The Wonderful World of Whisks

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If you’re anything like me, you get really excited about whisks. Oh, you have no idea what I’m talking about and you think I’m crazy? That’s because you haven’t learned about the wonderful world of whisks.

 

What do you think of when you see the word “whisk”? Probably a French whisk. They’re great: appropriate for most jobs and elegant. No one could ask for more. However, depending on the type of cooking you’re doing, there’s a whole world out there to explore.

three egg-beater, whisks (two iron, one plastic)

Whisks (two iron, one plastic) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Flat Whisk: This is great for sauces made in skillets, very wide pots, Dutch ovens, etc. If you’re making a gumbo roux in a big cast-iron pot, or thickening your Thanksgiving gravy in a roasting pan, the French whisk is going to have a hard time getting in those corners. The French whisk (though lovely) isn’t able to make full-body contact with a shallow sauce, whereas a flat whisk can really get in there and make sure your sauce gets all the attention it needs.

 

Mini Whisk: Who doesn’t love mini kitchen supplies? They’re adorable, and you can pretend that you’re baking for a Lilliputian tea party!

 

Ahem.

 

I mean, they are very easy to fit in your probably overstuffed drawers. Also, they’re great for making homemade salad dressings, emulsions, and marinades. I also like to use them when I’m tempering eggs, since it ensures that I’m circulating as much of the egg as possible into the hot mixture, further preventing the possibility of scrambling the eggs in your chocolate pudding. Some people recommend a vinaigrette whisk, but I am of the belief that a mini whisk is more versatile. Cuter, too.

 

Silicone Whisk: This is a whisk to keep in mind if most of your pots and pans are non-stick and you don’t want them getting scratched. It’s absolutely something to think about, especially if you love bright colors in your kitchen as much as I do! However, if you spend a lot of your whisking energy making meringues or whipped cream, a silicone whisk probably isn’t worth it. It’s not as good at creating the air pockets needed, so it can take a lot longer to get the fluffy peaks you’re looking for with a silicone whisk. That said, if you’re a bakeware geek like me and you have some extra space in your kitchen, these can be great additions. They come in various sizes (and colors!) as well.

 

Something that cooks and bakers in the know are going to yell at me about is the ball whisk. It’s probably great, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet! The theory is that the tiny balls on the tips of the tines swing around while you whisk, introducing more air into the mix and covering more surface area. They are supposedly great for making mayonnaise and roux and the like. Has anyone out there tried them? What do you think? Are they worth the space and money if I only make mayonnaise once a year? Chime in!

 


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