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Test Kitchen tips: Whisks 101

January 25, 2012 |  8:00 am


Simple as it may appear -- essentially nothing more than long looped wires joined at the end with a handle -- a whisk is one of those indespensable tools in the kitchen. Sometimes called a whip, whisks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to handle the kitchen task at hand.

  • Balloon whisks (pictured on top) have a very large, round head, and are used to whip or beat air into various ingredients, such as egg whites or cream, increasing their volume. Balloon whisks are perfectly suited for combining dry ingredients (such as flour, leavener and spices) in baking recipes; not only do they combine ingredients much more thoroughly than simply sifting, a whisk also helps to add air to the dry ingredients, lightening them before they are added to a batter.
  • Straight whisks (pictured at center) have much more slender heads, with stiff, less flexible wires. While they're not built for incorporating air like balloon whisks, straight whisks are perfect for stirring and smoothing sauces, gravies and batters.
  • Flat whisks (pictured at bottom) are also great for mixing sauces and scraping any flavoring from the bottom of a skillet or saute pan (the flat head makes the whisk ideal for scraping bits of flavoring from the corners of a pan). A flat whisk is also perfect for whisking flour into melted butter when making a roux.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


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-- Noelle Carter

Photo credit: Noelle Carter