For whipping together cake, cookie, and other batters, the whisk cannot be beat. Or can it?
Although the whisk is newer to the scene of kitchen gadgets than, say, the spatula, it does enjoy a fairly time-honored history.
An 18th-century Shaker recipe instructs home chefs to “cut a handful of peach twigs…. and beat the cake batter with them.”
Shortly thereafter, English Victorians invented the whisk in the 19th century. However, it was not until Julia Child used one in her first-ever television appearance in 1963 that they became popular with the general United States audience.
In promoting her then-new book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Julia Child revolutionized the preparation of omelets by replacing the standard electric eggbeaters with a simpler wire whisk.
She encouraged all chefs to invest in a set of wire whisks.
Why a Wire Whisk?
On that fateful episode of “I’ve Been Reading,” Child performed magic. She inflated a bowl of beaten eggs into a delicate mountain of foam.
Using only the crude and indelicate motorized mixing of the eggbeater, the snowy foam attributed to the fluffiest and best-textured omelets is virtually impossible.
There simply is not enough air being mixed with the eggs in this method of mixing, which will result in a dense, heavier omelet.
Although there are whisks made of several different materials – even wood, the vast majority of modern whisks are made of stainless steel wire.
Sometimes they are coated in silicone or other low-impact materials, to accommodate pans with susceptible coatings.
The modern age of cooking is certainly upon us. There is a tool for virtually every job.
So it comes as no surprise that the world of whisks has shot off into the stratosphere of kitchen appliances.
Here at The Kitchen Professor I’ve brought together a few of the most popular whisk designs…
The balloon whisk is probably the closest match to that bulb-shaped magic wand of a whisk Julia Child used back in 1963.
Additionally, it’s the most common whisk in America. Whichever whisk you’ve got lurking in your kitchen gizmo drawer is probably some variation of the balloon whisk.
Typically, these whisks feature eight or ten flexible wire loops, joining at an end that attaches to a handle.
They are readily available in many sizes. This all-purpose whisk is great for mixing dry ingredients, beating eggs, or infusing egg whites with air to make peak-capped meringues.
Dragonn Stainless Steel Balloon WhiskSee the Dragonn Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk at Amazon
The Dragonn Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk comes in a set of 3. So it’s great value for money. I mean, you can’t beat (no pun intended) 3 whisks for the price of one.
Included are an eight, ten, and twelve-inch whisk. The durable rubber handles let you use these whisks easily, and the wires are firmly attached for lasting use.
The French whisk is the closely related cousin to the balloon whisk, featuring many similar elements of construction.
However, its narrower profile makes it better suited for scraping along the sides of deeper bowls, making it the better choice for larger batches of whatever is being whisked.
Whipping ten egg whites instead of two? Reach for your French whisk.
Best Manufacturers 12-inch Standard French Wire WhiskSee the Best Manufacturers 12-inch Standard French Wire Whisk at Amazon
The Best Manufacturers 12-inch Standard French Wire Whisk offers everything you need in a French whisk.
The long, twelve-inch design can reach to the bottom of the deepest bowls, allowing you to evenly whip up meringue sufficient for a whole party’s worth of pie.
The esoteric ball whisk looks more like a retro light fixture than a kitchen gadget. This whisk features no loops, and instead utilizes several (usually ten or twelve) thicker lengths of wire.
Each with a ball bearing attached to the end. This makes the whisk much easier to clean—the loop-end varieties are famously difficult to clean, even for the most dedicated tongue-bathing assistant, eager to sop up all that leftover cake batter.
Proponents of this design claim that by flexing and spreading more than the loop-end designs, this model more effectively aerates egg batters and other mixtures.
VansieHome 12-inch Ball WhiskSee the VansieHome 12-inch Ball Whisk at Amazon
The VansieHome 12-inch Ball Whisk features all the best of ball whisks—easy to clean stainless steel wires.
And ball-ends that get into every hidden nook and cranny of your mixing bowl, and a sleek stainless steel handle.
The attached loop on the handle provides for stylish hanging of the whisk, if you are not content to toss it in the gizmo drawer.
Its ball whisk design will aerate eggs much faster than your old balloon or French whisk!
The Doohickey – Mikey Store Stainless Steel Whisk Egg-BeaterSee the Mikey Store Stainless Steel Whisk Egg-Beater at Amazon
Never able to leave well enough alone, the crafty kitchen engineers at Mikey Store offer the Stainless Steel Whisk Egg-Beater doohickey.
OK, it isn’t actually advertised as a doohickey, but this gizmo defies categorization in the genre of whisks.
Specifically designed for beating eggs, this clever device is a push-operated, non-electric machine for beating eggs.
Essentially borrowing from the balloon whisk design, this gadget is placed into a bowl of eggs, and downward pressure forces the wires to rapidly spin, thus whipping up your eggs.
Using some basic machinery, this eggbeater economizes your effort by giving you many rotations without so much as the single flick of a wrist.
Sturdy stainless steel construction guarantees a long lifetime of rust-free, easy to clean use.
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Never Whisk a Bad Omelet Again
With such a wide variety of egg-whipping whisks on the market, there’s no excuse to prepare anything less than the fluffiest omelets or the most delicate peaks of meringue again.
Checkout these tips for the perfect egg whites by the Culinary Institute of America.
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