Pastry making is an extreme sport, in my opinion! It tastes magical, but needs great care. One second it is a pile of sticky ingredients and then boom, golden pastry! If you’re wondering, “what is a pastry blender”, know that it’s a must have to make great pastry. When it comes to pastry, most of the things are done by hand or with basic tools.
There are countless specialized tools to do the job perfectly. Things are usually complicated in the kitchen, especially if you decided to make pastries. These specialized tools are here to help! Usually, it is the small and innocuous looking kitchen tools that save the day.
They help us a lot despite their cute small sizes, and more often than not save a ton of time. We are going to talk about one of these wonderful tools today. A pastry blenders! It is a piece of good equipment used by pastry chefs and us, great home cooks. Why is it great? Because it keeps our hands clean and does not require lots of cleanup time.
And plus, it gets the job done in a really good way. But how? We’ll learn about that today! In this article, you can find the answers to your questions about pastry blenders including the first question that comes to mind: What is a pastry blender kitchen-aid mixer?
What Is a Pastry Blender?
A pastry blender is also known as a dough blender or pastry cutter. It is a bit funny looking. I admit that I was a bit shocked and did not know what to do when I first encountered one at a friend’s place. You may be in a similar position now, so I am happy to help. It is a u-shaped kitchen tool. There are narrow metal wires or strips attached to a handle.
These wires or strips are curved into the handle and this is what makes the u shape. If you’re a knife enthusiast, you might find it similar to a mezzaluna knife. For using it, you basically need to grip the handle and press those blades down into the dough. It is a simple and user friendly tool. You’re pounding the pastry without getting anything sticky on yourself, what a win!
So, what is a pastry blender used for? Mixing dough and cutting the butter into it! Mixing dough can be a messy task. It sticks very badly, and it takes a lot of time for the ingredients to get together. Half the time you’re actually kneading the dough and half the time you’re trying to get your fingers to unstick from each other.
Frankly, I don’t like to feel the sticky dough in my hands and I certainly do not like to spend too much time on a task that can be done faster and easier. That’s where a pastry blender steps up to the stage. It cuts solid fats into the flour and creates a good-mixed dough without getting our hands dirty. It is also used for cutting the butter before usage.
How to Use a Pastry Blender?
- First, the butter you’ll use should be cool and firm.
- Begin with cutting the butter in ½-inch cubes. It’ll be easy for it to distribute throughout the flour. All the ingredients should blend in, particularly butter or any other fat. A pastry blender does this job like a pro.
- Press the hand pastry blender in a rocking motion and start cutting the butter into the flour until it is done.
- How do you understand it is done? The ingredients should be blended in. The dough shouldn’t break easily but should stick like it got everything together.
Why Use a Pastry Blender?
Many recipes mention the use of a pastry blender. Because the fats, especially butter, should distribute through the dry ingredients. It shouldn’t be incorporated into them. A pastry blender helps us cut the butter and mix it with other ingredients in a proper way. This method gives us good results.
But what is the cost of a pastry blender? This is a very important question to ask when you are looking for any product. That’s particularly true for a small kitchen product like this one, as your productivity in the pastry making adventure largely depends on it.
Luckily, pastry blenders do not cost much. Their costs are usually changing from 9$ to 15$. You can find it for cheaper, but these are the ones with sturdy designs. So, we can say it is a good deal.
A Quick Tip: Use cold butter. We do not want the butter to melt into the flour. If it does, the dough will have a crumbly texture. The butter will not melt into the flour and it’ll stay in the solid form if you use it cold.
What Are the Alternatives?
If you do not have a pastry blender, you can use something instead that’ll give good results. You just need to be careful about some things but if you use them properly, there will be no problems! Let’s take a look at the alternatives for a pastry blender:
Butter Knives: You need two butter knives for this. Cut small pieces of butter and add them to the bowl with other ingredients. Hold one knife in each hand. Work them over the ingredients until everything is well combined.
Fork: Add small pieces of butter into the bowl with other ingredients. Then grab the fork and mash it into the flour. Mash it until it has a crumbly consistency.
Cheese Grater: Grate the butter and mix it with other dry ingredients. As I mentioned in an additional tip before, use cold butter. It will be easier to grate. You can even use frozen butter. It is better. Do not forget to use a grater with large perforations.
Food Processor: This is a fast process. You add the butter in small pieces with the other dry ingredients into the machine. Then you work it in the food processor until it has a good crumbly texture. Since it is a fast process, be careful not to mix them for too long.
Egg Mixer: Another fast one. Prepare the butter in the same way as before and add it to the ingredients’ bowl. Then use an egg mixer to mix all that. Do not overwork it, be careful about that. You may need to work the ingredients with your hands after using an egg mixer on them.
Potato Masher: If you spend a good amount of time in the kitchen, you know you can use anything for anything if you think hard enough. You need to produce practical ideas in the kitchen. This is one of them. Mash everything together carefully and end up with good results!
You can use anything on this list to cut butter into flour, but I recommend you avoid mixers. Especially stand mixers which I did not add to the list. It is hard to control and possibly will harm the dough. The grating is better than using a mixer. But if you do not have any other option, then you can use a paddle and a chilling bowl with cold butter.
Also Read: How to Use Ninja Blender for Healthy Benefit
Which Type Is the Best?
You can find many different types of pastry blenders on the market. There are ones with wires and ones with blade-like tines. There are manual pastry blenders and electric pastry blenders which are basically mixers. But which one is better?
I personally think manual ones with blades blades are better. Because they are sturdier and easier to use. I also experienced that they last longer than the wire ones and also do not warp. So, I would recommend the blade-like tines.
How to Clean a Pastry Blender?
It may seem hard to clean a pastry blender because of their tines but it is surprisingly easy. You just need to soak it in warm water for a bit and then wash it with soapy water and a sponge. After that, rinse and dry it. You can also use steel wool, wire brushes, or sandpaper to get the rust off the pastry blender. Using these will help your pastry blender to last even longer. Take care of your kitchen products and they will take care of you!
Also Read: Best Food Mill – Choices for Best One
Working with pastry ingredients, especially dough does not have to be a tiring and messy experience. A simple product can make the process easier, faster, and cleaner. Look for the ways to make you enjoy the kitchen time more!
A pastry blender might be a small kitchen product, but it definitely saves the day when you decide to make some baked goods or else. Now you know “what is a pastry blender” and also how to use one. Isn’t it a piece of cake! Cake? Should we start to make one just now? Tell me if you ever had an experience with a pastry blender or did you just decide to use one? Let’s chat in the comments!