Whisks are an essential item in any kitchen, whether you're making sweet delicacies for your bakery display case or making homemade vinaigrette in your upscale café. But did you know that there are several different kinds of whisks made for specific purposes, and using the right whisk makes your task much easier. The most popular varieties of cooking whisks are listed below, along with information on what makes each one special and when to use it.
What Is a Whisk?
Whisks, or cooking whips, are cooking utensils that feature a narrow handle on one end and wire loops joined together at the other. The configuration and thickness of the loops varies depending on the type of whisk you use. Whisks are used to either add air into a mixture or thoroughly blend ingredients together.
What Is the Difference Between Beating and Mixing?
Mixing merely includes bringing two or more ingredients together, while beating is intended to both combine ingredients and to introduce air into the mixture. A whisk or electric mixers work best for beating, whereas things such as a fork or wooden spoon can be used for mixing.
REMEMBER, it is never recommended you use metal utensils on non-stick cookware. Instead, opt for whisks with a silicone coating or ones made of other materials including wood, rubber, or plastic.
Types of whisks
Piano / Balloon Whisks
Balloon or piano whisks are made with thin wires and typically feature a bulbous end. These whisks are referred to as daily or multi-purpose whisks because they work well for many typical culinary tasks. This whisk is named for its resemblance to the shape of a balloon.
Because their wires tend to be springy and feature a large, rounded end, these whisks create more movement when mixing ingredients together than compared to other types of whisks. This added motion is especially useful for introducing more air into the mixture when beating.
Few common uses for balloon whisks:
- Whipped cream
- Egg whites
French whisks are similar to balloon whisks, but have a slimmer profile with slightly thicker wires. These thicker wires are ideal for combining heavy substances, but they must still be flexible enough to allow for further movement. French whips have a small end that allows them to fit into pot and pan corners to scrape up food and save things from burning on the burner.
Uses of French whisk
Mini Bar Whisks
Mini bar whisks are designed specifically for whipping egg whites in a bar setting to make light and airy drinks like the gin fizz, champagne flip, or a white lady. The miniature size of these bar whips ensures they work in any glass size and fit in compactly behind the bar. These bar whisks stir your mixture and integrate air into your egg whites to produce a fluffy, frothy end result since they have the same thin wires and bulbous end as piano whisks.
Ball / Kettle Whisk
Kettle whisks feature long handles and a large, cage-like ball at the end. These kettle whips are used for mixing ingredients together in deep kettles or stock pots. And, because these kettle whisks feature long handles, you can mix ingredients together while keeping your hands away from the heat source.
Uses of Kettle Whisk
Conical whisks feature thin wires formed into an elongated shape with a wider middle and narrow end. This unique, diamond-like shape is made to reach ingredients stuck in the corners of your pots and pans. Plus, with their stiff construction, these conical whisks can be used in place of spatulas or scrapers to effectively incorporate all ingredients into your mix.
A single wire loop is coiled tightly in coils to form a spiral whisk. This whisk is designed to constantly be in contact with the bottom of the pan during mixing since the head is angled. In doing so, all ingredients can be caught by the whisk, preventing burning.
The tiny coils work to break up dry ingredient clumps as the angled head makes contact with the pan's bottom, resulting in a smoother finished product. Spiral whips are perfect for usage in tiny bowls where balloon or French whisks may be too cumbersome due to their flat, compact design.
Uses of spiral whisk
- Salad dressing
Flat or roux whisks feature a number of looped wires, typically four, in a flattened ballooned shape. To get the ideal angle for mixing, these whisks are intended to be used with shallow pans. The lower the handle can be to the pan, the flatter the whisk will lay and the more surface area can be covered. The user can properly combine ingredients and scrape up leftovers in the pan thanks to the flat wires.
Use of fly whisk
- Removing poached eggs from water
- Substitute as a fish spatula
These flat-profile dough whisks, also known as Danish dough whisks, have an outer circular and an inside oval with a tiny loop. These dough whisks may resemble a Picasso artwork, but they are ideal for bakeries, restaurants, or caterers who make their own bread and batters. As their name implies, dough whisks are ideal for managing challenging doughs or batters without overworking the ingredients. The thin wires, as opposed to wooden spoons, are ideal for quickly cutting into your doughs and scraping away flour pockets for a smooth and consistent combination.
Uses for Dough Whisks
- No-knead Bread
- Soda bread
Every kitchen should have the right whisk on hand to handle a variety of tasks. Use the proper whisk for the task, whether you're making a roux to thicken mac n cheese or decorating a wedding cake with flavor-infused whipped cream. When you have the ideal equipment in your kitchen, you can produce a dish that you are proud of while saving time and money on labor.