How to use a hand blender
Now we have covered what a hand blender actually is, we can show you here how to use it, and more importantly what it can make for you!
How to use a hand blender .. in 9 simple steps!
- Always follow the supplier’s instructions
- Keep power off whilst you put the shaft or add blade ends on
- Make sure you have the correct accessory / attachment for the job in hand. (Have a look at all the jobs it can possibly do below)
- Turn power on, if you have a cordless one then make sure the batteries are charged up. Check your instructions manual to see if you should turn power on before it enters the food, or after ( in the case of ice, start the power after.)
- Put the blender into the food but make sure the container has enough room so that the food doesn’t splash over the top! A narrow container is also better than a wide one.
- Hold it at a slight angle and off the bottom of the container, move it around a bit through the food until you get the desired consistency. (Don’t forget, you can also move the container, and not just the blender.)
- When you’re done, whilst holding it over the container / jug, tap the shaft on your other hand to get excess food off. Don’t ever tap the shaft on the container as that’s bad for the blender . Get in the better habit of tapping gently on your other fingers. Bamix recommened that because their shaft contains the electronics to drive the blade of course. Makes sense to treat that gently !
- Turn it off / unplug it BEFORE you detach any parts.
- Wash the blender end / the blade parts immediately – for easy washing tips, see our blog on how to clean a hand blender next.
Have a look at a hand blender in use on this video on our main hand blender page.
over 20 jobs your stick blender might do...
Here’s an exhaustive list of tasks term used to market hand blenders (in alphabetical order). You will find that some terms overlap in meaning, and that kitchen tool manufacturers and cultures can use these terms a little differently. The action (verb) and the end result (noun) can also be the same … which is also confusing! We hope this helps clear a lot up.
Its important to remember that not all hand blenders will perform all techniques or produce all the foods shown below. Even if they say they do, the performance (hence the results) will also vary. Value for money is something you need to consider carefully when buying your hand blender. And, it depends on if you want a jack of all trades and master of none!
- aerating – means to introduce air into, usually by beating or whisking and usually a term referring to beating eggs!
- beating – stirring something rapidly to make a smooth mixture. Traditionally a whisk, a spoon, a spatula, or manual hand mixer is used to beat.
- blending – mixing or combining ingredients together to make a nice uniform, smooth mixture. When blended, the mix of ingredients makes a new unique flavour. Traditionally would use a spoon or whisk or mixer for this.
- chopping – to chop from fine or small, to rough or big we would traditionally use a knife. With the hand blender this is usually done by the blade in a chopper bowl.
- creaming – make a mixture creamy (eg creaming butter or a sugar & butter mix for baking). Traditionally would use the back of a wooden spoon or electric mixer to do this.
- crushing – to crush food into a smaller form.. starting with bruising, flattened, battering, and finally into pastes, crumbs or even powders/dust! See pulverinzing for the heavier crushing. Usually a knife or a mortar & pestle (and a lot of elbow grease!) would do this job. Ice is also a big crushing job. If you need this then be careful to check your blender has a good reputation for crushing ice before trying.
- cutting – obvious I hope… cutting into pieces like with a knife. I find this term just a duplicate for chopping!
- emulsifying – to mix some things so very thoroughly that it becomes one emulsion. Its not easy to do because its usually with two very different ingredients that don’t like to combine well, e.g. oil and vinegar for a salad dressing.
- foaming – made by agitating a liquid. Its different to frothing right! A froth can be called a foam bit a foam isn’t usually called a froth! The foam bubbles are smaller than in a froth. An alternative way of foaming milk is to introduce an injection of hot steam into it.
- frothing – usually refers to frothing milk to produce a lighter liquid with a kind of foam on top. You can also froth by shaking milk in a closed jar then microwave for about 20seconds! Its lighter, more bubbly, than a foam and can make the milk ‘feel’ a little sweeter!
- grating – cuts a solid food into little pieces. Usually grating is made by rubbing a solid food against a grating instrument.
- grinding – e.g. for meats, nuts or spices etc …Usually a food processor is used to grind all sorts of ingredients. Otherwise, you could have specialised tool such as a pepper mill for peppercorns, coffee grinder for coffee beans, spice grinder, meat grinder etc etc!
- homogenising – gosh this one took bit of research! In general terms this means the process of making things similar or uniform, so in terms of food it’s is a technique used to reduce particle sizes in a way that it creates more efficient and higher quality emulsions and dispersions. Honestly who homogenises!!! It seems that chemists and chefs do. Homogenizing means blending with such high shear forces that the big fat globules are broken up into many much smaller ones. So this is pretty specialist territory and it seems to be the commercial immersion blenders that have a a high speed blender to produce enough shear to homogenise ( whats to shear…. another blog post is needed for that perhaps!).
- kneading – not all blenders can do this but some of the more powerful or those with food processor attachments can boast making bread dough.
- liquidising – as it sounds, it means turning a sold into a liquid, or purée. Specialist liquidisers are also sold for this purpose. In the UK the counter top jug style blender is often called a liquidiser.
- mashing – we don’t think this is the brewing beer kind of mashing. ore likely its potatoes and vegetable and fruit mashing. a good old manual potato masher is an alternative but the hand blender attachments that act as a masher make much smoother potato worms !
- mincing – where the food is chopped into tiny pieces much smaller than chopping or dicing. A meat grinder or food processor is often used to mince food.
- mixing – Its a term we are used to using for preparing baking mixtures. hand held electric hand mixers ( you know the kind with the two whisks attached) have traditionally been the tool to use. Food processors and hand blenders can also do the job. So for mixing i would say its to do lighter things like egg mixing, you’ll need a strong one to mix heavy batters and doughs.
- pulverizing– meaning to reduce a food to powder or dust. The Bamix powder disk is amazing at this task reducing cinnamon sticks, avocado stones, chocolate to powder! This is usually by crushing, pounding, or grinding and traditionally the manual tools would have been a mortar & pestle, or a micro grater ( the kind you would use for nutmeg perhaps), a hand cranked (coffee) bean grinder , or at a push… a rolling pin!
- stirring – replaces mixing substances in a circular action, replaces a spoon or spatula. A blender at low speeds will carry out a stirring action.
- whipping or whisking – use for preparing food for baking or serving. A whip is basically a large version or a whisk, or a balloon shaped wire whisk. The whisk is the teardrop shaped one. What does it replace? Well to whip or whisk, a fork that was traditionally used to beat / mix ingredients and incorporate air into them. (used to make dressings , sauces, creams, eggs)
more importantly… your hand blender can prepare more than 20 foods
Which machine accessory should you use?
Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They will be specific about the names they give to their attachments and how to use them. Of course they will all want to tout that they can do as many tasks as possible… but how well they do it is another question.
We find that some immersion blenders cross the line into the food processing world with added accessories that can make them look like a larger countertop food processing set up. Its important to look at the size and weight of these accessories incase storage or counter-top space is an issue for you.
The Sage all in one, and the Braun 9 series, and the Bamix Superbox all come with accessories including a chopper container and a food processor to dice, slice and grate.