Preparing recipes with an electric mixer ensures that your ingredients are blended to the right consistency without the arduous task of mixing them by hand. With two mixing blades powered by gears that are spun by an electrically powered motor, the variable speed settings of electric mixers give you the option of gently stirring foods at low speeds or completely blending them at high speeds. A few mixing tips can simplify the handling, care and cleanup of an electric mixer.
Position the stand mixer, or the bowl for a handheld mixer, away from the edge of a smooth, level work surface. Do not plug the unit until you are ready to use it, as this will prevent curious young people from experimenting with the machine. Work in a neat and clear space. Once the machine is in operation, you do not want to be distracted as you reach for the ingredients in your recipe.
Do not attempt to touch or wipe the spinning blades during operation. Turn the unit off, and wait until it comes to a complete stop. Unplug the unit before cleaning the electric mixer blades. This will remove the danger of electric shock.
Clean the electric mixer with warm water and soap prior to using it each time, even if it appears clean. Do not contaminate your fresh foods with germs and dust. Clean the electric mixer immediately after using it. The food will come off without too much trouble. Remove the bowl and blades, and soak them in warm soapy water once your food preparation is complete. Waiting a few hours will render the food residues into a dried, stuck-on scrubbing task just waiting to happen.
Mix together the dry ingredients of your recipe on a low speed first, then gradually add the liquid part of the recipe into the bowl using the same mixing speed. If your mixer comes with a dough mixing paddle and hooks, start with the paddle to mix everything together, but then switch to the hooks once the liquid activates the gluten in the flour and forms a dough ball. Once the dough is formed, increase the speed to knead it further, according to the needs of your recipe.
Batters have a higher liquid content than doughs. After adding the ingredients together in your recipe steps, mix them on a slow setting to prevent the liquid parts from splattering before they have a chance to mix with the heavier dry ingredients. Keep the blades of the mixer at a vertical position during operation. If you tilt the blades at an angle while mixer is working, they will shoot the batter out of the bowl and into the air.
Mixing Hot Foods
Use caution when mixing together hot foods. Use a glass or metal bowl instead of a plastic one to prevent chemical leaching into your hot foods. Start the mixer on the lowest setting, and observe the same splattering precautions as for mixing batter. Gradually increase the speed, but do not take your eyes off what you are doing.
- Photo Credit series object on black - kitchen utensil electric mixer image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com
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