "cutting" for a reason. The instrucutions will state that one should use shortening that is very cold- I slice a stick of it into 8 pieces, place in a prep bowl and stick this in the freezer for 20 minutes, along with some water w a couple of ice cubes in it - and then place said butter and flour into the food processor with the BLADE and combine using the pulse switch. This turns it on and off on and off, etc., until you reach the desired consistency. I use about 10 pulses, or no more than 14, or it will be over processed. Cookbooks describe the desired consistency "looks like cornmeal" - but I would describe as very coarse cornmeal.

After that, you add the water, a little at a time, combining with the pulse button and this you have to play by ear, since each and every crust you make will end up needing slighly different amounts of water, depending on the humidity and other factors.

If the final result is a ball of dough in the FP, then you have over-mixed it. If the final result is like very course cornmeal in appearance, but is moist enough that it will stick together when you handle it, then you've got it right.

After that, I dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, using the wrap to shape the dough into a round disk, about 1/2" thick. Cover, and let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Letting your pie dough rest makes it easier to work with and creates a flakier crust also. At least that's what all the professionals say and I'm inclined to agree with them after making hundreds of pies during my 30+ years of marriage (in between many business trips for the high stress corporate position I am in.)

Finally, you take it out of the fridge, turn on to a floured surface (I use a pastry cloth) and sprinkle top with a little flour, and roll it out, adding flour if your rolling pin starts to stick. I use a rolling pin that is covered with a cloth surface, and that helps a lot.

For all of the above, long-winded reasons, it is impossible to make good pie crust in a stand mixer unless it has a sharp blade attachment. Mine does not; so I use the KA food processor w the blade for pie crust and the shredding disk for cole slaw. I use the KA stand mixer for breads, cakes, and cookies. The stand mixer also has a pasta-making attachment that works great.

I'm off the soapbox now...

L


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RE: Food Processors

"Anyone who has spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking pies......"

Which most assuredly does not describe me!

My whole point was simply that the dough blade, to me, seems like a totally unnecssary accessory. One of those things that makes you think you're getting more for your buck than you are.


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RE: Food Processors

I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking pies and although I have used my FP often to cut in the fat, I never add the water in the FP. Tried it and didn't like it. I prefer to finish the pastry dough by feel. And more often then not when I want to make a pastry dough I just cut the fat in using the old fashion pastry cutter. Quicker than getting out the big FP.


Gardenlad. I make all my own breads and four cups of flour nets me two nice size loaves. Most of the breads I make the French or Italian artisan types, and last year I got into making sour dough as well.

Since my FP will handle 6 to 7 cups of flour easily I usually end up with 3 large loaves.

Check out Julia Child's simple French Bread recipe in her "The Way to Cook" book. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour and will make three 18 inch baguettes or two fat long loaves. Or a couple of large rounds. Since my stone is only 16 inches wide I make slightly smaller baguettes and a third loaf or two larger loaves.

I do agree with you though that the dough blade has limited use and unless you do use your FP to make bread dough then you could do without it.

Ann


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RE: Food Processors

Ann,

That bread is gorgeous! How are you baking them to achieve that beautiful crust?

My mouth is watering :-)

Kim


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RE: Food Processors

Kim, I bake all my breads at 500F and on a stone that is preheated. Usually for close to an hour. I spray the loaves with water when they are in the oven and I also throw some ice cubes on to the oven floor to create steam. I usually spray the loaves again one or two times in the first 10 minutes.

Ann


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RE: Food Processors 1

Kim, I just wanted to clarify that the stone is preheated, usually for close to an hour. The breads aren't baked for an hour. LOL! In fact most breads only take about 20 to 25 minutes to bake at 500F.

Ann


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RE: Food Processors

ann,

I have never baked bread in my life. After seeing those beautiful loaves, I want to try! They look soooooo great! You must be an amazing baker!!


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RE: Food Processors

Dragonfly, Bread is one of the easiest and most forgiving things to bake. You should really give it a try. Come on over to the main Cooking forum. There are some real experts over there with lots of advice to offer.

I've done a few pictorials to help others visualize some of the steps.

French Bread Pictorial

Working with a Wet Dough

Italian Bread making


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RE: Food Processors

Or head on over to the Fresh Loaf, where it's all about bread making.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Fresh Loaf


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Test #2

Used the processor to make a forcemeat for my seafood lollipops.

I had gotten in the habit of using my meat grinder for this, because the old processor too too long and did a cruddy job. Some of the seafood would be ground to a paste, others would still be in chunks. Plus I'd always felt that given the time it took it was heating the mixture.

The KA, on the other hand, did a superlative job. It ran quietly (the old one didn't), and ground the various seafood in just a few seconds to just the consistency I wanted.

Indeed, it actually too longer to clean the bowl than to grind the forcemeat.

So I'm satisfied with that aspect.

To be continued......


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RE: Food Processors

Bread is one of the easiest and most forgiving things to bake

Uh, it sure had me fooled. On Ann t's recommendation, I will give it another go. I'm a pretty serious cook, but I have had my share of failures with two things, both forays into the realm of baking:
bread and pie crust. Hope springs eternal, though.


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RE: Food Processors

Kitchendetective,
I used to bake a lot of yeast bread (I'm not sure if any of it looked as good as Ann_T's!) and one thing I found is that repetition/practice makes all the difference. Do a small batch every day for several days and I bet you will see a big improvement in speed & appearance by the last day; after that it won't be a big deal.

Of course, I couldn't roll a decent pie crust if my life depended on it, LOL, so maybe I should take my own advice!


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