Are you using the right mixing bowl? Chances are you never even thought about!
Mixing bowls come with many options of material, but the main ones are: stainless steel, plastic, ceramic, glass and copper. Different ingredients should be mixed in different bowls.
Are you ready to be a mixing bowl pro? First, visit my Mixing Bowl Buying Guide for a quick overview.No mixing bowl is the “best mixing bowl”. They are have pros and cons and are ideal for different things.
Mixing bowls may seem boring, but they are highly undervalued and an absolute kitchen essential. They can be used for mixing, serving, marinating, measuring, storage and more.
Reactive Mixing Bowls: The first (and most major) characteristic to take into account is whether to use a reactive or non-reactive bowl. Sounds scientific… but this is just cooking. WRONG.
Cooking is science. It is based on chemical reactions and combining different elements to produce a divine masterpiece! If you learn nothing else from this post, please read this portion on reactivity.
A reactive bowl is made out of material that will chemically react with the ingredients placed in the bowl. What happens when they do?
The foods can end up with a foul metallic taste, lose flavor, change color or permanently stain or odorize the mixing bowl. The types of foods that can have this outcome in a reactive bowl are high acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes and tomato based sauces and vinegar.
Re-active materials include copper, cast iron, aluminum and some steel. Stainless will typically resist reaction with acidic foods, but it is not 100%.
Bowls for Marinating: Marinades usually have at least one ingredient that could interact with a reactive bowl, therefore ceramic or glass is best.
I also prefer to use something with a lid as plastic wrap can sometimes refuse to stick and aluminum foil is reactive.
Whipping Egg Whites: Purchase just one small copper bowl for this purpose only. Copper ions will actually assist the eggs whites to stiffen and peak. French chefs prefer to use copper on a regular basis.
Otherwise use ceramic or stainless steel. Do not use glass- the sides are too slippery and you will not achieve the correct density.
Acidic Foods: Mainly citrus, tomato and vinegar based sauces. Do not use a reactive bowl; leaving ceramic, some stainless steel or glass. They will take on the taste of the material and can stain the bowl permanently.
I’m sure we all have that Tupperware that never quite got over housing spaghetti sauce. Aluminum foil should also be avoided with these foods as it is reactive.
Whipping Foods: Anything being whipped (cream, butter, potatoes) is better in a non-metal bowl. Microscopic shavings can contaminate the food. The tiniest amount contributes to a metallic taste.
Fruits: Fruits are very absorbent and can take on the flavors of any previous foods left in the bowl or material of the bowl. Anything containing fruit is best in ceramic or glassware.
Vinegar: Vinegar, as mentioned above is an acidic food. Any salads with a vinegar based dressing or extra dressing should be stored in ceramic or glassware.
If you are just using the bowl to mix and it will not be in the container for longer than 5 minutes then you can use plastic. I use the smallest plastic airtight containers to shake, shake, shake my dressings all the time, but I store them in a glass container.
Oils: Use a non-reactive and non-stain bowl; meaning ceramic, glass and some stainless steel.
Batters and Dough: Basically anything using flour can be mixed in any material as long as it doesn’t contain an acidic ingredients. A high sided bowl will prevent the dreaded flour bomb (when the electric mixer goes and so does the flour… all over the counter).
With all of that said…. I LOVE my ceramic set. They may be heavy, but I like the sturdiness. They are cute and make me feel like Betty Crocker reincarnated.
I threw out my plastic bowls and use glass secondarily. I do have a small copper bowl for egg whites, but I spend more time cleaning it and keeping it up than I actually do making egg whites.
Questions you might have about how to use mixing bowls:
It really depends on the type of mixing bowl you are using and whether you want to use the dishwasher or hand wash. Metal and glass are best in the dishwasher while ceramic should be hand washed.
What are you going to be mixing? Vinegar based sauces and mixes are best in glass while anything else is good in metal.
Metal bowls are reactive and whatever you are mixing will take on a metallic taste.
The best mixing bowl depends on what you are mixing: ceramic, stainless steel, plastic or glass.