When To Use The Whisk And When To Use The Beater
Sometimes, it's best to use the paddle over the whisk and vice versa.
You did it! You bought yourself a stand mixer and are excited to start using it to bake. However, you might be confused with regards to which mixer attachment to use for what part of the recipe. There are at least three basic attachments of most stand mixers:
- • whisk
- • beater or paddle
- • dough hook
The most familiar of these attachments is the whisk. This is an attachment that looks like your regular hand whisk: there are several wires that are looped into the handle, making it easy to whisk or whip ingredients together.
The dough hook is either shaped like a "C" or an "S". This is best used for kneading dough and the hook shape is to allow the dough to easily be kneaded and rolled more gently than if you used the closed loops of the beater attachment.
The beater attachment is also known as the paddle. The beater is a closed loop of metal that is shaped to conform to the shape of the mixer bowl. When running, the sides of the beater are close to the sides of the bowl to allow the beater to beat the ingredients against the bowl. Think of creaming and using your spoon to squash lumps to create a smooth batter. Those are the movements and motions that the beater is meant to mimic.
It might be easy to figure out that you need to use the whisk attachment to whip egg whites until fluffy and the beater attachment to mix batters and cookie dough. However, there are some instances where the whisk is used to mix batters and the beater is used to mix fluffy frostings.
How do you know which attachment to use?
There are two ways to know which mixer attachment is best to use when making a batter or dough:
1 Check what the recipe says to use.
The best way to determine if you need to use which attachment to use is to check the recipe. If the recipe uses a stand mixer, it should tell you to use a certain attachment. If it doesn't, you need to check something else in the recipe.
2 Look at the ingredients being mixed and how these will be mixed.
Another way to determine which to use is to check the ingredients and how these will be mixed. If the ingredients need to be aerated or air needs to be incorporated into it, your best bet to accomplish this is to use the whisk. If a mixture just needs to be mixed together well, a beater is your best tool.
3 Use both attachments.
However, there are some cases where using both attachments is a good idea. If a batter needs an ingredient to be lightly mixed or even folded, you can switch to the whisk on Low speed to more gently do this if you don't want to break out the spatula and do it by hand. If a buttercream mixture refuses to come together and needs a more vigorous mixing, you can switch the whisk with the beater attachment on Medium speed to get it started before switching back to the whisk to get it fluffy again.
Whatever attachment you use, the best reason to appreciate your stand mixer is to learn how to take advantage of it. It's meant to make your baking life easier, not more complicated and complex. Learn the ways you can use the attachments for any mixing job and you'll be a better baker in no time!
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