HELP! Out of a Gazillion food processors, which one?
Hi, I need help! I've read every post on this board about different food processors and I've looked at every available model and read every review of the KitchenAid and Cuisinart food processors and I still can't figure out which one will be best for me.
My budget is 150-200 and I'm looking at the 9-12 cup KitchenAid & Cuisinart
After reading reviews, here are my concerns: I've read the Kitchenaids leak, I've read the bowls on Cuisinart's break, I've read customer service for both companies suck, I've read that the new Cuisninarts don't compare to the old and I've read that the Kitchenaids are flimsy, etc, etc, etc!
Also, there are several different versions of different models. For instance, Cuisinart's DLC, there's the DLC 2011BCN, DLC 2011RN, DLC8s. Cuisinart also seems to have 3 different lines, the prep, the pro and the classic. I really want to buy a processor. I Need to buy a processor, but my head is spinning from information overload, there are just too many options!
Here's what I want:
I like the idea of the KA's mini bowl because I'm only cooking for two. When I mince, for example, garlic, I only use 3 or 4 cloves. I can't imagine trying to do that in the bottom of a 11 cup processor.
This is mainly about convenience. I want to get a food processor to make cooking easier. I have horrible knife skills and I think I sometimes shy away from cooking vegetables because of it. Sure I'd like to be good with a knife but I know having a food processor would help me to eat healthy. I would mainly be using this processor to chop, dice, slice, shred fruits and vegetables and make dips and sauces, gaucomole, pesto, etc.
I would also like to use a food processor to knead dough. I've never had a stand mixer. I always knead by hand. It's tiring! I absolutely love the idea of having a machine that does that work for me. I can't imagine what it would be like to make bread without having to knead it, but I imagine it would be heaven! I don't *need* this function but I've heard about other people kneading doughs in their processors and I feel like for the prices I'm looking at, whatever I buy should have this function.
I've had both KA and Cuisinart food processors and they're both great. I really don't think you'll be unhappy with either brand. I use a food processor on a daily basis and both brands have really held up well.
And, I throw everything right in the dishwasher, so clean up isn't really an issue. I'm like you - I don't have bad knife skills, but it'sstill a lot faster to do significant vegetable chopping in a food processor rather than by hand, especially if I'm not too worried about the pieces being too uniform.
It seems like the Cuisinarts are more expensive than the KA's, but I can't really say that I've noticed a big difference in quality, so I'd buy the one that's the best price. The clearance on KA's at Macy's that karmalaw mentioned seemed like a great deal!
Macy's has the 11 or 12 cup KA food processors (sorry, I don't remember which size it was, I just checked price) on clearance (in store) and yesterday they were 50% off of clearance bringing them to $99. This might be a deal for you -- if you really want a food processor.
That being said, I've never taken mine out of the box: I vastly prefer my stand mixer, blender, and knives.
I bought my Cuisinart in the early 1980's, when processors were fairly new to American kitchens. I remember standing in the department store looking at the various brands, tempted by the lower price of some of the domestic models. Eventually, I picked up the floor models, at which point the decision was easy, because the Cuisinart was far heavier than the others. This led me to read the labels for motor strength, in which Cuisinart was the clear winner. It's one of the smaller sizes - without looking, I'd say 6-8 cups. Still, it's too big for preparing small amounts. If I am making a meat loaf and want to chop the onion, carrot, and celery, I use the mini Oscar that I bought years later. If you don't choose a double-bowl model, I'd recommend getting a mini as an adjunct to a French-made Cuisinart. By the way, I've never had to replace a bowl or pusher/cover.
I think I might be leaning towards a new Kitchenaid if I can't find an old Cuisinart made by Robot Coupe on Ebay. I cannot for the life of me figure out why Cuisinart now sells multiple versions of their processor: prep, pro, classic, I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to figure out what exactly the difference is, and I still have no idea!
Yeah, I'm lazy, too, so I use one of those cheap little mini processors for garlic. About 20 dollars, and really fast and easy!
When I was researching full-size food processors, I found that KitchenAid got top ratings. I bought their 12-cup with the smaller sized food chute on top. (The large-size chute requires an extra step to lock into place, and that was annoying.) I'm happy with it overall. The mini bowl is handy, but it uses the same lid as the big bowl, so there's still a lot of washing up -- and sometimes the big bowl gets messy whilst using the mini-bowl, so EVERYthing has to be washed.
The 12-cup size is good for kneading regular bread dough -- but it's dodgy with high- hydration doughs that are popular now. I hate to tell you how much time I've spent scraping sticky dough out of the interior of the blade.
For smooth purees, you can't beat a blender. But the processor is a real time saver when shredding cheese, slicing pounds of onions for onion soup, making coleslaw, things like that.
I don't really mind the messiness part, I figure no matter what, it's worth it. I can easily spend 3-5 minutes cutting up two carrots alone, trying to slice a mushroom really thinly takes me even longer!
What do you mean by high hydration doughs? Do you mean a wetter dough? Wouldn't a stickier wetter dough be easier to knead or process manually anyway? I'm really interested in having a food processor to knead just regular whole wheat bread, will it do that?
Regular bread dough kneads like a dream in less than a minute. By "regular" I mean traditional doughs for which hand-kneading instructions say to add flour until it leaves the side of the bowl, and where the kneaded dough is like a baby's bottom. But many of the artisinal breads call for very wet, gloppy doughs -- and they are a sticky mess in the processor. I made a panettone in the processor last month, and that was a mistake. So just be aware of that, and also that it takes less than a minute to knead a loaf, so it IS possible to overknead. That said, I think you'll LOVE making breads in the processor. Pitas, bagels, you can do so much.
Shredding carrots is another plus. It's so easy to make a shredded carrot salad, and healthy! Slicing is good, but has its limitations. Some foods (mushrooms, etc) wobble around in the chute, so they're cut at different angles. (If that bothers you, use a hard-boiled egg slicer to slice mushrooms.) Hummus -- you can toss a tin of drained chickpeas into the mini-bowl with some seasonings, and instant hummus. You'll find so many uses, I'm sure. And if you start to enjoy the prep process, you can turn your cooking attention toward creativity and healthfulness. Good Luck!
not to your main question, but I wouldn't bother with any food processor for a couple garlic cloves. Just not worth the trouble. Have you tried smashing the garlic with the side of a big knife and *then* chopping it? I found it makes it go pretty fast.
I have a 10 cup (I think) Cusinart. It's a replacement (about 3 years ago) for one which I had for 15 or so previous years. I was very happy with both. But it's really not the thing for relatively small amounts of prep; it needs to be cleaned, and if you're lazy like me, it takes up a lot of room in the DW. I use it for pasta making, shredding cabbage, carrots, or potatoes, and blending soups. But *not* for chopping garlic, or even onions in typical amounts for my family of 4.
Thanks for the reply!
Well I guess if it's not any faster to mince garlic in a processor I can still just mince garlic by hand.
Mostly I want to use a processor to make bulk salad materials for my lunches and snacks a whole week at a time as well as prep for dinners. I imagine it will be a lot quicker with a processor than by hand because I am really slow at chopping by hand!
What I really want is a Magimix. But, yeah, that's not going to happen anytime soon I'm afraid!
I think I've decided to try tol find an old made-in-france-cuisinart on Ebay. From what I understand they are much better quality.