Friday, August 13, 2010

The Rise of the Standing Mixer

I am a nouveau baker. I cooked savories for years and finally got the baking itch much to my husbands delight. But for some reason, I frequently find myself baking in places other than my home. At home I have a standing mixer, a hand mixer, a blender, a food processor and almost every baking dish known to baking kind. I love kitchen stuff so I ask for it for presents and purchase a lot of it myself. But I have baked in a Paris apartment when we were there on holiday one Christmas. I have baked in various friends houses when we were traveling. I have baked in vacation houses "on the lake". I have baked in Florida visiting my brother.

Some of these places don't have standing mixers. They don't have sifters. They are missing pie pans. I sit and stare at the recipes for a while trying to decide how to overcome whatever obstacle I have been given. Then I always reach the conclusion that baking has been around a lot longer than standing mixers so why do I need one? It saves the wrist a little bit but outside of that I should be able to work around this issue. There are a lot of subtleties in baking. Some things need to be well mixed and some need to be "only stirred until mixed" or "only stirred until the dough holds together". Warning often decorate the instructions, "do not over-mix or the crust will be tough". You really don't see a lot of warnings in savory recipes.  I love and hate these details but I am always curious if the hand mixer or standing mixer actually does a better job than the me mixer? Do these things make it easier to cook, make it more convenient or do they actually make it better? I am of the opinion that they just make it easier. I have embraced my standing mixer and my food processor but sometimes I don't use them just to have the full baking experience sans electric noise.

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