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Anyone else have trouble creaming butter and sugar in a kitchenaid?

l
loukoumades Jan 9, 2011 12:42 PM

Recipes always say to beat softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. I can never get this in my kitchenaid. Butter and sugar form a thick paste that coats the walls of the bowl where the beater barely touches, meaning I have to scrape the sides down every few seconds. First I thought maybe my butter wasn't softened enough, but today I tried again making sure my butter was properly softened, same results. Anyone else have this problem?

  1. j
    JudiAU Aug 30, 2012 10:18 AM

    No problems unless I have a small amount and/or my butter is hard. But I always beat the butter for a bit first and then add the sugar. And I scrape once.

    1. k
      Kitchenmaid001 Aug 29, 2012 05:31 PM

      Hi

      I have had exactly the same problem. Basically the machine is not good at doing small quantities and in my case was also faulty. My $20 hand beater does a better job creaming butter and sugar than my very expensive KitchenAid (and I paid a small fortune for it because KitchenAid charges double the price here in Australia!).

      KitchenAid tried to convince me the machine worked fine so I must be doing something wrong which was quite frustrating! They do recommend a minimum amount of butter and sugar though but I didn't keep that information - you should be able to get it from them. I think it was around 60grams of butter and 3/4 cup of sugar.

      I ended up taking my machine to a KithcenAid service center where they agreed I wasn't going crazy and the mixer was not operating as it should. The beater blade was not getting in close enough contact with the bowl - and adjusting the height screw was not going to fix the problem. It was also picking up the mix OK at the front of the bowl but not at the back of the bowl - so I too had to scrape the mix down every rotation of the beater. They said they sometimes have to replace the pedestal because the bowl doesn't sit in the correct position. I'm still waiting to get the unit back so haven't been able to try another batch with a bigger quantity.

      My unit my looks great but it fails big time on this most simple of things although I know it does everything else just fine. Still, a lot of money spent, and you still have to spend more to buy the scraping beater to get the job done thoroughly if you don't want to be cooking big batches!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kitchenmaid001
        d
        dianne0712 Aug 30, 2012 05:12 AM

        Oh thank you! I'm NOT crazy! I hate my Kitchenaide. It doesn't mix anything properly. I also can't add ingredients without lowering the bowl. A handmixer for me!

        1. re: Kitchenmaid001
          sunshine842 Aug 30, 2012 05:26 AM

          I agree that it's less-effective for smaller amounts..but quite frankly, I don't make small recipes in my KA because I don't want the fuss of washing the bowl and the beaters, anyway!

          Dianne0712, there's something wrong somewhere....you're not really supposed to add ingredients without lowering the bowl (unless you use the cover/chute)...but if it's not mixing properly, the bowl might need to be adjusted (there's a screw on the shaft that accomplishes this - see your instruction manual)

        2. k
          KitchenAidUSA May 3, 2011 10:46 AM

          Hi, I am a KitchenAid employee. Here are some tips for creaming butter and sugar together.

          Place butter and sugar in mixer bowl. Attach the bowl and flat beater to the mixer.
          Turn the mixer to Speed 4 and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

          Hope this helps.

          15 Replies
          1. re: KitchenAidUSA
            Hank Hanover May 4, 2011 05:29 AM

            Hello Kitchenaid employee. Can I ask you a question?

            It's my understanding that creaming is using the sugar to help aerate the butter. Does it make any difference whether you use regular granulated sugar or superfine sugar in the creaming process?

            1. re: Hank Hanover
              chefj May 4, 2011 03:46 PM

              hey Hank, I know that you did not address this to me but I use Baker's(super fine granulated not powdered)Sugar to do all my creaming at work. i find that it dissolves into the butter much quicker and seems to be lighter(airier) than regular granulated.

              1. re: chefj
                Hank Hanover May 5, 2011 03:36 AM

                Hi chef;

                I'm sure it would dissolve easier than granulated. I was reading that:

                "The creaming of the butter and sugar produces air bubbles in the fat created by the rubbing of the sugar crystals against the fat."

                The article goes on to say:

                "These holes will get larger and multiply as you continue beating. Starting on low speed and then gradually increasing the speed allows the air bubbles to form and strengthen. Starting at too high a speed could damage or break the fragile air bubbles which will cause the finished cake to be heavy with a compact texture. The goal is to have maximum aeration, that is, lots of air bubbles in the fat. A well aerated batter means a cake with good volume and a soft crumb. "

                I was thinking that if the bubbles are created by the sugar crystals rubbing against the fat then maybe the size of the sugar crystal mattered.

                1. re: Hank Hanover
                  chefj May 5, 2011 02:35 PM

                  Hmmm, "produces air bubbles in the fat created by the rubbing of the sugar crystals against the fat." that does not make any sense to my ear. How would friction create air pockets? I believe that it is the beater motion that is incorporating air into the mixture that forms the air bubbles and my practical experience seems to bear that out. Perhaps the sugar lends more elasticity to the butter.

                  1. re: chefj
                    Hank Hanover May 5, 2011 02:43 PM

                    Well, just because it was an article published on the web doesn't mean it was factual.

                    In my business, we joke around saying that if you put something in a spreadsheet, it instantly becomes fact.

                    The air has to come from somewhere and that is probably the atmosphere. i tend to agree with you.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover
                      chefj May 5, 2011 03:04 PM

                      It the same in cooking.
                      Usually if someone says something loud, assuredly and often some folks will just repeat it as fact.

                    2. re: chefj
                      goodhealthgourmet May 5, 2011 03:15 PM

                      How would friction create air pockets?
                      ~~~~~~~~~~
                      it's not really friction that creates the pockets. when the sugar crystals get tossed around they cut into the fat, but they don't then *stay* wedged into place...so as they continue to move through the butter, they leave behind pockets and air gets drawn in and trapped.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        Hank Hanover May 5, 2011 03:25 PM

                        I just inserted that in a spreadsheet so it is now fact.

                        That sounds as logical as anything, ghg. I will accept that.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          chefj May 5, 2011 04:39 PM

                          So you are saying that sugar crystals leave vacuums and some how air is pulled into them and then it is suddenly stable so that it does not collapse?
                          Hard to make physical sense out of that, but I am not a food scientist so may be.
                          I do know that superfine fine sugar works great for creaming and whips up very light.

                          1. re: chefj
                            goodhealthgourmet May 5, 2011 08:32 PM

                            i wish i could think of a better way to explain it. i can visualize it perfectly, i just can't figure out how to describe the visual to help *you* see it! if only there was a way to plug my brain into my laptop and upload it for you...

                            1. re: chefj
                              Hank Hanover May 6, 2011 02:58 AM

                              Well, the important thing for me was that I could use superfine sugar without any adverse results. I know superfine dissolves better so I want to use it if it doesn't adversely affect the aeration of the butter.

                  2. re: KitchenAidUSA
                    danna May 4, 2011 06:24 AM

                    I'm surprised to see you recommend adding the butter and sugar at the same time. Classic cake technique would have you add the sugar slowly after the butter has been beaten, no?

                    1. re: danna
                      jen kalb May 4, 2011 02:09 PM

                      Ive alsways use the technique of creaming the butter first, but its not really necessary - the sugar assists in the process of aerating the butter.
                      http://www.greatcookingvideos.com/des...

                      1. re: jen kalb
                        sunshine842 May 4, 2011 11:45 PM

                        beating the butter first just softens it so that the sugar incorporates faster/easier.

                        Not required.

                    2. re: KitchenAidUSA
                      l
                      loukoumades May 9, 2011 03:36 AM

                      Thanks for coming here to reply KitchenAid employee. What you describe is what I've been doing. And as my post says, I get thick paste stuck to bowl walls. Someone here helpfully suggested re-adjusting the screw. I did that and it's helped. That'll teach me to read the manual next time.

                    3. l
                      loukoumades Jan 10, 2011 05:36 AM

                      Right, looks like I need to do some adjusting. The butter's at the right temperature, but the sugar is coarser than usual.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: loukoumades
                        jen kalb Jan 10, 2011 06:32 AM

                        your butter should cream to a fluffy state ahead of adding the sugar. Like I said above, you cream the butter then add the sugar gradually.

                        Be careful adjusting the beater height - that would be a later resort in my book. It is easy to mess up your beater by adjusting it down too low so it bangs on the bowl. it should just barely clear the bottom of the bowl.

                      2. PBSF Jan 9, 2011 06:40 PM

                        Try a lower speed. For very soft butter, I do speed #4 or 5. And if it is a cold day, lower than that. One does need to scrape the sides often.
                        If you are creaming a very small amount, you need to make sure your KitchenAid is adjusted that the tip of the paddle almost touches the bottom of the bowl. An earlier poster stated how this is done.

                        1. c
                          chefathome Jan 9, 2011 06:40 PM

                          My shortbread recipe specifies using diced cold butter to sugar and even that works very well in my KA! As others recommend check your settings.

                          1. Vetter Jan 9, 2011 06:13 PM

                            Well, I'm stumped. I'd try adjusting your paddle. I routinely start with cold butter and I get it whipped. Eventually. It is harder to get the light texture when you're using something like a coarse, unrefined sugar, though.

                            1. chowser Jan 9, 2011 05:33 PM

                              How soft is your butter? You want it soft enough that your fingers can put an indent in it easily but not so soft that it seems to melt it. There was a pictorial I've seen somewhere. If I can remember where it is, I'll post it.

                              1. b
                                birdmonkey Jan 9, 2011 01:38 PM

                                you can also adjust how the paddle touches the bowl by turning the screw on the back (check your care guide for specifics). I never have problems now.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: birdmonkey
                                  caseyjo Jan 9, 2011 05:40 PM

                                  Seconding this advice. I haven't had any problems after doing this (although I did this as soon as I got my KitchenAid, so I haven't experienced the problem you're describing).

                                2. l
                                  loukoumades Jan 9, 2011 01:13 PM

                                  Sorry, should have said - I'm using the paddle not the wire whisk. But not the super scraper paddle, which looks good!
                                  Reading that link (thanks), I'm thinking maybe my sugar is too coarse. On the other hand, I don't have a problem when beating with a hand held electric beater. I'm doing usual quantities for a cake or a batch of cookes, 120g of butter and sugar, for example.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: loukoumades
                                    jen kalb Jan 10, 2011 06:29 AM

                                    you need to beat the butter first separately until it is relatively fluffy then add the sugar gradually.
                                    this is a basic operation in this mixer and there should be no difficulty. If the butter is too cold and hard it will not do it properly - the steel bowl gets cold and the butter will tend to adhere to it. - on the other hand, the butter should not be melty. My guess is that your butter is too cold - let it warm up until it is soft to the touch with your finger and it should work fine. If it srtarts to do this, you could wrap the bowl with a warm towl to bring the temp up a little.

                                    1. re: jen kalb
                                      l
                                      loukoumades Jan 10, 2011 06:33 AM

                                      right, thanks, I'll try that. I'm sure my butter's not too cold. It's definitely soft to the touch.

                                      1. re: jen kalb
                                        junglekitte Aug 30, 2012 03:07 PM

                                        I always add everything at once and mine comes out fine.

                                    2. c
                                      chefathome Jan 9, 2011 01:02 PM

                                      Never but I use my KA paddle. The wire whip is more suitable for whipping air ino things such as egg whites and so on.

                                      Good luck!

                                      1. Azizeh Jan 9, 2011 12:53 PM

                                        No, not at all. With the paddle attachment, it takes maybe 5 minutes, but it never fails.

                                        I use a Beater Blade, which scrapes the bowl as it mixes, but the regular paddle should work.
                                        http://www.amazon.com/s?url=search-al...

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: Azizeh
                                          m
                                          modthyrth Aug 29, 2012 07:52 PM

                                          I adore my beater blade. Works brilliantly!

                                          1. re: Azizeh
                                            pilinut Aug 30, 2012 02:35 AM

                                            Me three. That Beater Blade really works and saves me the effort of all that scraping, so I spend a lot less time standing over the mixer.

                                            1. re: pilinut
                                              Becca Porter Aug 30, 2012 05:46 AM

                                              Me four. I have the blue one...Is that the beater blade?

                                              1. re: Becca Porter
                                                s
                                                soccermom13 Aug 30, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                Ditto. I'd grab the beater blade as I ran from my burning home :0)

                                                1. re: soccermom13
                                                  biondanonima Aug 30, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                  I had no idea this existed - it's going on my wish list RIGHT NOW!!! :)

                                                2. re: Becca Porter
                                                  pilinut Aug 31, 2012 01:23 AM

                                                  I have a white one with gray rubber insets, but the Amazon link above shows several different colors.

                                              2. re: Azizeh
                                                k
                                                karykat Aug 30, 2012 11:39 AM

                                                If you use the beater blade for creaming the butter and sugar, do you keep using that one for adding the other ingredients, like the eggs, dairy, flour? Or do you need to change blades?

                                                I would guess not. How does it do for these other additions?

                                                Thanks! I"m thinking about this attachment.

                                                1. re: karykat
                                                  Becca Porter Aug 30, 2012 12:21 PM

                                                  I never use my old blade unless I have to. It is just sad.

                                                  1. re: karykat
                                                    s
                                                    soccermom13 Aug 30, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                    No, you do not need to change blades. In fact, I almost never stop the mixer to scrape down the bowl bc the beater blade does such a superb job. I just let the mixer keep beating away as I add the addn'l ingredients (adjusting the beating speed as necessary).

                                                  2. re: Azizeh
                                                    chowser Aug 30, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                    I've been thinking of this since I saw it years ago and it's good to see there are good reviews for it. It's plastic, though? My paddle is metal and seems like that would be stronger.

                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                      sunshine842 Aug 30, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                      they make the windows of jet fighters out of plastic...!

                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                        pilinut Aug 31, 2012 01:28 AM

                                                        Metal might (or might not) be stronger, but unless I was beating quick-drying cement or some kind of masonry, I'd stick with my Beater Blade. All that messy stop-and-go bowl scraping just annoys me.

                                                    2. todao Jan 9, 2011 12:48 PM

                                                      You want to use the paddle, not the beater, to cream butter and sugar in your kitchenaid. If you're using comparatively small amounts of butter and sugar there may not be enough total mass for the mixer to process it properly. There are paddles on the market, designed for the KA stand mixer, that scrape the sides of the bowl as they oscillate. I don't have one but I am acquainted with others who use them that speak highly of their efficiency. You may be interested in this information:

                                                      http://www.petermcinnes.com.au/images...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: todao
                                                        s
                                                        schirmer Nov 16, 2011 12:55 PM

                                                        Thanks for the link. I just got my KitchenAid and am figuring out how to use it.

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