The Stand Mixer vs. The Hand Mixer, Are Both Necessary For The Home Baker?
For the home baker, is it really necessary to have both a stand mixer AND a hand mixer? Can one suffice for the home bakers needs or is there a place for each in the world of baking at home?
I will be reviewing my favorite mixers, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer and Hand Mixer. Of course I have both, but do YOU need both? If you are looking to purchase one, it’s important to do the research first because they certainly are an investment! In addition to discussing which one is more useful for the home baker, I will be explaining which mixer tool is best for different baking jobs in the case that you do have both.
Eggbeater: This hand mixer is a handheld device where you manually beat your batter. There is rotater “crank” device on the side that is connected to the two beaters. It requires the use of two hands. One hand is used to hold the device steady at the top, while the other is used to turn the crank, which creates the beating motion! The eggbeater mixer is good for simple mixing projects like whipping eggs or cream. It’s also very affordable, easy to clean, easy to store, and very light. I suppose an eggbeater would also be very useful in situations where you don’t have electricity and need to beat ingredients together. This is not good for mixing thick batters. Your arms will be killing you be the time you try to finish eggbeating a thick cake or cookie batter. Also, due to having to use both hands to mix, steadiness is a problem with these. You may end up with all of your batter on the counter because you can’t hold the beater and the bowl at the same time.
Overall, I would say that the home baker does not need a eggbeater. Although eggbeaters are inexpensive, they are kind of outdated and do not have a wide range of uses.
Electric: The electric hand mixer is also a handheld device that beats batter by an electric motor. It has the same concept as the eggbeater, but with an electrical source added to it. It has a handle that is supported by the operator to maintain steadiness while beating a batter. The motor is encapsulated inside the handle and when turned on, the motor provides a multitude of speeds to mix the ingredients. A bowl is needed to use an electric mixer. The electric mixer is good for mixing many different kinds of batters. It can be used fairly interchangeable with a stand mixer, but requires some arm muscle! Handheld electric mixers are cheaper than stand mixers, easy to store, and can be used with any type of mixing bowl. Again, these are good for mixing easily mixable batters. Thick batters will give you some trouble and will require more time beating simply because the motor is not as strong as the one in a stand mixer.
The KitchenAid Hand Mixer is the best mixers I have used. It has a lot of really nice features that make for a great hand mixer. I have the KitchenAid KHM926OB 9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer with Turbo Beater II Accessories and Pro Whisk in the Contour Silver, but depending on the version you have or may buy, the features may be different. Here are some of the great features in the hand mixer I have:
- 9 Different Speeds For Slow or Fast Speed Mixing: allows bakers to work at low speeds to gradually incorporating flour, medium speeds for creaming sugar and butter together, or high speed for whipping up whipped cream or egg whites for meringue
- “Soft Start™ Feature”: gradually increases the speed of the beaters to your pre-selected speed to help prevent ingredients from flying all over the kitchen
- “Soft Grip Handle”: well-designed handle providing the most comfort to your cramping hand while mixing
- Easy Ejection with a Single Press: well-placed ejection button for quick removal of any accessory attached to the hand mixer
- Fancy accessories:
- Turbo Beaters: great for mixing cookie and cake batters; made with stainless steel making from strong beating capabilities; does not have a center post allowing for the beaters to cleanly cut through your ingredients
- Turbo II Beaters: also made with stainless steel that is 30% stronger than the regular Turbo Beaters; designed for mixing heavier ingredient
- Pro Whisk: best used when whipping up a fast batch of whipped cream, stabilized meringue, or mousse
- Blending Rod: who needs a blender when you can use the blend rod?? Great for blending smoothies or soups into a thick, liquid consistency
- Dough Hook: two hooks used to knead yeast dough; makes quick work out of kneading and who wants to knead by hand??
Overall, I would say that the home baker would benefit from owning an electric hand mixer! Before my stand mixer, I used my hand mixer exclusively for all of my baking. For a time, I was “anti”-Stand Mixer because I thought it took the “work” out of baking, but let me tell you I got over that real quick when I got my Stand Mixer!
Here comes the big boy of them all… The KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
Stand mixers have a solid base frame enclosing a heavy duty motor (much stronger than your hand mixer’s motor!). The base is designed to hold a bowl that stays locked in place when mixing and has an arm extended over the bowl that attaches to the mixing accessory of your choice. Bowls are specially made to fit into the lock mechanism at the base of the stand mixer. Typically, the metal bowls will hold 4 quarts, while the glass bowls hold 5 quarts. The really big industrial stand mixes can hold up to 100 quarts (WOW)!! I have tried a few stand mixers, and I do think the KitchenAid is the best. I have the Artisan® Design Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl in the Contour Silver. The reason why I love the KitchenAid Stand Mixer is because of the extra attachments and accessories:
- 10 Different Speeds For Slow or Fast Speed Mixing: allows bakers to work at low speeds to gradually incorporating flour, medium speeds for creaming sugar and butter together, or high speed for whipping up whipped cream or egg whites for meringue
- “Tilt Head Design”: allows for easy access to add ingredients into the bowl; locking modem arm in place during mixing ensures close contact between the beater and the bowl providing efficient mixing
- Fancy Accessories That Hook Into Your Mixer
Tilt-Head Coated Flat Beater: good for quick beating or mixing – potatoes, cake batters, and cookie doughs
Tilt-Head Flex Edge Beater: the greatness of the flat beater with the addition of a scraper! Yes, do you still need to scrape down the bowl now and then? Well, of course! But not nearly as much and it also reduces mixing time… yes, this is my favorite accessory.
Tilt-Head 6-Wire Whip: great for incorporating air into your ingredients like whipped egg whites for meringues and cakes, airy whipped cream, and light buttercream
Tilt-Head Burnished Flat Beater: also great for basic mixing!
- Glass Bowls: KitchenAid has three different glasses bowls that are equally awesome and very elegant looking – regular, frosted, and hammered glass
- Fancy Attachments That Attach to Your Power Hub (the KitchanAid Button With Screw Part)
- Variety of Pasta Rollers and Cutting Sets: make fresh pasta at home; many options are available for pasta rolling; deluxe package includes: Pasta Roller, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Lasagnette, and Capellini Cutter
- Pasta Press: six different types of pasta shapes can be made including Spaghetti, Bucatini, Fusilli, Rigatoni, Small Macaroni and Large Macaroni
- Food Processor And Accessory Kit: all of the components of a food pro, but attached to your stand mixer! Slice, dice, and shred your favorite fruits and veggies
- Ice Cream Maker: make your very own homemade ice cream
- Juicer and Saucer: no need for a juicer when you can attach it to your stand mixer! This attachment is considered a “slow masticating juicer,” which means it first slices the fruit or veggies then processes the flesh to increase the nutrient extraction capabilities
- Precise Heat Mixing Bowl: great for making fondue, tempering chocolate, proofing bread dough!
- Spiralizer: slice, core, and peel fruits and veggies; perfect for the new trend in spiralizing vegetables into healthy pasta or for fancy applie pie!
- Grain Mill: grind grains quickly into flour; can change the setting from fine grain to “cracked” consistency
- Fruit and Vegetable Straining Set: make quick work out of pureeing and straining fruits and veggies; this device gets helps from a food grinder that helps break down ingredients while the strainer removes any outer peels
- Food Grinder: grind meats into burgers with the course grind and switch to the fine grind for shredding hard cheeses and breadcrumbs
- Fresh Prep Slicer and Shredder: great for shredding cheeses or slicing vegetables
- Sausage Stuffing Kit: make your own sausage with this great attachment!
Overall, the stand mixer is a wonderful baking appliance for all home bakers. If you are only baking occasionally in your home, then it might not be worth the price, but if you bake regularly, I highly recommend looking into purchasing one! The bowl stays stationary so your batter doesn’t splash out of the bowl. When mixing thick or thin batters, this mixer can handle most any job. You can walk away from mixing and the appliance will keep mixing so its very convenient for a busy life. The stand mixer is great for all baking jobs including cookies, brownies, cakes, breads, and much more. I would say any baking task you have, can be handled with a stand mixer. And there are a crazy amount of accessories and attachments that you can add on to make it even more functional! There are some down sides to the stand mixer. It is quite costly to purchase one of them especially in comparison to the hand mixers. They are quite heavy and cumbersome to carry so keeping it in one place seems to be the easiest thing to do. BUT the downsides are very small in comparison to the really great features that the KitchenAid Stand Mixer has!
When To Hand Mix
There are times when it’s best to mix by hand and not with your mixer. Of course, any mixing job CAN be done by hand! It might take a little extra effort, but any recipe can still be made using your own two hands. Here are some situations where hand mixing is best:
- Any mixing that needs to be done over heat – you can’t really put your stand mixer on the stove for one thing, but when tempering chocolate on the stove or making pastry cream, this is best done using a spatula or whisk
- Recipes that specify for “lightly beaten” eggs – this is best done using a whisk or a fork will also do the trick
- Recipes that specify to “fold in” ingredients – this is common in cookie recipes when adding in the chocolate chips or when adding egg whites into cake batters
I hope you enjoyed the latest product review. If you were considering buying one of these appliances for your kitchen, I hope my opinion helps sway you in the right direction for you and your family. What do you guys think of home bakers and the type of mixer you may need? Are you satisfied working with a hand mixer or do you already own a stand mixer? Comment here and let me know your thoughts. Have a great day!