If you bake with a stand mixer at home, you might be a little unsure of what all the various attachments are for and how best to use this essential piece of kitchen equipment. Fear not! We have advice at hand for how to get the best from your stand mixer.
Stand mixers come in a range of colours, bowl capacities and prices. Don’t feel you need to purchase the most expensive stand mixer if you only bake occasionally.
Most models are sturdy enough to withstand plenty of use and no baker should feel pressured to splash out on pricier models unless they truly desire one. Either way, most stand mixers do turn out to be lifetime investments!
The majority of stand mixers have three attachments: the flat/paddle beater (best for creaming sugar and butter and mixing together cake, brownie and cookie mixtures and making frostings), the dough hook (best for bread and bun dough) and the balloon whisk (best for egg whites, making meringues and whipping cream).
The whisk incorporates lots of air, the paddle attachment less so and the dough hook ensures that all the dough is pulled in and kneaded in the middle of the bowl.
Some people like to invest in an extra bowl if they bake a lot or they try the various other attachments that might come with their model. This is completely optional but can be a fun way to get the most from the various recipe possibilities. You can use your mixer for lots of savoury recipes too, it needn’t be limited to just baking!
Most mixers will operate on a slow, medium and high speed. Slow is best for adding ingredients, such as egg and flour. Medium is good for general mixing and bringing ingredients together and high speed is used to really get lots of air into your recipe and create volume, such as whipping up meringues.
Here's one of the big mixers we use in our bakeries!
Here is our guide for the top pointers you need to get the most from your stand mixer:
- Use a slow speed if there’s risk of making a mess, particularly when adding ingredients to the bowl or mixing very wet ingredients.
- If you’re mixing dry ingredients like icing sugar or flour, throw a clean tea towel loosely over the mixing bowl just before you begin to mix to stop it flying up and creating a cloud.
- Switch off your mixer completely between mixing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber-tipped spatula. Don’t be tempted to poke a spatula or wooden spoon in whilst it is in motion or you could damage the machine.
- Be sure to scrape the beater itself and the bottom of the bowl, where clumps of mixture can gather.
- When you’re finished, let the beater mix for a moment just above the surface of the mixture before you switch the machine off. This gives the beater a chance to release any last drops of mixture into the bowl.
- Clean your mixer with a warm, wet cloth and dry it completely once used. It’s a lot trickier to remove dried batter from a stand mixer next time you come to use it.
- Did you know that the space between the beater and the bowl can be changed manually? You can often adjust the clearance of the beater in the bowl with a screwdriver. You don’t want the beater to be too high up that it doesn’t mix properly or to touch and scratch the bottom of the bowl. Check the manual of your model for recommendations to make any adjustments or add new attachments.
- You can buy a cover for your stand mixer if you intend to keep it on the side or, if you have space, you can stow it away in a low cupboard to keep it dust and grease-free between uses. Do make sure your cupboard can take the weight of your mixer!
- If in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your mixer and you won’t go far wrong.