Welcome to the world of stand mixers where, in today’s article, we’re talking about paddle attachments (also known as a flat beater attachment). But what is a paddle attachment for a stand mixer, though?
When you first get a new mixer, all the different accessories can be overwhelming. We’ll be sharing everything you need to know about these stand mixer attachments, including why you use them and how to care for them properly.
When to Use the Paddle Attachment
If you are a novice baker, you would know that the paddle attachment is one of the standard attachments and has a range of purposes and benefits. Its primary purpose involves beating, mixing, combining or creaming ingredients using electric hand mixers. However, a paddle attachment isn’t designed for whisking or kneading bread doughs, as you’ll need to use other attachments for these tasks.
Additionally, paddle attachments are great for mixing ingredients without whipping the contents and adding too much air to them. Therefore, paddle attachments are typically used for creaming butter and sugar, which involves beating the ingredients with the attachment until everything has a fluffy consistency.
It would help if you also used your paddle attachment for combining heavy ingredients like bread dough, brownie mixture, cake batter, cookie dough and more. You can even use this attachment to mix ground meat.
What Does a Paddle Attachment Look Like?
A paddle attachment has a very distinctive appearance, and it’s more than likely that you’ve seen this attachment before. In particular, it features a large wide flat shape with surrounding blunt edges and a y-shaped fixture in the centre that mixes the ingredients without adding much air. Compared to flat beaters, it looks more like a balloon. Due to its circular, round shape, a mixer paddle attachment will take up a lot of room in a mixing bowl, which is great for mixing every last ingredient drop. However, you may need to switch to a larger bowl to accommodate this large size.
The Benefits of a Paddle Attachment
A paddle attachment has many advantages, such as rapidly mixing materials—such as egg whites, meat, and more—in a mixing bowl while sitting back and watching the hand mixer put in all of the work. They’re also incredibly tough and durable with a flexible edge, enabling them to power through even thick recipes and scrape every last drop from the side.
Additionally, many paddle attachments are dishwasher-safe, minimising how long you have to stay in the kitchen after making cakes. Finally, they’re attachable to various stand mixers, so you can likely mix and match them with different appliances (should you choose to buy a new stand mixer and not want to purchase a new set of attachments).
The Difference Between a Whisk and a Paddle Attachment
You might be wondering: why can’t you use a balloon whisk instead of a paddle attachment? Although a whisk works well at mixing ingredients, it adds a lot of extra air, so you’re more likely to whip ingredients too much, affecting the texture.
Cleaning Your Paddle Attachment
After use, you’ll need to clean your paddle attachment and be ready to be used again. We recommend cleaning the paddle attachment immediately after use for an easier life. Please do so by rinsing it under the tap (perhaps using warm water to remove any stubborn, dry ingredients).
Then, use a damp cloth with soapy water to the attachment and wipe away any stuck-on mixture. Due to the distinctive shape and spiral dough hook, it’s easy for people not to scrape the sides and allow baked goods to stick onto the attachment. Otherwise, you should check the safe dishwasher attachment for easier, more thorough cleaning.
Alternatives to Using a Paddle Attachment
Despite the uses and benefits of a paddle attachment, you can substitute one by using various utensils in your home if you don’t have one to hand.
Your first consideration is a wire whip, which is ideal for whipping egg whites or whipping cream, and you can even use it for the cake batter. Many people use a wire whip for making cookie dough, too, and it often produces exceptional results. We recommend storing your ingredients at room temperature for a few hours before using them for easier mixing for the best results and ease of use.
Another great alternative is a flat beater. This stand mixer attachment is quite a common mixer attachment, and it can be used to create a fine mixture and mix up various ingredients. Best of all, it’s appropriate for heavy mixing since it can power through thick ingredients.
It’s not ideal, but you can consider reaching for either a wooden or silicone spoon. A wooden spoon is versatile and is easy to use and clean. Plus, it’s safe to use, but you should thoroughly wash a wooden spoon before and after use since this material can attract high bacteria levels. Alternatively, it would help if you used a silicone spoon for mixing ingredients without a paddle attachment.
You should use a balloon whisk for heavy mixtures and heavy doughs. This attachment is ideal for whipping light ingredients and can add more air to the batter, making it ideal for whipping cream, egg whites, sauces, etc.
Use Your Hand
If all else fails, you can mix ingredients by hand—especially if you’re in a crisis in the kitchen where you discover that you don’t have any of these alternatives. Using your hand is a great way to cram in an arm workout while preparing baked goods, and, best of all, it’s probably the safest option for you (given that you thoroughly wash your hands before and afterwards).
What Are Your Go-to Kitchen Paddle Attachments for Stand Mixers?
Overall, a paddle attachment is a great way to mix cream cheese, mashed potatoes, pizza dough, and more and do an excellent job of kneading dough.
Most stand mixers make preparing baked ingredients easier. But what are your favourite stand mixer attachments? Share your thoughts in the comments.