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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Useful Kitchen Utensils - Whisk

The handy whisk is a must have tool in your kitchen. Did you know there are different types of whisks each being better for specific jobs? Whisks are usually made of stainless steel but some are made of wood and silicone to protect the non-stick surfaces of some pots and pans. When purchasing a whisk look for one that doesn't have crevices where sticky liquid gets overlooked and gunks up. Stainless steel whisks are less likely to rust. Look for 18/10 stainless steel for the best quality. Better quality metal whisks have the handle sealed at both ends. Some whisks have silicone or nylon plastic handles which might be easier to grip, particularly with wet, slick hands. Avoid whisks with a long or heavy metal handle. They will be top-heavy and can flip out of the bowl or tip your bowl over when at rest. You want relatively stiff wires so that they don't bend, lose shape, get tangled. You want a well balanced whisk so take it in your hand and give it a whirl, see how it feels. Is the handle long enough for you without being too long? Make sure it is dishwasher safe. I do not sell these items nor am I pushing a brand name. I just did a Google image search to get examples of the different types of whisks. Whisks are easy to find online and in stores. I prefer buying mine in a store so that I can test the feel of it and see it up close to make sure the handle is solid so food doesn't get caught in crevices you can't reach.

This balloon whisk is mine and I've had it for YEARS. I use it for stirring and dissolving sugar when making my tea. A balloon whisk is the most commonly used. The large size of this whisk is good for mixing voluminous or heavy ingredients. The French whisk looks similar to the Balloon whisk but with longer, narrower wire loops, and it has a more cylindrical profile, suiting it to deep, straight-sided pans.

The ball whisk is good for thin liquids like raw eggs, juices, gravies, and sauces. Great for whipping egg whites into meringues and making souffles. The individual beaded wires on eleven long wires surround one shorter one, adds independent movement and the extra weight provided by the end bead incorporates air much more thoroughly into whisked food. It whips food faster and is easy to clean.

The Spring, Coil or Twirl whisk is made for thicker liquids such as gravies, puddings, sauces and salad dressings. Also good to use in tight spaces like inside a jar or a glass. It's the spiral spring, when compressed it conforms to the pan. The spring action is what makes this whisk unique. Unlike other whisks, which are stirred around the bowl to aerate liquids, this type remains stationary in the bowl, and is pumped up and down. Great for lifting heavy, thick mixtures from the bottom of a deep bowl.

The Cage whisk is used for heavy whipping and for thorough blending of thicker mixes, leaving them with an extra-smooth texture. Great for whipping egg whites and cream. It has 2 steel cages and 1 ball bearing. As these 3 mechanisms bounce off each other, they suck air into your sauce or batter. Be sure to select one where the inner cage and the ball bearing will not slip out with vigorous beating.

The Gravy whisk, also called the Coil or Spiral whisk, is a great emulsifier. The coil design and flat circular head provides consistency while mixing sauces, gravies, jello and batters. The unique shape can reach ingredients that collect in corners and crevices of roasting pans and sauce pans. Since the head bends to fit the space it is inserted into, this type of whisk will constantly make contact with the pan or bowl, which helps to ensure even mixing while preventing scorching. Someone said this style is great for stirring natural peanut butter. It comes in a straight style, slightly bent and bent style. Sometimes the bent style is called a Vinaigrette whisk. The Bent Spiral whisk is good for reaching small rounded spaces like a glass or jar.

Flat pan or Roux whisk is designed to be more two-dimensional in shape, making it flatter and often better for reaching the corners of pans during cooking. It's good with custard, gravy, cheese sauce or cream sauce.

Egg beater whisk - Yes, they still make egg beater whisks. I've seen them in antique shops and flea markets in the vintage kitchen utensils but was surprised that they still make them. If you don't want to drag out your electric mixer, you can use these.

A Beverage whisk or Frother is a small spiral whisk that fits easily in a glass, mug or coffee cup. Run with batteries it whisks so fast that the air and liquid froth.

A whisk is the secret to scrambling eggs. It adds more air to the eggs and makes them fluffy. Be sure to puncture the yolks first, then whisk away!

When a recipe calls for combining dry ingredients, whisk them to distribute everything evenly.

Use a whisk to mix sticky ingredients -- like honey or molasses -- into salad dressings and marinades.

It also helps to eliminate lumps in gravy often from the flour or cornstarch.

If you are making a whipped topping, try wiping the inside of your bowl with vinegar to remove any oils even from your hands. This will help it whip faster.

A well-whipped egg white can increase eight fold with the correct amount of whisking so use a big enough bowl.

For the creamiest texture, lightly whisk yogurt before adding it to a sauce, soup or stew

To thicken a soup or stew, whisk a little cornstarch or flour into yogurt (about 1 tbsp/15 mL per 1 cup/250 mL) and gradually whisk it into the simmering pot. Cook, whisking, for a couple of minutes to achieve a creamy texture with a touch of tang.

Even if brown sugar is soft, it may still have small hard lumps, which can be hard to pick out of a batter or dough. Whisking takes care of any clumps.

For vinegar and Oil Dressing, combine all ingredients except oil in a small bowl. Slowly add oil while mixing vigorously with a wire whisk.

For pancakes, try whisking by hand. Whisk your eggs in a separate bowl until they are pale in color before you add them to the batter. Then just whisk the batter until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.

Making hollandaise sauce can be tricky: it's easy to overcook, separate (break) for no reason, and it can turn out thin or heavy and gluey. Avoid these pitfalls — use the proper heat, getting the right ratio of eggs to butter, use clarified butter, and whisk to incorporate air. First egg yolks and water are whisked together over heat to create a fluffy initial emulsion, which the French call a sabayon (not to be confused with a sauce sabayon, which is a dessert sauce). Butter is then slowly incorporated into the yolk-water emulsion, creating another emulsion.

One cause of lumpy gravy is the direct dumping of dry thickeners (flour, cornstarch) into the hot stock or broth. Another cause is adding broth too quickly into a roux which can cause clumping. The easiest way to prevent clumping involves whisking a thickener slurry (such as flour or cornstarch mixed with a little milk, water, broth) into the broth, then stirring until the gravy comes together.

When making homemade whipped cream, start by chilling the cream, the bowl and the beaters, or whisk, in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes. Once soft peaks start to form, you can add sugar (one or two tablespoons), and any other flavorings you like. Keeping whisking or beating as you add ingredients slowly. Do not overbeat. It should form nice peaks.

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