We use food processors in the test kitchen a lot. From chopping to slicing to shredding, we find that a good food processor is an essential tool for any well-stocked kitchen arsenal. But did you know that food processors are capable of so much more than whipping up a quick mirepoix or tomato sauce? Read on to learn about five lesser-known uses of the humble food processor.
1. Knead Pizza Dough in Under 2 Minutes
Sure, you can knead pizza dough by hand (in 8 minutes) or in a stand mixer (in 5 minutes), but why not put your food processor to work and save some time (and prevent your hands from cramping)? Simply pulse flour, sugar, and yeast together in the food processor (about 5 pulses), and then add ice water and process for about 10 seconds, or until no dry flour remains. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, and then let it proof in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, and up to three days.
Knead to Know: When properly kneaded, dough should have a smooth, almost shiny appearance. If you pull the dough, it should feel very stretchy and quickly spring bsck into place. The photos below show what underkneaded, properly kneaded, and overkneaded dough looks like in a food processor (from left to right).
2. Crush Your Own Ice
You probably never thought of your food processor as a tool to help you make cocktails, but it’s perfect for crushing ice: simply pulse up to 2 cups of ice cubes until finely ground (8 to 10 pulses). Then put that crushed ice in a copper mug, add some vodka, some ginger beer, and a lime wedge, and thoroughly enjoy your Moscow Mule.
3. Make a Quick Brown Sugar Substitute
Most brown sugar is made by adding molasses either to granulated white sugar or to sugarcane syrup before it has crystallized. You can make a quick substitute by pulsing 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses for light brown sugar, or use 2 tablespoons of molasses for dark brown sugar.
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4. Grind Your Own Nut Flours
We process nuts in several different ways in the test kitchen, and the difference between consistency—from nut butter to nut flour—depends on how long you process the nuts. The longer your process them, the more oil they release, taking them closer and closer to nut butter.
To Make Nut Flour: Pulse 2 cups of whole almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pistachios until finely ground, 16 to 20 pulses. You’ll end up with about 2½ cups of nut flour, perfect for gluten-free and paleo baking.
5. Make Your Own Bread Crumbs
The convenience of store-bought bread crumbs is unmatched, but making your own bread crumbs allows you to control the size of the crumb, and you can also use any kind of bread you want. (You want pumpernickel bread crumbs? That’s kind of weird, but go for it!) Simply tear the bread into pieces, and pulse it in the food processor until it’s ground to the desired texture.
Food Processor PerfectionLet America’s Test Kitchen help you unleash the power of the all-in-one multitasker gathering dust in your cabinet. Your food processor can do the work of a whole set of knives, a meat grinder, a food mill, a box grater, a mandolin, a stand mixer, a blender—and do it all faster—with just the touch of a button.
What’s your favorite use for your food processor? Let us know in the comments!