Tudor test drives the Kenwood kMix food mixer to turn out some sparkling Hot Cross buns
Unusually for this correspondent the time has come to bake. After being scathing for years about the various TV bake programs and watching madly as one new bakeshop after another opens on the high street, I decided it was time to take on the challenge of producing some Easter goodies.
Fortunately I was not alone in this task… those great guys at Kenwood offered the support of their new kMix food mixer… but would it be up for the task? Well let me assure you, this is a machine, not a mixer.
Apart form its super retro styling, a 5 liter bowl, 500w engine an array of tools that this writer easily fitted without even looking at the instructions… this is a machine that is fit for purpose straight out of the box .
My challenge. One afternoon and two recipes; one simnel cake and ten hot cross buns, hoping that my recipes would test the machine and my own skills.
First of all, the hot cross buns. Apart form the initial challenge of finding a jar of mincemeat in April (answer… check out your local health store), this recipe looked as if it would be simple for the Kenwood. In essence it’s the equivalent of a one-pot meal.
It uses both the K-beater, a unique Kenwood design that combines with the rotating mixing action to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and the dough hook that makes folding bread mixture a simple and straightforward process.
Secondly, the simnel cake. Again the recipe ensures that the kMix does the work. Once the ingredients are measured, it’s simply a matter of adding them in the right order. The kMix’s 5-liter bowl easily handles the volume of the mixture and within 30 minutes it’s ready to go into the oven.
One feature of the kMix that I presumed would be of little use, the speed control, in fact proved to be invaluable.
According to Kenwood the kMix’s advanced electronic speed control ensures that you can carefully and smoothly build up to the desired speed without causing spillage of the bowls contents. It worked and my kitchen didn’t resemble the normal disaster zone!
In terms of a test of capabilities, the machine won. This is probably why the Kenwood brand has survived so long. I would add that the most important part of the engineering being what Kenwood call “total mixing”.
While most beaters that I have used rotate in a circular motion, the Kenwood bowl tools move in a planetary motion. This means that while the beater revolves in one direction, the socket turns in the opposite direction making sure that all the mixture is picked up from around the bowl.
In my case It was consistent whether I was whisking a small amount of white paste for the cross on the buns or the complete mixture for the cake. The end result ensured that the final product had great consistency throughout.
Maybe I chose some simple recipes, but the results were excellent and the kMix has inspired me to take on some further challenges. Watch this space.
The Kenwood kMix KMX50WG Stand Mixer costs around £190. Discover more at www.kenwoodworld.com
Hot cross buns recipe
For the Hot Cross Bun paste:
100g of white flour (plain or strong white/bread making flour, either will do)
30g caster sugar
80ml of milk
For the Hot Cross Buns:
500g of strong white or bread making flour
150ml of milk
90ml of water
75g of softened, unsalted butter
50g of caster sugar
15g of fresh yeast (or 7g of dried yeast)
5g of fine sea salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg to egg wash before baking
175g of mincemeat
For the paste:
(The paste is best made before the dough and left to rest)
Put the milk into your mixer followed by the flour and the sugar and using the creaming beater attachment mix on speed 2 until it forms a paste of the consistency of a thick custard.
Scrape out into a piping bag and leave to rest whilst you make your dough.
For the dough:
Pour the milk and water into the mixing bowl, crack in the egg and add the yeast. Next tip in the flour followed by the sugar, salt and finally the mincemeat.
Note: do not add the butter yet.
Mix using the dough hook for 2 mins on speed 1 until the dough has started coming together.
Turn the speed up to full and slowly add the butter in, a knob at a time and let it incorporate before you add the next. This should take a couple of minutes.
Continue mixing on high speed for another 4 minutes and when your dough is ready it should have formed a ball of dough that clings to the dough hook and most of your mixing bowl should be clean.
Scrape your dough out of the bowl and put into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or plastic bag and leave to prove at room temperature for about an hour until the dough has nearly doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto your work surface (no flour required) and divide into 10 pieces. Shape into rolls and place on a baking tray on a piece of baking parchment. Leave to prove again for an hour.
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius at this stage so it is ready to bake
Brush the buns with egg wash, and then pipe crosses onto each.
Bake for approximately 12-15mins until golden.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.