Baking up the Best!

So, if you’ve done any baking at all in your life, you’ve probably used an electric mixer, whether it was a hand or stand mixer. Either one makes life as a baker so much easier than mixing by hand, and gives you a better result in the end.

If you need to use a mixer frequently, it’s probably in your best interest to invest in a pricier mixer. But, with all the brands and models available in today’s market, how on Earth can you choose? And if you only use one occasionally, why should you pay more than you need to?

Some folks swear by hand electric mixers, while others will use only stand mixers. You might be wondering, what’s the difference, a mixer is a mixer, right?

Hand Mixers

These are your average kitchen mixers, good for those who might need to use a mixer once or twice a month. They are no bigger than a hair dryer, and typically store flat in a small space. So, they’re great to have as a use-it-and-forget-it machine. They often come with several commonly used mixing blades, and those are usually dishwasher safe.

Low-end hand mixers might have three or four different settings, while more expensive models offer everything from whip to puree. They generally have a one-hand release to spit the blades right in the sink when you’re done using them, so you won’t even have to get your hands dirty. Unless, that is, you’re a spoon-licker!

The attachments, say the whisk, is no more heavy-duty than your average hand whisk, but the paddles are made with a bit more oomph to power through heavier mixes and doughs.

Stand Mixers

The stand mixer is often a permanent resident on your kitchen counter, and some people with limited space will shy away from them. They generally take up the same amount of space as your coffeepot, more than your toaster. They also come with blades, and sometimes with paddles.

Stand mixers have either a metal plate to set your standard mixing bowl, or a specially designed bowl that hangs from the mixer itself. These are more powerful machines than a hand mixer, and have more speeds available. Some even have timers on them, so you could set it and forget it! Heck, they can probably make you a cup of coffee while you wait!

These are all good arguments in favor of one type of mixer over another. What type you choose for your home will depend on what you need it for. If you are a Sunday baker or perhaps just like to whip up mashed potatoes, a hand mixer might be ideal. However, if you’re one of those people who bake frequently, breads especially, you might decide a stand mixer is the right one for you.

What to Consider in a Stand Mixer

Since stand mixers are a little different than hand mixers, there are a couple things to keep in mind.

If you’re looking at stand mixers with the bowl that attaches to them, you’ll have to remember this is probably the only bowl you’ll be able to use with it. However, if you get a mixer with a standard base to rest a bowl on, you probably have a few bowls already in your cupboard that will work in a pinch.

You may have a large family or make things in large batches. If this is so, make sure you double-check the sizes of bowls you can use before you decide. Some mixers come with bowls that are small-to-medium size, but you might be able to purchase larger ones that will work. But, there’s nothing worse than starting a baking project and discovering your only mixing bowl is too small for your volume!

No matter if you’re a die-hard baker or the occasional kitchen dabbler, having an electric mixer in your home gives you great benefit! They will speed up the process of mixing and get you baking much quicker, and create a far better mix, than doing all the work by hand. And, they’re easy to clean, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and forget about the mess!