how to use a stand mixer

If you want to outfit your kitchen the right way, you should have a stand mixer. Some may not consider it a crucial tool, but many home cooks swear by them. Stand mixers do a great job thoroughly mixing a wide variety of ingredients, allow you to multitask with greater efficiency in the kitchen, and eliminate a lot of the hard work required by hand mixing recipes, especially thick batters and doughs.

Stand mixers can look quite complicated to the inexperienced user, but they are quite easy to use once you get them. They are, in fact, an essential part of any kitchen’s roster of tools. You will no longer have to tire yourself mixing dough and other mixtures by having one.

This article will teach you how to use a stand mixer with simple beginner instructions and answer a few common questions. By the time you are done reading, you should be all set to start using your new stand mixer with ease.

Getting Started: Stand Mixer Basics

What Is a Stand Mixer?

A stand mixer is a medium-sized kitchen appliance used to stir, beat, mix, knead, or whip ingredients. It sits on a countertop or other flat surfaces. It comes with an attachable mixing bowl and several different attachments to help you accomplish a variety of baking and cooking tasks quickly and easily. The most common type of stand mixer is the Kitchenaid mixer, but many other quality options exist.

Stand mixers come in two different styles, a bowl lift model and a tilt-head model. The tilt-head style is the most commonly used stand mixer in home kitchens. It features a head that tilts back to allow access to the attachment and the mixing bowl.

A bowl lift stand mixer raises the bowl to meet the attachment. This type can also be found in homes but is more common in professional settings that need to make larger batches.

Before You Begin

Before using a stand mixer, we strongly recommend you read the manual. This will show you how to use a stand mixer, help familiarize you with the different parts and attachments included and help alert you to any special features about your specific machine. Reading the user manual can also help you troubleshoot any possible issues. However, with our help, we don’t anticipate that happening.

Stand Mixer Attachments Explained

Most stand mixers, the Kitchenaid mixer included, come with three basic attachments: a flat beater, also called a paddle, a wire whip, also called a whisk, and a dough hook. Here is a brief explanation of the three to help you better understand how you can best use them.

Flat Beater or Paddle Attachment

The flat beater attachment is often the most used of the three basic attachments. It is great for stirring, mixing, and beating. Everything you would do with a regular hand mixer attachment can be done with the flat beater on your stand mixer.

Use your paddle attachment for cake batter, cookie dough, mashed potatoes, pie crusts, and biscuit dough to shred meat like chicken, cream butter, etc.

Wire Whip or Whisk Attachment

You can use the wire whip attachment just like a manual whisk but with less effort.

Use your whisk attachment to whip eggs, make whipped cream, frosting, froth milk, or even make an airy chocolate mousse.

Dough Hook Attachment

The dough hook is your go-to tool for kneading thick dough, like for bread. Compared to kneading the dough by hand, your stand mixer is better equipped to do this properly and minimally.

You could use your dough hook attachment to knead bread dough, pizza dough, pasta dough, and different quick slices of bread.

Other Upgraded Attachments

You can purchase many additional attachments to upgrade and expand your stand mixer’s capabilities. Some of the most common additional attachments include an ice cream bowl attachment, a pasta press, a meat grinder, a spiralizer for fruits and vegetables, and a juicer attachment.

There is even an attachment that measures and sifts flour for a recipe. This can be extremely helpful for baking and precise recipes like pasta dough. And, of course, homemade ice cream can be made without a stand mixer attachment, but you might be surprised at how much easier it could be.

How to Use Your New Stand Mixer: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide

Step 1: Place Your Stand Mixer on a Flat Surface

If you don’t keep your stand mixer on an accessible countertop, take it out of its storage location and place it on a flat surface. Choose a countertop with extra space around the sides and a location next to a mains power plug. You want the entire machine to be easily accessible. Placing it on a flat surface also ensures stability and helps make a better, more consistent mix of ingredients.

Step 2: Choose and Connect the Right Attachment for Your Recipe

Before you power up your stand mixer, you will want to select and connect the appropriate attachment for what you are making. Choose the whisk, dough hook, or paddle attachment based on the ingredients described above. Then, it would help if you connected the attachment to the machine.

Make sure to attach the accessory underneath the main head of your stand mixer. With a tilt head mixer, you will need to slide the lock lever so that the head tilts up.

If you have a bowl lift mixer, you will need to reach up below the head. Remember, the machine should still be turned off and unplugged for this step.

When the stand mixer head is in the correct position, you can slide the notch on the attachment and into the shaft on its head.

Once inserted, turn the accessory counterclockwise until it is firmly screwed into place. It should be tight enough that the accessory will not come loose when you start to mix your recipe.

Step 3: Attach the Mixing Bowl

Again, it is important that your stand mixer still be turned off and unplugged when you attach the mixing bowl to the machine.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer’s base for a tilt head mixer. It should fit into place thanks to a bowl clamping plate. Push down on the bowl with small pressure and twist clockwise until it is firmly locked.

To ensure you did it correctly, test your work by trying to wiggle or lift the bowl off of the base. Like the attachment, your bowl must be secure before turning on the machine and creating your mixture of ingredients. Otherwise, it could spin out of control and splash ingredients all over.

Set the stand mixer’s bowl lift handle to the down position for a bowl lift mixer. Then, place the bowl over the locating pins and press the back of the bowl until it snaps into place.

You should hear the spring snap into place on the latch. Once you hear it click into place, you should be able to rotate the bowl lift lever to raise and lower the bowl. Please give it a small test to check your work but keep it in a lower position.

Step 4: Add the Dry Ingredients to the Mixing Bowl

Next, add the initial ingredients of your recipe to the mixing bowl. With many recipes, you will add additional ingredients later on.

For many baking recipes, like batter for cakes or brownies, the initial components will be a mixture of dry ingredients like flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mixing dry ingredients first helps create a better, more consistent blend.

Step 5: Turn On Your Stand Mixer and Choose the Right Speed

Finally, it is time to power up your stand mixer and start mixing. Depending on the design of the stand mixer, start by lowering the tilt arm head or raising the bowl to the appropriate height for the bowl and ingredients. Then lock either the tilt arm or bowl in place.

Next, plug it into the main power and turn it on. Be aware of the right speed for your recipe but make sure to start at a slow speed and gradually increase. Slide the speed lever to the first low-speed setting to turn it on, and then slowly increase the speed by turning the speed lever. Continue adjusting the speed until you reach the correct speed for your recipe.

If you are unsure which speed setting to use, here are a few general guidelines to get you started. Slower speeds are good for gentle mixing and stirring. A low speed is also good when adding ingredients that could splash and make a potential mess.

A medium speed is good for mixing and beating batters or thoroughly mixing dry ingredients. A medium-high speed is good for creaming, beating, or finishing up a batter. A high speed is good for adding air to ingredients when whipping cream, frosting, or extra fluffy eggs.

While you do not have to monitor the stand mixer continuously while it works, take care not to over whip or over-knead your ingredients, as it can negatively affect the consistency of recipes, especially if they contain flour.

Step 6: Add Any Additional Ingredients to the Mixing Bowl

If your recipe calls for more ingredients, slowly add them to the bowl once the initial ingredients are thoroughly blended together. Continue following your recipe until all of the mixings are complete.

If your stand mixer came with a splash guard, now might be a good time to use it. Most splash guards have an opening that allows you to add wet ingredients while in place.

Step 7: Remove the Attachment and Mixing Bowl

When you are done beating, mixing, whipping, or kneading, please turn off your stand mixer and unplug it from mains power. Depending on the style, either unlock and lower the mixing bowl or unlock the tilt head lever and raise the head. Remove the attachment by turning it clockwise until it comes loose and detaches.

You may also want to remove the bowl. With a bowl lift model, release the bowl from the clip by pulling up and out. With a tilt-head model, turn the bowl counterclockwise until it is released from the bowl clamp plate. Now you can continue with the ingredients according to your recipe. This usually involves removing the ingredients from the bowl.

Step 8: Clean and Store Your Stand Mixer

When you are all done using your stand mixer, all that is left is to clean up your mess. Before you start, double-check that it is unplugged.

Most stand mixers feature dishwasher-safe bowls and attachments, minus the whisk attachment, which should be hand-washed, making cleanup fairly quick and easy. Wash the components in the dishwasher or with warm soapy water. If you commit to cleaning up before the leftover ingredients have time to harden, this step will be much easier.

Aside from the bowl and attachments, you will want to wipe down the machine’s body, base, and head with a damp cloth. When all the pieces are clean and dry, put away the parts and store or leave the machine out if you have enough counter space. We recommend storing your attachments inside the mixing bowl to keep everything together and easily accessible.

These steps may seem tedious, but they are very important. Remember that your stand mixer is sturdy, yet it could deteriorate if not maintained well. With these steps, you’ll be able to have your stand mixer in tip-top shape for many years.

Other Things to Consider

What Can You Make With a Stand Mixer?

The possibilities are almost limitless for what you can use it. You may want to start with a familiar recipe, but new recipes are sure to come once you see what your stand mixer is capable of.

You can make ice cream, whipped cream, cake batters, cookie doughs, cinnamon rolls, and other sweet baked goods with a stand mixer.

You can also grind your meat, shred chicken, and make various savoury dishes. In addition, you can use a stand mixer for creaming butter, making bread, whipping egg whites, and making mashed potatoes quickly and easily. And these are just a few of the possibilities.

Are Stand Mixers Better Than Hand Mixers?

Compared to a hand mixer, a stand mixer is more durable, can mix a larger amount of ingredients, creates a more thorough and even mixture, and eliminates most of the physical labour on your part.

However, hand mixers are great if you only use a mixer infrequently, do not have much space in your kitchen for a larger appliance, or are looking for a less expensive alternative to a stand mixer.

Stand Mixers Made Easy

It may seem complicated at first, but once you use one a couple of times, it should become quite easy, and you will know how to use a stand mixer.

Many home cooks believe their stand mixer is an essential kitchen tool for saving time and minimizing physical effort with a wide range of recipes.

Whether you have a new one or are considering buying one soon, at least you know how to use one when the time comes. You will also know how to maintain and clean your stand mixer.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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