How to Use a Stand Mixer: A Beginner’s Guide

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Stand mixers are incredibly versatile kitchen appliances. They excel at a variety of tasks, with one of their most common uses being the mixing of baking ingredients. In this guide, you’ll learn how to maximize the potential of your stand mixer, complete with some amazing recipes to try out!

A stand mixer is a versatile kitchen tool that has stood the test of time. I fondly remember watching my mother use hers to make cookies, whip up meringue for pies, and mix cake batter and various doughs. She even used it to prepare other delicious ingredients for main dishes.

After doing some research, I discovered that the stand mixer has a fascinating history. Invented around 100 years ago, the first model was an 80-quart behemoth used on Navy battleships during World War I. When KitchenAid introduced its mixers to the general public in 1919, they were more compact, weighing in at just 65 pounds.

Today’s mixers are much lighter in comparison, with my model weighing only 26 pounds. The variety of colors available now is fantastic, and it’s amazing that modern attachments fit even the oldest KitchenAid mixers. From spiralizers to pasta makers, the attachments are incredibly useful.

Getting the Most Out of Your Stand Mixer

To fully utilize your stand mixer, it’s important to know how to use it properly. Once you start using it, your hand mixer might just gather dust! You’ll find yourself relying on your stand mixer for countless kitchen tasks.

Choosing the Right Size Stand Mixer

I own a 5-quart stand mixer, which I find perfect for my needs, such as mixing the filling for sweet potato pie or preparing pork tamales. This size is ideal for making about 9 dozen cookies, 4 loaves of bread, or 7 pounds of mashed potatoes, which is great for big gatherings. Comparatively, a 4.5-quart mixer can make 7 dozen cookies, a 3.5-quart mixer can make 5 dozen, and a 6-quart mixer can make 13 dozen cookies. These figures give you a clear idea of what each size can handle.

The motor wattage also varies. My 325-watt mixer is just right for me. Plus, the wide range of colors, from lime green to sky blue, makes matching your kitchen decor fun and easy. And, of course, the fantastic cookie dough you get is a major bonus!

Bowl-Lift vs. Tilt-Head Mixers

You can choose between a bowl-lift stand mixer or a tilt-head model. Here are some key differences:

  • The tilt-head mixer stands at 14.0” tall.
  • The bowl-lift mixer ranges from 16 7/16” to 17” in height, which could matter depending on your cabinet space.
  • If you want easy access to the beater, the tilt-head model might be more convenient.
  • Some prefer the look of the bowl-lift mixer but find it a bit trickier to remove the bowl compared to the tilt-head version.
  • The bowl-lift design involves raising the bowl with a lever, while the tilt-head has the bowl attached to the base.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong choice with a stand mixer—it’s all about making your kitchen tasks easier and less messy.

Considerations Before Buying a Stand Mixer

If you plan to use your stand mixer frequently, like I do for pizza dough, bread dough, and even ice cream, there are a few factors to keep in mind. There are various versions available, such as the KitchenAid Classic, KitchenAid Artisan, Artisan Mini, and KitchenAid Pro. Here are some basic pointers:

  • A pouring shield, which acts as a splash guard, can be bought for every model except those with glass bowls.
  • Having extra bowls can be helpful, especially during holiday baking. You can choose from clear glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowls, but note that some fit only the tilt-head model while others fit the bowl-lift model.
  • You can choose a mixing bowl with or without a handle, depending on your preference and the model.
  • Beaters come in coated or burnished aluminum. The coated beaters are dishwasher safe, while the aluminum ones need to be hand-washed and dried immediately.
  • If color options are important to you, the Artisan series offers the most variety.

Tips for Using a Stand Mixer

Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your stand mixer:

  • Read the manual: It’s essential to understand every detail about your mixer, including how much flour the bowl can handle and how to use the attachments.
  • Start on low speed: Begin with a low speed and gradually increase to avoid splattering ingredients.
  • Avoid scraping while mixing: This can damage the beaters. Instead, stop the mixer to scrape down the bowl.
  • Adjust the beater: Ensure the beater is properly adjusted so it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
  • Tighten the hinge: If the mixer head starts to wobble, tighten the hinge pin as instructed in the manual.
  • Spin the beaters: Lift the beaters slightly with the mixer on low and then high to reduce waste.
  • Use a towel: Cover the bowl with a towel to prevent ingredients from flying out when mixing on high.
  • Chill the bowl: Chilling the bowl and beaters helps achieve fluffy whipped cream with great peaks.
  • Invest in a silicone scraper: These are great for scraping down the bowl.
  • Store attachments wisely: Store them in the bowl to save counter space.
  • Buy attachments: Explore fun accessories like the pasta maker, dough hook, wire whip, and meat grinder.

First Things to Make with Your Stand Mixer

A stand mixer is incredibly versatile. Here are 10 things you can make with it:

  1. Shred meat: Use the beater to shred cooked meat for pulled pork.
  2. Shred chicken: Efficiently shred chicken for meal prep.
  3. Mix beef: Combine ingredients for burgers.
  4. Mashed potatoes: Achieve creamy, delicious mashed potatoes.
  5. Make guacamole: Quickly whip up a batch of guacamole.
  6. Mix dip: Prepare dips for events like the Super Bowl.
  7. Make cinnamon rolls: Knead dough or mix frosting for cinnamon rolls.
  8. Make quick breads: Create moist, flavorful quick breads like chocolate zucchini bread.
  9. Create tortillas: Mix tortilla ingredients in the mixer.
  10. Make a sauce: Mix sauces in the blender or the mixer.

More Stand Mixer Recipes

I love using my stand mixer for whisking ingredients, mixing eggs and egg whites, creaming butter, and many other tasks. It makes you feel like a professional in the kitchen while having fun. Here are a few recipes where my stand mixer shines:

  • Whipping up fluffy whipped cream
  • Mixing dough for bread or pizza
  • Preparing batter for cakes and cookies
  • Creating frostings and icings
  • Making homemade pasta
  • Grinding meat for burgers or meatballs

With these tips and recipes, you’ll be able to make the most out of your stand mixer and enjoy the ease it brings to your kitchen adventures.

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