REVIEW – Multi Cookers have been used since 1950 and pressure cookers were invented 340 years ago. Their popularity has grown since they became a big ticket Black Friday item and started offering more features. This is a review of a Carl Schmidt Sohn multicooker with a detachable air fryer. Read on to see what I think!
What is it?
The Carl Schmidt Sohn multicooker is a pressure cooker with a 6 liter pot capacity and it comes with a standard airfryer unit. The pressure cooker has four operating modes: pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, and yogurt incubating. The pressure cooker works by converting water into steam. The steam penetrates the food and when it condenses it releases a huge amount of energy. The fast cooking times and high energy cooking method provides cooked food with more flavors and nutrients than boiling and less added fat and sugar than stir-frying. The airfryer heats food in a high-temperature convection oven. The airfryer mode has seven presets and can also be set to a range of temperatures and durations. The control system for the multi cooker also has a delayed start (for all but the airfryer) and keep warm features. By using the airfryer attachment along with the pressure cooker function, food can be cooked quickly and still have the crispiness and texture of fried or grilled food by using the airfryer.
What’s in the box?
6 liter pot
CS KOCHSYSTEME intro card
Airfryer time: 1 to 60 minutes
Airfryer temperature: 160 to 400°F
Pressure cooker/rice low pressure: 30 to 40 kpa (4.35 to 5.8 psi)
Pressure cooker/rice high pressure: 50 to 60 kpa (7.25 to 8.7 psi)
Pressure cooker/rice time: 1 to 99 minutes
Slow cooker temperature: 190 to 209°F
Slow cooker time: 0.5 to 9.5 hours
Yogurt temperature: 95 to 107°F
Yogurt time: 6 to 24 hours
Keep warm temperature: 140-176°F
Keep warm time: to 24 hours
Delay start time: 0.5 to 24 hours
Design and features
The Carl Schmidt Sohn multi cooker comes in a large box measuring just above a foot square on end and about 22 inches tall. The box has a built-in handle on top and is covered by pictures of the appliance and the dishes cooked in it. one side of the box displays the following in German:
CARL SCHMIDT SOHN creates products for people who value first-class quality, sophisticated functionality and exclusive design at the table and in the kitchen. In the tradition of the Solingen cutlery industry, we manufacture high-quality knives, cutlery, cookware, scissors and kitchen aids. All products are perfect for private households as well as for professional kitchens, hotels and restaurants. The high quality of our products results from selected materials and first-class workmanship. As a traditional Solingen company since 1829, the processing of steel has been put into our cradle, so to speak. We rely on proven knowledge, craftsmanship and many years of experience. The result is products that convince in form and function. The best workmanship and quality also guarantee products that you can enjoy for many years.
Inside the appliances are securely packaged in styrofoam blocks.
The multi cooker has a very conservative and professional look but also appears very similar to the many other pressure cookers on the market. The sides are sheathed in stainless steel, the top is made of stamped stainless steel and the handles and base are a matte plastic. The control panel is a glossy soft plastic that must be cleaned and treated with care. I would have preferred a glass panel or even a blister button panel for its cleanability, but the glossy panel does look sharp. I noticed that the control panel is not quite centered between the handles it but it is off to the right ever so slightly.
It appears that there is some manual adjustment that must be made during assembly and that Carl Schmidt Sohn has not implemented a jig to ensure that the alignment is perfectly centered on every unit.
The pot on the inside is an extrudedstainless steel pot with a copper-toned silicone ceramic non-stick coating on the inside. The silicone ceramic non-stick works as well as it does on late night infomercials – for now. In time, I am concerned that the coating will become less and less forgiving. For now, any residue or cooked on food from each of the meals I have made so far has just slid off the inside. The manual states that the pot is also dishwasher safe. If this were a stand-alone fry pan that lost its non-stick properties I would recycle and replace it, but since the pot is an integral part of an expensive multi cooker set I’d like to know I can order a replacement. I could not find any for sale online. The inside of the pot has embossed lettering for measurement in both cups and JY, which is an abbreviation I’m unfamiliar with but may correspond to the full capacity of the multipot. The base of the pot rises in the center and seems to match the contour of the heating element inside of the multi cooker. The multi cooker has a large spring-mounted temperature sensor at the base of the inner chamber and the multi cooker will sense that a sufficiently compressed spring means that the pot is installed. This safety feature prevents the unit from operating without the pot installed.
The multi cooker comes with a roast rack and a fry basket. Each of these is either a non-Austenitic stainless steel or a chrome-plated steel container (because they are ferromagnetic). The fry basket has the mesh expertly pressed into the form of a basket without any overlapping of the steel. The basket feetare made from a ring of steel welded to the base but the feet aren’t centered on the basket. This is hardly a reason to condemn the quality or design of the unit but, like the off-center control panel, seems like an overlooked detail. I have found that both the rack and the basket are each useful for holding either the pressure top or the airfryer top while cooking.
The Multi cooker also comes with a measuring cup and a plastic spoon that each look as if it would melt at a lower temperature than most food is prepared at. I think that these are two things that Carl Schmidt Sohn could safely assume are in each kitchen. Not including them would actually improve the impression of the entire set.
The pressure top has a center guidepost to hold a metal frame that supports an elastomeric silicone ring. This design avoids the need to include a steel ring to set the gasket or o-ring into and it is actually an easier to clean design than the traditional o-ring groove design or a welded on silicon gasket centering ring. The top also includes a thermal safety latch so that the top may not be removed if the interior is too hot. On some competing units, the safety button is a visual indicator that the pressure is too high to remove the top but on the Carl Schmidt Sohn, the button actually prevents the top from being removed. On the inside of the top, an anti-block shield surrounds the nozzle for the vent weight and prevents food from clogging the steam exit. One last safety feature is the plastic tab that interrupts an infrared beam on the body of the multicooker. You can see the infrared as violet in the image below.
The pressure top fits onto the multicooker body with a bayonet flange similar to other products on the market.
The air-fryer top also fits onto the multicooker base and is an entirely separate attachment. This is a similar design to the Instapot but I feel is an improvement to the hinged design of the Ninja, which requires a large part of the unit always be attached to the base. The air-fryer operating mode is essentially a large convection oven. The air-fryer top turns the pot into a convection oven by including a fan and a large resistive cooking element.
The top has a vent for the exchange of small volumes of air while it is operating because the air-fryer mode does not rely on high pressure for the cooking. The air coming out of the vent is warm but never felt like it was 400°F. The air-fryer top fits directly onto the top of the multicooker without turning or locking into place. There are 6 electric contacts that mate with the multicooker above the right handle.
A magnet on the left handle of the air-fryer top activates a hall sensor on the multicooker so that the cooker knows what system is attached and can tell if the air-fryer is completely pressed down. You can see the dark area on this film which shows the effect of a magnetic field.
The multi cooker control panel is mostly based on icons.
Only airfryer icons are displayed when air-frying and another set of icons are displayed when the pressure top is installed. One slightly confusing item that I noticed is that there is a time and temperature control button that is used to select either the time or temperature for modification. It is more intuitive to simply press the icons corresponding to time or temperature. Similarly, for the airfryer, it is more intuitive to select the image of the airfryer mode than to repeatedly push the airfryer mode button. After the pressure cooking modes are selected the display shows ON until the pressure is met and then a countdown timer begins. When pressure is building the display shows an animation on the 7 segment display similar to steam rising.
When the countdown has elapsed there is a tone and the display shows “bb”. I’m not sure what the significance of “bb” is but I have accepted that it is the picture of condensation forming on the walls of the pot. It would be helpful to have an elapsed time show so that the time spent slow cooling could be monitored.
One feature that is noticeably missing from the Carl Schmidt Sohn is a saute feature. The Instapot and some other multi cookers come with a mode that allows the base of the inner pot to be used as an electric griddle. The Carl Schmidt Sohn does not have such a feature. Most kitchens have a stove that can be used to brown or sauté if the recipe calls for it but if you are thinking of getting a multicooker to take care of all of your cooking needs. you should consider a unit that can also perform a sauté function.
How you use the multi cooker will depend on how proficient you are in the kitchen and how familiar you are with this type of appliance. The multi cooker comes with a cookbook with recipes that will help familiarize the user with the operation of the appliance. The table of contents of the cookbook is shown below. I wish that the cookbook had a table of recommended cook times for grains, produce, and meats. This type of reference is available on line but it would be comforting to know if times should be customized or optimized for the Carl Schmidt Sohn unit.
The first thing I tried cooking was some frozen prepared buffalo wings using the air-fryer. The wings were store-bought Purdue brand. Here is a picture before they were cooked.
And here is a picture afterwards.
I was impressed with the even cooking they got in the basket, the crispy outside, and the well-cooked, moist meat within.
Both the tops and bottoms of each piece were cooked uniformly. It is unlikely I could achieve the same results with a pan, microwave, oven, or grill. The small drops of sauce baked onto the bottom of the pot washed off easily with the faucet water pressure.
The next item I tried cooking is a Blooming Onion. This is what the dish looked like before cooking.
And this is the result.
This was a recipe I got from online and I didn’t have as much success with this as I did with the Buffalo wings. The onion within was actually cooked quite well but the batter on the outside was too dry and uneven to achieve the desired result. I hope that with more practice I’ll become better at making this dish. The reason that this did not come out the way I intended is that the recipe was not prepared well, not because of any failing of the multicooker and air-fryer attachment.
The next dish I tried is a traditional corned beef and cabbage.
The meat came out well cooked, tender, and the cabbage and boiled potatoes took almost no time to cook. The pressure cooking method cut cooking time to about half of the time it would have taken simmering in a pot. Because less heat and moisture left the pot while cooking there was less energy used than having this on a conventional burner.
I also tried the rice cooker function.
I simply placed washed rice and water in the pot and set the timer for 12 minutes. The result was perfectly prepared rice – The Jasmine variety I cooked was sticky but not pasty, had a delicate texture and wonderful aroma. Cleaning the pot after use was a breeze. Any residual rice and starch wiped off from the ceramic coating just like the drippings from the Buffalo wings recipe.
Cooking yellow corn on the cob using the pressure cooker was also easy and resulted in bright yellow, sweet and flavorful ears of corn. The pressure cooker only required 2-3 minutes of cook time compared to the time required to boil a large pot of water and another 10 minutes of actually heating the corn.
What I like
Easy to clean pot
What I’d change
Option for sauté mode.
More guidance for pressure cooker times, temperatures and venting
More people are cooking at home today because of the current pandemic. This has rekindled an interest in cooking techniques and appliances to make cooking more convenient and healthier. Multi cookers are versatile and economical, and can be used to prepare nutritious and flavorful dishes. The Carl Schmidt Sohn multi cooker includes an airfryer which reduces the number of appliances needed in the kitchen and combined with the pressure cooker can be used to prepare a number of one-pot dishes. The lack of a sauté mode may require some recipes to spread to “two pots”. If you are looking for an economical, easy to clean, multi cooker and airfryer combo, consider the Carl Schmidt Sohn.
Howard Sneider lives northwest of Boston and consults in the Bioprocess field. Growing up, he took as many things apart as he could in the house to see how they work. (They weren't all reassembled.) These days, in nearly every setting he finds himself, he is the resident gadget guru. Howard lives with his wife, two children, and pet turtle. In his free time, he does what he can to stay active and, of course, play with gadgets.