Baking is no longer something that only pastry chefs and bakers do. It’s no longer seen as an activity to make something to eat, either. Nowadays, pretty much anyone can try his or her hand at baking, and they do it for many reasons. In fact, other people claim to bake because they find it to be a freeing and actually relaxing activity.
Many would argue that nothing beats the results obtained from kneading bread dough by hand. They would even go so far as saying that their hands are the best tools. Well, we aren’t going to argue with that.
However, what if, as mentioned before, there is a lot of baking to be done? Then you’re looking at potentially hours of kneading and, no matter how strong your hands are, there is bound to be a point where they will get tired, and the results won’t be as satisfactory as you’d hoped.
Stand mixers are great for making batter and dough, but their usefulness extends far beyond the baking sphere. We asked professional chefs and culinary experts to offer up their favorite lesser-known ways to use a stand mixer, and they provided these 5 suggestions, all of which will help you get the best possible mileage out of this high-dollar tool.
Here we will introduce 6 unexpected ways to use your stand mixer:
1.Shred chicken for nachos, enchiladas, and many other dishes.
Yes, it’s entirely possible to shred chicken using your hands and a couple of forks. That said, chef and recipe developer Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon insists that “shredding chicken by hand can be very slow, and [the process] can be delayed if you are working with freshly cooked chicken, as you don’t want to burn yourself.”
Instead, she likes to use a stand mixer for this purpose, stating that “stand mixers are very efficient at shredding hot and freshly poached chicken breast, baked chicken, or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Once the chicken is quickly shredded in the mixer, it can be easily repurposed into your favorite soup recipe or game-day chicken dip!” Use your flat beater/paddle attachment.
2. Make homemade sausage
Making sausage by hand might seem intimidating to home cooks without butchering experience, but executive chef Devin Kreller of Wood in Chicago, Illinois claims that you can use a stand mixer to emulsify meats and fats for homemade sausages. “I think [that a stand mixer] is an essential part of how I like to prepare emulsified sausage, like mortadella or bratwurst,” says Kreller.
Chef/owner Bruce Moffett of Moffett Restaurant Group in Charlotte, North Carolina also uses a stand mixer to emulsify sausage, explaining that “[when you] use your standup mixer to emulsify sausage, you’ll want to freeze your meat for 30 minutes. Then, take the meat out of the freezer and cut into 1-inch cubes. Grind them with your mixer on medium speed using the food pusher. After the meat is ground, add whatever liquid and spices [you prefer] to the mixing bowl and paddle on high speed for two minutes.”
3. Scramble enough eggs to feed a family
For speedy breakfast prep that can satisfy a whole household, try this egg-scrambling tip from executive chef Kyle St. John of The Ranch at Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California: “One unexpected way I use the stand mixer is to whisk eggs. When cooking scrambled eggs, omelets or even making a quiche for a group of friends or family members, make a large batch of whipped eggs using the whisk attachment on the mixer set on low to medium speed. This will save you time and ensure the eggs are evenly mixed. Add a little cream to your eggs while mixing to make them extra light and fluffy — my favorite trick is to finish cooking scrambled eggs with some creme fraiche folded in for a little added richness.”
4. Ditch store-bought tortillas in favor of homemade versions
Chef and kitchen-equipment blogger Brian Casey of Knifegeeky tells us that he wasn’t immediately sold on the importance of having a stand mixer in his home kitchen, since “I’m not a big baker.” However, he now considers his mixer a crucial tool for a favorite dinner tradition: “Taco night.”
In addition to using the mixer to shred meat and make guacamole, Casey also finds that, with his mixer at the ready, “homemade tortillas are SO easy. They only require corn masa and water. To keep your hands from getting sticky, throw the masa into your stand mixer and just add a couple tablespoons of water at a time until you get a Play Doh-like consistency. No need for a dough hook; the simple paddle attachment will do. Use a tortilla press or your hands to flatten the tortillas, and add herbs and spices to the dough if you want to make them extra special.”
5. Take your home baking game to the next level by milling your own grain
The 2020 COVID quarantine inspired many people to sharpen their baking skills, learning to make everything from cakes and cookies to sourdough loaves and croissants. If you’re in the market for a new baking-related challenge and you have a stand mixer, consider milling your very own artisanal flour.
“If you make your own flour, the recipes that you have been making for years will greatly improve in quality and taste. You get fresh flour that has all of the goodness that is in the grain to contribute to the overall taste of the meal. Attach the grain mill attachment [to your stand mixer] and choose a setting (from coarse to fine) and mill the quantity that the recipes call for,” advises recipe developer and co-founder Chris Riley of The Daring Kitchen.
Owning a stand mixer will make you more enthusiastic about cooking and discover more delicious recipes.
Have a good time!