Silicone or Metal Whisks: What’s Better?


Photo by bluebudgie from Pixabay

A whisk is one of the numerous cooking gadgets we must have in the kitchen. If you still haven’t gotten one yet, you must choose between a metal or a silicone whisk. It might sound like a ‘no brainer’ question, but better to know more about the negative and the positive of each material before you make a final decision.

Metal and Silicone Whisks

Silicone or metal whisks:  what’s better? Silicone whisk may be enough for some kitchen tasks where the strength of the whisk itself is not an issue. For other kitchen tasks that need a sturdier whisk, the metal version is much better. To keep the rest of your kitchenware free of scratches resulting from using a metal utensil, get a metal whisk coated with silicone.  Or buy one that has stiff ‘whisk’ parts made of sturdy nylon material.

Cooking and other food preparation tasks may be intricate and demanding, and using the appropriate gadgets made of the right materials will make these activities more comfortable, faster to complete, and a joy to do.

Let’s dive in deeper to find out why a metal whisk is better than a silicone one. We will also look into the few benefits of choosing a silicone whisk and learn a little about the different options for the whisk material.

What Is Whisking?

A whisk is a cooking gadget for blending ingredients into a smooth consistency by combining air into a mixture.  The mixture usually is a batter. This method of processing a combination of ingredients is also called “whipping” or “whipping method.”

To understand fully what a whisk is, knowing how whisking is carried out will make us comprehend it better.

As an example, whisking, or whipping, is performed to beat, or stir, egg whites into a consistency for creating meringue, sponge cake, chiffon cake, genoise, and other favorite soft and fluffy bakery goods.

What Are the Different Types of Whisks

·     Balloon Whisk

This type of whisk is suitable for whipping a large amount of air into a lightweight batter or ingredients.  It has thin wires, with both ends of each attached to the handle, forming a continuous curved or oval loop to provide just enough flexibility to add in more air to the batter effectively. 

The looped wires numbering mostly eight have varying lengths that when arranged around the circumference of the handle, form a bulbous shape, with each wire not touching the others. This design and arrangement of the wires increase the amount of air mixed into the food. It results in a mixture lighter in texture, ideal for some recipes. Balloon whisks are available in sizes from six inches to twelve inches long.

A variation of the Balloon Whisk is the Double Balloon Whisk.  As the name implies, it increases the volume of air mixed into the batter while decreasing the time to do it. Another variation is a narrower type for smaller containers. 

·     Flat Whisk

The Flat Whisk has wires arranged from the tallest and widest to the shortest and narrowest, forming a curvilinear loop with both ends attached to the handle. The four wires are co-linear, that is, they are not arranged around a middle point, making it almost flat. Each bent wire does not touch the rest of the wires, resulting in more flexibility for the whisk to do a good job.  It is designed for typical pans with straighter sides so that scraping ingredients or batter from the side and corners would be easier and efficient.

·     French Whisk

Measuring eight to twenty-four inches, the French Whisk, compared to a Balloon Whisk, has thicker wires that are fewer and less rounded. It is the ideal whisk for blending sauces, custards, and puddings. Being stiffer and tougher than other types of whisks, you use it for mixing and stirring thick batters, making gravies, mixing dry ingredients and mashing foods. Most cooks have one such whisk because of its versatility in mixing and whipping various ingredients.

·     Ball Whisk

The Ball Whisk does a terrific job in whipping eggs, stirring batters, and blending sauces. It somehow reminds one of an umbrella stripped off its nylon covering, or a segment of a Physics atomic configuration.  From the end of the handle are prongs that radiate slightly outwards.  Around twelve such wires end with a small weighted ball, which in unison will efficiently mix ingredients. These whisks are commonly around ten to fourteen inches long.

·     Whisk With Ball

Considering we just talked about Ball Whisk, this is not a play on words.  Whisk with Ball is precisely what you would imagine it to be. It is a balloon whisk that is a bit bigger than the usual balloon whisk that encloses a round-wired whisk, which in turn holds a small ceramic ball. This configuration and combination are thought up to introduce more air into the mixture that makes it lighter. The outcome is a better consistency of the food or ingredients.

·     Spring Whisk

The Spring Whisk can easily be identified by its looks and is quite distinct from the other whisks’ looks and shapes.  There is a coiled wire that loops around in a hemispherical arc from the handle and gradually flares out.  It is “springy” and does not require flipping the wrist around the bowl that most other whisks should be handled.  Instead, it works by pumping it up and down to mix and to emulsify, and is great to use on liquids.

·     Spiral Whisk

The Spiral Whisk, also known as the Gravy Whisk, has a thinner coil attached to a wider round wire that bends straight up into the handle.  The sloping or angled whisk head can be straight or slightly angled, and both versions do an excellent job of mixing sauces, batters, gravy, and jellos.

·     Dough Whisk

The Dough Whisk, as the name indicates, is used to mix and whisk dough for bread.  It has a unique wire configuration.  From the handle’s end, where the wire of the whisk is mostly secured and attached, it forms an almost perfect circle as it completes the circle back to the handle. Then it inscribes another smaller circle, and halfway through, on the same plane and in the middle, forms a much smaller circle. It then completes the second circle as it terminates at the handle end.

·     Tornado Whisk

The tornado whisk has a flat bottom with the wires flaring out at an angle from the handle.  It contains about five wires, each wire’s tip starting and ending at the handle’s end, forming a sort of truncated triangular shape. The bottom part of each wire resembles an S-shape. It is mostly used for whipping up roux and sauces.

Quite similar to a flat whisk, deciding on which one to use depends on the pan it is going to be used in.  The flat whisk works better on a flat or shallow pan, while the tornado whisk is more appropriate for a deeper pan.

Are Silicone Whisks Good?

It always happens that when a new material is scientifically proven to be safe, eco-friendly, and all those positive adjectives, you will witness various products to be manufactured in that material, and eventually be made available and sold in the housewares section of a department store.  Plastic having been proven a not-so-safe material, products that were produced in plastic had to be re-imagined and re-engineered to have versions using safer and better kinds of material. 

Since silicone is proven to be eco-friendly, does not contribute to pollution and degradation of the environment as plastic does, and has an excellent resistance to high temperature and other positive characteristics, it is not surprising that we see a lot of products, especially kitchen and cooking gadgets and tools, made of or with silicone.

So, when it comes down to silicone whisks, it would be correct to say that they may be a positive addition in your kitchen, but it may not perform as well as a stainless-steel whisk.  It has a high resistance to heat, but that resistance has a limit, which has to do with the length of time it is exposed to high temperature. After a time, it will eventually succumb to a much higher level of temperature and become harder and less stretchy or flexible. In other words, it may, and it can eventually get damaged by high heat and be quite useless as a kitchen gadget.

A lot of folks who are knowledgeable about kitchen and cooking stuff would still want to use more durable utensils, like the ones made in stainless steel and other formidable material.

On the other hand, it is not a bad idea to get a couple of silicone whisks since silicone has some advantages like being more lightweight. Again, it is a good idea to have even one silicone whisk in your kitchen.

And consider hybrid construction in products.  The good qualities of silicone are being leveraged in a number of kitchen utensils. Consider metal whisks or spatulas with parts lined with silicone to minimize scratches to your pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils.  That’s harnessing the best quality of each material into one more useful and efficient gadget.

Beating and Mixing. What’s the Difference?

Mixing simply means the act of putting together two or more ingredients.  Beating is combining or mixing ingredients and adding air into it.  Using a fork or a wooden spoon, mixing food and ingredients can be done quickly.  Beating, on the other hand, is much more comfortable and easier to carry out by using a whisk, an electric mixer or a handheld portable mixer.

Why Whisking Is Needed In Some Baking Or Cooking Tasks

The reason is that some food needs to have a certain quality, texture, and consistency that will make that particular item acquire a distinctive aroma, to be more delicious, and therefore making it more enticing to eat.

The different whisks for cooking all have one thing in common. That is, to incorporate air into the food item or ingredients.  And that starts with processing the dough or the batter with a whisk, adding in air to achieve those qualities.  That results in creating fluffy muffins and cupcakes we all enjoy eating.

Tips to Remember When Buying Whisks

  • DURABLE: Choose whisks that have steel wires made of stainless steel, which is sturdy and corrosion-proof. It will not bend or break and can handle large volumes and heavy consistencies of batter and foodstuff to process.

  • ERGONOMICALLY DEISIGNED: The whisk is designed in accordance with its function and how a person can best use it with comfort and ease.  Since it involves a lot of hand, wrist, and finger movements, it should have the optimum weight, size, and handle length, and a well thought out design for the job.

  • TESTING WHISK FOR COMFORT: To ensure buying the right one, check it out for yourself. Hold the whisk in one hand and go through the motions of cooking and using it, making whisking motions to see if it is comfortable and right for you.

  • COMFORTABLE LENGTH AND WEIGHT OF HANDLE: Do not get a whisk with a handle that is too long and heavy. It will unnecessarily be so top-heavy that it will topple over and out the bowl many times.

  • EASY TO MAINTAIN: Cleaning and caring for the whisk should be straightforward and easy, whether doing it by hand or in a dishwasher. The materials it is made of also contribute to these qualities, such as being rust-proof, corrosion-free, and sturdy.

  • SILICONE OR NYLON-COATED WIRE WHISK FOR NON-STICK PANS: If you use non-stick pans for cooking, include a few whisks that are silicone or have nylon-coated wires. It will prevent the pans’ finish from being scratched.

How to Clean and Take Care of Your Whisks

Baking may be a tiresome cooking chore, even though it is a rewarding and satisfying experience. So, cleaning up all the mess and washing all the bowls, measuring cups, kitchen gadgets, and whisks may be something you would want to pass up or put off for some time. Or you must still be doing additional work in the kitchen.

Some kitchen and cooking utensils may be easier to wash and clean, whisks may be a different story.  Think about the tines, the curves, and bends, and the thinness of the wires, that you have to be gentle cleaning them.

So, here are some tips that hopefully can make the job a piece of cake:

Place the used whisk in a bowl of water, and add a few drops of liquid detergent for dishwashing. Preferably, use a bowl similar in size to the one it has been used on. Do some whisking action until it is thoroughly cleaned of batter that got stuck on it, especially on the tines. Check out the tines and the spaces in between to make sure no stubborn morsel, food scrap or grime is left.

Rinse the whisk under running water from the faucet. Then dry it with an appropriate kind of cloth, preferably a microfiber cleaning pad.

Using Whisk Instead of Electric Mixer

For some reasons, you may be left with no choice but to depend on a whisk instead of using an electric mixer that you don’t have at the moment.  Here are some insights and ‘must-do’ tips for doing it successfully!

Surely, there was a time when people made their cakes when electric appliances were not yet around. It is absolutely fine to use a hand whisk even in this age of digital and electronic devices.  It may take some time, strength, and patience, but we all need a bit of exercise once in a while. And consider the benefit of learning how to use it well, giving you the choice and ability to use both hand whisk and electric hand mixer when needed.

It will be a significant advantage to learn how to balance and position yourself while doing this task. Hold the bowl firmly in place and remember not to stir and whisk at an odd or uncomfortable angle with the counter. You should try to find a position that is most comfortable for you. Learn to be in complete control over how fast or slow and how long you can do the whisking, including creating the right texture when ingredients are added, and mixing well in between. 

Add the wet and dry ingredients separately and end with the dry.  Include the dry ingredients well by making sure they are thoroughly mixed into the batter. This technique will result in better texture of the batter and cake. Finally, to make your cake light and fluffy, be sure not to overdo the mixing to reduce gluten buildup to a minimum.

Three of the Best Hand Whisks In 2019

Take a look at a few hand whisks frontrunners this 2019.  Look out for some cool and stylish new features and innovations.

1. Stainless Steel Whisk from ‘Ouddy’

The ‘Ouddy’ Stainless Steel Whisk is designed with appropriate ergonomics in mind, which makes it deliver stability, optimum balance, and ease of use. It comes as a set of three different sizes of stainless-steel whisks: an 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch to cover all possible requirements as to size. Each piece is dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and non-stick.

 

2. ‘Good Grips’ Balloon Whisk, 11 Inch from ‘OXO’

Notable features of the ‘OXO Good Grips’ Balloon Whisk are its comfortable handle that stays firm on the hands even when wet, safe to clean in a dishwasher, made of gauge 18/8 stainless steel wires which makes it rust and corrosion-free. It is sturdy, lightweight, and compact, all excellent features for a kitchen whisk.  Achieving perfect mixes in the kitchen every time is ensured. 

3. Twelve-Inch Stainless Steel Piano Wire Whip from ‘Winco’

With an ergonomic handle that is just about the right length, the WincoWire Whip reduces numbness and strain on the finger joints. That’s something anyone would want for a hand whisk.  It’s good to use for mixing eggs, batters, sauces, toppings, among many others.   Made of stainless steel, it is light on the hands and compact considering its measurement of twelve inches. 

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