What are Stand Mixers?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Stand mixers are kitchen beating tools which stands upright on a counter, rather than being held in the hand. Various beater blades can be attached to the arm of the stand mixer, which is lowered into a mixing bowl and then turned on to blend the ingredients. Depending on what sort of cooking you do, a stand mixer and accompanying set of mixing bowls can be an incredibly useful kitchen appliance. High quality mixers tend to be rather expensive; they often pop up on things like bridal registries.

Stand mixers come with several different blades.
Stand mixers come with several different blades.

The design of a stand mixer includes the stand, which is typically u-shaped so that a bowl can nestle into it, a post to which the motor is attached, and an arm which can be raised and lowered. To use the stand mixer, ingredients are placed into a mixing bowl, which is locked into place before the arm is lowered. Most stand mixers come with several mixing bowls which are of the same capacity. The user turns the motor on at the desired speed, and the mixture whips, beats, or blends the ingredients as desired.

Typically a stand mixer is designed to use special mixing bowls which have been engineered to lock into the base to ensure that they do not move while the mixer is utilized. Metal mixing bowls are common, but it is also possible to find glass and ceramic mixing bowls, which can be extremely useful when using ingredients which could interact with metal, like citrus fruits.

The beater blades on a stand mixer can also be quite varied. Many stand mixers come with basic beating blades for blending, along with a bread hook, which is designed to muscle bread dough around in the mixer to knead it, relaxing the gluten in the dough. Beaters may take the form of paddles which scrape down the sides of the mixer as the blend, useful for things like custard, and whisk attachments are common as well.

A good stand mixer needs a very strong motor, especially if you are going to be using the stand mixer to make bread. You may want to peruse reviews of available stand mixers before deciding on the model that you want, and you may want to seek out a “professional grade” stand mixer which is designed for restaurant use for extra durability. It is also a good idea to know the limits of your product warranty. You may also want to think about the capacity of the stand mixer when you review your options, and consider how easy it will be to clean, as stand mixers can get messy, especially with runny ingredients.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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