Using the Right Tool For Baking and Cooking
We are bombarded with a retinue of innovative tools for baking. I am still wondering how the newer tools in the market function. Every year there are a variation of additional attachments for different functions. It helps to know the latest designs to help your cooking and baking faster and easier. Going in a store devoted to cooking and baking gadgets can be exciting and puzzling and don't forget expensive.
When I used to live in the Lower 48 (outside the state of Alaska and geographically located below the state of Alaska), I would linger at Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma. I was just happy checking out what are the newest gadgets and how they function.
Be careful of impulse buying which can happen all the time because that "thing" is just too cute and dandy. Sometimes, after buying it, it would stay in the drawer for longer than you can remember.
However, the two most important tools that a home or professional cook and baker have to learn adeptly would be the whip or the paddle. Their names are interchanged all the time to wire whisk attachment for whip and, flat beater for paddle. A confident cook or baker would know which one to use to achieve a good outcome for their planned product. Here is an explanation of their uses and differences.
The Paddle or Beater or Flat Beater
Paddles or beaters are for mixing, stirring, incorporating without aerating your batter. However, if you turn up the speed and increase the time, you would have added more air in your batter than needed. This is the problem facing most home bakers. They always wonder why their chocolate chip cookie is flat.
Cookie batter should only be stirred to incorporate the other ingredients. If you beat the batter more than needed, the batter will spread upon baking. Try this technique and you would see the difference.
Volume production using 25 quarts or 50 quarts mixers have bigger and heavier attachments because a commercial kitchen has to produce 100 dozens of one type of cookie a single time in a week. It is especially pertinent to remember to pay attention when one is doing large batches. After all the preparation and production involved, if a baker paddles more than necessary, the entire batch is wasted. I have seen too many beginning bakers making this mistake because they don't pay attention to how long they beat the batter; or even use the proper attachment.
Most home cooks and bakers nowadays have a KitchenAid to thank for. It does make your cooking and baking preparation easier. The need to know when to stop beating is important.
The Uses of the Paddle or Beater:
1. To stir and incorporate the cookie batter.
3. To beat a solid butter when the recipe calls for cold butter. (Use a microwave to soften the butter when softened butter is called for in a recipe. Do increments of seconds to avoild melting the butter.)
The Whip or Wire Whip
Aerate. The whip was made to aerate your cake batter. It is not meant for cookie batter otherwise your cookie batter will bake as one big mess. The aerodynamic round look is designed to produce the air to make your batter fluffier. Just like when you are using the paddle or beater, pay attention to the set speed and timer. Do not use the wire whip for batters that have more liquid like the lemon bars.
People interchange the wire whisk and wire whip all the time. A wire whisk is used manually with a bowl. A wire whisk can come in different variation to facilitate whisking certain types of food items.
Whisk is best used for:
1. Cake batters like Angel Food Cake
3. Buttercream (Use the paddle to break the butter then switch to the whisk.)
Cleaning and Maintaining
It is best to clean your paddle and whisk immediately, as well as clean your KitfchenAid with warm damp sponge or cloth and let them air dry. I have been in the food business for too long to witness people not caring about the gunk and debris that accumulates in these equipment. At home, you could either wash them in your sink or put in the dishwasher. In commercial places, the cooks and bakers are responsible for immediate cleaning, but it is always painful for this people to clean these items thoroughly.
Clean equipment means safer food.
Sarah N Christine on August 16, 2018:
Is it ok to whisk sugar and butter if my paddle is spoilt? And then add the rest of the ingredients and hand mix?
Melissa on October 25, 2017:
Which attachment would you suggest for making crepe batter?
cathym on February 08, 2015:
Thanks for the great info... :)
Now i know why my cookies are flat
daisynicolas (author) from Alaska on November 10, 2014:
Thanks for visiting and glad the irony caught you.
Heather Ann Gomez from Monterey, CA on November 10, 2014:
That line "How to use the whip and beater" had me laughing so I decided to open up the link. Handy advise. I still do not own anything other than a hand mixer...gasp... I know. I have to get with the times lol
daisynicolas (author) from Alaska on November 22, 2013:
Thanks for dropping by, David. I'm glad this hub is able to guide you. Happy baking or cooking.
David L. on November 22, 2013:
Thank you for your blog about the proper use of the beater. I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and you answered one of my big questions.
daisynicolas (author) from Alaska on January 29, 2012:
Thank you for reading my hub and am happy to be help.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 29, 2012:
Voted useful. If I ever become interested in baking, I would know when to aerate the batter and when not to; I would also know the right equipment to use. Thank you.