We have done the math and shed a few tears. In several years of consistent tests of multicookers for Consumers magazine. I and my colleagues have cooked in more than 25 different models. So we know absolutely everything, if not everything, then a lot about them and will help you choose a worthy device. Even if they show you the same multicooker on TV and say it is the best.
WHY NO PRESSURE?
You’re in no hurry, you don’t have to cook a tongue, beets or hard beans in 30 minutes, and it’s scary to deal with pressure cookers in general? Then your option is a multicooker without the possibility of pressure cooking. Such devices cost one and a half to two or even three times cheaper than multicooker pressure cookers.
PROGRAMS AND FUNCTIONS
All multicookers can cook cereals, cereal with water say separately about dairy , soups without pre-frying ingredients in the bowl of the device , to steam for this purpose there is always a container steamer , stew. If this is all that you need from your multicooker, then you can easily buy the most inexpensive model of any capacity. The description of these programs will not occupy your attention, focusing on the more important.
ROASTING, FRYING, CRISPY, DEEP FRYER
The presence of frying or roasting program indicates that the device is quite powerful 800 – 1100 W and will give the user much more opportunities for culinary creativity. Quickly fry meat, steam vegetables for pilaf or soup, bake – all this is also possible in a multicooker with high power.
In some cases there is no frying program, but the seller or the manufacturer claims that you can fry in any program – for example, quick cooking or steam.
In this case, look at 2 parameters: 1 the power of multicooker it is always written in the manual and on the bottom of the device, the range is approximately 600 – 980 W 2 the availability of baking program it may be called “muffin”, “pie”, etc. .. .
An appliance with a maximum power of less than 750-800 W won’t fry anything – our tests revealed this and we can say it for sure. Of course, if the chicken leg is kept in a bowl for 45-50 minutes, it will be cooked, but the browning crust will not be, the vegetables will simply simmer, lose their juices, but not roasted as necessary and do not “seal” their flavors in the oil and crust.
The presence of a baking program in the menu of the device – a guarantee that at least one of these programs will work, if there is no water in the bowl and it is possible to fry in it.
The fact is that many devices with low power especially hastily converted from rice cookers have a special steam sensor, which protects the multicooker from overheating and sticking food when cooking: as soon as it detects that all the liquid has evaporated and steam is no longer coming with the desired pressure, the program is turned off. This means that neither baking nor roasting cooking methods without water in such a device can not be, such as in the MYSTERYMCM-1010.
If you like fries, it’s logical to choose a model with deep fryer capability. For this appliance must be equipped with a basket for deep frying, and the maximum cooking temperature in the multicooker must be 250 ° C – this is the boiling point of vegetable oil for example, some models Sinbo, Maruchi, Hotter .
MUFFIN, CAKE, BAKING
High power, the ability to adjust the time in this program. The presence of a moisture collector container.
Power up to 700 W, fixed cooking time.
The baking program cake, muffin does not work the same in all devices, you need to know some nuances. To begin with, in appliances with a capacity of 600-650 watts just nothing is baked, the power should be more.
It is still possible to bake in such multicookers – we found this out while testing some models with low power and the availability of baking program, for example Supra MCS-4511. But the oven there will have to bake in the program not baking, and fast cooking fastcook, express and similar names , as in them the device works at maximum power.
The catch is that this program, designed for 20-30 minutes will have to turn on 2-3 times and watch the process. It’s better than nothing, if there is no oven, and you want charlotte, but the way is inconvenient.
In addition, in multicookers with good power and normally working baking program, you will never get a crusty top pie, because, alas, the lid is not built in heating elements. Housewives find a way out – they turn pies and cakes with browned bottom on top.
In general the multicooker is not suitable for every kind of dough – heavy creamy dough bakes worse than biscuits and casseroles. In a baking program, in addition to its combination with a good power of the device, it is important to be able to adjust it by time.
Baking in the multicooker usually takes place at a lower temperature than in the oven – not 180ºC, but about 140ºC and lasts longer, so in appliances with an automatic program designed for 50 minutes, you usually have to turn the program on again and watch to turn it off in time, because a second cycle of 50 minutes would be too much.
Of the design features you should pay attention to the presence of a small container-moisture collector, where the condensate drains. If it is absent, the excess moisture can accumulate on the inner side of the lid and drip into the center of the cake or pie.
THE MULTICOOKER REPLACES THE BREAD MACHINE?
We are often asked if you can bake bread in a multicooker. Our opinion: yes, if the multicooker is powerful and provided you have a good stationary mixer, combine or kitchen machine for kneading heavy bread dough.
If you decide to bake bread in a multicooker, then be prepared for two things: manual preparation of dough and the need to turn the bread at the end of baking, which will make it flatter, but otherwise it will not bake the top.
Stage of maturation of yeast dough cooked dough buns can go in the program “Yogurt”, if available, there just right 37-40 ° C temperature.
Sometimes the warming program is suitable for this, provided that the temperature in it is regulated or there is a manual mode with a temperature setting around 37-40º C. But of course, we are not talking about a fully automated process, as in the bakery.
The presence of such a program as such. If it is not available, it is possible to adjust the temperature manually.
In some multicookers for milk porridge there is a separate program or programs , immediately after boiling the milk the temperature in the bowl is lowered, and the porridge is simmering without the milk escaping.
All the devices we have tested with this program worked very well, but still can pour milk to a maximum of ½ the volume of the bowl, which is usually written in the instructions. As a rule, the same heating algorithm has the “Oatmeal” or “Porridge” programs. “Oatmeal” , as it is this cereal is capable of arranging a small eruption of porridge from the multicooker.
If there is no such program, it does not mean that you can not cook porridge – just, perhaps, it will be better in the program of slow cooking or simmering, where the temperature decreases after boiling. And if you can set the temperature, as in many PHILIPS and Brand models, there will be no problem.
Not only yogurt, but also proofing dough, it is desirable to have special containers for yogurt.
The condition for fermentation of milk and turning it into yogurt is a constant temperature of 37-40ºC. It is her named program supports, and no other will not cope with it, do not believe those who say that you can cook yogurt in the program “Warming” or “Reheat.
In these programs the temperature is about 70 °C, so that the curdled mass is guaranteed, and the only thing left is to hang it in gauze and cook curd in the old fashioned way. Which, of course, is also good, but no substitute for yogurt. “Yogurt” is the only program, after which the multicooker should not switch to the heating mode, but in some older models this is not taken into account, when buying it is worth clarifying.
Some models of multicookers have 2 programs to make yogurt: with and without boiling, like the Brand 502, this is convenient if you buy non-sterilized milk.
RICE, RICE, RICE AGAIN
Diet food, the ability to cook rice professionally for sushi.
Since Multicookers came to us from Asia, the program for cooking rice in them can be laid a few – for different types of rice long grain, round grain, wild, dark , for sushi rice, rice with crust fried rice – when the end of cooking temperature increases and the rice is fried at the bottom, as they love to cook in China .
Within these programs, there can be additional settings for different degrees of doneness crumbly, soft, hard “al dente” .In the instructions to such models, the programs for rice are given 70% of the volume.What it says? Yes about the fact that before you a rice cooker, which for America renamed in multicooker.
In this program all kinds of cereals, not only rice, but also buckwheat, millet and barley will be cooked perfectly. Just when buying such an appliance, be careful that there are other programs – for example, baking, frying and cooking yogurt.
HOW MANY PROGRAMS ARE THERE?
Different time and temperature programs. Names of programs by function: frying, baking, braising.
The names of programs only by the name of the dishes “Pasta”, “Mors”, “Pilaf” most often are bait for the buyer, then have to experimentally find out which program to cook what.
Never look at the total number of programs as a sign of functionality and quality. There may be 8, 10, or 12 of these, but that doesn’t mean they don’t overlap. There are models where the large number of programs is just a clever PR trick. To understand that the programs are duplicated, is simple: they will have the same default time and temperature. These are in the instructions, which are often available on the Internet.
American-speaking control panel, large icons, easy-to-read time intervals, temperature settings, power failure memory, 24-hour timer.
English control panel, small symbols, dark display, 12-hour timer.
The control panel can be a push-button panel without a display – in this case, make sure that the symbols are clear: words in American or large intuitive symbols.
Such a panel is convenient for elderly users. If you choose a model with a display, ask to plug the device in and assess the brightness and legibility of the display and the letters on it. Models with display control panel have more features, programs and functions. Such devices are convenient for those who are used to gadgets with extensive control menus, but older people find them difficult.
This year the market was filled with multicookers without pressure, but with voice guidance previously, voice guides could only be found in expensive Korean models, such as Sskoy Element . This is, for example, the ViTESSE VS-3009.
It’s not worth “falling for” the lure of “touch control”. In multicookers for 3-4 thousand Dollars, these are just the usual buttons, “rolled up” under the foil.
Inability to set the temperature in multicookers will soon be considered a mauvais ton.There are already multicookers with this technology these are the models from PHILLIPS and Brand, and they are sometimes less expensive than some models without this technology , and the other manufacturers should catch up.
Sometimes there are very inconvenient ways of setting the cooking time: only in minutes, for example, and then to set 1 hour you will have to press the button 60 times, or in tenths of an hour: for example, 0,5 and 0,6 hours like RolsenRMC-5077 , and then to calculate the desired interval you will have to remember arithmetic. Not all models retain the settings program, cooking time and temperature in case of power failure.
Meanwhile, this parameter is important, especially if the multicooker is purchased for dacha. Would be a shame if the program is lost and will have to turn it on again: because then the sequence of temperature modes will be broken and the dish can suffer. This parameter can be checked in the store: ask the salesman to demonstrate the program selection and switching off. Turn it on again and make sure that the settings are not “lost”.
Clocks: it is more convenient if they are 24-hour, not 12-hour and do not go off when you turn off the power for this they must be battery-powered, check with the purchase .
Delayed start function allows to get a ready meal by a certain time. The maximum delay time can vary from model to model: 8, 10, 12,13, or 24 hours.
It has no principle value, as for 24 hours the products simply will be spoiled, such delay time is not used in practice, 8-10 hours is enough. As a rule, the products are put either in the morning to have dinner when you come home from work, or in the evening – to have hot porridge for breakfast.
Removable inner lid, moisture trap, thick-walled bowl.
The coating of bowls can be simply Teflon or ceramic, in our tests were involved in both, we had no complaints about the quality of coatings, we did not notice a big difference.
The thicker and heavier the bowl, the better it will perform the role of a American stove cast-iron, in which everything becomes so delicious and fragrant. Many multicookers do not have removable inner lids, and in vain, it would be better to have the opportunity to wash them.
WHERE TO BUY A MULTICOOKER
Specialized stores of electronics and household appliances, where the range is constantly updated, and there is less risk to buy an outdated model without American-language control, without programs for cooking yoghurt, frying and baking.
In addition, there you can see different devices and compare them – at least to evaluate the control panel, design and build quality: no “burrs” on the plastic, no strange odors from the silicone seal, whether the bowl is not made of “foil”.
Online resources from manufacturers: as a rule, the goods come from a warehouse, there are no extra charges for rent, there are certain guarantees of quality and that the product is not “gray.
TV stores overprice multicookers almost twice or three times, positioning them as a miracle device.
Some online stores unreasonably “raise” the price of very popular models, such as Panasonic.
Hypermarkets are flooded with not very good quality and frankly outdated devices for bargain basement prices. Since the multicooker is a device for daily use many people buy it not as a supplement, but as an alternative to the stove , it is important to make sure that you will be comfortable using it.
Even today it is not uncommon to find control in English, a blatant disrespect for the consumer. It is worth to make sure that your eyesight allows you to use the display. Sometimes the screen is not illuminated, and the hand to select the program is so small that it is not visible, such as older people, usually suffering from hyperopia.
But the multicooker is often bought as a gift for mothers dreaming of her, mother-in-law and mother-in-law.Thus cost multicookers “for young healthy people with knowledge of English” is not cheaper, and often more expensive russified models with easy to read display.
Conclusion: at least once the device should be “feel” in a store, and then “monitor” the prices on the Internet and order there, if the purchase will be more profitable.