For the smallest mixing and emulsifying tasks, call on the mini whisk.
Published June 22, 2020. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 23: Hearty Soup and Salad
We love our favorite all-purpose whisk, but sometimes we want a smaller tool for beating a few eggs or emulsifying just enough salad dressing for one or two people. That’s where mini whisks come in. At about 5 to 7 inches in total length—half the size of the whisks we ordinarily use—they’re ideal for these smaller jobs, and their more petite profiles mean they’re easier to store as well. We’d never tested these tools before, and we wanted to know which model was the best for home cooks. We bought six mini whisks, priced from about $3 to about $17, using them for a number of tasks where we wouldn’t want to bother with a bigger whisk: combining dried herbs and spices for the spice mix za’atar, beating two eggs, emulsifying vinaigrette, mixing a honey-mustard dipping sauce, and whisking together a cornstarch slurry.
We were surprised by how much we enjoyed using the better models. All the whisks worked well, capably blending and beating the ingredients to a uniform consistency, but some did so a bit more quickly and efficiently than others. Head design was critical in this regard. We preferred whisks with slightly broader, more bulbous heads measuring about 4.75 to 5 inches in circumference, as they were big enough to cover more ground more quickly but still small enough to reach into the edges of a measuring cup or small bowl. Broader heads also helped beat egg yolks into egg whites and emulsify vinaigrettes a tad faster than whisks with narrower heads; the broader the head, the more of its wire loops came into contact with the food, moving and incorporating more of the ingredients with each stroke. For similar reasons, the more wire loops the whisks had, the better and faster they generally were at integrating the ingredients. A whisk with just three loops seemed to glide through the food rather than mix it, especially when compared with those that had five, six, or even seven loops.
When it came to evaluating how comfortable the whisks were to hold, we learned that the dimensions and design of the handle were important. We liked whisks with handles measuring about 2.5 to 3 inches long. Any shorter and there wasn’t quite enough room for our hands to grasp the whisk comfortably; any longer and we had to choke up on the whisk a bit to muster control over the head. We also liked thicker handles, as they were easier to grasp for more extended periods than narrow, pencil-like handles, which made our hands cramp slightly. Also, these narrow handles were often a tad more flexible than we preferred, so we had to use more effort to keep them from bending and ...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.