If I had to quickly answer the question what it a stand mixer used for, my automatic response would be: well, what isn’t it used for? Obviously, there’s a lot of things that this machine can’t do in a kitchen but there are also so many benefits that we can gain from it.
However, I’m really not saying that everyone needs to own one, whether it’s an affordable stand mixer or a very expensive model. What I will say is that those who love baking at home and do it frequently, would truly appreciate the immense help that a mixer can offer.
In the end, that’s what we’re here to talk about. By answering the question what is a stand mixer used for, you’ll be able to understand if you need to buy one or you can manage with the appliances you already own. It’s all about making our lives easier.
What Is a Stand Mixer Used For? The 3 Attachments
I usually have the feeling that when we’re talking about what is a stand mixer used for, we have to answer this question for 2 separate crowds: those who own a KitchenAid and those who own a model made by Hamilton Beach or Cuisinart or by any other manufacturer.
I am in the latter camp because I prefer owning both a stand mixer and a bread machine.
Plus, the KitchenAid models become truly fabulous and incredibly versatile when you are willing to spend a lot of money on extra attachments. I’ll talk about what I mean about that later on.
For now, let’s talk about the general ways in which we can use any stand mixer that we can afford. And see if it’s something you’re missing out on.
How are we going to do that?
By taking the 3 attachments that come with any stand mixer and talking about what each is capable of doing. These 3 are: dough hook, flat beater, and wire whip. These are the classic. Just by describing those, you’ll quickly understand the answers to the question what is a stand mixer used for.
These 3, the dough hook, flat beater and wire whip, are the ones that consistently churn large quantities of ingredients at constant speed for as long as you want them to.
1. Dough Hook
Let’s start with my favorite. I’m a lover of breads and pizzas and flatbreads after all. We can also use it for making pasta dough.
So, this is the component that transforms our mixer into a dough kneading machine. Or a dough mixer. However you want to call it, it works.
The major advantage is that they can handle pretty much any type of dough you want to make. Moreover, your hands are safe from being put to the quite exerting task of kneading dough by hand, which can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes.
On average, it takes about 8 minutes to knead the dough with this attachment. It can be even less, depending on which model you use.
Each manufacturer indicates which speed should be used for kneading dough and how long it should last. You should definitely read the user manual because it will easily answer all the questions you have about what is a stand mixer used for.
Obviously, you can do the same with a hand mixer, too. Even those can be used to knead dough, as long as they come with dough hooks.
2. Flat Beater
The flat beater is also called a paddle attachment and I wrote an entirely article on what is a paddle attachment on a mixer because it’s a fascinating thing to use.
Mainly, this is the component that can help us make:
- cookie dough
- pie pastry
- cake mix
- used to cream butter and sugar
- mashed potatoes
If a recipes indicates that you need to beat, mix or cream the ingredients, the flat beater is the one saving you from doing any work, excepting adding the ingredients one at a time in the indicated order.
3. Wire Whip
This is the equivalent of a handheld whisk. Once again, it’s used to make our lives much easier and saves us from effort or from messing up.
It’s mainly used for whipping egg whites and whipping cream. Another way to describe it is that it incorporates air into eggs, egg whites, whipping cream, mayonnaise, angel food cake.
What Is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer Used For?
KitchenAid is quite the unique manufacturer in the world of mixers.
If you thought that they’re unique because their prices make you weep, that’s perfectly understandable. But I am actually referring to the fact that this manufacturer and other manufacturers make all kinds of attachments for these particular models.
If you have the budget, you can buy separate attachments for all sorts of things: pasta maker, ice cream maker, meat grinder, vegetable spiralizer. These are the ones I remember but I’m quite sure that I forgot a few.
If you read somewhere that stand mixers can be used to make ice cream or pasta or grind meet, they will be referring to KitchenAid models. Those sort of things, of expanded cooking possibilities, are made possible by the many attachments that are sold separately for KitchenAid mixers.
They are indeed wonderful attachments but they also cost a lot of money. As far as I am aware, the price of those attachments, like for example the price for a pasta maker attachment, costs pretty much the same as a proper pasta maker machine. So, don’t go thinking that you’re going to save a lot of money. What you can save is a bit of space but not money in any considerable way. But that’s just my opinion.
Foods you can make with a KitchenAid stand mixer
- main dishes
- side dishes
If you want to understand exactly how doing all these foods is possible, you can buy an awesome cookbook. One example is The Mixer Bible: Maximizing Your Stand Mixer and Attachments by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder.
Moreover, you can be guided in your cooking experiences by the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Cookbook.
Hand Mixer vs Stand Mixer
If we are talking about what is a stand mixer used for, we absolutely can’t skip on making this comparison. After all, a lot of us grew up with our mothers or grandmothers using a hand mixer.
A hand mixer is just the smaller version of a stand mixer. It can be used to make anything that its larger counterpart can.
Should you just get a hand mixer?
It’s perfect for those who don’t have the space on the countertop or who don’t have a budget that starts with at least $100. If you only have a budget between $20 to $50, you should consider getting a small and compact hand mixer. The exception to this prices is made by the hand mixer from Breville.
If you’re aren’t exactly convinced that you should spend serious money on a stand mixer, start with a hand model. It will be really helpful and it might show you 2 things: that you need a bigger, stationary, more powerful appliance or that you’re just fine with what you have right now. Either way, you win and those who end up trying all that you’ll bake.
The major difference is that you have to constantly hold it in your hand and manually rotate it to cover all the sides of any bowl you want to use. Thus, the name.
However, if you want to make larger batches in a single mixing session or if you’re baking for a large family, a stand mixer with a big 6-quart bowl and with a powerful motor might be what you need.
The principles of using both are pretty much the same: we start on a slow speed and gradually increase until the dough, the batter, the cake mix or the cream and frostings resemble what the recipe says.
For example, you can watch this video if you want to know how to make dough with a hand mixer. Just to give you an example that both types of mixer work for doing the same recipes. The answers to the question what is a stand mixer used for apply to a hand model, too.