Whether you are a professional baker or just an amateur, you must know how to use a stand mixer and how it will help your baking operations.
It is a heavy-duty kitchen appliance capable of accomplishing various food prep tasks. Stand mixers, in contrast to hand mixers, can be left to operate independently and even include a useful timer function.
If you’re planning to make new recipes that require a stand mixer or want to invest in one for different reasons, you may want to know more about its functions and how you can use them for various types of baking and cooking.
This article answers the question, what is a stand mixer used for? It also compares stand mixers to hand mixers and explores whether or not you could benefit from having one as part of your kitchen appliance collection.
Stand Mixers Explained: What Are They and How to Use Them?
What Is a Stand Mixer?
A stand mixer is a stationary mixer with various speed settings and a mixing bowl that is used to mix various cooking materials such as flour, sugar, fruits, etc.
It is equipped with a mixing bowl: a whisk, a dough hook, and a flat beater or paddle. Different attachments are also available to boost versatility further.
It comes in two styles: a tilt-head mixer or a bowl lift mixer. Both styles sit on the countertop and function independently, so there is no need to tire your arms when mixing ingredients.
The tilt-head is the most common type of stand mixer in home kitchens, but the bowl lift style is often better for larger batches.
Stand mixers also come with a splash guard to help keep ingredients inside the bowl while they are being mixed. This can be beneficial with wet and dry ingredients alike.
Whether you choose a Kitchenaid stand mixer or another brand, they can mix wet and dry ingredients and are ideal for mixing large quantities. They also come in various sizes to suit your cooking and space needs.
What Can You Use Your Stand Mixer For?
Now that we have covered the basics, what kinds of things can you do with a stand mixer? You can do virtually anything your recipe calls for it, thanks to the powerful motor. When it comes to prepping the ingredients, you can even shred chicken.
The mixing attachments facilitate whipping, mashing, kneading dough, beating, etc. The following examples cover some of the most common ways people use stand mixers, but the possibilities are nearly endless.
- Making whip cream
- Creaming butter
- Egg whites
- Bread dough
- Pizza dough
- Cookie doughs
- Pasta doughs
- Shredding chicken
- Mashed potatoes
- Pancake batter
- Cake batters
- Dry ingredients
- Burger patty meat
Suppose you want to do even more than mix ingredients. Regardless of how customizable it is, stand mixers can also accomplish various other tasks if you purchase upgraded attachments.
Additional Stand Mixer Attachment Uses:
- Making ice cream
- Pressing and cutting pasta dough
- Grinding cheese or breadcrumbs
- Shredding and slicing vegetables and fruits
- Spiralizing vegetables and fruits
- Juicing vegetables and fruits
- And, if you like to mix your meat for burgers or sausages, you can even grind meat.
Different Attachments for Stand Mixers: Types and Uses
As we briefly mentioned, there are a variety of additional attachments available for use which will allow you to make many recipes quickly and easily.
Stand mixers generally come with a whisk, dough hook, and a flat beater or paddle to get you started. While these three attachments can achieve quite a bit, upgraded attachments open up a whole new world of recipes.
We recommend starting with the basic attachments until you familiarize yourself with a new machine. Still, if you are trying to decide whether or not purchasing one is worth it, the added versatility could be a strong selling point.
Common Upgraded Stand Mixer Attachments:
- A pasta press attachment allows you to press pasta dough and cut various noodle shapes.
- A grinder attachment facilitates shredding cheese, making breadcrumbs, and grinding meat for homemade sausages and burger patties.
- The juicer attachment lets you make fresh juice from fruits and vegetables with or without pulp.
- The food processor attachment enables hummus, salsa, guacamole, pestos, and various finely chopped sauces and tapenades.
- An ice cream maker attachment makes homemade ice cream easy and attainable at a low speed without constantly monitoring the mixture.
- We also love the spiralizer attachment, which decorates vegetables and fruits and makes things like zucchini noodles and fancy salad garnishes as simple as pressing a few buttons.
While the Kitchenaid stand mixer is the most well-known, other mixers can work and often have the same upgraded attachment options.
Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: Which Is Better?
Hand mixers are a more common kitchen appliance, but does that mean they are better than stand mixers? The answer depends on a few things, like how you plan to use your mixer and how often you plan to use it.
If you love baking cookies and mixing dense doughs or batters, the bigger motor on a Kitchenaid stand mixer could be your friend.
They will reduce prep time and allow you to multitask with greater efficiency, but they can make large portions in their mixing bowl without using a lot of energy.
Comparatively, stand mixers also feature long-lasting durability thanks to their superior build quality and powerful components.
They also enable constant speed and even mixing, which often produces a better result. This is particularly true if you compare a stand mixer to a handheld model.
A hand mixer may be considered a better option for your kitchen if you are short on counter space or storage space in general. After all, stand mixers take up quite a bit more space, and they can be quite heavy, so you may not want to move them around frequently.
Hand mixers are also less expensive when compared to stand mixers. Additionally, if you bake infrequently or only anticipate using your mixer occasionally, a hand mixer could be better.
Do You Need a Stand Mixer?
Now we ask the key question, do you need a hand mixer? Hand mixers are often used in restaurants to make large batches, and multitasking is highly attainable.
They are designed to make the mixing process and other food production methods more efficient. By having a stand mixer, you will be able to speed up the mixing process. You will also be able to create specific food products without too much hassle. This makes the hand mixer very important for restaurant and hotel establishments.
However, if you think about a stand mixer for home use, you may wonder if it is essential for your kitchen and baking needs. Is it the best bet for you specifically?
If you make large batches of recipes for long periods or mix a lot of dough for bread or pizza, you could most likely benefit from having a stand mixer in your appliance arsenal.
If you want a versatile appliance to grind meat or make fresh pasta with less effort, you might want to splurge for a stand mixer. Considering all the available added attachments, it can achieve much more than a hand mixer alone.
Do you need one? It may not be a complete necessity, but it sure could make your life easier for all the reasons listed above.
What Will You Use Your Stand Mixer For?
When using a stand mixer, you must know its capabilities. This will allow you to utilize it to its full potential.
Would a stand mixer be a welcome addition to your home kitchen? Or do you think a hand mixer will suffice for your basic mixing needs?
Suppose you are looking to expand your cooking and baking range, mix batter or dough frequently and are sick of tiring your arm, or want to increase multitasking in the kitchen.
In that case, we strongly recommend you consider using a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer. You may be surprised at how much easier it can make a wide variety of food prep tasks.
If you already own one, you need a stand mixer, or you might be looking for new ways to use it. We hope our article opened your eyes to some of the many options available to you.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.