Whisks have been around for centuries in forms of twigs bundled together and, soon after, brush bristles were all the rage. The first wire whisk was designed some time in the mid-1800’s, but it wasn’t until 1963 when the beloved Julia Child debuted her cooking show to Americans that the balloon whisk became a household necessity. Can you believe that was only 57 years ago?
The whisk is still a young and ever-changing concept for American kitchens and today we’ll be reviewing a few of my favorites: the French, flat, ball and dough. Though the balloon whisk was the first popular whisk in American homes, I chose not to highlight it today because I find other designs easier to use and more interesting. With that being said, you will see a cameo today from the OG as we compare the other styles and their usefulness in the kitchen.
Alright, let’s get down to whisk-ness!
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Cousin to the balloon whisk is the French whisk. Unsure of if you have a balloon whisk? It’s the solid stainless steel or metal whisk you have in your utensil holder with the round balloon shaped bulb. Where the balloon whisk is bulbous, the French whisk is more stiff and narrow, and though they are different they do share similarities.
The stiff design and closeness of the wires in the French whisk allows for more control which, I think, makes it easier to use than the balloon whisk.
Your French whisk is going to be great for stirring and smoothing sauces and dressings and can be used for batters. I do not suggest using your French whisk for attempting to whip egg whites or creams. You will be whisking away for quite some time and though it’ll be a great arm work out, you won’t end up with the results you’re looking for. I learned this the hard way.
The French whisk is also great for flat bottom bowls and pans. Its slender design is ideal for scraping into those awkward angles and making sure everything is incorporated in your mixture. If you don’t have a French whisk yet, I highly suggest it!
It’s a staple in my kitchen. I use a Farberware French whisk that is unfortunately too old to be on Amazon but this 11″ Tovolo works amazingly! It’s also got a pretty cute handle and will be the perfect addition to your utensil collection!
It’s sleek stainless steel design prices at just $11.49.
The flat whisk is more similar to the balloon whisk except, well, it’s flat! You may have also seen this whisk referred to as a roux whisk. It’s 2-in-1 design will quickly work in flour or any other starch to melted butter making it the perfect utensil for your roux. You can also use your flat whisk to deglaze your pan for those savory sauces that need frequent stirring.
Not to degrade the balloon whisk, but once again, I find the flat whisk easier to use. Like the French whisk, it is also great for scraping the bottom of pans, pots and bowls. It’s lightweight and easy on the wrist and doesn’t tire out your arm.
It’s also a perfect for eggs! It’s flat design is delicate enough for lifting poached eggs out of water or separating egg yolks from the whites. It also incorporates a decent amount of air, resulting in fluffy scrambled eggs!
Unlike the French whisk, you can use your flat whisk for whipping creams or egg whites. However, personally I like to whisk in a zigzag motion as I find this results in faster results with higher peaks. Though the flat whisk will eventually get the job done, it’s a little awkward compared to the balloon whisk for whipping.
I use this 10″ silicone handle flat whisk that is only $5.09. What an absolute steal! It comes in gray, green, orange and red so if you can’t decide on one color, just grab a few!
The ball whisk has been my go-to lately. It’s shape is unique from other whisks considering the only round parts about it are the balls at the tip of the tines. The design is similar to a retro, mid-century light fixture or a head massager.
Its sturdy wires are perfect for mixing through pancake batter but I prefer to use it for dry ingredients. I’ve been really into making cookies for the past two weeks and I have grabbed for this whisk every time. The straight, separated design of the wires are perfect for mixing right in your measuring cup. It can get in all the nooks and crannies without leaving anything out.
Not to mention, it’s also the easiest whisk to clean. Not that the usual, round style is a pain to clean, but pancake batter or flour will rinse right off your ball whisk!
The ball whisk is also a cool replacement of a spoon for stirring if you’re wanting to shake things up in the kitchen. Most ball whisks can withstand a good amount of heat so if you want to use this to stir your simmering soup go right ahead!
Different from the French or flat whisk your ball whisk can actually do a pretty good job of whipping egg whites or meringues. You’ll get a good arm workout with your ball whisk vs using an electric mixer but at least you can say it was made with love!
Here is the Home-X ball whisk that I use! This every day whisk is only $8.50.
Alright y’all. I saved the best for last. It’s not a universal do-it-all whisk but it’s 100% perfect for what you need it to do, and that’s mixing dough.
The dough whisk is formally known as the Danish dough whisk.
This trusty baker’s companion can cut right through stiff dough with no issues thanks to its sturdy metal loops. It’s shape not only looks like an awesome wizard staff, but the roundness of the wires make for easy mixing. And much like our previous whisks, the round design of this whisk leaves no clumps behind on the bottom of your bowl.
I have only known this whisk for about a month now, but in my humble opinion, it mixes just as well a a Kitchenaid mixer if you’re looking for a less expensive option. It’s also great for bread and pizza dough!
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been making a lot of cookies and this whisk has been my right-hand man. Queue Hamilton soundtrack. The dough whisk almost effortlessly integrates the components of your dough without overworking the gluten. I grew up baking with wooden for mixing cookie dough but they actually can’t agitate the dough well enough to mix everything properly. Because the dough whisk doesn’t over mix cookie dough, this will result in the perfect, chewy cookie!
Besides dough, it can also be used for thick batters or polenta! Both can get clumps pretty easily but the smaller loops in your dough whisk will work right through those pockets.
The Zulay Danish dough whisk is 13″ long and is only $13.99. If you like to bake, even only seasonally, add this to your collection! It is well worth it and practically pays for itself.
Whisk Me Away!
Hopefully after reading this you’re as inspired as I was to try new whisks. I seriously used to use a fork to mix everything together and while the almighty fork can do the trick for some things, it just doesn’t cut it for most baking experiences.
The French, flat, ball and dough whisks will all be great additions to your collection. Whether you use them frequently or seasonally, they’ll last you awhile and are timeless.
Let me know in the comments if you end up purchasing one! Or if you already own one let us know why you love it!
As always, cook fiercely with love and be brave in trying new things!
Until next time,
Haley | Founder of Haley’s Kitchen