The SMF02 is a retro pastry blender, but only in appearance. Its technical data sheet places it in the top tier of the market, notably thanks to its direct drive motor that can deliver 800 W.
Smeg is more than just a design, and the SMF02 food processor demonstrates this perfectly. It is equipped with an 800 W direct drive motor, a solid base and a front motor outlet. The SMF02 comes with a pastry kit that includes a whisk, flat beater and hook. With these features, the device could well join Kenwood and KitchenAid on the podium of the best pastry blenders.
Convenience of use
Although the Smeg catalog does not entirely adopt the retro style, some of the collections are faithful to it. The SMF02 food processor is just one of the appliances with the curves of the 1950s collection. Available in six colors, including three pastel ones, it is 100% in line with current trends in household appliances.
We move on to handling the robot, literally. And it's a nice surprise. The SMF02 weighs 7.8 kg and its base is notched so that we can slide our hands underneath to move it better. The body of the robot is made of cast aluminum and its base of zinc alloy - the KitchenAid Artisan is made entirely of zinc, which explains its extra weight. And like the Artisan, the Smeg has no technology on board. It is a world away from the integrated scale, the heated bowl and the timer, all adopted by the Kenwood Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL.
The first control is located at the back of the robot and allows you to raise its head. We like the fact that it is a simple button to press. It's a shame, however, that we need both hands, unlike the Moulinex Masterchef Gourmet. The location of the control can also be a problem depending on the position of the SMF02 on the work surface. For example, if the user is stuck to a wall, it may be difficult to raise and lower the robot head. On the other hand, activating this control pauses the device, even if it is running at full power. This is an option we would have liked to take advantage of on the Artisan.
Once connected to the mains, the robot obeys an electronic speed lever from 1 to 10. This is the second control of the device. We particularly liked it because it allows you to choose the exact speed you want. Also, thanks to the progressive start-up, the ingredients are not thrown out of the bowl. An anti-spattering cover is supplied with the machine to avoid any possible inconvenience.
At full power, the Smeg SMF02 could reach 800 W. Once again, the power is to be put in parallel with the type of motorization. In this case, the Smeg has a direct drive motor that requires less power for equivalent or even better results than belt-driven motors. The 800 W of the pastry blender is not comparable to the 1500 W of the Kenwood Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL. However, direct drive motors have an undeniable advantage: they are located in the head of the robot, close to the accessories, which results in less power loss than for belt-driven motors located in the base of the appliance. Finally, the former would have a longer life than their competitors, whose life depends on the health of the belt.
To obtain good results, the SMF02 is equipped with the planetary movement now integrated in many appliances. The utensil rotates on its own axis and in the opposite direction to the rotation of the food processor. The accessories are thus supposed to scrape all the walls of the bowl, leaving no area untouched. The preparations are better mixed and more homogeneous.
Of course, the food processor is not delivered alone and is accompanied by a pastry kit including a whisk, a flat beater and a hook. Smeg recommends using the hook up to speed 3, while the other two utensils can be used at maximum power. To attach them to the appliance, the system is identical to that of the Artisan 5KSM175: it is necessary to place the accessory on the hub by pushing and turning the utensil. A 4.8 l steel bowl with a handle is also included. Finally, an anti-spill lid with a spout helps limit spills during preparation.
During our tests, no latency was observed when starting up the robot. We therefore tested the three accessories by making some of the most important pastry and cooking preparations.
Whites in snow
To evaluate the robots, we put the equivalent of two egg whites in the bowl, i.e. 70 g. The quantities are small, but this is quite deliberate. By making this choice, we can evaluate the product's ability to reach the bottom of the bowl and be effective even with small proportions.
The Smeg SMF02 performs particularly well on this test. It takes a short minute to get the whites set to perfection. After 15 minutes of pause, the whites do not sink at all, as we do not find any trace of liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
We now proceeded to the sponge cake test, which combines two accessories: the wire whisk and the flat beater. The height of the sponge cake before and after baking is similar to that of the Moulinex Masterchef Gourmet (2.2 cm, then 2.8 cm). However, unlike its competitor, the eggs and sugar did not foam as well. Its advantage lies more in the performance of the sheet, which managed to integrate the flour perfectly into the preparation.
This is the only sponge cake that has such a smooth and even texture after baking. In comparison, the Artisan 5KSM175 and the Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL were very good with the whisk, but did not mix the flour as well.
The shortcrust pastry was the most difficult test for this food processor. Starting at speed 1, it did not manage to get the right texture by mixing the butter, flour and salt in the allotted time. By adding water, the Smeg amalgamates everything, but the damage is done: the cutting of the dough ball reveals large pieces of butter and the result is unfortunately close to that of the Proline RP11.
As speed 1 is particularly slow, we performed the test a second time, this time on power 2. The result is quite different. The robot mixes all the ingredients perfectly and, in fine, the dough is perfectly homogeneous. The results taken into account in the rating are obviously those made at minimum power in order to keep the same procedure for all the pastry processors that pass through our lab.
Note that a slow minimum speed is not necessarily a defect. It allows you to mix the ingredients gently, without scattering them on the work surface.
The final and most dreaded test is the bread dough. It's endurance and stability that are put to the test during this preparation. Like the Artisan, the head of the SMF02 moves up and down, but remains perfectly stable. The last 30 seconds prove to be more difficult for the robot. We launch it at maximum power to push it to its limits. Although the Smeg maintains a good stability, it starts to shake on the work surface.
Finally, our white bread reaches 7.2 cm after baking. A good result, but still a bit far from the 8.6 cm of the Kenwood Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL.
The lines of this Italian food processor have few gaps in which preparation residues could get lodged. Cleaning is therefore very quick, especially since all its accessories (except the whisk) are dishwasher safe. The shallow bowl area also makes it easy to clean.
The noise level of the food processor is recorded three times. The Smeg SMF02 is the quietest of our comparison at the moment. Only the Artisan 5KSM175 does better when kneading at minimum speed, but the difference is very small. It emits 59 dB (A), compared to 60.5 dB (A) for the SMF02. On the other hand, it is the Smeg appliance that comes first when equipped with the whisk and launched at 70 W.
Available at the time of purchase, the optional accessories make the Smeg SMF02 an upgradeable appliance, but within certain limits. Indeed, thanks to its front motor output, the food processor can accommodate the classic chopper, grater, sheeter... and that's all. A bowl acting as an ice cream maker can also be installed in place of the stainless steel bowl. We are therefore far from Kenwood's offer, and even further from KitchenAid's. However, the 800 W of Smeg reassure us and let us hope for good performances once the accessories are acquired.
The Smeg SMF02 is a nice surprise. With a direct drive motor, an efficiency of 800 W and 10 powers, this pastry blender is particularly efficient. Not to take anything away from it, its 1950's aesthetic, signature of the Italian manufacturer, makes it a real decorative object. Although it works silently, the Smeg does require a few extra seconds to complete the requested creations, compared to other models in our comparison.