A stand mixer is a great addition to every kitchen, whether you are a baker, just a home cook, or someone who is aspiring to elevate their culinary abilities.
The best stand mixers can be incredibly versatile, especially if you invest in all of the associated attachments. They’re good for mixing dough and batter, of course, but these machines can also work as food processors, meat slicers, meat grinders, and cheese shredders, just to name a few potential uses.
A stand mixer is a versatile kitchen companion that can transform your cooking and baking experiences. To harness its full potential and understand why you need a stand mixer, consider the following uses.
How to get the most out of a stand mixer
Unwrap the full potential of your Christmas stand mixer with these expert tips.
Understand the attachments
Most stand mixers, including the KitchenAid Artisan(our pick for the best stand mixer in the world) come with various attachments. However, not all of them are the same. To get the most out of your mixer, it's essential to know when to use each one.
The paddle attachment is great for general mixing and creaming, while the whisk is perfect for whipping cream, egg whites, and making meringues. The dough hook, as the name suggests, is ideal for kneading bread and pizza dough.
By using the right attachment, you'll save time and effort, and your recipes will turn out better.
Optimize speed settings
Appliance expert Sarah Johnson suggests you should master the art of adjusting speed settings based on the recipe, as one of the biggest mistakes people make when using their stand mixer is starting at a high speed. However, this can be problematic, especially when mixing dry ingredients like flour, which can create plumes of dust.
Lower speeds are perfect for mixing dry ingredients, while higher speeds are ideal for whipping creams and beating egg whites. Experiment with different speeds to achieve the desired consistency once the ingredients are incorporated. What's more, starting slow will prevent the flour from forming lumps, which can affect the texture and consistency of your recipe.
Sarah Johnson is an appliance expert at Big Air Fryers an online platform sharing expert insights, recipes and community reviews for all things air fryers.
Room temperature ingredients
Ensure that your ingredients, especially butter and eggs, are at room temperature before using the stand mixer. This allows for better incorporation and a smoother texture in your recipes.
Other dairy products, like cream cheese or milk, blend seamlessly when at room temperature, preventing any unwanted lumps or clumps in your recipes. Letting these ingredients reach room temperature is a simple trick to elevate the quality of your baked goods.
Scraping the bowl
When mixing thick batters or dough, it's common for ingredients to get stuck on the sides of the bowl. To ensure everything is evenly mixed, regularly scrape the bowl with a spatula.
If you're making whipped cream, for example, after the initial mixing, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl to ensure that no liquid is pooling at the bottom. This way, every last bit of cream will be whipped to perfection.
Gradual ingredient addition
When adding dry ingredients to wet ones, or vice versa, do so gradually. This promotes thorough mixing and prevents clumps. Be patient and allow each addition to fully incorporate before adding more.
One thing to keep in mind is not to overmix your ingredients. When you overmix dough, in a stand mixer such as the Beautiful Stand Mixer by Drew Barrymore, the gluten strands become too elastic and tough, resulting in a dense and dry finished product. Similarly, when you overmix egg whites or cream, they can become grainy and lose their silky texture. So, whether you're making cake batter or bread dough, take care not to overmix your ingredients.
Cleaning and maintenance
Finally, to ensure that your stand mixer remains in top condition, make it a habit to clean it regularly. Most mixers come, such as the Smeg 50's Retro Stand Mixer from Amazon with removable attachments and bowls that can be washed in the dishwasher.
However, sometimes, food particles or flour can get stuck in the crevices, so it's best to disassemble the mixer and clean it by hand. Also, keep in mind that some parts, like the planetary gear or the motor housing, should not be submerged in water. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean your specific model.
How powerful should a stand mixer be?
In order to meet all of your baking and culinary needs, you should ensure your stand mixer has a motor of at least 250 watts of power. Any less and your stand mixer may struggle to mix heavier substances.
To get the most out of a stand mixer, always use it while it is placed on a flat surface. This will make it stable and the ingredients will have a good chance to mix thoroughly, Always attach the right accessory when you are using it for any purpose. You can always adjust the bowl of your stand mixer for effective performance.
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Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.
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