Whisks & Tongs

What are Whisks?

A whisk is a kitchen utensil that may be more common for baking and preparing desserts as opposed to savoury cooking but are essential pieces of equipment nonetheless. Its most common functionality is incorporating air into the given mixture to provide it with “lightness” or “airiness” along with blending whipping ingredients thoroughly. This is best described when eggs are beaten with a whisk until they reach a soft, creamy consistency. This is achieved with the ballooned wire loops at the end of a whisk which exceeds this task further than a fork, spoon, or other utensils could alone. However, This isn’t where the line is crossed, as whisks are actively used for rouxes, gravies, sauces, creams, and even everyday scrambled eggs. In general, a whisk is a multi-purpose tool in the kitchen

Types of Whisks

The difference between the various types of whisks depends on two factors: the material of the whisk and the shape of its head. In terms of material, whisks fall under one of two categories: silicone and metallic (more commonly stainless steel). You’ll find that stainless steel whisks are the most common material of whisks since their wires at the head can be rearranged to a variety of thicknesses, densities, and shapes while silicone whisks are not as flexible. The primary purpose of silicone whisks is their capability to act well with non-stick pans and deter from scratching pans and pots of other materials as well. When making a roux, gravy, sauce, or any other substance overheat, it is preferred to use a silicone whisk since it will be directly in contact with the pan. This will prevent the pan from damage and provide better quality control of your cookware. When baking, making custards, creams, or beating eggs it’s preferred to use a stainless steel whisk instead.

Whisks also vary in the shape of the wires that form the bulb at the head of the whisk. The balloon whisk and the French whisk are the most commonly found whisks at a cook’s disposal. They mimic the curve of a bowl which makes them perfect for deep cooking bowls. Another type is the flat whisk, also referred to as the roux whisk, which has fewer wires at the end and they are flatter, similar in shape to a spoon. Flat whisks are designed according to the shape of flatter cookware such as pots and pans to allow for it to reach all “corners” effectively. This is especially the case when making a roux which requires mixing the flour until it has entirely immersed itself with the other ingredients. That can be difficult to achieve with a round whisk that won’t quite reach all areas of the pot or pan. Finally, there are also caged whisks where the ballooned head acts as a “cage”, as the name suggests, to a spherical metal ball inside of it. This is otherwise referred to as a ‘ball whisk’ and is considered to add more weight to the average whisk to make it easier to blend through thicker creams such as whipping cream and reach desired velvety texture.

What are Tongs?

Tongs are yet another vital kitchen utensil and act as an extension of the cook’s hands in high-heat circumstances. Anything that you would not prefer to touch by hand during cooking to avoid burns is lifted, turned, or grabbed with a pair of tongs. The handle of a pair of tongs is most commonly made of stainless steel while the gripping ends are either again a continuation of the steel or can be made of detachable silicone. The shape of the ends of the tongs varies from type and brand and can resemble anything from the palms of your hands to a fork. It all depends on how much grip is necessary. There are also scissor tongs that resemble scissors, at first sight, however, they don’t cut anything. Instead, the shape is specially designed to allow the gripping of slippery food such as ice or spaghetti. Tongs excel at flipping steaks and other lean proteins during frying or grilling. It can just as easily be used to touch the surface of the meat to check its cooking temperature.

Tongs are handy in the kitchen and even outside of the kitchen where they can be used for barbecues. Imagine grabbing and turning over corn on the cob with just your hands. Piercing it with a fork isn’t a great option either. Tongs make flipping, gripping, grabbing, and lifting foods off cooking areas hassle-free. If you’re overwhelmed by the variety of tongs at the store, simply opt for a standard pair of silicone tongs since they are the most universal and then once you determine specific needs in the kitchen, you can experiment with other types of tongs.