Stand mixers are amazingly useful when it comes to creating all sorts of things in the kitchen. You can save a lot of time and effort by simply pressing the button and watching the machine do what’s needed, and doing it very well too.
A stand mixer can do a lot more than most people think, as there are tons of attachments available for most of them, as well as different settings. For more information on things you can use a stand mixer for and what different parts of the mixer do, read on.
How the basic attachments are used
The stand mixer can do a ton of useful things, but to use it effectively, first, you need to know what some of the basic attachments can do. Beater, whisk, and dough hook attachments are usually included with every stand mixer, and they can be used for multiple things each.
This piece of equipment is used for thick mixtures and batters such as for cakes, biscuits, and pastries. It is usually made of metal and is diamond-shaped, so that it can easily stir the mixture well.
The whisk can whip up lighter mixtures and batters like cream and egg whites. Also, this piece of equipment could be used for light cake mix (like a genoise sponge) or pancake and Yorkshire pudding batter. The trick to the whisk is not to use it with anything too thick, as it is made of thin metal wires that aren’t as durable as the beater attachment.
As the name suggests, the dough hook is a hook-shaped piece of metal which will knead dough. It can be used for any sort of bread (particularly useful with wet dough as this is difficult to work with by hand) and also coarse pastry.
Easy things to make with a stand mixer
Stand mixers are great for loads of different recipes which is why they are such a great tool, especially for beginners. If you are someone who is new to stand mixers and is looking for a simple food to start with, then try one of these:
- Chocolate chip cookies – a classic snack, the chocolate chip cookie can be made using the beater attachment and a simple mixture of butter, flour, sugar, milk and chocolate chips.
- Meringues – these can be easily made by whipping egg whites using the whisk attachment – find a recipe online for full instructions
- Mashed potatoes – another classic. Mashed potatoes are really great and super easy – you need the whisk attachment for this
- Homemade pizza – pizza is easier to make than most people think – just find a recipe to follow and use the dough hook attachment to knead at the right stage – it is simple and tasty
- Homemade lemonade – this is one of those drinks which you always loved as a kid and wanted to make – well if you have a juicer attachment, then you can easily squeeze some fresh lemonade right now
Savoury foods to make with a stand mixer
Most stand mixers (you will have to check with your particular model) are compatible with a meat grinder attachment which means that you can make several different foods from scratch. Professional chefs have recommended grinding when the meat is almost frozen so that it does not heat up too fast. The accessory should grind almost any type of meat, so there are plenty of meals to make, such as:
- Homemade sausages
- Homemade burgers
Some stand mixers are also compatible with an electronic pasta roller or gourmet pasta maker. With these pieces of equipment, you can make tons of different shapes and sizes of pasta, for example:
- Ravioli (you will need a special cutter for this)
- Tortellini (find the folding technique online)
Another great feature of stand mixers is that they can shred chicken. All you have to do is throw the tender, cooked chicken breasts into the mixer with any attachment (other than the whisk) and you will be left with perfectly shredded chicken, which is great for salads and sandwiches.
Make dip, pate and other pastes
With the blender attachment, you can easily grind basically anything into a paste. Hummus, mayo, cashew milk, tomato puree and meat pates can all be easily whipped up all with a blender.
Sweet foods to make with a mixer
Of course, stand mixers are also great for making delicious sweet foods. Whilst cakes and cookies are the usual suspects, there are some other things you can make in a mixer as well.
Although most people associate bread with savoury dishes, it can be a sweet food as well. By adding some sugar and spices, as well as using the dough hook in the mixer, you can make these three bread desserts:
- Cinnammon rolls
- Bread and butter pudding from scratch
By using specific different attachments, you can actually make an entire pie using just a mixer (and an oven of course). The beater or dough hook can make the pastry itself, and then the whisk and beater can prepare any fillings and toppings (such as meringue or whipped cream). Have a look at making these pies with your mixer:
- Lemon meringue pie (use a juicer for the curd)
- Strawberry shortcake
- Apple pie
If you have looked into acquiring the ice-cream maker attachment for your stand mixer (a freezable bowl and attachable ice-cream churn), then you can have a go at making homemade ice-cream – and its a lot easier than most people think! There are tons of different flavours to try, such as:
- Peanut butter
- Classic vanilla
- Raspberry ripple
- Cookie dough
- Chocolate fudge brownie
The paddle attachment, or flexi-beater, is an upgraded version of the ordinary beater, in that it has a plastic-spatula rim, which means that when it is being used, it can scrape the outsides of the bowl. It is another great one for easily making delicious food, as you don’t have to stop and scrape the side every once in a while. You can use this attachment in place of the regular beater, however, with these particular foods, they need to be constantly moving for the batter, dough or mix to work:
- Lazy cheesecake
- Cheat’s doughnuts (do not use a regular doughnut recipe for this)
- Extra fudgy brownies – the mixture is too thick to use a regular beater
- Macarons (can use a whisk but this works better)
Candy is something which is not always the easiest to make, as it is very reliant on exact temperatures. However, with a stand mixer, there are a couple of different sweets which can be made without heat, so the process is a lot simpler:
- Candy love hearts
- Chocolate Truffles
- Homemade marshmallows
Unusual things you can use your stand mixer for
As well as all the normal foods that could be made using a stand mixer, there are some other, more unique foods which can also be whipped up using this piece of equipment and its various attachments. Here are some below:
If you have decided to take the journey towards being a healthier person and have quit using processed refined sugar in recipes, then you can actually make your own, healthy brown sugar using a stand mixer. If you use a mixture of turbinado sugar (an unrefined, natural sugar you can buy at most specialised ingredient stores) and molasses in a stand mixer, you can create your own healthy sugar.
Similar to making sugar, you can also grind your own flour (which always makes better-tasting food) with a stand mixer. Lots of processors, unfortunately, are not compatible with the mill-grinder tool. however, if you have a fancy brand like ‘KitchenAid’ or ‘Kenwood’, then you can have a go at making your own flour.
This is not the same as making sugar – it is actually very different. As decoration, you can make spun sugar ‘nests’ which look great. What you need to do first is make a light caramel (there are loads of recipes online) and then, you need to open the mixer so that the attachment is on the hook, but outside the bowl – the whisk fitting is the best for this. Start the mixer on a fast setting and then slowly drip caramel over it to create lots of tiny fibres of caramel. Places like youtube have lots of helpful videos with clear instructions and pictures if you need.
Normally, scrambled eggs are an easy dish to make for four people. However, it becomes a laborious task when cooking the dish for guests, as scrambling the eggs takes quite a bit of muscle. As soon as the eggs are finished, you can easily scramble them with the whisk attachment and much more quickly.