Kenwood Chef XL Titanium Stand Mixer Review: every baker's best friend
Every keen baker's dream, the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium is a capable stand mixer. It's smart and slick but designed not for small kitchens
Loaded with scales, a range of speeds, and various attachments, it has all bases covered. The only down side is how big it is.
Easy to use
Stainless steel is high maintenance
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Kenwood is a popular brand in the UK, but not so much in the US. Our industry is normally dominated by other market leaders, but the Kenwood XL Titanium might be their first one to become popular across the sea.
Known for their build quality, Kenwood machines are built to last. This model comes with a ten-year warranty, but I've heard of people having theirs for almost a lifetime. This beast of a stand mixer is built for industrial amounts of cakes, bakes, and bread.
The Titanium Chef XL has a powerful motor, a deep mixing bowl, and basic, but effective attachments. I took it to our test kitchen where I used it to make vanilla sponge cakes, bread, and whipped cream.
As expected, the Titanium Chef XL is fantastic. It's also heavy and not without its quirks, but if you're looking for heavy-duty performance, look no further.
A big stand mixer requires a big box. Kenwood didn't hold back with this one. I struggled to lift it from the floor to the countertop and then had to battle with the box to drag the stand mixer out.
Once it was on the surface, I noticed that most of the bulk was made of plastic bags and polystyrene blocks. I think it's a shame to use non-recyclable packaging when there are plenty of other options on the market, but at least it keeps the Titanium Chef XL well-protected.
Overlooking the packaging, this is a beautiful stand mixer. It's big, so you'll need lots of room under your cupboards, and it clearly means mixing business. This comes with three attachments: a K-beater, for mixing cakes, batters, meat, and doughs; a dough hook; and a steel whisk. It also comes with a plastic shield, which you can use if you don't want to splatter liquid or clouds of flour on your countertop.
Kenwood doesn't include any extra frills or fuss, even the instructions are basic pictures. I like that. This is a straightforward machine, so it's easy to get started straight away.
This boxy stand style looks simultaneously industrial and smart. It's big and beautiful, with extra emphasis on the big. Only buy the Titanium Chef XL if you have deep countertops and lots of space under your cupboards. Even the mixing bowl is deep, so if you make party-sized portions, you're in the perfect company.
Amateur bakers probably don't need the size or range of speed settings that this offers. So, if you don't need this capacity, you can save money and space by investing in other models. Kenwood uses XL and chef in the name for a reason. They are looking for seasoned bakers who mass cater.
Aside from rinsing the attachments, the Titanium XL arrived all set up and ready to go. You have to pull a button at the back to tilt the head back and I didn't want to apply too much force the first time I used it, but you have to be firm, otherwise, it won't move.
The head is also on a spring, so unlike KitchenAids, it'll almost bounce back down unless you hold it. This caught me off guard a couple of times and I thought the head was falling down. In fact, that's just how this stand mixer holds itself.
The first test of any good stand mixer is cake mixture. Following the all-in-one method, I combined butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in my bowl. I used the K-beater attachment and turned the smooth dial to the lowest setting. You won't feel any resistance from the dial; it's like a radio volume button, you just twist it and the machine reacts. This means there's very little distinction between speed settings, so you'll need to watch how much you twist it.
When beating most mixers will knock some flour up the sides, so I often have to get my spatula involved. However, the Titanium XL was really neat and contained with its beating. The bowl is deep, so the steep sides don't hold any flour and the stand doesn't wobble much either.
After I baked the sponge mixture, it came out light, buttery, and golden brown. There were no unmixed pockets of flat tops. It was perfect, even if I do say so myself.
The next test is to check how the stand mixer whips up a liquid. I switched attachments and poured in a carton of heavy cream. Integrated into the stand mixer, you'll see some scales. These will weigh, only when the machine is on, and then when you start mixing, they'll turn into a timer. If you bake by eye or already own scales, this isn't important, but when you're under time pressure, it's really easy having these appliances all in one place.
I tried whipping cream on the fastest setting, but within 30 seconds - I consulted the integrated timer - I could see that it was way too fast. The cream was quickly becoming over-whipped and crumbly rather than forming smooth, stiff peaks.
I changed the setting down so that it was on one of the slowest and added a little milk. Within a couple of minutes, it was back to perfection. It's good to know that this can do all speeds, but I think it is a bit too fast for cream.
Normally, I like to knead my bread by hand. It's a personal quirk, which can be a killer when you want to make big batches of dough. Having a dough hook with your stand mixer can be a game changer in these instances.
To make bread in a stand mixer, I placed my dry ingredients in the bowl and slowly poured in the water with the dough hook rotating on a low setting. Within four minutes, my dough wasn't sticking to the sides, had formed a ball, and looked very elastic.
I lifted the head to get my dough out. The stand mixer head bounced back down because it was spring-loaded, so I struggled to lift the dough out in one piece. Eventually, I had to break the dough into sections and bring it out in parts. It's not the most elegant finish, but the dough itself was impressive. I gave it a quick knead by hand so that I could feel the texture for myself. It was firm, smooth, and, quite honestly, a dream to knead.
The proof was in the baking though. When I took my loaf out of the oven, it had a lovely open structure without any cracks or close texture that would indicate the dough had been overworked.
Even though the bowl and attachments are dishwasher safe, I like to clean these things by hand. The bowl is deep, so if you have a compact dishwasher, I think you'll need to wash it by hand anyway.
These were easy to clean, but you need to be meticulous; the stainless steel shows every fingerprint, so when I placed the bowl back on the stand, the outside somehow looked messier.
I'd recommend that you leave the stand mixer on the side. It looks nice enough, but my reasoning is really that this is too heavy to comfortably move. That's why I would only recommend this if you have room in your kitchen, otherwise, it will take up a lot of valuable space.
Celebrated online, most of the Kenwood Chef XL Titanium reviews are five-star. Lots of people buy it for its power. It's a heavy-duty stand mixer, so most of the users were making triple quantities of standard mixtures. They all felt that it was a well-made machine, which packed a lot of power. Lots of people found the LED bowl light, which shows you what's in the bowl really useful too.
The downside of this, as I found as well, is the size. People felt that this was an expensive stand mixer, but that's compared to smaller models. It's worth it if you need the size, but if you don't it's a waste.
Some people noticed that their motor got hot when they used it for a long time, especially at high speeds or with dough, so be cautious. Other users didn't like the industrial and professional look of the Titanium Chef. They preferred KitchenAid and Smeg mixer styles.
The Kenwood Chef Titanium Stand Mixer, on Amazon, averages out at $100 more than a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, our favorite stand mixer on the market. The KitchenAid looks more beautiful than the Kenwood and it's smaller too. If your priority is appearance, I would opt for KitchenAid. It performs incredibly well and it's reasonably priced too.
However, the bowl has a 1.25-gallon capacity, compared to Kenwood's extra 0.5-gallon bowl. This can make all the difference when you're batch baking. The Kenwood also has some technical features that make it an excellent option for specialist bakers. The stand has integrated scales and a timer, so you can keep an eye on the measurements of every aspect. Again, I think this suits serious, technical bakers much better than KitchenAid.
If you're serious about baking and you want to make big batches of batter, the Kenwood Chef Titanium is an excellent option. Scales and a timer might not matter to the average baker, but when the kitchen heats up and you're baking with more pressure and capacity, it's like having a helping hand. It's expensive and industrial, which doesn't suit every baker, but if that sounds like your bag, you'll love this.
Our team of experts takes every stand mixer that we review to our specialist test kitchen. Here, we have a series of standard tests that each stand mixer has to go through.
We make cakes to see how the mixer tackles batter; bread to see how it kneads; and whipped cream to see how well it can whip up some texture. We also make notes on the unboxing and cleaning process so that you don't have any nasty surprises when this stand mixer arrives at your door. If you'd like to find out more details, we have lots of information on our 'how we test' page.
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Laura is our eCommerce editor. Before Homes & Gardens she studied English at Oxford University. Alongside her studies, she qualified as a barista and trained as a master perfumer. This makes her our certified expert for all things coffee, candles, and fragrance. She has passed our five-step tests to become a certified Customer Advisor, making her our resident expert. Laura has worked for luxury retail brands, reinforcing the importance of quality and style over quantity and fads. She looks for products which have been designed with thoughtful finishes.
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