It is a Sunday afternoon, you are having a couple of friends over for dinner later, and you want to have some chocolate chip cookies for dessert. You pick up your phone and search for “recipe for chocolate chip cookies.” You find a nice-looking website that promises to help you make the “best cookies ever” if you follow the recipe religiously. While going through the recipe for you come across a strange line, “use a paddle attachment to beat together the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes”. Now that has got you a bit worried; you’re wondering “what is a Paddle attachment? How can I get one? Are there any alternatives to using a paddle attachment?”
Truth is a lot of people ask these same questions every day, and the answers to the question always amazes them. With how common paddle attachments are, it is frankly ridiculous how very little is known of them. If you have purchased a stand mixer recently, chances are you already have a paddle attachment. Most stand mixers come with three attachments, a flat beater for mixing the batter, a wire whip or whisk for whipping creams and egg whites and a dough hook for kneading.
Introduction to Paddle Attachment
The first thing you need to know about the paddle attachment is that it is not very different from the flat beater you currently have alongside your stand mixer. They are one and the same in function and appearance. For most baking enthusiasts, this should come as a relief. You don’t need to go shopping for a new attachment if you already have a flat beater in your arsenal. You can easily recognize a flat beater or paddle attachment by the distinctive shape. Depending on the model of your mixer, the paddle attachment may be either burnished (not dishwasher safe) or have a white coating (dishwasher safe).
What is a Paddle attachment for?
Now that you know what a paddle attachment is, the next question on your mind is most likely what do you use a paddle attachment for? If you are a baking enthusiast, you are already beginning to answer this question in your mind. If you are new to everything baking, however, there are a few simple functions you should be aware that your paddle attachment can do for you. A paddle attachment is the ultimate multipurpose attachment for your stand mixer and can serve most of your baking and mixing needs. They are the default attachments in a stand mixer for basic mixing and creaming. If the recipe instructs you to mix, beat, mash or cream, the paddle attachment is what you should make use of.
It is primarily used for things you want to be completely mixed like cake batter and cookie dough or any other kind of batter. Paddle attachments are used especially for mixing cookie dough since cookie dough is lighter than bread dough. You can use the stand mixer paddle attachment for all your normal to heavy mixtures like brownies, cookies, cakes and more. It is also really useful when creaming butter and sugar because unlike the whisk, it does not draw in air and can help minimize the air bubbles in the mixture.
If your paddle attachment has a scraper on it, even better, it will save you a lot of time scraping the buildup on the sides of your mixing bowl.
Can I Use Other Attachments Apart from A Paddle Attachment?
Depending on the task you want to carry out and the equipment available, you may have to use other accessories to do the work of a paddle attachment. Since it is a general multipurpose attachment, it should be pretty easy to find a substitute for it. However, the substitute accessories or equipment may not have the same effectiveness as a paddle attachment.
The Flex Edge Beater is a very similar accessory to the paddle attachment. It is a coated, dishwasher safe, metal beater with a flexible edge. It provides thorough and quick ingredient mixing and minimizes bowl scraping. When the directions in a recipe read “stop and scrape the mixing bowl,” the flex edge beater presents your best choice for mixing.
The Flex beaters are highly appropriate for foods that tend to stick to the sides of mixing bowls. Paddle attachments conversely, work best for foods that have texture, that is foods that are smooth but not sticky, they make an excellent job when used for baking most quick loaves of bread.