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Mixers have been used in baking and cooking for years because they act as an extra hand in the kitchen. This kitchen device uses a mechanism with gears that rotate beaters which is what is used to automate repetitive actions like stirring food or whisking liquids. In general, a mixer can be used to:
- Scramble large batches of eggs
- Mash potatoes
- Whip cream
- Make pasta from scratch
A hand mixer that has 3 or 4 speeds and basic beaters will cost about $50 while a quality stand mixer that has a capacity of at least 3 quarts to 5 quarts will cost you $200 to $1000. This is because a stand mixer has 10 to 12 different speeds and 3 basic attachments used to beat, whisk, and knead.
Today, 43% of consumers will be proud owners of a stand mixer where 4% of these owners will use their mixer every single day. The handheld mixer, on the other hand, is the more affordable and lightweight version of the stand mixer and is still used today. This is because a mixer can also be used to churn butter, make a special blend of meatballs, or shredded beef, chicken, and pork. Here are the different types of food that you can use your mixer for:
The mixer can be used to make brown sugar. Making a cup of brown sugar in the comfort of your home will cost about $0.36 while store-bought brown sugar can cost you $0.55 for 1 cup. All you need is granulated sugar, molasses, and your mixer. Use 2 tablespoons of molasses for every cup of granulated sugar and add your ingredients into a mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix the ingredients until it is one uniform color like the brown sugar you would buy at your local grocery.
Another use for the mixer is to churn butter in 10 minutes or less. All you will need to do is set out your whole whipping cream for about 1 hour then speed up the mixing time because it will be at room temperature and the separation process will be quicker. Using a whisk attachment, pour 2 cups of cream into a mixing bowl and start with a low speed. Gradually increase your speed until you see the butterfat separate and stick onto your attachment. This will happen in about 3 minutes.
Drain your buttermilk into a separate container if you wish to use it for another recipe. Taking ice-cold water, use 2 cups to pour it over your butter in the bowl to rinse out any remaining buttermilk. Repeat this 4 or 5 times until the water runs clear and drain your butter. You can add salt or herbs for flavoring and store your butter in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks as long as it is in an airtight container.
Another great way to use your mixer is as an egg scrambler. Instead of whisking big batches of eggs by hand, attach the wire whisk attachment to your mixer if you have one and add in the eggs and your seasoning of choice. It’s best to use 5 or more eggs in the mixer and after it has been mixing for about 2 minutes, pour your eggs into a non-stick pan and cook on each side for 25 seconds.
The mixer is also a great appliance to use when you need to make guacamole. By making guacamole at home, you can control the sodium content and use the best ingredients available. Use the paddle attachment of your mixer for creamy and chunky guacamole. Combine your lime juice, garlic, and onion in a separate bowl while placing your avocado and salt in the mixing bowl. Mix your avocado and salt on low speed until it is the consistency you like before adding in your lime juice, garlic, and onion.
This kitchen appliance also works well as traditional ice cream and “nice cream” maker. To make your ice cream base, you will need milk, whipping cream, your choice of sweetener, and vanilla extract. You can make smooth and creamy ice cream with a hand mixer or with the ice cream maker attachment attached to your stand mixer. Start whipping your cream on high until there are stiff peaks. Take a moment to add in your other ingredients and continue to mix the ice cream using a slow setting. After all the ingredients have been incorporated, transfer your ice cream to a freezer-safe container and let it set in the freezer for 6 hours before consumption.
For nice cream, make sure that your bananas have been frozen for at least 2 hours for a creamy base. Let them thaw for 5 minutes before placing them in your mixing bowl and using the high setting. You can add a splash of plant-based milk or other ingredients to add more flavor to your nice cream. When you get a soft-serve-like consistency, you can consume the nice cream immediately or transfer it into a freezer-safe container. Let it set in the freezer for 30 minutes for a firmer texture.
A mixer can also be used to make marshmallows at home. You can use the whisk attachment for a stand mixer or the double beater for a hand mixer to make fluffy marshmallows. You will need gelatine, water, and sugar syrup. Let the gelatin and water set in the mixing bowl for about 10 minutes. For the sugar syrup, heat white sugar and water heat up to a temperature to 230°F to 240°F (110°C to 115°C) then pour the sugar syrup into your gelatin mixture. Mix the ingredients at a medium to high speed for at least 5 minutes until it is at room temperature. Transfer this fluffy mixture into an oiled pan or container and let it dry at room temperature. Cut out your marshmallows and dust with powdered sugar and cornflour.
Another alternative way to use your mixer is to mash potatoes with it. A hand mixer will give you creamy mashed potatoes and a stand mixer will give you fluffy mashed potatoes. After peeling and dicing your Russet, Yukon Gold, or sweet potatoes, bring them to a boil in salted water. You will know that they are tender when your fork can easily cut through a potato.
When using a hand mixer, break up the potatoes on a low speed and gradually add your butter and milk as well as any other seasoning. Give your potatoes a final whip on medium to high speed for 1 minute to 2 minutes, garnish and serve
For a stand mixer, add your potatoes into the mixing bowl and use a paddle attachment on a low speed for 10 seconds to break up the potatoes. Switch out your flat beater for your wire whip and gradually add your milk and butter until you have mashed your potatoes for about 1 minute. Whip the potatoes for 10 seconds to 20 seconds at a high speed, garnish, and serve.
The mixer also doubles as a meatball maker. You can use the food grinder attachment of your mixer to mince your meat or meat blend. Place your minced meat into the mixing bowl with eggs, bread, and seasoning. Attach the flat beater attachment and mix it at a low speed until all of the ingredients have been incorporated well. Shape the mixture into round balls and roll them in breadcrumbs. Fry the meatballs for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, drain and serve.
Your mixer can also be used to make meringues. Simply beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl at a high speed with your hand mixer until foam forms. If you’re using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment at a high speed as well. Add cream of tartar and add in your sugar one tablespoon at a time. After peaks form, add in your vanilla.
If you have a stand mixer, it can also be used as a pasta maker. Customize your pasta and run it through your mixer for big batches of fresh pasta. For the basic pasta dough, you will need flour, eggs, and salt. Place your ingredients into the mixing bowl and use the flat beater attachment on a medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, use the dough hook on a medium speed for 2 minutes. You can knead the dough by hand for about 2 minutes before letting it rest for 30 minutes.
Then, cut your dough into 4 or 6 pieces and dust each piece with flour. Using the pasta sheet roller attachment, run each piece of dough through your mixer. Do this 2 or 3 times before dusting each side with flour and repeating another 2 to 3 times. Switch out your pasta sheet roller for the fettuccine cutter and run the pasta sheet through your mixer. Boil your pasta for around 5 minutes and serve.
The mixer is also a great appliance to use to make pizza dough. You can use a hand mixer or the stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead flour, yeast, water, salt, and sugar together. It will only take a minute for the dough to start forming but you will need to use your mixer to knead the dough for another 8 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise for 45 minutes before rolling it out, adding your sauce and toppings, and baking your pizza.
Make sausages with your mixer. You will need a food grinder attachment to make sausages from scratch. When you have your meat or meat mix, freeze it for 30 minutes beforehand to make the grinding process easier. After removing your meat from the freezer, cut it into cubes that are about 1-inch in size and grind it in your mixer. Switch out the meat grinder attachment for the flat beater and mix your meat and spices together. If you have a sausage stuffer attachment, use it to feed your sausage mix into casings. You can then freeze or cook your sausages.
Shredded Pork, Chicken, and Beef
Use your mixer as a shredder for your meat. You can use the standard beater attachments for a hand mixer or the paddle attachment for a stand mixer to shred chicken, pork, or beef. For optimum shredding, shred your meat in batches while it is still hot or warm. Use the lowest setting on your mixer and shred your meat for 1 minute.
The last use for your mixer is as a whipped cream maker. The mixer incorporates air quickly into the cream which is why using this kitchen appliance to make whipped cream will take less time and work compared to whipping cream by hand. Pour cream into a mixing bowl and start whipping the cream with a medium to low speed while slowly incorporating sugar and vanilla. When the cream starts to foam, use a medium to high speed until there are soft peaks that form. If you are looking to create medium or stiff peaks, go back to a lower speed until you achieve the consistency you are looking for.
What are the common mistakes for usage of a mixer?
If you are learning how to use a mixer, you will need to know what common mistakes to avoid to efficiently use your kitchen appliance. The most common mistakes include:
- Disregarding bowl clearance. Also known as the beater-to-bowl clearance if you have a stand mixer, you will want to check the space between your attachment and the mixing bowl. If your mixing bowl is too close to your attachment, it can damage your bowl, the attachment, or your entire mixer.
- Not chilling your mixing bowl or beater before use. For certain use cases above like whipped cream, ice cream, and dough, chilling your attachment and mixing bowl beforehand will result in fluffy and light end products. You can store the mixing bowl and attachment in the freezer for around 5 minutes and see how big of a difference it makes.
- Not thoroughly cleaning your mixer. The nooks and crannies of your mixer can harbor harmful bacteria that can find their way into the food you are making next. After use, make sure to thoroughly clean your mixer and its parts.
- Scraping the bowl while your mixer is mixing. You should scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl but when your mixer is not running. If you try to use your spatula when your mixer is working, it can get stuck in the attachment and be bent out of shape.
- Using a high speed right away. Your ingredients will find their way outside of the mixing bowl if you start mixing with a high speed right off the bat. No matter what ingredient you are starting off with, use a slow speed and work your way up.
- Using the wrong attachments or beaters. A mixer’s attachments and different beaters are designed for certain use cases as seen above. Make sure you are using the right one for when you are grinding meat and another for whipping cream.
To mix ingredients well and maintain the quality of your mixer, keep these mistakes in mind.
What is the history of usage of mixers?
What a mixer is today started off as a bundle of twigs prior to the 1900s. It was only in the mid-1900s that a wire whisk was invented in France and introduced to the public for those cooking at home. After gaining popularity in Europe, inventors all over the world started looking for ways to improve this tool’s efficiency and design.
According to history, the very first mixer that was mechanized was patented by Ralph Collier who was a tinsmith from Maryland. The “Egg Beater” had rotating parts and was successfully patented in 1956. This invention beat eggs much faster than if eggs were going to be beaten by hand and also acted as the first of many mechanized tools.
In 1957, a British inventor named E.P. Griffith took Collier’s Egg Beater one step further by fixing it inside a pot. Then J.F. and E.P. Monroe patented a hand-turned rotary mixer in 1859 which was bought by the Dover Stamping Company where the “Dover Eggbeater” because an American icon.
The stand mixer you are familiar with today is thanks to Herbert Johnson, an American engineer. After observing how laborous mixing a large batch of dough was for a baker, Johnson was determined to create a more advanced version of the eggbeater. It was only in 1915 that the Model H mixer became the standard mixer with its bowl and the mixer moving the bowl while beaters will rotate in the opposite direction. The Model H was a staple in commercial bakeries and U.S. Navy vessels. In 1919, the KitchenAid Food Preparer was introduced for commercial use.
Do the use cases of a mixer change based on type?
Yes, you will have different use cases based on the type of mixer you have. Most households may already be familiar with a hand mixer that is easy to clean and does not take up much space. There are also stand mixers that can do everything that a hand mixer can but without as much physical strain. A stand mixer can mix larger batches of ingredients depending on the mixing bowl’s size and has different attachments that can be used to mince meat, churn ice cream, or make pasta.
Then there are industrial mixers like the spiral, dough, and planetary mixer. These mixers have a much larger capacity than a stand mixer which can range from 10 liters to 50 liters as opposed to 5 liters. These mixers rotate the mixing bowl but also rotate a hook to knead the dough. Finally, there is a planetary mixer that will raise and lower its mixing bowl while kneading dough.
Which mixer is best for dough?
In a commercial setting, a stand mixer is the best mixer for dough. A stand mixer will come with a dough hook that will incorporate the dough ingredients well and knead the dough to the perfect consistency. A dough mixer is the best type of mixer for dough on a larger scale.
Does a mixer have more use cases than a food processor?
No, when looking at the different use cases of both kitchen appliances, a food processor will win the mixer vs. food processor battle. While a stand mixer has various attachments that can be purchased to shred the meat, for example, a food processor has been designed for these functions already. The various speeds of a food processor make it easy to use this appliance for the use cases above while also being able to mince, chop, and slice.
What are the other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to a mixer?
Other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to a mixer include:
- Blender: This appliance has blades that rotate in order to emulsify, puree, and blend solid and liquid ingredients.
- All-in-One Mixer: This kitchen appliance cooks, stirs, grinds, weighs, kneads, and steams the food. It is a hybrid of a mixer, blender, mill, grinder, steamer, and weighing scale.
- Food Processor: A food processor has different blades in order to chop, mince, puree, knead, and grate ingredients in a short period of time.
These appliances have use cases that are similar to a mixer but have their own case uses that differ from a mixer. You can learn more about the 5 other uses of these 3 kitchen tools here.