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Whisks

Thursday, 18 December 2008 | Tags: ,

Used for blending ingredients by hand or aerating a batter or liquid mixture, whisks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Also called ìwhipsî, a good whisk can make a big difference to your cooking, and your arm muscles. We find out the best qualities to look for.

The Basics

  • Most good-quality whisks are stainless steel. Plastic often cracks too easily, especially handles.

  • Whisks come in many designs, depending on your task and the container you’re using. Common types include:

    • Balloon whisks are rounded and wider at the end, an ideal shape for aerating light mixtures (soufflés, cake batters, whipped creams, dry ingredients).

    • French whisks have a slender, elliptical shape, versatile for mixing, emulsifying, aerating, deglazing, enriching, beating, and scraping.

    • Flat or saucepan whisks are like a flattened balloon whisks and are very useful for mixtures in tall, straight-sided pots and pans.

    • Gravy or coil whisks have a looped end surrounded by a wire coil and are good for mixing liquids in shallow pans because the loop is flexible and can bend to the pan’s shape.

    • Ball whisks are designed to offer superior aeration and can get into the corners. It’s also supposed to be easier to clean, so more hygienic.

  • The more tines and the more evenly spaced they are, the better for adding air into the mix. For example, look for at least twenty tines (10 loops) in a balloon whisk.

  • Handles vary widely, so make sure you try out several to find one that provides enough grip and feels good in your hand.

  • Pay attention to the weight. Heavier whisks may feel sturdier, but you’ll also tire faster. Lighter whisks are often better and easier to use. Just make sure they’re well-constructed.

Other Considerations

  • For non-stick pots and pans, look for silicone-coated whisks. Silicone is also a good insulator, but has a heat limit, just like non-stick pans do, so pay attention to using them under high temperatures.

  • To avoid straining your wrist, make sure you pay attention to the whole whisk length. If it’s too long, it will be hard to use. Also, hold the whisk like a pencil (loops down, like the pencil lead) rather than a tennis racquet. This is a more natural position and lets your forearm do the work rather than your wrist.

TEST CRITERIA

We invited some muscle men to help us put some elbow grease into our test of whisks.

  • OXO Good Grips 11” (balloon): $14.98
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Cuisipro Duo 12” stainless steel with wire ball (balloon): $17.99
. . Amazon.com
  • Le Creuset 10” silicone-coated (balloon): $23.95
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • WMF 14” Flexiwhisk (ball): $42.00
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

 

Whipping Cream Test

  • The Cuisipro balloon whisk also has a free-floating wire ball in its middle, which is supposed to help aerate the batter. We didn’t think it made much of a difference.

  • The OXO was an effective mixer and aerator, and was light and comfortable to use.

  • The silicone-coated Le Creuset was light and comfortable to hold, but it wasn’t very good at whipping the cream.

  • The WMF Flexiwhisk, our most expensive test product, performed the worst out of all. It also felt too long, which made it difficult to use, and the metal balls made a lot of noise on the bowl.

OUR TOP PICK

We’re happy to report that the simple, inexpensive OXO Good Grips whisk performed the best out of the four, was light, and was comfortable to use.

 

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