9 Months ago the Thermomix TM5 landed on my desk. I took it home and it changed the way I cooked. This kitchen powerhouse appliance blew my mind, it’s ability to cook, chop, steam, whip, you name it, it did it. There is a new model on the market, the TM6, with a few added features but is it worth upgrading? Let’s find out.
In essence, the TM6 looks and feels the same as the TM5, apart from a couple of changes. To avoid repeating myself, check out the TM5 review before reading this, as I will only be focusing on the changes between the two.
Look & Feel
The TM6 looks near on identical to the TM5, same shape, same size and same bowl. There are a few differences though, the first being a much larger touch screen. The touch screen is about a third bigger at 6.8″, it has a slightly slimmer bezel and is without buttons anymore. The single rotary knob remains. You can see the casing as a whole hasn’t changed, as the knob engrosses on the screen bezel. The next change is the removal of the cook key point. The cook key is no longer a thing, you no longer need to purchase this as an additional item, it’s built in. The TM6 comes with a number of simple recipes built into it, which are accessible out the box. You can then increase this number with cookidoo, a £30 a year subscription recipe service. There is also a new quad core processor, 16GB storage and 1GB ram. Similar to the TM5, it can be connected to your home network and updates pushed to the TM6. To me, these are positive upgrades, the screen is much easier to see and navigate now, plus you no longer need to remember to attach the cook key.
Moving onto the new features or functions for the TM6, there is plenty to talk about. The heating has improved, it can heat from 100F to 320F in 1 degree steps for better accuracy. Speaking of accuracy, the weighing scale feature has also improved. It now has improved accuracy, with increments now to just 1gram and it works, it works really well.
As for functions, there are a couple minor additions and then some major ones. The minor include a pre-clean, which allows you to add some water and soap to your dirty bowl, and the machine will clean itself (to a degree), before you remove and finish off in the sink. It works well if you have made a puree or sauce, but if you’ve got something tough on the bowl like caramel or burnt oil, it will need further cleaning. Also, the blades remove at the bottom, which is a must when cleaning. Another minor addition is it will now boil water for you. It works fine, does what its meant to and it may be useful for some people. There is also now a dedicated puree function, which in essence does the job for you. It will now blend your ingredients at various speeds, for either 30 or 60 seconds, to achieve a perfect puree.
Moving onto the major additions, these include frying, slow cooking, sous vide and fermentation.
‘Frying’ and I say that loosely. I have a fryer at home and depending on what I’m cooking, I usually set the temperature to 180-200c. The TM6 will only go upto 160c, so it wontbe able to reach temperatures high enough for deep drying, nor will the machine allow it. If you’re not aware, when you start a process, two handles clip the lid in place. So even if you wanted to attempt a deep fry, you’d only have the small lid to do it through. Oh, and the blades rotate too. That being said, you can fry things with it, such as onions or other vegetables. It’s in fact very easy, the TM6 will chop the onion, add some oil and it will fry it too. I fried some onions for a dish and it worked well, but that was just one onion. If I tried to cook 500g of beef for a bolognase, I don’t think it would work as well.
The slow cooker function worked really well for me. I used my own recipe for a chicken satay and just adjusted the settings to suit. Max temperature is 95c, and you can set the duration for upto 8 hours. There is no timer option, you cannot tell the TM6 to start slow cooking 4 hours after you’ve left the house, so bare that in mind. During the slow cook process, the blades do rotate on & off, which for my recipe worked well, as it produced a nice thick sauce. I also used chicken thighs with and without bones, because that’s all I had, but the chicken remained in large chunks and the bones caused no concerns.
I know a little bit about Sous Vide now, after trying out the Joule Sous Vide machine. This mode is available direct from the menu and allows you to set your desired water temperature in degrees (1c increments) and time. I followed a similar recipe to before, to cook my steak. I was able to set the temperature accurately and cook my steak to medium/rare. You need to decide in advance how you secure the plastic bag. Whether your piece of meat is small enough to go through the lid, or if you need to set the bag in before the bowl is locked into place.
Fermentation, “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.” It’s a new one to me and was initially put off at the thought but after reading more about the process, you can make quite alot of things using fermentation. These include cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and more. I attempted to make some yogurt, over night for 8 hours at 40c but with very little success. It looked and felt like yogurt, but boy it didnt taste good. I dont know enough about fermentation but when using the function, I was only able to set the temperature between 37c & 70c and from some research, this may be too warm in some instances and affect the breakdown of bacteria.
Some of the new features & functions work very well and as you would expect. Some however are a little underwhelming and could be better. The Screen is a bit laggy and not the smoothest to use. The supplied recipe book gives you ingredients so you can plan your meals ahead, but doesn’t detail the processes. One recipe I tried took 90 minutes, why? Because I had prep to do and had to leave something in the fridge for 45 minutes. It would have been nice to know this from the book I got the ingredients from. There is also an issue with Cookidoo, where you can only gain access to certain processes by following certain recipes from the service.
Some people may argue the original TM5 was able to do some of these functions, with a little work around and I would agree with that to a degree. To me, Vorwerk have just made everything easier for the end user. Perhaps they could have called it the Thermomix TM5.1. I still love Thermomix, it completely changed the way I cook, for the better and the TM6 is a worthwhile improvement. Price? It will set you back £1099 and it’s available to purchase from June.