Types of Whisks
Whisks come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are designed to help with different culinary tasks. Whisks are essential kitchen tools, from lightly beating eggs for omelets to quickly incorporating air into a meringue. With so many types on the shelves, it is helpful to understand the subtle differences between each whisk before selecting one or investing in multiple styles. Here are a few types of whisks and their practical uses. A Balloon or piano whisk is made of fine wires with a bulbous end. This whisk is considered an all-purpose or everyday whisk because they are suitable for many common kitchen tasks. The whisk is so named because its shape resembles a balloon, and its wires resemble a piano string. Because the wire is springy and has a large, rounded tip, it creates more movement than other types of whisks when mixing ingredients. This extra movement is beneficial when whipping air into the mixture. A piano or Balloon whisk is commonly used for whipped cream, meringue, and egg white and is also used for lightly mixing dry ingredients as a substitute for sifting.
French whisk has a similar shape to the balloon whisk, except they are narrower in shape and have straighter tines than the ones in the balloon whisk. Due to its conical shape, the French whisk can mix ingredients in small containers. And because of its lean structure, it is not as good at beating eggs or making meringues as a balloon whisk because it cannot as much air to the mixture. However, unlike the balloon whisk, the French whisk is ideal for thicker varieties such as frosting. Typical uses of French whisk are sauces and emulsions like mayonnaise, batter, pancake, and custards.
As the name implies, a flat whisk or roux whisk is flat in shape. The whisk’s four wires lie flat like a spoon instead of the usual bulbous body. The whisk has side curves that make it easy to scoop ingredients and access all corners of the pot to mix the mixture well. This whisk is great for mixing sauces in pans, making a roux, making gravy, removing poached eggs from water, using in place of a fish spatula, and deglazing pans.