From Season 11: Sweet Endings
Amid all the newfangled equipment in the test kitchen, our mixing bowls remain paragons of simplicity. Made of stainless steel or heat-resistant glass, they’re indispensable for everything from mixing cookie dough to making pancake batter to melting chocolate over a jury-rigged double boiler. Yet these workhorses have their shortcomings: They tend to wobble as you mix, the rim can make pouring a mess, and metal bowls can’t go in the microwave. To see if modern design could do better, we tested nine new mixing bowls in glass, plastic, metal, and silicone in sizes ranging from 2 to 5 quarts.
The cutting-edge bowls offered features such as silicone or rubber-lined bottoms to prevent skidding, and handles and pouring spouts to make pouring easier. All withstood the beatings of a hand mixer, whisk, spatula, and wooden spoon when we tested them by mixing cookie dough and pancake batter. However, when non-skid material covered the entire bottom of a bowl, this created too much insulation if we wanted to use the bowls over hot water as a double boiler (our favorite method of melting chocolate); just a touch of nonskid worked much better. We didn’t like many of the plastic bowls; they scratched easily, retained food odors, and some weren’t microwave-safe. One flexible silicone bowl was microwave-safe, but it wobbled on the counter and was too flimsy for the hand mixer.
In the end just one innovative mixing bowl offered an improvement on our usual workhorses. Our winner updates a classic: It’s wide and heavy with a thin, non-skid silicone ring around the outside base to anchor it during mixing. A teardrop shape, a spout, and a handle make pouring easy and neat, and it’s microwave-safe.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.