Types of Whisks

Whether you’re preparing sweet treats for your bakery display case or crafting housemade vinaigrette in your high-end cafe, whisks are a must-have tool to keep in your commercial kitchen. But did you know there are a number of varieties designed to help you with different tasks? Below are the most common types of cooking whips as well as what makes them unique and when to use each type.

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What Is a Whisk?

Whisks, or cooking whips, are cooking utensils that feature a narrow handle on one end and wire loops joined together at the other. The configuration and thickness of the loops varies depending on the type of whisk you use. Whisks are used to either add air into a mixture or thoroughly blend ingredients together.

What Is the Difference Between Beating and Mixing?

Mixing involves simply combining two or more ingredients together, while beating is meant to both combine ingredients and add air into the mixture. While mixing can be done with any utensil such as a fork or wooden spoon, beating is best achieved with a whisk or electric mixers.

Can Whisks Be Used with Nonstick Cookware?

It is never recommended you use metal utensils on nonstick cookware. Instead, opt for whisks with a silicone coating or ones made of other materials including wood, rubber, or plastic.

Different Types of Whisks

The following are some of the most common types of whisks used in commercial kitchens. Each whip features its own unique shape and configuration designed to effectively beat and blend ingredients together.

Piano / Balloon Whisks

different types of whisks

Balloon or piano whisks are made with thin wires and typically feature a bulbous end. These whips are considered a multi-purpose or everyday whisk because they’re great for a variety of common kitchen tasks. This whisk is named for its resemblance to the shape of a balloon and because its wires are said to resemble those of a piano.

Because their wires tend to be springy and feature a large, rounded end, these whisks create more movement when mixing ingredients together than compared to other types of whisks. This added motion is especially useful for introducing more air into the mixture when beating.

Uses for Piano / Balloon Whisks

Here are a few common uses for piano or balloon whisks:

  • Whipped cream
  • Meringue
  • Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Lightly mixing dry ingredients as a substitute for sifting

French Whisks

French whisks are similar to balloon whisks, but they feature a slimmer profile with slightly thicker wires. While these thicker wires are perfect for mixing together heavier ingredients, they are still meant to be flexible enough to create added movement. Because these French whips feature a narrow end, they’re able to fit into the corners of your pots and pans to scrape up product and prevent foods from burning on the stove.

Uses for French Whisks

With their thick wires and thin frame, here are a few common uses for French whisks:

  • Sauces
  • Emulsions such as vinaigrettes or mayonnaise
  • Batters
  • Pancakes
  • Custards

Ball / Kettle Whisk

Kettle whisks feature long handles and a large, cage-like ball at the end. These kettle whips are used for mixing ingredients together in deep kettles or stock pots. And, because these kettle whisks feature long handles, you can mix ingredients together while keeping your hands away from the heat source.

Uses for Ball / Kettle Whisks

Kettle whisks are ideal for use with the following:

  • Soups
  • Sauces

Mini Bar Whisks

Mini bar whisks are designed specifically for whipping egg whites in a bar setting. Egg whites are used to craft light and airy cocktails such as the gin fizz, champagne flip, or a white lady. The miniature size of these bar whips ensures they work in any glass size and fit in compactly behind the bar. Because these bar whisks feature the same thin wires and bulbous end as piano whisks, they bring movement to your mixture and add air into your egg whites to create a fluffy, frothy final product.

Conical Whisks

Conical whisks feature thin wires formed into an elongated shape with a wider middle and narrow end. This distinct shape, which resembles a diamond, is designed to reach ingredients caught in the corner of your pots or pans. Plus, with their stiff construction, these conical whisks can be used in place of spatulas or scrapers to effectively incorporate all ingredients into your mix.

Flat / Roux Whisks

types of kitchen whisks

Flat or roux whisks feature a number of looped wires, typically four, in a flattened ballooned shape. These whisks are designed to be used with shallow pans in order to reach the optimal angle when mixing. The lower the handle can be to the pan, the flatter the whisk will lay and the more surface area can be covered. The flat wires allow the user to scrape up product in the pan and effectively combine ingredients.

Uses for Flat / Roux Whisks

Flat or roux whips are ideal for use with the following:

  • Gravy
  • Roux
  • Sauces in shallow pans
  • Removing poached eggs from water
  • Substitutes as a fish spatula when removing fish from liquid

Spiral Whisks

Spiral whisks are composed of a singular wire loop wrapped in tight coils. Because the head of this whisk is placed at an angle, it is meant to always be in contact with the bottom of your pan during the mixing process. This allows the whisk to catch all ingredients and prevent burning.

As the angled head makes contact with the bottom of the pan, the smaller coils work to break up clumps of dry ingredients for a smoother final product. Because of their flat, compact construction, spiral whips are also ideal for use in small bowls where balloon or French whisks may be too bulky.

Uses for Spiral Whisks

Spiral whisks can be used for a number of mixing needs including:

  • Gravy
  • Sauces
  • Vinaigrette
  • Salad dressings
  • Roux

Dough Whisks

Also referred to as Danish dough whisks, the flat profile of these dough whisks features an outer circle and inner oval with a small loop. While it may look like a painting by Picasso, these dough whisks are perfect for bakeries, restaurants, or caterers producing housemade bread and batters.

Dough whisks are, as their name suggests, perfect for handling tough doughs or batters without overworking the ingredients. Unlike wooden spoons, the thin wires are perfect for swiftly cutting into your doughs and scraping away flour pockets for a smooth and consistent mixture.

Uses for Dough Whisks

Use a dough whisk to create decadent desserts or freshly baked breads including:

  • Brownies
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • No-knead bread
  • Scones
  • Irish soda bread

From 24-hour diners to high-end hotels, every commercial kitchen should have the right whisk on hand to handle a variety of tasks. Whether you’re creating a roux to thicken crab mac and cheese or topping a wedding cake with flavored whipped cream, it’s important you use the right whisk for the job. Having the perfect tool in your kitchen can save time and labor costs while producing a final product you can be proud of.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Rachel Jenkins
elizabeth smithhurd Says:

This is a good article, I learned a lot. Thanks

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