Review of Kenwood Prospero Kitchen Machine KM266 – 06/05/2012
“…If space is at a premium
or you’re taking your first steps into food prep
and are looking for a simple machine full of functions that will give confidence
then Prospero is right for you…”
This is a post that was supposed to be written down a long, long time ago.
Some might know how long I have planned.
My oh my, shame on me! :”>
Anyway, late is better than never, right?
So finally, here is my review of my Kitchen Machine: Kenwood Prospero KM266.
Wow, such a long boring title, and very machinery-like one. No good, this particular kitchen machine that I want to talk to you about to day is not just any kitchen machine, it’s MY faithful and hardworking kitchen machine. So let’s call “him” Ken, like Barbie boy Ken ;). And here is not just another review of a machine any more, it is a story of how I chose Ken as my companion, how we get along together, my reveals of what is his strengths and weaknesses, how I feel about working with him, and if I would recommend you to meet him, too.
So let the almost-1-year celebration of a long-term friendship between Ken and me begin.
The story how I met Ken is quite complicated. It all started about one year ago, last summer vacation. My handheld mixer refused to work. I bought it when I first started baking 3 years ago. I worked great, especially when it was from a secondhand store for 5 euros, worth every cent. Here is an picture of my old, loyal friend.
It is a 150W old Elram handheld mixer, with whisks and dough hooks attachments. We did not want to spend too much on baking equipment because I hadn’t decided if my new baking hobby then was any serious. It had worked perfectly well with most of my pastry baking. However, since I started bread baking, and using the dough hooks to knead the dough, it had refused to be taken advantage of. Its symptoms were smoky smell when used; stop operating without notice, and not working when turned on. I knew then it was time for us to say goodbye and I should on my quest to look for a new partner.
At first, I wanted to buy a new handheld mixer at around 30 euros. It suddenly struck my head that now with my frequent rate of baking, I might need something more than just another little handheld mixer. Furthermore, it was in the middle of summer then, I have saved up some money from my part-time jobs. Maybe, I could afford something a little better now, maybe, my first self-bought stand mixer.
YAY! A new stand mixer it would be!
So I narrowed the list down to my 2 dreamy kitchen machine brand, Kitchen Aid and Kenwood. Then I continued to think, a Kitchen Aid is breath-taking beautiful, but a little costly, do not have many attachments, and only support 110V electricity. As long as I live in Finland, that seems to be not a good choice. I set my mind on a Kenwood mixer. Then I watched this video on YouTube advertising for Kenwood light stand mixer series for beginners.
And I was in love, love, and love. It is a very versatile kitchen machine with all kind of attachments and with very reasonable price too. What I am looking for more? Ok, a Prospero, I want a Prospero, it was decided. While searching for it, I came across a site advertising their new promotion on a Kenwood Prospero KM263. It has 3 basic attachments for baking, plus 3 additions: blender, processor, and meat grinder for 199e. And then I searched out another one, a Kenwood Prospero KM 266 with 6 addition attachments: blender, processor, meat grinder, citrus presser, and juicer for 239e. Humm, one additional attachment for Prospero is sold separately at 50e each. And I am a very greedy person; I want to have it all! Humm, what should I choose?
Of course, a Kenwood Prospero KM 266 with 6 addition attachments, LOL!
So I paid for it and waited exactly 7 days to have it delivered to my apartment. It was on 18/08/2011. Here is when I opened the 11kg box.
Upper level: Whisk, dough hook, flat beater attachments, juicer cup and cup holder, meat grinder and its components, citrus presser, and a catalogue with warranty paper and a recipe CD.
Base level: Stand mixer body, blender, food processor, and juicer attachments.
I was checking everything, making sure there are no faults in my new mixer. Well, everything looked fine. Blender, checked. Processor, checked. Juicer, checked. Mixer body, checked, oh wait, what is this? AAAHHH, it is a scratch, a 2-centimeter scratch on my new mixer body! O.M.G! Why! Why! Why! Look at this one ugly scratch, urg!
I immediately contacted the provider and they offered me a 30e discount on this small flaw if I keep the machine. Wow, didn’t see that’s coming. I was gonna ask for a replacement, but think, if I get this 30e discount, then its final price gonna be only 209e and it was just a small scratch. Hey, great deal! I gladly accepted the offer. 🙂
So that’s the story how I met my new partner! And we live happily every after.
Ahaha, wait, of course there is more in this post. I have not reviewed anything about my little friend Ken. Ok, here it goes.
Here is some general technical specification of Ken: (Reference: www.kenwoodworld.com)
- Body material: Plastic
- Bowl material: Brushed stainless steel
- Bowl tool material: Coated
- Color: Silver
- Size (cm): 31.5L x 24W x 28.5H
- Speed: Variable
- Wattage: 900W
- Weight: 4.98kg
- Bowl size: 4.3L
- Capacity – cake: 1.6kg
- Capacity – dough: 500g
- Capacity – egg whites: 8
- Capacity – flour for pastry: 450g
- Dough hook
- 1.5l Blender
- 1.2l Food processor, with 3 blades
- Citrus Presser
- Meat grinder, with 2 screens
- Juicer, with 0.5l cup
- Splash guard
- Cord storage: Yes
- Dishwasher safe parts: Yes
- Safety interlock: Yes
- CD Recipes Collection: Yes
- Instruction catalog: Yes
Below is my review about each and every attachment of my friend Ken:
This attachment is use to knead yeasted and non-yeasted dough into elastic consistency. I use it in baking bread mostly. It is not a spiral dough hook like those of bigger fancier stand mixers; it has shape of a big C letter. It works from speed 1 to 3.
I am very pleased with this attachment. It kneads dough very effectively and quickly comparing to bigger stand mixer. I once have a chance to work with a Kenwood Chef Mixer in a friend’s house, using a bread recipe that I have done at home. My Ken kneaded this bread dough in about 7 minutes to desired gluten development. Surprisingly enough, the spiral dough hook of the other bigger mixer took almost 10 minutes to reach the same stage. 🙂
It, however, does not work well with high hydration dough. The dough tends to slip out of the hook’s reach, lead to ineffective mixing.
It is the special name for flat beater of Kenwood machines. This attachment is used to cream butter, mix cakes, cookie dough, piecrust, quick breads and biscuits. Basically, you can use it for anything that requires mixing or beating at a low to medium high-speed setting. I also cream potatoes with the flat beater, to create smooth lump free mashed potatoes. The construction of the beater also allows me to fold the additions into the batter such as dried fruits or nuts. It works from speed 1 to 6.
I love this attachment. I used to use the whisks of a handheld mixer to mix my cake batter. Do it no more since I have Ken and his wonderful K-beater! My cakes and muffins and cupcakes now cannot be any fluffier. 🙂 With the K-beater, everything is quick and more important, lump-free. I also use K-beater to strengthen up the meat or fish paste for my Vietnamese recipes. Used to use a wooden spoon and a lot of effort! Good-bye to over-muscular arms, thanks to Ken!
This attachment resembles a big balloon with stainless steel wire structure. This is used to whip cream, egg whites and delicate cake batters that need a lot of air incorporated into them like angel food and sponge cake, whipping boiled frosting, meringue and homemade mayonnaise. It works from speed 1 to 6, but the higher the speed; the more of air is being introduced into the batter. So I usually use it from speed 3 to speed 6.
I did not like this attachment. To be more precise, I do not like working with Ken in this matter because it never reach to the very bottom of the mixing bowl. He works well from 3 to 8 egg whites. More or less than that is impossible to handle. It goes the same with whipping cream. He does not perform very well with little amount of cream, for instance, less than 250ml of cream. It a huge minus, I think since my proportion of recipes always smaller than normal level. Therefore, I have to switch to my old handheld mixer every time I use less than 2 egg whites. Other than that, work like a charm when making big batches of Swiss buttercream or Pavlova.
This plastic attachment connects to the high-speed outlet of the mixer. It comes with removable blades at the bottom of the tube. It is used to make smoothies, pate’, puree soup. It has 6-speed variable for those and 1 purse option for crushing ice or nuts.
Personally, I think this attachment works like a charm at making smoothies and cocktails; my soup is velvet-smooth too. In addition to that, I usually use my blender to make fresh soy milk But I do not recommend it for crushing ice or nuts, especially in small amount. I have encounter problems in this matter.
For instance, I tried to crush ice and solely ice cubes and the blender failed to perform, its blades cannot stir the ice up side down, resulting in crushed ice at the bottom and the same cubes on top. My suggestion for this is to crush ice with a little of cold water, crush ice to satisfying consistency and then discard the water.
This blender is also not so good at chopping nuts. I used it once or twice and have given up on that function since. Using this blender, I could not control the texture of my chopped nuts and furthermore; coursed chopped pieces tend to stick on the side of the tube while being chopped, leaving a hollow core with blades running for nothing. 😦 I wish Ken had a glass mill attachment for this kind of work.
Some reviewers on the Internet has complaint about how the bottom blade component stick to the outlet when they tried to remove the blender out of the machine, leaving messes of hot soup or smoothies to be cleaned. I have never encounter this problem so far. I feel that the bottom blade component locked very well with the tube, when correctly sealed.
1.2l Food processors
This attachment comes with a 1.2l plastic bowl, an S knife blade, three stainless steel reversible vegetable and cheese cutting discs (thick-thin slicing, rough-course shredding, and rasping). It is used to process vegetable, meat and cheese like its name indicated. It connects to the low medium-speed outlet of the mixer. It has 6-speed variable for those and 1 purse. It has 2 different sized inlets, suitable for different sizes of vegies and stuff.
I use it to, of course, cutting my vegie and cheese. Furthermore, I use it to make hummus, salad dressing, pesto paste, and cookies dough. Personally, I think it has worked very well, not greatly though. I once used it to make very fine meat paste for a Vietnamese ham recipe, and guess what, the paste came under the blade, out of the tube and almost into the outlet until I luckily found out. What an exhausting cleaning up after that! 😦
This food processor attachment seems not very capable of dealing with a little amount of food. For instance, when I shredded carrot for my carrot cake, about a cm of carrot left wandering on top of the shredding dish un-shredded. The same goes with cheese, always a little left unprocessed. The bowl also a bit large for small amount of food I usually want to process.
It did not chop nuts very well either, once I used it (after failed attempts with the blender), the nuts seemed to enjoy a trip around the bowl wall rather than being chopped. 😉
I, nevertheless, not very often use this attachment to prepare food for daily consume. Since the amount of food I use is rather small and manageable by hand cutting, comparing to all the time and effort of cleaning all the components after used.
It is not a brand new attachment, rather than a plus to the food processor. You can see it in the picture that it only has 1 component. The name speaks for itself. This attachment is used to squeeze the juice out of citrus fruits such as: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and so on. It connects to the low medium-speed outlet and speed variable from 1 to 6.
I frequently use this attachment to make fresh orange juice during hot summer time or during the orange seasons, other than that, nothing more. It does deserve a better home, of who enjoy fresh squeezed juice daily, than mine since it works beautifully in its jobs.
Meat grinder, with 2 screens
This attachment includes a grinder body, a blade, and 2 screens, 1 rough and 1 course, used to grind meat into fine pieces. It connects to the same speed outlet as the first 3 attachments, used at variable speed from 1 to 6.
Some may ask why you need a meat grinder anyway; just buy grounded meat from the supermarket! I highly disagree. I always like to grind my own meat if possible. First of all, it’s safer. Prepackaged meat can be of leftovers from hundreds, even thousands of animals in one package. This means that you’ve got to be extra careful when cooking with prepackaged ground meat and have to deal with high risk of contamination. 😦
Secondly your own-grounded meat does have better flavor and texture. Unless you live in towns full of really great butchers, you’re stuck with whatever ground meat quality the supermarket has on hand, regardless of the fat content and the coarseness of the meat. Grinding meat at home allows your control all those things. Furthermore, grinding meat fresh lets you keep it nice and loose, improving both moisture levels, and texture after cooking.
So why not starting grinding your own meat right now? I love my meat grinder attachment. It has worked great for my sake. One notice is that it must be washed immediately after used and the blade and screens component must be fully dry, then lightly oil-coated and keep in paper like above, otherwise, they will stained
Juicer, with 0.5l cup
It is a centrifugal juicer with a 0.5l cup included. It connects through the high-speed outlet like the blender, and used at speed 3. As its name, again, it is used to squeeze fresh juice out of fruit and vegetable. Many scientific researches and million articles out there have shown great impact of drinking fresh juice to human’s health. So I should not to repeat the obvious, shouldn’t I?
I do not usually make juice from juicer; I rather enjoy the full-of-fiber smoothies. But when it comes to vegetable juice, this attachment is my savior because basically, raw vegies have very hard texture even when blended.
After extracting the juice out of the vegies or fruit, do not throw the leftover pulp away. Though it tends to be dry and lacking in flavor, the pulp has lots of fiber and it seems a shame not to eat it. Here are some interesting ideas to use pulp: Sweet cakes, savory cakes, salads, dehydrator crackers or pasta sauce.
However, this juicer attachment has 2 minor minuses. Firstly, it is hard to remove the pulp holder component from the juicer if you don’t know how to do it precisely. Secondly, the pulp holder is quite small and does not have any exit vent, so you have to frequently discard the pulp out, which will lead to minus no.1. 😛 Furthermore, it is quite noisy when the pulp holder is almost full.
Ok, that’s all 7 attachment that I have and use. 🙂
Here is my overall review of Ken:
Some special features I love about Ken:
Safety interlock – This is golden. I once saw an article about how children hurt themselves severely when left playing with a normal blender or food processor without adult supervision. It frightened me to my death. However, NO more unwanted cuts with my friend Ken, YAY! This super feature is a system of interlocks to protect users’ safety. For instance, the blender will not operate unless the lid and the bottom are correctly locked. It is the same with every component of Ken like processor, juicer, whisk, etc. So carelessness is more tolerable with Ken. One minus is that sometimes, he did not turn on due to one mis-interlocking somewhere, and you have to check and relock everything. Well, I can live with that, and my 10 unharmed fingers. 🙂
Planetary mixing motion – is the huge plus for every Kenwood kitchen machine. My Ken always operates with two separate and combined rotational movements of the tools inside of the bowl. Like in this image.
This dual movement allows the gear to rotate while moving within the container by mixing and amalgamating any type of dough or batter and reducing the mixing time and the formation of lumps.
Variable Speed – It also has 6-speed machining, to which is added the planetary movement of the tools when mixing or kneading, together with practical pulse function, when necessary, to give a power, rapid and intense strokes.
Small size – He is quite small actually, but fit perfectly under the counters in my tiny kitchen. The small capacity of the mixing bowl also fit with my baking habit. I do not bake a lot at once because I usually bake for myself, although enjoy baking a lot, do not prefer eating the results so much.
Quite large variety of attachment – well, I have written about his attachments for almost 5 pages now, so that should explain how I like this about him.
Some features I do not like about Ken:
Plastic and light-weighed body – My first impression of Ken is that he seems not very robust with his plastic body. His light-weighed body also a minus because sometimes when I knead my bread dough, Ken almost moves around a bit. Some jokes that Kenwood Prospero does know how to dance on the kitchen counter and give advice to watch him very closely while he is operating or else, he will end up on the floor. 😦
Loud Noise – He does create quite loud noise when operating. It almost made me if there was anything wrong with him the first times I worked with Ken. But yeah, I get used to it. 🙂
Plastic attachment – The plastic blender and food processor attachments are definitely not so tempting either, but acceptable. Be very careful when working with plastic component of Ken, because they are very scratch-able. My hard lesson is once I used a metal spoon to get something out of my blender and, ahhh, I made a visible scratch on its wall. 😦 I suggest to use only plastic or rubbery or silicon utensils for these delicate guys.
Well, that’s basically it. 🙂 Phew!
After all, I totally satisfied with what I get comparing to what I paid. If I have to make the choice all over, I would still go for Ken.
I have worked with Ken for almost 1 year now and would recommend it to any beginners out there, whoever are short of space or just starting out, you’ll need a small and simple kitchen machine that does it all like my Ken.
So, how is your kitchen partner (technically speaking, machine) working?