Best Food Processor Guide


Philips HR7761/01 Food Processor

The Philips HR7761/01 is one of the most popular food processors sold in the UK. Made by the Dutch technology giant, it’s a compact, mid-range food processor which comes with an extremely generous amount of attachments, including a blender and mini chopper. According to the manufacturer, it is capable of performing 28 separate functions. Whatever combination of functions you need from a food processor, the Philips HR7761/01 has a lot to offer – especially good value.

Philips HR7761/01 review

First impression

The Philips HR7761/01 has a white plastic base with a grey plastic trim around the lower edge of the base and around the control knob. It’s a smart design which doesn’t look boxy or slab-sided, and may be a better choice if the brushed metal food processors are a bit too contemporary for you. One great feature of the base is that it is rounded off at the sides and is in fact slightly conical. The lack of corners make it extremely easy to clean with a damp cloth.

In the centre of the front panel is the control knob, with the Philips logo written underneath it in grey. There is a silver trim in the base which surrounds the knob, into which the speed setting indicators are set. The bowl fits flush with the base, which looks very smart. Measuring units are moulded into the front of both the bowl and the blender, allowing you to measure straight into them. A cord storage compartment is built into the rear of the base; to use it, simply push the cable back inside.

Built into the grey plastic bottom of the food processor are four plastic suction cups, which serve to keep it place when in operation. Although they may make it a little fiddly to reposition the food processor once it’s been set in place on the kitchen worktop, they are much more effective than traditional rubber feet, and especially so when the work surface is slightly damp.

Also on the underside of the food processor is the ventilation grill to keep the motor cool, so it’s important that nothing obstructs the gap between the food processor and the work surface when in operation.

The HR776/01 is quite a robust for a plastic food processor. Its 2.1 litre bowl has a working capacity of only 300 ml more than the similarly-sized Kenwood FPP225, but at 3.7 kg, is 1.2 kg heavier. The HR776/01 is only 400 grams lighter than the Kenwood FPM250, whose base is made almost entirely out of brushed stainless steel. Aluminium is admittedly a lighter metal, but either way, the Philips HR776/01 is definitely not a flimsy bit of kit, and in fact it’s actually 100 grams heavier than the 3 litre Kenwood FDP613.

However, at 21 x 21 x 36.8 cm, it’s still a very compact design. This is mainly due to the fact that the base barely extends further than the base of the bowl, and it certainly shouldn’t be too hard to find a home for it in a kitchen cupboard when not in use. Of course you may find it easier to simply leave it out on the kitchen worktop against the wall or in a corner so it’s there when you need it immediately.

In the box

With its description of being capable of performing 28 separate food preparation functions, Philips have styled the HR7761/01 as the Swiss Army knife of food processors, and the ten different attachments included in the box certainly attest to that fact. In addition to the food processor base, you’ll find the bowl, a blender, a mini chopper, a dough tool, a whisking or emulsifying disc, five stainless steel disc inserts and their plastic carrier plate, and a plastic spatula for scraping out the contents of the bowl and for bringing the ingredients down towards the blades if they work their way up the sides.

The UK version of the HR7761/01 runs on 220-240 volts and is obviously equipped with a 3 pin plug, so you will need the appropriate power adaptor should you wish to take it abroad. Also included with the HR7761/01 is a two year manufacturer’s warranty, which is twice as generous as the usual one year warranty typically included with food processors.

Motor

The HR7761/01 has a 750w motor, which is controlled via two speed settings and a pulse mode. The variable speeds give the user exact control over the processing of ingredients: the pulse mode helps prevent them from being over-processed and ensures that the desired texture is attained every time.

Attachments

First and foremost – the bowl. It’s a 2.1 litre bowl with a working capacity of 1.5 litres for liquids and dry foods, and it can accommodate a maximum of 500 grams of flour. As Philips explains, you can easily make up to five portions of soup in one go. And that’s not surprising: it has an impressive 25% greater working capacity than the Kenwood FPP225 and FPM250, both of which also have 2.1 litre bowls but a working capacity of 1.2 litres. If your budget or kitchen space restricts you to a 2.1 litre food processor, then the Philips HR7761/01 is definitely the better choice for getting the most out of the bowl’s space.

Another important aspect of the bowl is that the drive shaft in the centre is sealed, meaning that the contents of the bowl cannot leak via the drive shaft and onto the food processor or the kitchen worktop. This ensures that cleaning up is a much easier task. In fact, the bowl keeps your kitchen tidy even when you’re not actually using the food processor – Philips have designed it so that it can be used to store all of the bowl tools. The exact configuration as to how to store them is explained in the instruction manual.

So, the knife blades. These are in the shape of a plastic cuff which attaches to the lower aspect of the drive shaft in the bowl. The HR7761/01 is equipped with what Philips describes as PowerChop technology, whereby the shape of the blades and the cutting angle near the centre of the bowl work together to ensure that all ingredients are processed evenly. The dough tool functions in exactly the same way, and consists of two blunt plastic spurs embedded in a plastic cuff. They move the ingredients around the bowl without slicing into them like the sharp steel blades.

There’s also an emulsifying disc, which consists of a rippled plastic disc that attaches to the base of the drive shaft in much the same way as the knife blades and the dough tool. It doesn’t have the same action as a conventional geared whisk, but it’s still perfectly capable of making meringues and whipped cream.

The HR7761/01 doesn’t use discs made entirely out of steel for slicing and shredding. Instead, it has five stainless steel disc inserts. These slot over the end of the drive shaft and clip into a plastic carrier plate, which in turn attaches to the drive shaft. This modular design is undoubtedly the reason why all of the bowl attachments can be stored in the bowl when not in use, as separate discs each tend to be around the size of a small plate.

There are inserts for fine slicing, coarse slicing, thin shredding, coarse shredding, and rasping. The rasping insert is described by Philips as for granulating, but don’t get confused – you’re not going to be making granulated sugar with it. It’s actually for rasping things like chocolate and hard cheeses such as parmesan into small grains.

Also in the box is a 1.75 litre blender, which has a working capacity of 1 litre. It has some pretty mean-looking serrated blades, and is perfect for making milkshakes, soups, fruit juices and smoothies. Philips explain that it is made out of break-resistant plastic; however, it is still probably best to be on the safe side and allow liquid foods to cool to room temperature before blending. Unfortunately a glass blender is not available for the HR7761/01.

Last but by no means least, the final attachment in the box is a mini chopper. With a working capacity of 250 ml, this is designed for chopping very small quantities of food and individual items which would be too small on their own for the food processor’s bowl. In comparison to a specifically designed mini chopper such as the Kenwood CH180, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts: the CH180 has an ‘oil drip’ opening so that you can gradually add ingredients during operation, but the mini chopped included with the HR7761/01 can be used to grind coffee beans. It can also be used to grind certain spices, although things like cloves, anise and cinnamon are liable to discolour the plastic jar. Nevertheless, it’s great for chopping and blending small quantities of foods and sauces, such as pesto.

Use & Operation

Like most food processors, the HR7761/01 has a safety interlocking mechanism which means that the appliance will not switch on if the lid to either the bowl or the blender is not securely fastened. The same goes for the mini chopper: the blades won’t spin if it’s not screwed up properly. The food processor itself has a 1.5 second safety brake, which brings the drive shaft to a halt within 1.5 seconds when the food processor is switched off or its power supply is interrupted. This prevents blades and discs from spinning under their own inertia, and minimises the risk of injury when the lid is removed after turning off the power.

Operation of the HR7761/01 is controlled by a plastic control knob, which has a slightly pointed shape to indicate the selected speed setting. The two speed settings can be selected by turning the knob clockwise. Turning the knob anticlockwise from the ‘off’ position will activate the pulse mode, which will run for as long as the knob is held in that position.

What’s really clever about the HR7761/01 is that the purple knife blades and the purple ‘2’ speed setting is not a coincidence – the attachments and speed settings are actually colour-coded. It makes picking the optimum speed setting for each attachment second nature.

Cleaning the HR7761/01 is straightforward – Philips have designed it to be easy to clean. For example, both the bowl and the blender can be given a ‘quick clean’ by blitzing half a litre of lukewarm water with some washing up liquid for thirty seconds. A more thorough cleaning is still very simple as all of the attachments are dishwasher safe, but do take care when handling and cleaning the blades and the disc inserts, as the cutting edges are extremely sharp. Even the slightest accidental contact with food processor blades can break the skin.

What can I make?

The HR7761/01 fulfils a multitude of roles in the kitchen, and will also save you from needing to buy a separate blender and mini chopper. With bowl attachments, you can slice and shred vegetables for soups, salads and curries, and blend ingredients for dips, sauces and dressings. The emulsifying disc allows you to make whipped cream, custard, meringues and mousses, and the dough blades will take the hard work out of kneading pizza and pasta dough. The blender can be used to make milkshakes, delicious nutritional smoothies, and cocktails – and to crush ice for them. You can also use the HR7761/01 to make pastry and cakes, batter for pancakes/Yorkshire puddings, and breadcrumbs for food coatings. It will also chop meat, allowing you to make your very own burgers and sausages from scratch – delicious barbeque food which you know exactly what’s inside. And as previously mentioned, you can grind coffee beans and spices in the mini chopper for your very own curry pastes and fresh spices. For the perfect side to an Italian recipe, make some dough in the bowl with the dough blades and then blitz a clove of garlic or two in the grinder to make the topping for mouth-watering home-made garlic bread.

Verdict

The Philips HR7761/01 has all the benefits you would expect from a mid-range food processor, with a dollop of good thinking thrown in too. The use of the bowl as a tool storage space and the colour-coding of attachments and speed settings are extremely user-friendly bits of design, making the food processor simple and intuitive to use. The bowl also trumps a couple of other equally sized food processors in terms of working bowl capacity, although of course larger families may instead find that a 3 litre food processor is a better choice. Still, the HR7761/01’s generous selection of attachments is bound to you offer you the functionality you want from a food processor, and it’s an excellent choice for couples moving in together or perhaps starting a family. Equally it would be a great choice for the professional living alone who wants to prepare larger quantities of food in the evening which can then be taken to work for lunch the next day. As a mid-range food processor for mid-size households, it’s an excellent choice.


Posted on April 2nd, 2016. Tags: , , , ,