My sister and I decided to buy a new stand mixer for my mom after her 5 stand mixers are broken after 40+ years of marriage for Christmas last year.
She loved it. Except for one tiny detail. Which beater was she supposed to use? Her other 5 mixers only had one kind of beater and now there were 3!
She used the flat beater when she was supposed to use the whip and couldn’t figure out why her angel food cake was flat. She used the whip when the flat beater would have made buttercream much easier. And then she was frustrated and didn’t want to use her beautiful new stand mixer at all!
Turns out, she’s not alone. Choosing the right attachment is part of the baking process but it can be frustrating and confusing when you’re not sure.
When do I use the flat/paddle beater?
I like to think of the paddle attachment as sort of the catch all beater. This is the beater you use for cookies, cakes, even meatloaf and sometimes mashed potatoes (depends on how many lumps you like).
This beater mixes the ingredients by smashing them against the side of the bowl. It mixes without adding too much air into the recipe. If your recipe calls for you to “cream” ingredients together, use the paddle attachment. If no attachment is indicated in the recipe, use the paddle attachment.
I use this beater so much, that I got the Flex edge paddle attachment in addition to the regular paddle attachment, so I don’t have to scrape down the bowl as much. It’s especially useful when creaming together butter and sugar.
When do I use the whisk beater?
The whisk beater is used for any recipe where you need to incorporate air into the batter. Pretty much anytime you would use a hand whisk, you would want to use a whisk attachment. This includes whipped cream, angel food cake, and some frosting recipes.
You shouldn’t use the whisk attachment for heavy batters or doughs because the wires could get bent or damaged. You also risk incorporating too much air into the recipe.
When do I use the dough hook?
The dough hook is used to knead yeasted bread doughs. It is pretty much exclusively used for this purpose. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, the dough hook could be shaped like a “C” or it could be shaped like a spiral. The mixer model type will determine the shape of your dough hook. They are not interchangeable.
The dough hook comes in especially handy if you’re making a yeasted dough that requires a lot of kneading. Some recipes require 10 minutes or so of kneading and the dough hook really saves your hands from aching.
Let’s talk about the dishwasher:
The white coated beaters (like mine above) are dishwasher safe. The non coated aluminum ones are not. The dishwasher will wear and discolor your beaters not intended for the dishwasher.
Wash your non-coated beaters with warm soapy water and be sad they aren’t dishwasher safe.
Have a good time!