When it comes to a kitchen mixer, there are a variety of different attachments you can find for both stand and hand mixers. There are so many optional attachments that you may be unfamiliar with which one is best for the recipe you are working on.
A paddle attachment is not a standard addition with most hand mixers and will need to be purchased separately in most cases. However, a paddle attachment is one of the more useful attachment types, especially when working with bread dough and pastry recipes.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of attachments you can find for your hand mixer, what each one does, and what alternatives you may use if you don’t have that attachment available.
What Is a Paddle Attachment for a Hand Mixer?
Your mixer may have included a range of different attachments for you to use. Each one has its unique purpose, and some may be better suited for certain jobs than others. A paddle attachment is a multi-purpose attachment, but its main use is to mix ingredients without adding excess air to the mix thoroughly.
For example, a paddle attachment is most commonly used for mixing butter and sugar but will not whip them into a froth like a whisk or other attachment would do. Instead, it will ensure the thicker ingredients are thoroughly and equally mixed but remain thick and fluffy without the addition of excess air bubbles making it wispy and bubbly.
A standard paddle attachment is normally in the shape of a rounded spade, with blunt edges and a wide and flat shape. It has a V or Y shape in the centre to help thoroughly mix ingredients without adding excess air into the mixture. If you’ve used a flat beater, the paddle attachment will be similar but is more bulbous in shape.
A paddle attachment is relatively large when compared to other hand mixer attachments. This is a good thing as it allows you to reach the edges of your bowl with fewer movements. It helps ensure all ingredients are scraped from the edges of the bowl and incorporated thoroughly into the mixture.
What Can I Use if I Don’t Have a Paddle Attachment?
No paddle attachment? No problem. You can use other hand mixers or stand mixer attachments to achieve great results.
Whisk or Wire Whip
In some cases, a whisk or wire whip is a great paddle attachment substitute if you don’t have one on your hand mixer. The biggest downside here is that a whisk or wire whip will add excess air to the mixture, so it may not be suitable for things like bread dough or certain baking batters.
A whisk or wire whip does not work well with cold ingredients and should instead be used with room temperature or warm ingredients for the best results, unlike a paddle beater that can mix cold ingredients such as butter thoroughly.
A dough hook can also sometimes be used in place of a paddle attachment, especially with bread and other thick batters or doughs. It’s a more common attachment to come with hand mixers but can also be found separately if your hand mixer did not include it or a paddle attachment.
Manual tools can also be used instead: wooden spoons, a silicone spoon, wooden beaters, and spatulas. However, they can be time-consuming and tiring as you will be forced to put in some effort on your own. The results will be similar, if not better, than using an alternate attachment on a hand mixer for some recipes.
Should I Use Paddle or Whisk Attachment?
Many recipes will specifically call for a paddle attachment or a flat beater attachment. This is normally because these particular ingredients will mix better and produce a better-finished product with no excess air added to the mixture. Both paddle attachments and flat beater attachments reduce the amount of air added to the ingredients while thoroughly mixing them.
On the other hand, a balloon whisk is great for when you need to froth or whip ingredients together. It intentionally adds more air into most mixtures than if you used a paddle attachment and can make them fluffier and softer overall. For some egg recipes, frostings, and cake batters, the addition of excess air from a balloon whisk mixer attachment can produce a lighter and more appealing finished product.
If you want your finished product to be heavier and thicker and hold its shape well, such as for bread, birthday cakes, and brownies, you may want to use a paddle attachment. On the other hand, if you are looking for light and fluffy meringues, angel food cakes, or whipped cream, a whisk attachment will produce the best results.
What Are the Different Attachments for a Hand Mixer?
Most basic hand mixers will only come with a simple mixing or whisk. However, higher-end models will include at least three attachments you can use for different baked goods and mixing tasks. Additionally, you can find and buy some attachments if you require something special for your recipe.
A balloon whisk or wire whip is the most versatile attachment for a hand mixer. It’s hard to find a hand mixer that doesn’t include this standard dishwasher-safe attachment. This mixer attachment can come in a few different styles, such as thicker and rounded flat wire, which is great for cookie dough, or a thinner and more egg-beater type wire, which is excellent for mashed potatoes.
Using a wire whisk is a great way to increase the volume of egg whites by adding excessive air into the mixture. A whisk adds air and helps make the egg whites fluffy and light, which is great for making heavy cream, omelettes, and fluffy batters such as muffins or pancakes.
Whisks, being one of the most common attachments, are normally used for whipping eggs and creating excellent whipped egg whites, light batters, making whipped cream, and making meringues. When mixing up cake batter for light and fluffy recipes such as angel food cakes or making pastries such as divinity and other seasonal treats, you can also use it.
Paddle or Beater
Generally known as a paddle attachment, they can also be called a flat beater. These mixer attachments perform much the same task: mixing various ingredients without adding excess air in the process.
Paddle and flat beater mixer attachments can be used to cream butter and sugar together, which is a vital first step for making excellent frosting or divine pastries and cookies. Paddles or flat beaters are sometimes included with some hand mixers, though they are often purchased separately.
They usually come in singles and are large enough to thoroughly mix the entire amount of ingredients in a mixing bowl without you having to move the mixer around too much. It helps save time and effort while also reducing the amount of air in the mixture.
Dough hooks are commonly included with most mid to high-end hand mixers and can be found for lower-end models. A dough hook attachment will usually come in a pair, though you can find single dough hooks as well.
When attached to your hand mixer, the dough hook’s purpose is to knead doughs. This is a very common attachment to use when working with bread, buns, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, and pasta dough.
A dough hook will thoroughly combine flour, water and yeast into a dough that you can later work with and bake with. It’s much quicker than using your hands for mixing and kneading dough and provides the same result in less time and with minimal effort on your part. It’s also great for bread that can’t have too much air added.
Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer?
If you’ve been working with an electric hand mixer but are considering switching to a stand mixer, you may be wondering which is better. In the end, the quality of mixed ingredients will not be different. However, there are some differences in the convenience between the two.
Hand mixers will, of course, require you to hold them throughout the entire mixing process. You will need to move the mixer around to ensure everything is mixed thoroughly and has been scraped from the sides of the mixing bowl.
However, hand mixers are also much easier to clean and can be easier to store. You won’t need to find much space on your countertop to use a hand mixer, and you can hide it in your cupboard once the job is done.
Stand mixers offer a bit of convenience in that you won’t have to hold or move anything. The attachments are usually larger and can be better when working with larger ingredients.
However, stand mixers can be large and bulky and will need a large space on your countertop to be used. They will also need to remain on your counter when not in use, or you will need to have ample space in your cabinet to store it away.
In the end, if you are mixing large amounts of ingredients regularly, investing in a stand mixer may be the best option. But if you only find yourself mixing ingredients for some holidays or special recipes, a hand mixer is still leaps and bounds above mixing by hand with a wooden spoon.
Let’s Get Cooking
It would help if you learned the ins and outs of a paddle attachment for a hand mixer. Do you need any ideas on how to use it? Using a paddle attachment is extremely common for baking recipes such as cookie dough, cake batter, brownie batter, bread dough, tomato sauce, and stew bases.
These mixer attachments can even be suitable for mixing ground meat such as beef, turkey or venison, but also for churning ice cream and yoghurt. Additionally, paddle attachments can work great for outdoor and home improvement tasks such as mixing paint, plaster, or resin in smaller mixing bowls.
It’s time to play with your creativity. What recipe will you make first? Let us know in the comments below!
- How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener
- How Does an Electric Cool Box Work
- What Is a Paddle Attachment for a Hand Mixer
- How to Whip Cream Using a Hand Mixer
- How to Use a Food Flask
Tom is a former chef turned full-time food blogger. He has always been passionate about food, and loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen and sharing his recipes with others. Tom’s blog is one of the most popular food blogs on the internet, and he has won numerous awards for his cooking. When he’s not blogging or cooking, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.