What Does a Whisk Do?
Whisk: A Handy Kitchen Tool
A whisk is the proper tool to use to whip egg whites into foam, whip cream into whipped cream, emulsify hard to combine liquids, and smooth a gravy – just to name a few things a whisk can do!
To get the most potential out of a hand whisk, here are a few guidelines:
Hold the bowl at an angle to pool all the liquids into just one side of the bowl.
Move the whisk quickly in small circles while lifting slightly whenever reaching the top of the circle.
This method is best for beating egg whites as they will stiffen quicker than the following whisking method.
When working with all other ingredients, such as trying to emulsify oil and vinegar together in order to produce a vinaigrette, the best way to move the whisk is in a side to side motion. The force of pushing the ingredients in opposite directions against each other forces them to bond together better and thus remain together longer.
For more on the food science behind why this side to side shear force is a quicker and longer lasting way to whisk most everything besides eggs whites, watch this short and informative youtube video.
Types of Whisks
Not all whisks are created equal, there are actually several different types of whisks.
What Does a Whisk Do
What about other tools that often come with a mixer?
Use the dough hook to easily replicate the process of kneading by hand. The hook forces the dough up the wand and then forces it back down. This process helps develop gluten in bread dough.
Use the paddle for denser mixes, such as cookie dough.
It can push the batter around while scraping the sides of the bowl. Dense batters would get caught in the spokes of a whisk and cause the spokes to pop out and break when overloaded with the extra weight and pressure.