The Thermomix was already a kitchen powerhouse, making difficult recipes easy to achieve every day. Now, the Thermomix TM6 adds more accurate scales, degree-perfect temperatures for sous-vide cooking, higher heat levels for caramelisation, and slow cooking. It isn't the best tool for every job, but to knock the TM6 for what it can't do is churlish: this is a machine that can cook, chop, blend, grind, whisk and more. Its guided recipes, via the Cookidoo service, help you make complex dishes that may appear beyond your abilities, while the manual mode lets experts do complicated things in an easier way. If you're serious about cooking, you need one.
- Incredible power and versatility
- Takes the pain out of cooking complex dishes
- Incredibly accurate
- Manual mode provides full control
- Can be fiddly to clean up the blades
- Some new modes are available in guided cooking only
- Review Price: £1099
- Integrated scales
- Heats up to 160ºC
- 2.2-litre mixing bowl, spatula, blade, whisk, simmering basket, varoma, measuring cup
- Cookidoo online recipe integration
- 10 speeds, reverse mode, dough mode, sous-vide, caramelisation, frying
This model is also internet-connected, delivering recipes from the Cookidoo website, so you no longer need the additional dongle as you did with the TM5. The sheer power on offer, combined with the new modes, makes the Thermomix TM6 the ultimate kitchen accessory.
The Thermomix TM6 is nicer to use than the TM5, but there are some minor changes that affect users of the older machine
The first thing I noticed about the Thermomix TM6 is the larger 6.8-inch touchscreen. Given that all you do with the machine is controlled via this display, upping the size and resolution makes the TM6 far easier to use, whether you’re following a guided recipe or are using the machine in manual mode.
It’s neat to see integrated Wi-Fi, too, allowing you to hook up the TM6 to your home network. The main reason to have the Wi-Fi enabled is for the Cookidoo recipe integration. Cookidoo is home to guided recipes, with a staggering number from which to choose. Subscribing costs a reasonable £30 a year, which is excellent value if you use the recipes consistently. With the Thermomix TM5, access to Cookidoo was provided via an add-on chip that connected to the side of the machine.
This port also accepted recipe chips – offline recipes that you paid for once. With the TM6 there’s no support for recipe chips, although all recipes are available on Cookidoo and can be downloaded to your Thermomix for offline use.
Having access to an online recipe service has an additional benefit: the recipes can be updated through improvements. On balance, having an online service and one that’s so well stocked is better than the old offline system.
There have been some subtle changes to the design of the system, too. Due to the TM6’s higher maximum temperature of 160ºC, there’s a new bowl. This means that, if you have the TM5 then you won’t be able to use its bowl with the new system or vice versa. If you’ve built up a collection and want to upgrade, you’ll need to consider the price of the additional accessories, too.
Other than that, the Thermomix ships with a simmering basket and varoma that sits on top for steaming dishes. Plus there’s both a measuring cup and a splash guard to stop sauces from splattering out of the hole on top.
There’s a range of subtle differences with the Thermomix TM6 that make it a better machine where precision is required. First, the scales have been improved, so that they’re accurate to the gram. Need to add a certain amount of a spice? No problem, you can measure this out accurately rather than having to guess as you did with the old TM5, which went up in 5g increments.
You can also use the Thermomix TM6 for sous-vide cooking, since the temperature settings go up by the degree. This allows you to set the exact temperature that you need for cooking, delivering far more accurate results.
The new cooking modes are brilliant, but come with their own restrictions
The higher maximum temperature lets you use the Thermomix TM6 for tasks for which the TM5 couldn’t be used. One is to caramelise sugar; the ability to hit an exact temperature means you’ll be able to make an array of caramels. The downside is that the option is only available through guided recipes, rather than in User mode.
There were some complaints that the honeycomb recipe heated the caramel too far, resulting in a burnt flavour. Using the guided recipe I was informed that there had been a recipe update and that I had to use the exact measure of ingredients to get the best results.
Following the recipe, the Thermomix produced perfect caramel that turned to honeycomb with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and a brisk stir. This is the kind of recipe that shows the power of the Thermomix: turning the fiddly and precision into the easy and every day.
Also using the guided cooking recipes, the Thermomix TM6 can now fry. Well, to a degree. The relatively small surface area at the bottom of the bowl means that there isn’t much space for frying. It’s an option, but getting out a frying pan and doing the job yourself will give you better results. In fact, there are many recipes (older ones, in particular) that tell you to do exactly this.
There’s a new slow-cook mode, which offers up to 12 hours of cooking at a lower temperature. Meat choice is important, however, since the Thermomix TM6 continues stirring using its blades. Even set to reverse, there’s a danger that this slow spinning can rip apart more tender cuts.
Testing with beef cheek in a casserole and using the slow-cook function for six hours, I achieved decent results with the meat still in chunks. Still, be careful. Also consider that a traditional slow cooker, such as the Crock Pot Express Multi Cooker CSC051, may work better for you with some dishes.
The new sous-vide cooking mode is fantastic, aided by the TM6’s ability to maintain temperatures accurately to the degree. This style of cooking involves placing food in sealed bags (either vacuum-sealed, or double-bagged ziplock bags will do the trick) and then cooking it at set temperatures in water. The main benefit is that you get a much wider cooking window and your food can’t get hotter than the temperature you set.
For example, with a steak, an hour of cooking is probably sufficient – but you can keep going for up to four hours without any negative effects. This means that you can pre-prepare some food and just finish it off in a pan when you’re ready.
To test, I placed a fillet steak in two zip-lock bags and placed them in the simmering bowl, covered in water. Cooking at 60ºC (the ideal temperature for a medium cut), I left the steak for two hours, then finished it off by searing it in a pan. The results were amazing, with succulent, melt-in-the-mouth meat – every bit as good as something you’d get in a restaurant.
There’s a new pre-clean/after-clean mode, too, which uses water (and a touch of washing liquid) to clean up after you’ve used the Thermomix TM6. It works brilliantly and managed to rid every trace of the baked-on honeycomb. At the end, everything bar the base unit can be chucked into the dishwasher for sparkling results with no effort at all.
Not all of the Thermomix’s cooking modes are better than using alternative appliances
Although the Thermomix TM6 can whisk, chop, blend and mix, it isn’t always the best choice of machine – as we’ve already seen from the new frying option.
Making a casserole using a guided recipe, for example, the first step is to chop quarters of onion using the blades. It works, but the results were small bits of onion that disintegrated into the sauce when it was cooked. In my opinion, chopping the onions more roughly by hand would have given better results.
Likewise, the whisk attachment can achieve fluffy egg whites for making a meringue, but you can create greater air volume by using the balloon whisk on a KitchenAid Artisan mixer.
The Thermomix TM6 remains incredibly versatile, though
Although you may get better results using different appliances from time-to-time, the TM6 still has the power to wow and impress. Need to make powdered sugar for icing or for better pastry? No problem, just chuck in granulated sugar and the Thermomix’s powerful blades can do this for you. Likewise, it can grind seeds for making your own bread.
Want to make lemonade? Roughly chop lemons and throw them into the bowl with some sugar and water, with the blades able to chop and extract the juice without breaking a sweat.
There’s subtlety, too, with the TM6 able to gently stir sauces and get them to the right temperature and consistency. This was demonstrated when making a Hollandaise sauce. Time-after-time, the TM6 managed to impress; the results from this machine are incredible.
There’s no denying the machine’s flexibility and ability to adapt. If you want to chance your hand at making bread, rather than using one of our Best bread makers, then the Thermomix TM6 can expertly knead your dough. I had a go at making baguettes and was pleasantly surprised at the results.
You can get an idea of how much the Thermomix can do by watching the launch video, which invited some celebrity chefs to work around the clock, cooking a huge variety of recipes in the Thermomix TM6.
You need to go off-piste for some recipes and work your own magic
Key to getting the best out of the Thermomix is adapting and changing recipes, or going completely manual. For example, the basic Thai Green Curry recipe was a little watery and lacked taste for my liking; opt for proper Thai paste, up the amount of quality coconut milk and the results are super-impressive – and you don’t have the hassle of having to keep stirring the mixture in a pan. If you prefer, the more advanced recipe grinds and makes the curry paste for you.
It’s the manual modes that really make the TM6 the king of the kitchen. Using the touchscreen you can choose to cook, grind, chop, slow cook or need dough, all using the temperatures and timings you set. For taking the effort out of more complicated dishes, there’s nothing quite like the Thermomix TM6.
Why buy the Thermomix TM6?
If you’ve already got a Thermomix TM5, then the minor changes to the TM6 may not be enough to justify an upgrade. If you’re new to the brand, or you really want the additional accuracy and new cooking modes, the Thermomix TM6 is an appliance that every serious home cook and professional should consider.
Its combination of power and subtlety has never been matched nor bettered by another product. For the expert, the manual modes let you control everything (bar the frying and caramelisation modes). For enthusiasts, guided recipes will help you create some stunning dishes with little effort, while learning new techniques that you can eventually apply manually.
If you want one additional appliance for your kitchen, the Thermomix TM6 is the one to buy.
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