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What To Do If You Don'T Have A Stand Mixer

Indulging in cookies, cakes, and pies during the holiday season is a much-loved tradition, for people celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Christmas. Whether you’re whipping up mince pies with a buttery, flaky shortbread or a boozy, tender Christmas fruitcake, this time of year, we’re all aiming to get things right.

Many bakers swear by their stand mixer, a traditionally expensive kitchen tool with a relatively large countertop footprint, to make sure these treats come out perfect. But do you really need to shell out for a stand mixer to get the job done, or can other cheaper, more versatile tools handle the task just as well?


When is a food processor needed?

Before we dive into the answer to whether or not you should splurge on a sleek stand mixer, perhaps we’d better cover where this machine excels.

Bread, fluffy marshmallows, sky-high egg whites for meringues, delicious ice cream, and savory pasta are some inventive treats that would otherwise require hours of training, extra tools, and physical labor. But a stand mixer handles kneading, whisking, beating, mixing and folding effortlessly.

The 10 essential pans your kitchen needs

As pro pastry chef Reiko Stewart notes, “I’m a workhorse, so you don’t have to be. Big time savers, allowing you to multitask and do all the muscle work.” Also ideal for those with mobility issues, lack of strength in their hands or arms, these tools can help tackle the more fiddly parts of baking to get a consistent result.

An important point to note if you’re in the market for one, Stewart recommends looking for a lever-operated stand mixer rather than one with a tilt head. This style is optimal for scraping the bowl and pouring. He adds, “There’s no need to scrape the bowl and I feel it actually cuts down on mixing time.”

Novice and experienced bakers alike can benefit from getting uniform doughs with the machine, as well as nailing key steps like creaming butter and sugar until “light and fluffy” or beating egg whites “stiff peaks.”

However, by the same token, because stand mixers are hands-free, inattentive bakers can easily over-mix with the machine, over-process dough or batter if they’re not careful.

The owner of The Modern Pantry in North Vancouver BC, Kendall Gustavson, explained, “I strongly feel that no equipment is ‘necessary’ for great cooking. There have been many years where I have cooked with a wooden spoon and spread cookies with a bottle of wine. Having said that, it’s much easier to get a good quality product with a food processor.”

Mix the ingredients in the standing mixer to cook the peanut butter cookies.
arinahabich/Getty Images


Alternatives to the food processor

As a regular home baker myself, I get along pretty well without a food processor, making brownies, cakes, and cookies (although with what quality, who knows). Sometimes I use the food processor (admittedly, the food processor has many of the same problems as a food processor), and sometimes I’ll get a large bowl and a wooden spatula or spoon.

Our pastry chefs disagreed that alts could accomplish the task in the same way as a food processor. Scrivens and Gustavson agreed that with enough patience and arm strength, a whisk, spatula, and bowl could be great, space-saving, convenient options for bakers.

A good “suspension,” says Stewart, is the hand mixer, a cheaper option. Yet, with less power than a traditional planetary mixer, our pastry chefs complained that it didn’t fully respond, especially when trying to obtain particular desserts such as mousses or meringues.

However, a hand mixer might be an adequate option for those who find they lack the hand strength to blend and beat for several minutes or find it difficult to achieve results on their own.


So you Need a food processor?

According to our pastry chefs, the occasional baker can do without the stand mixer, despite its many advantages. These small appliances have many admirable attributes but are expensive and take up a large amount of counter space (and cabinet space for storage), especially for people with smaller kitchens.

The highly regarded KitchenAid can cost between $300 and $600, placing them in a similar category to pricier luxury products like Vitamix blenders or Nespresso espresso machines.

Great gifts for the baker on your list

A high-quality stand mixer is also heavy, discouraging bakers from lugging it out of drawers and cabinets, and perhaps prompting you to use your tried-and-true hand mixer or wooden spoon and spatula.

As with any big kitchen purchase, it’s best to consider how often you’ll be using the product. If you cook cinnamon rolls every week, host a family dinner and love to finish it off with a pie, or are just an avid baker, then a food processor can be a huge time saver and the means to up your cooking game. To bake a few rounds of cookies this holiday season and then just set them aside for next year, you can probably pass.


Indulging in cookies, cakes, and pies during the holiday season is a much-loved tradition, for people celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Christmas. Whether you’re whipping up mince pies with a buttery, flaky shortbread or a boozy, tender Christmas fruitcake, this time of year, we’re all aiming to get things right.

Many bakers swear by their stand mixer, a traditionally expensive kitchen tool with a relatively large countertop footprint, to make sure these treats come out perfect. But do you really need to shell out for a stand mixer to get the job done, or can other cheaper, more versatile tools handle the task just as well?


When is a food processor needed?

Before we dive into the answer to whether or not you should splurge on a sleek stand mixer, perhaps we’d better cover where this machine excels.

Bread, fluffy marshmallows, sky-high egg whites for meringues, delicious ice cream, and savory pasta are some inventive treats that would otherwise require hours of training, extra tools, and physical labor. But a stand mixer handles kneading, whisking, beating, mixing and folding effortlessly.

The 10 essential pans your kitchen needs

As pro pastry chef Reiko Stewart notes, “I’m a workhorse, so you don’t have to be. Big time savers, allowing you to multitask and do all the muscle work.” Also ideal for those with mobility issues, lack of strength in their hands or arms, these tools can help tackle the more fiddly parts of baking to get a consistent result.

An important point to note if you’re in the market for one, Stewart recommends looking for a lever-operated stand mixer rather than one with a tilt head. This style is optimal for scraping the bowl and pouring. He adds, “There’s no need to scrape the bowl and I feel it actually cuts down on mixing time.”

Novice and experienced bakers alike can benefit from getting uniform doughs with the machine, as well as nailing key steps like creaming butter and sugar until “light and fluffy” or beating egg whites “stiff peaks.”

However, by the same token, because stand mixers are hands-free, inattentive bakers can easily over-mix with the machine, over-process dough or batter if they’re not careful.

The owner of The Modern Pantry in North Vancouver BC, Kendall Gustavson, explained, “I strongly feel that no equipment is ‘necessary’ for great cooking. There have been many years where I have cooked with a wooden spoon and spread cookies with a bottle of wine. Having said that, it’s much easier to get a good quality product with a food processor.”

Mix the ingredients in the standing mixer to cook the peanut butter cookies.
arinahabich/Getty Images


Alternatives to the food processor

As a regular home baker myself, I get along pretty well without a food processor, making brownies, cakes, and cookies (although with what quality, who knows). Sometimes I use the food processor (admittedly, the food processor has many of the same problems as a food processor), and sometimes I’ll get a large bowl and a wooden spatula or spoon.

Our pastry chefs disagreed that alts could accomplish the task in the same way as a food processor. Scrivens and Gustavson agreed that with enough patience and arm strength, a whisk, spatula, and bowl could be great, space-saving, convenient options for bakers.

A good “suspension,” says Stewart, is the hand mixer, a cheaper option. Yet, with less power than a traditional planetary mixer, our pastry chefs complained that it didn’t fully respond, especially when trying to obtain particular desserts such as mousses or meringues.

However, a hand mixer might be an adequate option for those who find they lack the hand strength to blend and beat for several minutes or find it difficult to achieve results on their own.


So you Need a food processor?

According to our pastry chefs, the occasional baker can do without the stand mixer, despite its many advantages. These small appliances have many admirable attributes but are expensive and take up a large amount of counter space (and cabinet space for storage), especially for people with smaller kitchens.

The highly regarded KitchenAid can cost between $300 and $600, placing them in a similar category to pricier luxury products like Vitamix blenders or Nespresso espresso machines.

Great gifts for the baker on your list

A high-quality stand mixer is also heavy, discouraging bakers from lugging it out of drawers and cabinets, and perhaps prompting you to use your tried-and-true hand mixer or wooden spoon and spatula.

As with any big kitchen purchase, it’s best to consider how often you’ll be using the product. If you cook cinnamon rolls every week, host a family dinner and love to finish it off with a pie, or are just an avid baker, then a food processor can be a huge time saver and the means to up your cooking game. To bake a few rounds of cookies this holiday season and then just set them aside for next year, you can probably pass.


Video about What To Do If You Don'T Have A Stand Mixer

How to Mix Dough without a Mixer | Make Bread

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Watch more How to Make Bread videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/511014-How-to-Mix-Dough-without-a-Mixer-Make-Bread

I want to give you some tips on how to make bread dough at home without a mixer because you certainly don’t need a mixer to make dough. In fact, my preference is usually to not use a mixer at home, because the mixers that you use at home have such a smaller motor compared to a professional kitchen, that it just makes more sense to me to knead everything by hand.

But you shouldn’t be afraid to knead it by hand, if a recipe calls for mixing it in a mixer. If anything, you’re getting back to a more traditional way of mixing, that’s actually gentler on the dough and produces a more moist crumb. Mixing it in a mixer just is a way of developing the dough and you can do that with your hands.

And so, any time you come across a bread recipe there are usually two types of mixing steps. The first is incorporating all of the ingredients and normally you would do that on low speed on your mixer. And then the second step is developing the gluten and mixing on a high speed in your mixer. And so if you’re going to do this at home, the first step is to just incorporate all of the ingredients and stir it and combine all of the ingredients with your hands.

It’s okay if your hands get sticky and they will get sticky, because the gluten hasn’t developed yet. And I often like to use some type of plastic dough scraper to sort of keep the dough going, even though my hands are sticky. Once you have the sticky dough incorporated the next thing you want to do is to develop the gluten, and that’s where you take the dough out of the bowl that you’re using, and put it on a flour-dusted surface and start to knead it.

Really, when you’re kneading it you’re just working the gluten. The more strength you can use with your arms and with your body, the faster you can develop that gluten in the dough, if the recipe is calling for kneading and developing. And then after you knead it, you start to do a window pane test and you check to see, how has my gluten developed? And so once you have your gluten developed and it passes the window pane test, then you can put your dough aside and let it ferment, and that’s very, very similar to kneading it with a mixer.

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