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Whisks


Octaveman
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Roux, balloon, double balloon, silicon, flat, egg, french, gravy, twirl, ball, saucepan, coil, barrell, double rotating turbo, whip, mini, dough, spring, magic, sauce (different from saucepan), piano, utility, pot whisk, paddle, rigid, rotary, twister and the palm spring are all styles of whisks that I've seen on the net. And they all come in different sizes and are made from stainless steel, wood, chrome, copper, silicone, non-stick plus those made with a combination of materials. Even with all these, not all whisks are created equal. Balloon whisks can have various shapes to them and could even have a small ball, medium ball or large ball inside them. Of course then it wouldn't be a balloon whisk anymore.

I'm really at a loss here because nowhere is there a definative explanation for why there is so much variety in types, shapes, sizes, materials and most importantly, what are all these whisks used for that I can't get away with owning just one or two for all my needs.

Now I'm a gadget guy as much as the next but do I really need these or even a handful of these? Why are there so many options? Amazon has over 375 whisks available for sale and it just seems to me to be a prime example of overkill.

Is the wheel trying to be reinvented...again?

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

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You were saying?

gallery_17399_60_1102052577.jpg

I have more! This is all I could fit into this photo.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I believe that whisks to a cook are like brushes to a painter.

Even those that may look the same can have a different feel, and thus, use.

From the Smithsonian's Julia Child's Kitchen Exhibit: "Julia introduced a French tool, the whisk, to a public that had heretofore only known various versions of "egg beaters."

SB (has maybe half a dozen or so)

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Octaveman, I wonder if the vast array of whisks you see available for sale is another example of professional specialization bleeding over into the home kitchen. This has clearly happened with knives, for example. There are peeling, trimming, fluting, bird's beak, sheep's foot, and utility paring knives in a variety of lengths. There's no way the home cook needs 10 different kinds of paring knife (although I'm sure some buy them all anyway). But the point is that, if you're working in a professional kitchen and you're making 250 fluted mushroom caps every night, it's nice to have a fluting knife. Similarly, if you make a big batch of roux-based gravy every day at work, it might make sense to have a specialized whisk that is optimized for mixing up fat and flour in a large flat pan. But, in both cases, unless one is a collector like andiesenji, the specialized knife and whisk are overkill for a home cook.

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one of my whisks died recently & when I went to buy a replacement I was actually glad of the huge variety on offer. I must have picked up about 20 different silicone coated balloon whisks, before I found one that felt right in my hand. I love that I had so many choices and wasn't forced to accept the big chunky handle that most companies seems to prefer...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Octaveman, I wonder if the vast array of whisks you see available for sale is another example of professional specialization bleeding over into the home kitchen.  This has clearly happened with knives, for example.

Actually, although I use one knife for probably 90% of my general kitchen tasks, (my carbon steel 7" chef's knife, which is rugged and easy to keep sharp), I use five or six of my different whisks on a regular basis.

In fact, I have two medium sized balloon whisks which appear identical, but have a completely different feel. I use one for blending dry ingredients and the other for beating eggs or making emulsions.

SB (keeps them in separate drawers to tell them apart)

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Sam, I can see your point.  Is there anything on the net that would explain the purposes of all the different styles?  Just like knives, I might be able to find that a few different styles can suit most if not all my needs.

Check the selection and the uses listed

here, at Fantes.com

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 1 year later...

OK, so we've established that there are a TON of types of whisk out there. But how many do you actually need? Is this a case where, like knives, most home cooks can get by with two or three, whereas a pro might need more? Or does an adventurous home cook "need" two dozen different whisks? I own four: small, medium, large, and a large nylon (for my nonstick pans). My collection will never beat andiesenji's, but are there others that I should think about acquiring ASAP? What am I missing out on?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Just this morning I used one of the long whisks with balls on the ends of the wires to mix sourdough batter.

Other whisks do the job okay but it is much, much easier to clean the gunk out of this particular whisk and it mixes the batter extremely well and quickly.

I used my Danish dough whisk to mix a couple of quick breads and a batch of scones. This particular whisk mixes the dough rapidly and with much less effort on my part and because of the rapid blending, the dough is worked less and doesn't get tough.

I used my favorite gravy whisk to mix and blend and de-lump milk gravy for breakfast. I never use anything else because it works so beautifully.

I used a plain old balloon whisk to beat the eggs for an omelet.

So I used 4 whisks this morning which made my tasks much easier. I could get by with one or even none, but I like saving time and effort. I'm old and like to do things my way.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I use two kinds: a big one and a small one. Both the most conventional shape.

Sam's analysis of the specialization thing sounds spot on.

In contemporary kitchens, I think mixers have taken over most of the duties traditionally given to a balloon whisk. And immersion blenders are taking over many whisking duties and even changing basic techniques used in some kitchens (for making foams, emulsified sauces, etc.)

Notes from the underbelly

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i use a sauce whisk, a balloon whisk and a roux whisk. oh, and a teeny little almost-toy whisk when i want to make an eggwash. (although i sometimes use a fork for that task.)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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OK, the one with the balls I think I am familiar with, and the balloon whisk. But what's a "Danish Dough Whisk" or a "Gravy Whisk"?

In the photo up at the top of this page, the Danish dough whisk is on the right and the gravy whisk is in the center with the business end right next to the handle of the big balloon whisk that is crosswise across the top.

The one with the red handle also works beautifully as a gravy whisk but it is a vintage one with a bakelite handle so is for display only.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 7 months later...

I own Best French whisks, because they are more durable than the piano-wire whisks. If I need piano-wire whisks for delicate work, e.g., meringues, I will use the "house" whisks at work. :cool:

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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