You don't need a stand mixer, or even a hand mixer, to make bakery-quality desserts and breads. However, it just so happens to make it easier and less painful, especially when whipping cream by hand for homemade whipped cream. When it comes to stand mixers, too, KitchenAid isn't the only brand. There are models from Smeg, Cuisinart, Breville, and Oster. However, somewhere along the way, KitchenAid just become synonymous with stand mixers everywhere.
Of course, buying a KitchenAid stand mixer can often feel like paying a month's mortgage for a kitchen appliance. There's also the reality that no matter how you slice it, you probably won't use it to its fullest potential regularly. However, with these tips, tricks, and hacks for taking care of your mixer and using it as often as possible, you just might find yourself singing its praises more than five times a year.
So before we jump into things, if you're in the market for a KitchenAid mixer, but unsure of where to start, take a look at our article on refurbished models. Often $100 less than the price for a brand new model, refurbished models of the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixers come with a warranty and a guarantee. Check out our overview here.
This article is broken into two parts: Tips and Storage Tricks, and mixer Hacks for Using Your KitchenAid. While we've covered both topics before, consider this our collective resource. Our tips and tricks refer specifically to KitchenAids, but can be adapted for other mixers. Now let's talk shop.
5 Tips + Storage Tricks
1. Learn how to tighten the hinge so the head won't wobble.
The tilt-head stand mixer connects to the body through a hinge and metal pin, which sometimes pops out. The tilt-head design, as a result, loosens and tends to wiggle when the mixer runs. To fix this, just turn the mixer on its side and tighten the screw with a screwdriver.
2. Invest in an extra bowl and the attachments you need.
If you find yourself using your KitchenAid regularly, it's best to consider buying a second mixing bowl (preferably a glass bowl or stainless steel bowl with a handle) so that you can easily use your mixer for multiple parts of a baking project or recipe without having to clean it immediately. Go from cookie dough to brownie batter seamlessly for those combination dessert bars.
Additionally, don't be afraid to add mixer attachments to your collection. For example, the grinder attachment, beater attachment, whisk attachment, or paddle attachment. Bread bakers swear by the spiral dough hook attachment, while others swear by the silicone bowl scraper blade. I think the bowl scraper is a good idea, but if you're making a large batch of something, it can often push the batter to the top of the bowl.
When it comes time to store your attachments, whether it be the pouring shield (handy for splatters), the coated flat beater, or the wire whip, just pop them in the bowl of your KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Mixer and store as you normally would.
3. Grab a kitchen towel before you begin.
Adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients, as is often the case for baked goods, can be a messy job. While most recipes call for small additions of dry to wet, like 1/3 cup at a time, you're still going to experience the dreaded flour flurry. To combat mess, drape a kitchen towel over your bowl before you turn on the powerful motor and keep your counter space clean.
4. Learn how to adjust the height of the paddle.
Your attachment, be it the bread dough hook or the whisk, should set just above the bottom of the bowl so it doesn't scratch. If you add an attachment or two to your arsenal of kitchen tools and find it doesn't quite fit, simply adjust the height with a screwdriver. The one you're looking for is the one that attaches the head of the mixer to the stand, or the body. Even the best mixer out there requires personalized updates.
5. Learn how it actually works.
All KitchenAid mixers, whether it's the KitchenAid Professional Series or the KitchenAid Artisan Series, use a technique called planetary mixing action. Basically, this means that the beater spins on its own and also rotates around the bowl to make sure that the ingredients are fully mixed.
5 KitchenAid Hacks We Love
Are you tired of getting your hands in that bowl and mashing raw meat together to form the perfect meatball base? Stop doing it!
Grab your KitchenAid, add your meats and seasonings, and turn that bad boy on. Now all you have to do is roll them into little balls without getting ground beef under your fingernails. We have all been there.
2. Pizza Dough
I am a big advocate for the cast iron pizza. And when it comes to pizza, the hardest part for home cooks is often getting the dough just right. I lack so much patience for steady kneading, but luckily the power hub that is the KitchenAid loves kneading dough with that brilliant dough hook.
All you have to do is add ingredients, mix, rest, and roll out into a dough that's ready for the grill or stovetop.
3. Mashed Potatoes
If you're like me, then you think mashed potatoes are best when creamy and full of yummy add-ins, like crumbled bacon or even blue cheese. Throw away that potato masher that's only good for blocking your kitchen drawer and start mixing your 'taters in your KitchenAid.
It's much more fun to trick out your mashed potatoes recipe when all you have to do is add the extras to a bowl that's already mixing them for you.
4. No-Churn Ice Cream
You don't need the ice cream maker attachment to make delicious ice cream. If time isn't on your side, simply put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill it for a few minutes, and begin whipping up a batch of no-churn ice cream. Here are our Test Kitchen's two favorite flavors: No-Churn Chocolate Pecan and No-Churn Blueberry.
Every good Texan has a solid guacamole recipe, and like every good guac recipe, it does not start with a plastic container from the grocery store. Start experimenting with your own homemade guacamole and use the KitchenAid to your advantage. After all, that paddle isn't only for whipping up a dozen cookies.
Originally published September 7, 2018