A smaller version of KitchenAid's excellent Artisan 5KSM175 food processor, the Artisan Mini is designed to appeal to baking enthusiasts who are ready to get their hands dirty despite a small kitchen.
The Artisan Mini 5KSM3311X is a food processor designed for small kitchens. Smaller than the Artisan 5KSM175, it includes only a 3.3L bowl and a 250W direct drive motor. But it promises to offer the same versatility as its big brother thanks to numerous accessories. KitchenAid ships it with a whisk, flat beater and hook. Others can be purchased separately and attached to a second motor output.
Convenience of use
The Artisan Mini follows the iconic KitchenAid design with reduced dimensions and a few small changes. It is 19.8 cm wide, 31.2 cm deep and as high - 41 cm with the head up. It will therefore fit more easily on a small work surface than the other models of the brand, and of the market for that matter. Despite its size, the Artisan Mini still weighs close to 7 kg, which may be surprising as it looks like a replica of a dinette at first glance. It is therefore far from being one.
KitchenAid has kept the cast metal that makes up the body of the larger models to shape its own. The manufacturer offers the same level of finish as on the Artisan 5KSM185 with full metal handles - metal and plastic on the 5KSM125 and 5KSM175, as on the Classic. The Artisan Mini also has the metal band around the head marked with the name of the brand and the model, and is available like the large Artisan in many colors. It can blend into the kitchen or, on the contrary, stand out. We received a matte black model that we find very successful and elegant, although very messy, because it brings out all the light powders, flour first.
The small model, however, is less well accessorized than the larger ones. The bowl, also made of stainless steel, does not include a handle for easy handling and KitchenAid does not provide an anti-spatter lid. Instead, the Artisan Mini offers a half speed that is supposed to prevent splashing at the beginning of mixing, but you'll have to be careful when adding ingredients during mixing. It is still possible to buy a splash-proof lid separately.
The manufacturer also sells bowls with a handle and accessories to extend the functionality of the robot thanks to a motor outlet on the front. The system is identical to that of the larger models and therefore works with the same extensions.
As for accessories, KitchenAid supplies the Artisan Mini with a whisk, a flat beater (or leaf) and a hook. The structure of the latter is surprisingly simplistic since there is no element in the center. Note that the aluminum is coated with a non-stick nylon coating; the same goes for the hook, which is topped, as always at KitchenAid, with a disk that prevents the dough from rising too much if it gets caught around it. On this point, the Artisan Mini is closer to the Artisan 5KSM125 and 5KSM175, and we noticed during our test of the latter that this coating could flake off over time. We would have preferred to find stainless steel accessories, as with the Artisan 5KSM185, especially since we find it difficult to see the point of the non-stick coating.
The accessories are provided with a kind of sleeve to be slipped on the rotation axis under the robot head. The latter is lifted manually after pushing a lever to unlock it. The operation, without being complicated, requires the use of both hands, which can be annoying. KitchenAid does not offer a safety system that prevents the accessories from turning when the head is raised, but a screw allows you to adjust the height of the accessories to make sure they fit at the bottom of the bowl. Not everyone offers this.
The bowl is positioned on the base of the food processor in a metal footprint, so there is no risk of breaking it if you force it too much or try to remove it before it is completely unlocked. Its 3.3-liter capacity makes it one of the smallest on the market, but according to KitchenAid it can handle up to eight egg whites and 1.8 kg of cake batter. We encountered no problems in making the recipes in our protocol, and unless you're baking for buffets, there's not much to worry about.
Finally, we find to turn on the Artisan Mini a mechanical lever giving the choice between several speeds: ½, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10. As on the large models, we find a total of 10 speeds, but not as many notches. It is therefore difficult to use all of them - it is possible to block the lever between two notches with a little dexterity - but one appreciates the quick response of the robot which starts at a quarter turn and turns off just as quickly. This is the advantage of having no electronics. On the other hand, this excludes the options that can be found on the Kenwood Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL, such as the integrated scale.
Like any appliance that comes into contact with food, the Artisan Mini should be cleaned after each use, or at least its accessories. All of them, except the whisk, are dishwasher safe, but it is better to wash them with soapy water if they are not full and ready to be used immediately, so that the residues of pasta and other preparations do not have time to dry. The absence of a handle on the bowl is an advantage since it will not interfere with the sink. We also come to appreciate the sheet for its very simple structure and limiting the angles often difficult to clean.
On the side of the robot, you can allow yourself a more occasional cleaning by working cleanly. It is important to make sure that no paste enters the space around the accessory attachment system under the head. That said, the Artisan Mini has few gaps where dirt and preparations can get lodged. Most of the time, a damp cloth is all that is needed to clean it, as long as you don't let the pasta residues dry.
Closer to the Classic than the Artisan in terms of motorization, the Artisan Mini 5KSM3311X has a 250W direct drive motor (compared to 300W for the Artisan and 275W for the Classic) and offers a choice of 10 speeds. A whisk, a sheet and a hook are included.
Whites in snow
Used in many sweet and savory recipes, egg whites bring lightness, as long as they are properly beaten. Fortunately, you can count on the Artisan Mini to help you with this task. Armed with its whisk, it managed to whip the two whites we tested in just over a minute. That's twice as long as its big brother, but still less than what we were able to time for Kenwood's kMix and Titanium Chef Pâtissier XL, for example.
Our test of the sponge cake was not very conclusive. If the Artisan Mini confirmed its mastery of the whisk at the beginning of the recipe, the integration of the flour with the sheet went less well. At the end of the 40 seconds allotted for this step, we noticed that a thick batter had formed at the bottom of the bowl.
The robot was not able to integrate the flour evenly. This is an exercise in which its big brother had done much better, probably thanks to a better designed sheet. The Artisan Mini's sheet lacks at least one rod running through the center to move more material. KitchenAid offers an optional sheet with a flexible edge that may provide better results, but it too lacks a center rod. We had no choice but to give up a good amount of dough when we put it in the oven using the sheet provided, while our sponge cake soon showed a lack of flour after it came out of the oven (it mostly fell apart as it cooled). A few lumps were also visible.
Despite its simplistic sheet, the little KitchenAid food processor was able to make a satisfactory shortcrust pastry. However, the machine likes to take its time: a little more than 2 minutes were needed to transform butter and flour into a more or less regular crumble. A few more turns of the sheet could have produced a better result after adding the water. Our protocol imposes a time of 1 min to add the water, after which some pieces of butter remain visible. However, they are not comparable to the ones we found in the dough made with the Proline RP11 or even with the Smeg SMF02. These pieces are however small and few in number and our dough is well agglomerated; nothing remained in the bowl.
We also made a loaf of bread with the Artisan Mini and its hook. Despite its "small" 250 W motor, the machine did not falter. We didn't notice any slowdown during the kneading process, not even during the last 30 seconds when we threw it at full speed to push it to its limits. However, we could see the head rising very slightly, as the pastry machine was not perfectly stable on the work surface either. Nevertheless, the dough came out smooth and elastic enough to retain the gas released by the yeast during the pushing and baking.
The Artisan Mini is the quietest food processor we have tested. Its direct drive motor probably has a lot to do with it. It never emitted more than 64 dB (A) at a distance of 1 m during our tests, and we even found only 54 dB (A) during kneading on the first speed. Remember that a level of 60 dB (A) corresponds to a normal conversation. We can therefore continue to chat next to the robot during operation.
If the Artisan Mini is delivered with few accessories, KitchenAid offers many optional ones, starting with the anti-spattering lid that we would obviously have preferred to find directly in the box. Several bowls are also offered and it is possible to buy a flat beater with a soft edge in addition to many "extensions" - the accessories that extend the functionality of the robot.
Like other KitchenAid models, the Artisan Mini includes a motor output on the front and thus provides access to the same extensions. You can use them to grate, slice, chop, make pasta or juice. But beware: with its small dimensions, especially in height, it will be impossible to slide a pitcher under the juicer. The ice cream maker is not compatible because it replaces the bowl and is only available in one size. Let's add that KitchenAid has not yet found a way to offer a blender on its robots. The official accessories are also quite expensive. However, the popularity of the brand has also pushed third-party manufacturers to offer compatible accessories, often much more affordable.
The Artisan Mini 5KSM3311X retains the main strengths of the big Artisan, namely a robust design and a direct drive motor of rare efficiency. The little KitchenAid food processor has never shown any signs of weakness despite its "only" 250 W of power. However, some accessories could be reworked to make it more practical and efficient, even if KitchenAid offers optional alternatives. The small capacity of the bowl may also slow down the most ambitious pastry chefs.