Making the perfect cupcakes have come a long way from the days of mixing things with a wooden spoon and bowl. For the serious cook, cupcake decorating supplies must include a mixer to save on time and energy spent preparing batter. There are a whole variety of stand mixers on the market ranging in color, price, and ease of use. Getting a stand mixer is a step up from the hand mixers which can do the job but won’t last long for the serious cook.
Let me tell you why a stand mixer is better. Are you a mother of small children who demand your attention? Are you a multi-tasker who wants to do several things at one time while you’re in the kitchen? Do you want a sleek look to your kitchen?
As a mother myself, I often have to run after a child or two and leave my egg whites beating to peaks. I own a hand mixer as well and this is not an option unless you want to take all day getting peaks to form. However, I still use my hand mixer if my stand mixer is already mixing something and I want to speed up the process. This brings up the multi taking. Stand mixers are great companions for the cooks who need to get a lot accomplished. I am often whipping up batters while gathering the ingredients for a topping, plus sweeping a few messes here and there, and paying the bills. When you’re a busy cook, you need convenient gadgets in your kitchen.
Stand mixers come in a variety of styles, color, brands, and prices. Whichever stand mixer you choose to buy, make sure it fits your cooking style. If you bake once a month, then purchasing a $350 dollar 7 quart stand mixer doesn’t make very much sense. If you have 8 kids and bake 5 times a week, having a large heavy duty stand mixer makes sense because it will will last your family some time. If you’re getting married, or are receiveing a graduation gift, make specifications to receieve a nice stand mixer. If you’re replacing a low end stand mixer because you realized how important it is to have a high quality one when you bake a lot, make sure you get a mixer with the bowl size that comforatably fits your style. If you make bread a lot, purchase a high end, large capacity stand mixer. For a half batch of bread or a recipe that calls for about 4 cups of flour (making two loafs of bread), don’t buy anything smaller than a 5 quart mixer. The 5 quarts will knead the dough well, but if you want larger batches of bread, make sure you purchase a 6 or 7 quarts.
Make sure the mixer is comfortable for you. If you are culinary art student or a chef in training, the professional bowl-lift design will be best for detaching the bowl while the mixer spins to lower or lift the bowl to scrap the sides to your liking. For most cooks, the inconvenience of getting the bowl on the prongs and lifted correctly is a deterrent for the bowl-lift series of stand mixers. Bowls that screw in on the base are very secure and easy to use.
If you’re the type who cooks a lot, buy a style that comes with stainless steel everything. The beaters that have a white veneer are nice, but can eventually chip, so look for burnished. The style of beater might be an important feature for determining which stand mixer to buy. If you make baked goods a lot, but love to make bread, buy a mixer with the spiral dough hook to replicate the professional machines. If you don’t care about bread as much, the attachments aren’t as big of a concern, but give caution to any veneers. The three attachments you want to have with your stand mixer are a wisk, a dough hook, and a flat beater.
If the stand mixer comes with a pouring sheild (splatter sheild, or splash guard), it is helpful for eliminating messes that can occur when you pour the flour or powedered sugar in too fast, or turn the speed up too high with liquids. Splatter shields are most convenient when they are one piece, not two pieces.
My advice as far as the color is concerned is you should stick with white, black, or steel colors. They last with the style of the kitchen through the years. You should be able to use your stand mixer for 10 years, in which you might repaint or remodel. Regardless, you’ll be pleased with making the big purchase if you do it right the first time and don’t short change yourself by buying a cheap model.