What or who got me interested in Baking…no idea, but I can’t seem to get enough of it now. Honestly if someone could give me a fully stocked kitchen I would be baking all day every day. Practice makes perfect right and I have so much yet to learn.
Before I got all my fancy Baking gear I was using my (non existent) arm muscles to do all my mixing. Hand mixing is not a bad way to go if you have the strength and patience for it. But it’s not ideal as you run the risk of over mixing* your batter or not mixing enough. To be honest I’m still not sure when I have ‘overmixed’ my batter.
I generally test my batter by letting it run of the whisk/spoon and look for lumps/dry mix. I stuck to cake mixes to begin with (Betty Crocker*) with the exception of my Yogurt Cake (Foolproof cake people) as I was new to baking and let’s face its Cake mixes are so easy. Just dump the contents into a bowl add a few staple ingredients and boom a lovely cake.
HAND HELD ELECTRIC WHISK
My mum bought me my first handheld electric whisk, thank you mum 🙂 by this time I had moved away from box mixes and started to attempt baking from scratch. My first few attempts were a major fail. Looking back now I can see exactly why, I failed to do the most basic steps but that’s for another post. For now let’s talk about the hand held electric whisk.
How amazing are these things?! No more achy arm muscles and hours (Maybe not hours but you get the point) spent on the prep. Hand mixers are great if you’re new to baking or a light baker. They are small so don’t take up much kitchen space, inexpensive, quick and easy to cleanup. My only frustration with my hand mixer was the motor. It’s pretty small so trying to mix a thick batter (E.g. cookie/biscuit dough) is tough. This is how I ended up breaking my first mixer 🙁 I was baking soft cut biscuits and the mixer gave up on me when the dough started to come together.
It didn’t matter that I switched over to a bigger bowl it just couldn’t handle the pressure. Lesson learnt from that incident. Once I got my replacement I made the soft cut biscuits as per usual but this time when it was time to add the flour I switched back to hand mixing. Yes this is hard work and painful but at least this way my mixer stays intact and I get a workout (To be wasted after consuming all the biscuits)
KITCHEN AID: STAND MIXER
Can we just take a minute to appreciate the amazingness that is my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer 😀 I thought the hand held mixer changed my baking game but it is nothing compared to this bad boy. The Kitchen Aid stand mixer is more powerful, durable, faster, easier to use and pretty to look at. (Seriously just look at it..so shiny :D) Unlike your hand held mixer a stand mixer has a stable bowl so you are able to leave it to mix away.
For me this is ideal as I’m a neat baker, I like to clean as I go along rather than have a pile of dishes waiting for me at the end. With my Kitchen Aid I can leave the butter and sugar to cream whilst I prepare the next set of ingredients, do the dishes or just have a cup of tea and watch the mixer do its magic.The only real downside for me is the size. I don’t have much counter space so I’m having to drag the box (It’s really heavy) to the kitchen each time I want to bake.
Going back to my biscuit dough example from earlier, this stand mixture has really done me proud. Not only did it managed to handle the dough without flinching once but it did it in half the time. Making buttercream frosting with this has also been an absolute dream. My buttercream has never come out more smooth and creamy 😀
If you are working with large amounts of dough/batter or are a generally heavy duty baker then the Kitchen Aid stand mixer is for you. But as I mentioned earlier a hand mixer is perfect for beginners. Bonus if you can afford both then go for it, I have worked my way up to both and can’t imagine baking without either.
What I have:
- KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L Stand Mixer, Candy Apple Red
- Andrew James Powerful 300 Watt Red Hand Mixer
- KitchenAid 9 Speed Hand Mixer Empire Red (A girl needs a matching set!)
- KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater
- KitchenAid 4.8 Litre Glass Bowl
*Folding Ingredients – This is when you are combining the dry ingredients with the wet. Its a under and over motion which done right will produce light and airy bakes. Over do it and mixture can split (Instead of shiny gloopy mix it will look and feel sponge like)
*Over mixing batter – Once you no longer see your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder ect.) then stop mixing. Over mixing will result in a more chewy and dense bake.
*Betty Crocker – Instant cake mixes available in all supermarkets in the UK. I recommend the vanilla, marble and devil’s food cake mix. I have a *hack* to make these taste like you made them from scratch and not from a box. See post xxx for more details. They also do ready made frosting but it’s way too sweet.