We stock a wide range of whisks and brushes that are ideal for use in a commercial kitchen. Available in a range of sizes, colours and different materials.
What it is the balloon whisk used for?
The balloon whisk is very similar to a French whisk and is brilliant for whipping light food ingredients together. They are available in a range of sizes, generally from around six to 20 inches in length. The head of a balloon whisk is oval-shaped, or round, resembles a balloon in appearance, and is made of more individual wires than your typical French whisk. When you are choosing a balloon whisk for your kitchen, you should try to select one with as many wires as possible. This will not only assist with the whisking process itself, but save you a little on elbow grease too.
The aim of the balloon whisk is to increase the amount of air that is brought into the mixture. Especially useful when beating together egg whites, for fluffy meringues, you can also create better batters, and smoother sauces by putting the balloon whisk to use in the kitchen. The air added to the mixture increases its volume, but also results in much lighter, more delicate textures – perfect for a number of popular recipes. As well as combining liquid ingredients, balloon whisks are also ideal for mixing together dry ingredients, as opposed to sifting them.
What material is a balloon whisk made from?
Balloon whisks are available in a range of materials, including wooden, silicone and metal. Wooden whisks are made from firm but flexible pieces of birch wood, and are primarily used for light whipping before baking.
Silicone whisks on the other hand are wire whisks coated with heatproof silicone. They are an excellent choice for owners of non-stick pans, as they do not scratch the protective coating, and their own non-stick surface makes them far easier to clean. That said, whilst a silicone whisk is perfectly suitable for stirring gravy or other sauces, it doesn’t match a metal whisk when it comes preparing a mixture for baking. Beating eggs is a no go with a silicone whisk, as their flexibility does not usually produce the required consistency. Even if you do get the mixture right, it will take you far longer than it would with a conventional metal whisk.
When it comes to beating egg whites, metal whisks boast the correct resistance for allowing the egg’s proteins to stretch and trap air. If you are to choose a metal whisk, stainless steel is the best option as this is less likely to rust. Whilst you are going to yield better results with a metal whisk, you may find silicone and nylon whisks preferential if you are concerned about damaging your cookware.
Are there different types of balloon whisk?
The balloon whisk is a standalone piece of well designed, culinary craftsmanship. It is only really challenged for efficiency by its bigger, slightly better sibling – the double balloon whisk. This dual-head whisk is designed to decrease the amount of time required for the whipping process, whilst simultaneously increasing the amount of air brought into the foods that are being beaten or mixed. Achieved because of a second, smaller whisk, usually held inside the larger one, this innovative tool matches the smart design of the standard balloon whisk and, quite simply, doubles its effectiveness!
How does the balloon whisk differ from other types of whisk?
The balloon whisk is very similar to the French whisk but, like with many kitchen utensils, there are a whole manner of different whisk types.
The flat whisk is commonly referred to as a ‘roux whisk’ and, in appearance, it looks resembles a balloon whisk that has been flattened. It has the signature loops you have come to expect with any whisk, but there are far fewer wires in the design, and they all lie flat. This setup makes the flat whisk an ideal option for stirring sauces in shallow pans such as skillets, as opposed to beating foods in a bowl.
Unlike the balloon whisk, the wires of the ball whisk do not loop around and back into the handle – the ball whisk doesn’t really look like a traditional kitchen utensil at all! Instead, the ball whisk contains a series of individual wires which stem from a single handle, and each wire features a ball bearing on the tip. However, the lack of loops makes it far easier to clean and those who advocate the ball whisk claim it makes for much quicker aeration of the substance being whisked. Due to this, the ball whisk is often the go-to choice for whipping egg whites - although take nothing away from the balloon whisk, which also achieves the perfect consistency for meringues, with only slightly more effort.
The spiral whisk is an odd-looking utensil, consisting of a rounded loop, around which another wire is coiled. The head of the spiral whisk is angled and, because of this, the utensil will constantly make contact with the bowl or pan, guaranteeing a good mixing process whilst preventing any scorching. Much like the flat whisk, the spiral whisk is suited for mixing sauces, as well as vinaigrettes, and can also be used to stir liquids into a delicate roux while preventing it from becoming lumpy.
Like the spiral whisk, the cage whisk is also an aesthetically unusual design. It looks similar to a balloon whisk, only one that has been stuffed with a small ball-shaped wire. Inside this wire structure is a ball bearing; added specifically to increase weight. The increased weight makes the spiral whisk a good choice for ensuring smooth textures, in heavy liquids such as whipping cream.
The coil whisk can be distinguished by its one single wire, which spirals around and around into a spiral shape that looks almost symmetrical. It looks very similar to the balloon whisk, but, rather than series of looping wires, it is made from one delicately woven piece of wire. And where the balloon whisk is designed to be stirred around and around, in order to aerate liquids and mixtures, the coil whisk remains stationary and is instead pumped vigorously up and down. The coil whisk is not suited to beating or mixing ingredients, but it is good for incorporating liquids into dry ingredients - especially in deeper dishes - and can also be suited to lifting sauces and other thick mixtures off of the bottom of a pan.
What to look for when buying a balloon whisk
When purchasing a balloon whisk, you should always opt for stainless steel, as these are far less likely to rust. If you are going to be using your whisk with nonstick pans, a stainless steel one with silicone or nylon coated wires may be favourable, as this will not scratch the finish.
If you happen to be buying the whisk in store rather than online, hold the whisk in your hand and mimic a mixing motion. We concede that this may look a little odd, but it will help you to make sure that the handle is comfortable and feels robust in your grasp. Many whisks are designed with silicone or moulded handles, both of which make the utensil easier to grip, and comes ‘in handy’ when you have wet or greasy hands.
Electric whisks vs the balloon whisk
With the electric whisk, there is no real method when it comes to baking a cake. You simply tip everything into a bowl and go at it with the whisk. Often, it can be hard to believe that it is going to work but it always does, right? So why opt for the balloon whisk?
When it comes to baking with a balloon whisk, the mixing time can be double that of the electric method. However, we’re talking about mere minutes here, so even if you are without an electric whisk and you have left baking your Christmas cake until the last minute, this trusty utensil won’t let you down.
Of course, the purpose of mixing the cake ingredients isn’t just to incorporate them. Aeration also plays a huge part, as this will vastly improve the texture of the cake. So, does the balloon whisk yield better results?
Whether you use the balloon whisk or an electric whisk, both cakes will rise well and will be pretty much identical in appearance. However, it is when you cut the cake that everything comes to light. With the cake made using the electric whisk, the crumb is a lot softer and upon taste, more buttery.
That said, when you are working by hand, using the balloon whisk, you have more control over each step of the process - and not just with cakes. You can see for yourself exactly when the egg whites reach a stiff peak, or you are able to feel when the bread has developed enough gluten. From start to finish, you are a part of that process, and most people find it both much more satisfying and rewarding. Using a balloon whisk allows you to get more involved. You are likely to notice different smells and textures - including how the food changes with each new step - and this is what we believe baking is all about.
Choosing a recipe using a balloon whisk
Of course, there are no shortcuts when using muscle over an electric whisk. So, if you are making a cake using a balloon whisk, there are several simple tips you can take to help make this process easier.
You will need a recipe that makes the batter in stages, and should also ensure that your butter is really soft before starting. You should also use a relatively heavy bowl as this will help to prevent it from slipping around whilst you are beating or mixing the ingredients. If you do not own a heavy bowl, you can simply place a damp cloth beneath a lighter or plastic one, as this should help to achieve a similar effect.
With the mixture, cream the butter and sugar together for as long as you are able to - and the longer the better. Following the creaming process, whisk your eggs into the mixture, one by one, and take a good few minutes over each one. Place your whisk in the centre of the bowl before scooping up and around, giving the bowl a quarter-turn every so often. Once the eggs are fully beaten, fold the sifted flour into the batter in stages.
For the finishing touch, why not add some whipping cream? Owing to its wide exterior, the balloon whisk is perfect for whipping cream and it couldn’t be simpler. Simply pour the cream into a large, chilled bowl and sweep the balloon whisk in a circular motion. Repeatedly move the whisk, enticing the cream down and around the sides of the bowl, as this will help to quickly incorporate air into the mixture.