Food processor or stick mixer?

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by CapnBloodbeard, May 30, 2010.

  1. CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Member

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    At home we're starting to find that a lot of recipes we want to cook need a food processor.

    Now, it's hard enough trying to figure out what food processor to get (brands? Features? What about different models with the same features and different prices? Aargh!) - I don't even know where to start with the research, and I'm learning that most appliance websites are either pathetic or nonexistent...

    Anyhoo, we also noticed the various stick mixers, particularly the ones with a bunch of different attachments.

    From what I gather, one benefit of the food processor over the stick mixer is having a bowl with a far higher volume - however some of the $200 stick mixers have a 1L food processor attachment.

    So I'm really stuck - should I get a food processor or a stick mixer? What are the pros and cons of each?
     
  2. sormuijai

    sormuijai Member

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    I picked up a stick mixer with a mini food processor attachment from Woolies for $20. Its good for making small amounts of stuff like hummus, chopping nuts, onions or processing bread crumbs in small batches. No good if you want to make dough or cake mixes etc. Depends on what you want it for. Maybe get a cheapo $20 one and see how it goes before forking out $$$$ to get an expensive one.
     
  3. death

    death Member

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    yes it all depends on what you intend to do with it?

    I personally found more uses with a food processor than I did with a stick mixer.
    Most of the stuff that can be done with a stick mixer can be done in a food processor AFAIK. The only difference is the food processor takes longer to clean.

    I bought a sunbeam food processor for ~120 (or maybe 109 on special cant recall). There was a model with a blender attached.

    You can get reasonable stick blenders for around 45-60.

    I wouldn't get an expensive really good one until I found myself constantly using the device and found that the cheap ones couldn't keep up.
    So far I don't use my processor as much as I would have thought when I bought it but it does come in handy sometimes.

    Maybe post up some of these recipes you want to try so I can find more uses :D
     
  4. Moakek

    Moakek Member

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    Luxury or Required?

    A food processor is usually a luxury item to have for the typical home cook. Before buying one, have a long hard think and try to come out with a list of dishes that require a FP and also how many of those dishes will you cook every week.

    If you are going to use it at least once a week then that maybe justification to buy one but any less I'd be hesitant, unless you got the spare cash.
     
  5. Dogo

    Dogo Member

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    My stick blender is annoying when it because the blades dont reach the bottom of the container.

    If you get a stick mixer get one with a small food processor attachment so you get the best of both worlds.

    I dont use my food processor much but just this weekend I used it to mix dough (before kneading) and it was a lot easier (and cleaner!) than mixing it by hand.

    One thing I definitely believe is that you dont need to spend big bucks on the fancy brands unless you use it very often
     
  6. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    A food processor can be used to dice or julienne veggies. As mentioned, they can also knead dough. A stick mixer can not do that.

    Both machines can be used to shred parmesan or other cheeses and nuts, but a food processor is better at it because it is bigger. With a stick mixer, you will have to do it in batches.

    Both machines can be used for making mayonnaise. The stick mixer is faster, since the blades spin faster - but the downside is that you will overshoot the ideal thickness and over-whip your mayo.

    Stick mixers can be used for making soups and froth, and are much superior to food processors in this respect. You do not have to pour the soup into another container, you just immerse the stick mixer and that's it.

    Is it worth buying a better brand? In my experience, yes it is. My first mixer was a Sunbeam which I bought for $80. It lasted five years and then it died. During this time, the egg whisk died in the first year (the damned thing broke) but the rest of the attachments kept going. Eventually the motor died. My new mixer is a Bamix, which I paid $300 for. The motor is noticably quieter and more vibration free, and the thing is so much more powerful (can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view). If you can afford it, get a cheaper Bamix. You can add the attachments later.
     
  7. Arch-Angel

    Arch-Angel Member

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    I think the simple answer is to buy both. They both do different things in the kitchen...

    I'd start with a stick mixer though. They come in handy quite often, and are fairly cheap.
    My main use for FP's is kneeding dough, so for that reason I would never buy a cheap one. I want it to last.
    Some of the better FP's are $600+... which is of course a lot more than the better stick mixers ($80+ with a few chopping options).

    Start small, and buy as you need.
     
  8. caspian

    caspian Member

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    yep.

    I have a cheapie Breville stick mixer which really only ever does duty for blending soup, honestly. I could use a FP for that but it's bloody convenient not to have to drag out the whole FP plus wash it.

    the FP gets used for chopping lots of vegetables, making shredded cheese, chopping meat for burger patties and chili con carne etc. I used to have a nice Braun but I killed it making pasta dough, so it was replaced with a $130 Sunbeam which works fine.

    dough and pastry making is now done in the Kenwood mixer, which I happily spent $600 on when the GF lunched the gearbox on her old Sunbeam mixmaster. it takes everything thrown at it with aplomb, and also came with a mincer. had I not killed the FP and bought a new one just a month before I would have also gotten the FP and blender attachments and just had the one appliance and stick mixer.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Member

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    Thanks for the informative replies guys.

    Looking through some of the recipes we want to use, and I think we'll end up getting a food processor. Just seems to be better for larger quantities of things, I think.

    Now, just gotta choose one...

    Not going to spend a huge amount - on a limited budget after all. Maybe up to $300-400 (gotta talk it over with the gf, perhaps even that much is overkill at this stage).

    Probably will get a stick mixer at some point, but for now I think the FP is the way to go.

    Especially as when we cook, we typically do about 6 serves (4 people in the house, plus a couple of leftover serves for lunch the next day), so decent sized quantities.
     
  10. caspian

    caspian Member

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    go either one of two ways:

    - spend about $500-600 and get a heritage quality applicance - Kenwood, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Magimix. you won't buy another one for a decade or so. my mate's wife unmercifully flogs her Kenwood, he says he's done the gearbox grease once in 20 years, and the seals are just starting to weep.

    - spend about $150 on a cheaper Breville, Sunbeam, Kambrook or Tefal. it will work find and you'll eventually wear it out and get another one.

    at the moment, it sounds like the latter is the go. I just counsel against spending $300, IMO you'll still wear it out in a few years so why spend the money. $300 is that middle ground where you're not getting much more than you do for $150, and it's still a consumable applicance.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Member

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    Hmm, interesting advice....worth considering.

    I certainly can't afford a $600 or so machine at the moment, so maybe I should just get a $150-200 one and accept it'll need replacing in a few years (when I've actually got a real job and not 2 shifts a week of retail)
     
  12. OP
    OP
    CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Member

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    Other question is - how important is the mini bowl attachment? The only cheap one with a mini bowl is a russell hobbs one, but that's only a 600W motor (whereas even the cheaper Sunbeams have 750-850 watts).

    The Kenwood ones have a glass mill attachment, whatever that is

    Or would one of the cheap stick mixers with bowl attachment serve the purpose of the mini bowl, for most uses?
     
  13. huckleberry2

    huckleberry2 Member

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    I bought a stick mixer a few years back, had to throw it out after a few months. The seal around the base of the mixing head that keeps that blades from the internals breached easily for some reason, whether that be blending hot things or powdery things. After some time the thing built up a smelly gloopy stuff inside it and I knew it was time to throw it out. Replaced it with a blender recently.

    The stick is really good only for hommus and soup. I wouldn't use it for anything else meaning that you'll need a blender as well.
     
  14. connico

    connico Member

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    Essential requirements in a decent kitchen are...

    1. Decent food processor - Don't need to pay to much for it, just make sure it works and has some decent power...

    2. Very decent, powerful and brand name blender. Glass is ok, poly plastic better if your absent minded and don't like the weight of glass...

    3. Very decent, powerful and brand name stick blender... Bamix prefered...
     
  15. caspian

    caspian Member

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    personally I don't have one and have never needed one, but that's obviously dependant on what you're cooking.

    like all gadgets, ask yourself what you're realistically going to use it for.

    stick mixer - I use it for blending soup twice a month. I think I paid about $40 for a Philips Billy about 10 years ago and it works like new. if you want to get a mini-bowl attachment for whipping mayo, chopping herbs, making pesto etc then maybe ramp it up a bit.

    blender - virtually never used unless my partner goes mad and wants to make a smoothie. stick mixer does all the real blending I ever require, but if you want to make lots of drinks, maybe desserts(?) then you might get the value from one. if mine blows up I'll look seriously at just getting the blender jug that goes on my Kenwood.

    gadgets are cool, but they cost money and take up valuable cupboard space. if they're too weak to do what you want or they die when used then you've wasted your cash, if you spend a fortune on them and they don't get used then the same problem exists.

    nobody will have the same ideal solution, so the shot is to think about what you cook now, what you're actually going to cook even with the gadget, and what it's worth to you.
     
  16. mopiko

    mopiko Member

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  17. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    The difference between the stick blender itself is fairly minimal. Mostly to do with the motor - some are more powerful and quieter than others. The power does not matter - unless you want to turn peanuts into peanut butter. For everything else, a low powered motor is adequate. A quiet motor is very nice to have. My Bamix makes as much noise as a Dremel, but my old Sunbeam sounded like a chainsaw.

    The real difference is with the accessories. Bamix accessories here and Kitchenaid product page here.

    It looks as if the Bamix is more versatile - it is after all an older and more well established system. You can get a mini food processor attachment for it. But I must say I prefer the Kitchenaid whisk. The Bamix "A blade" (used for frothing whites) does not work very well and it is useless for some types of liquids.

    As for making breadcrumbs ... it can be done, but it will be painful. With the Bamix, you need the "wet and dry processor" (optional accessory for the more basic models!), and you can not fit a slice of bread in there because it is rather small! You would have to do a lot of batches. FYI - the Bamix Wet and Dry Processor is an essential accessory if you go with Bamix. I use it a lot, and I prefer using it over my food processor.
     
  18. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I've got a new Kenwood tri-blade. The ends twist off so they are easy to clean (although the fixed blades aren't hard to clean if you rinse them off immediately anyway). The Kenwood's got a potato mashing thingy which may be useful if you like mashed potato.
     
  19. mopiko

    mopiko Member

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    Amfibius have you used both?

    I remember you mentioning you have a Bamix. For around 110 pounds I feel the Bamix is maybe better value>?
     
  20. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Nah I have a Sunbeam and a Bamix. I gave my Sunbeam away. The guy who got it found it so useful that he promptly bought a Bamix and gave my old Sunbeam to his brother. I have never used a Kitchenaid stick mixer.
     

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