hand mixer vs. immersion blender
hello all- I was contemplating getting an immersion blender with various attachements. will i still need a hand mixer?
Also, if i bake only minimally- do i really need a stand mixer?? (though thi is on the wedding registry so maybe i should just keep it there?
Hmm.. well, I can't say what you need, but an immersion blender has a single mixer attachment, but if you wanted to do something more, like whipping cream, you'd probably want a hand mixer.
The stand mixer is a foundation piece - it can do a lot: grind meat, roll pasta (with the attachments) - and a good bit of it is not tied to baking. But only you can say whether you'd use it enough. Its a heavy piece, and take up a good bit of space..
I have 4 pieces I use all the time. A small inexpensive hand mixture, an immersion blender I use tons ..., my food processor, 1 small, 1 big. I need those and use them. Anything else ... I can live without. My stand mixture is not that big, Cuisinart food processor and a small black and decker one. My hand mixture, cheap whatever and a medium priced immersion. Had them all years. Never failed used all the time. Works just fine.
The two really aren't even remotely interchangeable. A decent hand mixer for things like whipped cream or egg whites is an essential in my opinion. I have only rarely used my immersion blender and could easily live without it (a regular blender works better anyway). As for a stand mixer, there are just too many things that would be very difficult to make without one. They are big suckers to be sure, but I sacrifice a permanent spot on my counter for my Kitchenaid. But then I do a fair amount of baking.
I suppose it's just what your preference is. I have both a blender and an immersion blender. I have used my immersion blender once. My blender I use all the time. I would guess one reason is that I can leave my blender on my counter. The immersion blender (and any attachments I might add to it) is much less convenient to get to for me. If I'm blending a soup I just find it easier to do in a blender
I used to work at Williams Sonoma, and spent many a spring day helping brides register for all their wedding day goodies. bnemes3343 is correct on the technical points of this question, immersion blenders and mixers are like comparing apples and oranges. The question that you should ask yourself is: should I get a regular blender (with the stand and the jar) or an immersion blender?
Personally, if I have one choice - I'd get a good blender before an immersion blender, hands down. We have both, and I only use the immersion blender when I'm being lazy and am okay with more chunky, "rustic" results (the lazy part comes when I clean it - which is just stick it in a sink and let'er rip and then throw the blade attachment in the dishwasher). But, regular blenders are far, far more versatile (i.e., frozen cocktails to go along your silky-textured gazpacho, anyone?), despite having the break everything down to clean it. So, it's more work, but not much more.
As far as mixers go, a good handheld mixer (I recommend KitchenAid) will be fine for someone who doesn't bake often. Except in those cases for people who like to make bread - you can't knead bread with a hand mixer. However, if you limit yourself to cakes and icings/meringues and some mashed spuds every now and then - then a hand mixer will serve you just fine.
Braun has sold, for years, a hand mixer with immersion blender attachment (and also a mini food processor). The mixer part does a good job with whipping egg whites and cream, as well as regular mixing jobs. Some versions even have dough hooks.
The Cuisinart Smart Stick is primarily an immersion blender, but has a whisk attachment (and the mini food processor). This whisk is good for whipping, but would not do for heavier duty mixing jobs (like creaming butter and sugar).
Both are good immersion blenders, and good whippers.
I have the Oster Kitchen Center, which uses the same motor for a blender, a mixer, a meat grinder, and a shredder. With limited cabinet and counter space, this makes more sense than a big Kitchenaid stand mixer that wouldn't get regular use. It all fits on one shelf. But I rarely use the blender part - I have a $10 immersion blender that is just the ticket for pureeing soups. You just need to repeat the mantra "engage only when submerged". No fussing with multiple batches. Cleanup is a 5-second whir in the dishpan and clean water. By the time I could get the blender out and filled with the first batch, I've finished and am putting away the clean immersion stick. I have a hand mixer because someone gave it to me - and frankly, I use it more often than I do the Oster piece. I'd leave the stand mixer on the registry list, but if I didn't receive one and didn't think I'd ever be doing frequent baking, I'd get a good hand mixer plus a plain, cheap immersion stick, and maybe a blender.
It depends on what you cook. I cook daily and have done so for years. With the things I cook, I gave my Cuisinart away years ago because it was just to big and took so much time to clean - I can chop and blend just as fast by hand for any standard meal. Only when host large parties (60-100) do I miss having it. I also had a KA that became a gift to someone in my family. Although, now that I'm making most of my pasta using a crank machine, I rather miss it for rolling out the dough. And I would like to make sausage with it too. The mixer part would probably be mostly unused since I bake infrequently. I have a blender that has never been used in the 5 years I've had it so likely it will soon become another gift (my sister loves my hand me downs). A hand mixer I choose to live without since I can whip cream, egg whites, and mayo very quickly by hand.
What I can not live without is an immersion blender. I use it all the time for sauces and soups. The blender attachment is used nearly daily for smoothies and the mini chopper is large enough to satisfy the chopping needs I do have. I have a Braun.
- hand mixer - no
- KA - maybe
- blender - no
- FP - no
- copper bowl & a good whisk - yes
- great knives - yes
I want to 2nd the point about the mini chopper. I also have the Braun and I could not live without it -- mostly because of the chopper which handles all my small chopping jobs involving garlic, ginger, nuts, herbs, vinaigrettes... jobs that are too small for the FP or where I don't want to bother hauling the FP out and cleaning it. And the convenience of being able to blend soups and sauces direclty in the pan is great. I think some vendors may have increased the size of ther immersion blenders and added safety features or additional components (mixer) that (to my eye) may make them less serviceable for in-the-pan blending -- possibly explaining the splattering problem noted above. Any time I don't have enough liquid to blend without splattering, the mini-chopper can be used. Or else I haul out the blender. It does get used, mostly by my kids for smoothies and milk shakes, but occasionally for soups. But no where near as often as my immersion rig.
As many others have noted, there is little or no overlap between an immersion blender and a mixer. I'm pressed for space, so I do not own a stand mixer. But I could not live without my Cuisinart hand held electric mixer for many baking recipes. If I didn't bake? Or make waffles? Or cook any desserts with eggs? I guess I could live without it.