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f you regularly prepare dough, cake mixes or other pastry mixes in your kitchen, then you could benefit from the purchase of an electric stand mixer. These are one of the largest pieces of kitchen equipment that doesn’t heat or boil food, and so you need to be sure that you will be able to fit one of these pieces of equipment into your kitchen before you consider buying one. They can also be very expensive, and the best ones may cost you several thousand pounds. If you are interested in purchasing one of these mixers for your home, then you will need to understand the difference between the different types of mixers, and which the best for your home is.
What is a stand mixer?
The stand mixer works through a powerful motor. This is connected to the ‘head’ of the mixer, which usually has a series of controls and two slots where the beaters are placed. There is also a bowl, specifically designed to fit into the slot in the stand mixer base, which is used with the beater. There are several advantages to choosing this type of beater. Firstly, it is more powerful than the hand-held model, so it can manage greater quantities of flour and water, and it can also make a stiffer dough, including those required for pieces of bread or for biscuits. In addition, some varieties of cookie mixers use a range of accessories that allow you to make sausages or even ice cream. All stand mixers are very bulky and may need to be away from other tools such as cookers and hobs, as they can vibrate quite significantly when used.
Should I have a stand mixer?
The question of whether you want to have a stand mixer in your home is obviously down to personal choice for a lot of homeowners. However, there are some baking and cooking interests that make it necessary to have one of these heavy-duty mixers rather than a standard hand-held device. Firstly, if you are making pastries or cakes for a large family, then you will need to be able to have a mixer that can work in large quantities. If you are a regular backer, then you may need the powerful motor and the larger-than-standard bowl which comes with the mixer. However, if you have only used smaller quantities because you live alone or with a small family, then the power mixer alternative may not be the right decision for you. This is because when you use the smaller flour and water mixes in a large container, using a powerful motor, you will find that you have problems with mixing the small batch correctly, and you may also find that the dough is overworked very quickly. Smaller amounts of flour and water may also slosh around the bowl, rather than being mixed for long periods of time, and the end result will be less satisfactory. You will also be using a lot of electricity for the batch.
Features of stand mixers:
There are several important features to the stand mixer which need to be considered before you make a choice on which to buy. Firstly, there should be the standard four-blade whisks, a pair of which will fit into the mixer at any one time. Secondly, there should be a large motor with significant wattage, in order to stir the mix effectively. There should be a single whisk attachment which will allow you to stir lighter items such as egg whites and cream, and there should be what is known as a planetary motion to the wish. This means that the whisk will turn around the bowl in a single direction, or ‘orbit’ the bowl on its axis at one point, and then on the opposite angle at the external edge of the bowl.
Choosing a Stand Mixer:
When you are looking for a stand mixer, you will need to choose one which can match the necessary capacity of your dough. Most mixers feature a 7-quart bowl which is equal to about 5 loaves of bread. Some smaller versions will only hold 5 quarts, which will be enough to make dough for a family or to cook a single loaf of bread. There will also be differences in the shape of the bowl which can affect how the dough is mixed. For example, some bowls have a ‘cone’ shape, meaning that they are wider at the top than at the bottom. Others have a lower, wider bottom which curves upwards into a round shape, giving more space for the mix to move around when being stirred. The cone-shapes may make it harder to add to the mix while it is being stirred, but they can encourage ingredients that are not mixed to fall back into the bottom of the bowl.
Additional Stand Mixer attachments:
Most stand mixers will come with a number of additional attachments that will allow you to stir up different ingredients. The dough hook is the standard accessory and is a longer, flatter whisk in a curved shape that can power through heavy bread dough. You need to have a powerful motor for this, but the hook will stir the ingredients more effectively than the double whisk. Another useful accessory which should be included in the mix is the paddle whisk. This will help you to break down butter and sugar mixes without too much effort. Other, specialist attachments, including pasta makers and meat-sausage grinders, will need to have an additional whisk port attachment known as the ‘low gear port’.
When you are looking for a powerful mixer, you may be tempted to choose the one which boasts the most wattage from the motor. However, this is not always true, because the functioning of the motor and the speed of the whisks are two separate issues. Most people manage better choosing capacity and whisk speeds rather than motor wattage. This is particularly true if you intend to use lower gear accessories such as the sausage maker or a pasta dough mixer attachment.
If you regularly prepare dough, cake mixes or other pastry mixes in your kitchen, then you could benefit from the purchase of an electric stand mixer. These are one of the largest pieces of kitchen equipment that doesn’t heat or boil food, and so you need to be sure that you will be able to fit one of these pieces of equipment into your kitchen before you consider buying one. They can also be very expensive, and the best ones may cost you several thousand pounds. If you are interested in purchasing one of these mixers for your home, then you will need to understand the difference between the different types of mixers, and which the best for your home is.
Stand Mixer How To Guide
Using a Stand Mixer:
Stand mixers can be expensive pieces of kitchen equipment, so if you have made the leap of buying one of these devices, then you need to know how to use them to their best advantage. These are very powerful tools, the equivalent of using a jigsaw in woodworking, and so you need to experience the mixer slowly at first, building up your confidence so that when you first have to use the mixer to cook, you know what to do and are able to handle the mixing and blending safely and securely. It is best at this stage to start with a pre-prepared mixture, preferably a cake or other dessert. These are usually easy to make and don’t require much blending before they are ready to use. They also don’t need a lot of added ingredients, so you can feel confident about your process.
Start out slow:
The first steps to using a stand mixer require starting out slow. It can be tempting to begin at the fastest speed, and with a heavy bread dough, but this is likely to go wrong quickly, leaving you disappointed and without the confidence to try again.
A few simple steps can help you to learn how to handle this device:
If you are not satisfied with the results of this first attempt, keep practicing until you know the perfect consistency and temperature of your mixture. Once you are comfortable with this, you can start making your own mixes, and increase the speed of the whisks.
Mistakes that new users make:
Everyone makes mistakes when they first use their stand mixer. This can be simple errors, such as not following the manufacturer’s manual when starting out, to allowing the beater to touch the bowl’s bottom edge. There are also more dangerous errors, such as scraping the mix while it is being beaten. This may damage the whisks, but it could also catch fingers or your hand, and cause you injury. A simple mistake which is harmless in itself, but could cause long-term damage to the blender is to not spin the beaters after you have finished your mix. Raising the beaters slightly and spinning them above the bowl will help to clear off mixture on the whisks and ensure that they are not carrying moisture when you have finished using the mixer.