A pastry blender is a cooking utensil used to mix a hard fat into flour in order to make pastries. The tool is usually made of narrow metal strips or wires attached to a handle, and is used by pressing down on the items to be mixed or“cutting in”. It is also used to break these fats (shortening, butter, lard) into smaller pieces. The blending of fat into flour at this stage impacts the amount of water that will be needed to bind the pastry into a dough. A pastry blender is an important tool for baking pastries. Normally, bakers use a pastry blender for making scone dough, biscuit dough, or pastry dough.
This tool can have different dimensions, but the overall parts are a handle and multiple curved wires attached to both ends of the handle. When using it, you will use the force of your hand to press down and blend the butter with the dough. A good pastry blender will consist of durable materials and comfort to your hand during usage. There are different materials in the market for the handle, such as metal, wood, and plastic. Although wood is a classic design, it can easily deteriorate when being exposed to the dishwasher. However, people still prefer using wood as it is very comfortable to hold and press on.
The working part of the pastry blender is the half-moon-shaped wires. The half-round shape is designed to penetrate and blend the cold butter easily while under the pressure of your hand. Some pastry blenders even replace wires with metal blades for users to penetrate the cold fat faster. However, people tend to go with the traditional stainless steel wires as they can blend more evenly.
Pastry Blender Substitute
If you can’t find your pastry blender or for whatever reason, just need an alternative to pastry blenders, this contains a number of efficient alternatives to pastry blenders.
Forks are the most common tool in the kitchen. It is a correct alternative to the pastry blender. At first, wash the form and clean it properly. Let it dry. Now cut the butter into small pieces. Now take a big bowl and take all the necessary dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix them using the fork. After mixing the dry items, add the butter pieces in some consecutive parts so that a bit of butter is added to the batter or dough at once. Squish the added butter fast using the fork till the desired mixture density arrive. Thus, the fork can do like the pastry blender.
You will need two butter knives to work as the pastry blender. At first, take the butter into the dry ingredient mixture into a bowl. The bowl size should be big enough so that you feel comfortable mixing all the ingredients. Hold both knives on both of your hands and slice the butter into the dry ingredient mixture thoroughly. If you keep both the knives at an angle, you will get a correct grip and do this process smoothly.
When all the flour-coated butter turns into smaller pieces and creates the coarse-textured crumbs, your dough is ready. Using knives takes more time than a pastry blender. But it works.
Egg mixer can be the pastry blender substitute efficiently. It works just like the blender if you follow the procedure. At first, take all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut cold butter into small pieces. Now set the egg mixer at a slow speed and put it in the bowl. The speed must be slow. The fast pace of the egg mixer will make a mess. It will be hard to clean the mess. After using the egg mixer at slow speed, you will see how nicely the butter mixed with the flour. The slow speed of the mixer helps in the proper mixing process too.
Using Cheese Grater
With the help of Cheese Grater, you can also ready your pastry dough. For this, the main point is to super cool the butter using your refrigerator. In a bowl, take the pastry ingredients, and then grate the butter using your cheese grater. When you half-finish, keep the butter in the fridge again. Then mix them using your hand or fork; anything you like. The good part is, the butter is now in small pieces, so it going to mix well.
When you are half done mixing, take the remaining part of the butter and grate again. Follow the procedure, until you get a nice evenly consisted dough. In ancient Egypt, pastry making was an art, and all other civilizations have their testy versions of pasty, which you also like to cook.
Using Food Processor
Using a food processor, you can get dough even quickly. First, put the dry ingredients in the food processor jar and tightly attach the lid. Then mix it for approximately 10 to 30 seconds. When you see, the dry even mixture, stop the processor and open the lid. Using a knife, cut the cold butter into small pieces. Then seal the lid again and start the food processor. In 90 to 120 sec, you can have a good enough dough for your pastry.
If you think, your dough is prepared; you don’t have to wait till 90 seconds. The over-kill will make the dough wrong and it will not become a good pastry. The word pastry comes from an old English word which implies ‘made of paste’. But if you make it like paste, your day will be ruined.
If we don’t have an outsourced resource, we can always use our built-in resources. In this case, they are our hands. With our fingers, we can mix and blend the pastry effectively as any machine. When using hands, we should consider that our body is a habitat of millions of bacteria. Thus, it is important to keep our hands sanitized with soap and water before using it directly on your dough mix. Then, dry your hands thoroughly to start blending the dough.
Add the butter inside the mixing bowl and break it down into pieces. Then use the strength of your fingers and palms to press the butter in flour evenly. You should note that our hands can give out additional heat when moving affecting the pastry texture, so if you feel that your hands are getting hot and sweaty, pause and cool your hands to continue the mixing.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
What can be the substitute for a pastry blender for scones?
For the scones, a pastry blender substitute can be a glass made of plastic or a plastic beaker. Place the scones on the baking tray closely. Then cut it using plastic or metal glass or a cup. The setting is the scones and the glass support rising, not spreading. To have the fresh scones, cook and cut them when planning or having them or serving them.
Are the pastry cutter and the pastry blender the same?
You can say this is similar but not exactly the same. The pastry cutter’s primary purpose is to cut the cold butter into the flour. A pastry cutter blender can cut the butter and mix it with the flour while cutting it. The small pastry cutter will only cut the cold butter but is not a lot helpful to mix the butter with the flour’s incorrect texture.
How to clean a pastry blender?
Maintaining the pastry blender for further usages requires you to clean it after every time you use it. Put it in soapy water and use a pad to wash all the fat and excess flour. You can also use sandpaper or wire brushes to get off any rusty spots on your pastry blender.
A pastry blender is a common and useful tool for bakers to make baked goods. With this tool, you can make pie crust, biscuits, and dough effortlessly within a few minutes. However, when there is a lack of pastry blender, consider these substitutes. Most of them are readily available in your kitchen, while some are natural gifts from God.