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Using a Food Processor in Lieu of a Stand Mixer


Shel_B
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I don't have a stand mixer, and have no plans or desire to get one.  I could use Toots' mixer, but that's a PITA on a couple of levels.  My current hand mixer is pretty weak, and for the time being I've no plans to upgrade.

 

I'd like to make a few recipes that call for mixing sugar with zest and then beating in room temp butter.  Can my Cuisinart be used for this process?  Has anyone done this?  What, if anything, might be the downside?  Should I use the steel blade or the plastic blade for this?

 

Thanks!

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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Possibly mistaken but I think you have noted a hand held mixer in your kitchen. For that simple task it is fine. I think the FP generates heat that is not desirable. This is based on the assumption that doing it by hand is also not a possibility as that option is one I usually go with.

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I'd use the plastic blade, but in my experience (having gone without a stand mixer for some time also) the food processor doesn't do as good a job of aerating the mix as a blender; the creamed butter and sugar just didn't get as creamy.

 

Edited to note: I wrote "blender" when I meant "mixer".  Sorry!  Blender would be even worse than food processor; mixer is best. 

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Yes, my experience has been the same as Smithy's: I don't know if it's the higher speed, or the shape of the blade, or what, but I've never gotten good results trying to cream butter and sugar in the food processor. If I was you I'd go with heidih's suggestion of just using the hand mixer for creaming stuff like that.

Chris Hennes
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... or if you do want to try the food processor, just pulse rather than letting it rip.  Heat, as Heidi said, may be an issue. 

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Possibly mistaken but I think you have noted a hand held mixer in your kitchen. For that simple task it is fine. I think the FP generates heat that is not desirable. This is based on the assumption that doing it by hand is also not a possibility as that option is one I usually go with.

 

Yes, I have an electric hand mixer, and when I tried the technique all I made was a mess.  Maybe I don't know enough about how to do this properly with a hand mixer, or maybe the cheap and weak mixer I have is just plain inadequate - don't know.  I plan to upgrade the hand mixer at some point, but have not yet decided which one I want, so it'll be a while.  Meanwhile, there are a few recipes that I'd like to try using the described technique.

 

What do you mean by "doing it by hand?"  Do you mean completely manually, with a spoon or whisk?  I tried that, and did pretty well with the zest and sugar, but incorporating the butter was very difficult and the results seemed to leave much to be desired.

 ... Shel


 

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I'd use the plastic blade, but in my experience (having gone without a stand mixer for some time also) the food processor doesn't do as good a job of aerating the mix as a blender; the creamed butter and sugar just didn't get as creamy.

 

 

Are you suggesting that I can use my blender to mix the zest and butter with the sugar?

 ... Shel


 

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What do you mean by "doing it by hand?"  Do you mean completely manually, with a spoon or whisk?  I tried that, and did pretty well with the zest and sugar, but incorporating the butter was very difficult and the results seemed to leave much to be desired.

 

Give the butter a quick zap in the microwave to soften it.  Gently, though; you don't want it to be totally melted and liquid, just softer.  Something like 20 seconds for a couple of hundred grams is about right, from memory.

 

Or give it an hour or two at room temperature, but who can plan that far ahead, right?

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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Yes as lesliec notes - the butter needs to be a bit soft to cream by hand. That same caveat would apply to using the hand held. You can't just put it all in the bowl and "let 'er rip". I used to do it in increments; get a bit blended and add in so you don't have butter/sugar/egg launching and plastering you kitchen. The key being that you want just that sweet spot where the butter is pliable but never at an almost melted point or you generally lose the effect you are going for.

Edited by heidih (log)
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Yes as lesliec notes - the butter needs to be a bit soft to cream by hand. That same caveat would apply to using the hand held. You can't just put it all in the bowl and "let 'er rip". I used to do it in increments; get a bit blended and add in so you don't have butter/sugar/egg launching and plastering you kitchen. The key being that you want just that sweet spot where the butter is pliable but never at an almost melted point or you generally lose the effect you are going for.

 

I tried softening the butter, but from comments here, maybe it wasn't soft enough, or I used too much ... I will pay attention to that and see if the results are any better.  Thanks!

 ... Shel


 

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Give the butter a quick zap in the microwave to soften it.  Gently, though; you don't want it to be totally melted and liquid, just softer.  Something like 20 seconds for a couple of hundred grams is about right, from memory.

 

Or give it an hour or two at room temperature, but who can plan that far ahead, right?

 

Thanks ... and I can plan that far ahead.  I often set things out in the morning to warm up and then come back after noon or so to use the ingredients.  Not a problem.

 ... Shel


 

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Some good news ... I think food processors are better than stand mixers for pastry dough. They're great. They work so quickly the butter won't melt, and they give you a ton of control over the size of the butter pieces.

 

Stand mixers do bigger batches, and may be better for pastry styles that blend the fat into the dough (pate sablee, etc.)

Notes from the underbelly

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they also do bread, if you have the version w the metal dough 'blade'  and the 'dough' button.

 

45 sec.  done.

 

the plastic dough blade was so long ago Ill stop mentioning it

 

it was sharp and cut the formation of the dough.

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Are you suggesting that I can use my blender to mix the zest and butter with the sugar?

 

No, I wish I'd caught that before!  I was thinking about how the food processor does some things better than a blender, and a blender would be even worse at this creaming task than the food processor, and that neither is as good as a mixer.  Meanwhile, my fingers just shortened the whole train of thought to something altogether unintended.  Sorry!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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