Today I’m very happy to share an interview I did recently with Jo Richardson. Jo works with KitchenAid Australia and New Zealand as their official home economist. Doesn’t that sound like a dream job?
Jo is an absolute wiz at using all KitchenAid products but I quizzed her specifically about the Artisan Stand Mixer. The beautiful one pictured above in ‘pistachio’ was kindly gifted to me by KitchenAid so that I could have a play. I just love the muted retro colour and it works like a dream!
I chatted to Jo for more than an hour on the phone – she is so friendly and approachable – not to mention completely and utterly, passionately obbsessed with KitchenAid products, we just couldn’t stop blabbing on and on!
Therefore, the interview will appear in two parts. Today we will talk about how to get the best use out of your Artisan Mixer and tomorrow we’ll talk about using it for gluten free baking. Plus, I’ll share Jo’s wicked gluten free chocolate brownie recipe, so don’t forget to pop back again tomorrow.
Let’s get started…
First things first, I think I have to ask what a lot of people might be thinking. The Artisan Stand Mixer is a bit intimidating for some home cooks, it’s big, heavy and shiny and some might say cumbersome to get out and use. What is the best way to get the most use out of it?
It’s funny that you use the word intimidating. I would use the word inspirational! I look at it and think ‘You beautiful Goddess, you’ and I’ve always thought that from the very first time I saw a mixer and that was 30 years ago when they weren’t even sold in Australia. She definitely needs to sit on your bench as she’s a very healthy 12.3 kilos so isn’t something you want to lug around. Besides, she’s too beautiful to live in a box in the cupboard. She needs to sit on the bench as the pride of your kitchen and if it’s right there you will use it everyday, maybe even a couple of times a day.
To get the very best use out of it the secret is to use it regularly. It’s a bit like a car because it has a motor, a very beautiful direct drive motor, and it likes to be worked. I have a few mixers because I’m always recipe testing and if one isn’t being used I will put her on medium speed and let her run for five or ten minutes. Believe me, even after that short amount of time she feels so much better, just like a car that needs to be driven.
I notice you keep referring to the Stand Mixer as a ‘she’. What’s that about?
Look at her! She’s gorgeous. There’s no way this beautiful mixer isn’t female.
Now, I know some of my readers will be thinking ‘The Artisan Mixer looks great, but ughh, it looks so hard to clean!’. Is that true and what tips do you have?
No! All you need is hot soapy water and a quick wipe that’s all you’ll ever need to do. Because she’s got that beautiful rounded design there aren’t a lot of nooks and crannies so it is just a joy to clean. The beautiful gloss from the enamel paintwork just lasts and lasts and will look just like that after 30 years.
What about taking the attachments on and off? It looks tricky.
It’s not tricky at all, in fact it’s just like putting an old fashioned light bulb in. You push the attachments in, have a bit of a wiggle and then they lock in. You don’t have to worry about being precious because she’s very robust as she’s a commercial machine for domestic use so you’re not going to hurt her!
While we are talking about attachments let me say that you will use your flat beater 99.9% of the time. You’ll use the whisk for whipping cream and eggs but the flat beater for pretty much everything else. The design is that good and versatile.
I hate sifting! Do you have sift ingredients before adding them to the mixer?
Look Christie, I’m a fabulous cook but I’m also a fabulously lazy cook and I’m too busy. I hate sifting. Hate it! Life is too busy for sifting! Simply pop the flour, baking powder and whatever else you want sifted and let the mixer gently caress the ingredients on speed 1. Easy.
There’s no sifting and no folding with a metal spoon either. I was classically trained as a home economist to fold ingredients together with a large metal spoon but now I say ‘absolutely not!’. Simply use the flat beater attachment on speed 1 to gently mix and you’ll get fantastic results.
OK, let’s get down to some serious business. The perfect whipped egg white. I’m sure many people buy a Stand Mixer specifically for this purpose (and avoid that dead arm you get using a hand whisk!) Talk us through it Jo…
Right. You want to start with an egg white that is room temperature. If I’ve got an hour up my sleeve then I’ll take the eggs out of the fridge and pop them on the bench, but if I don’t (or if it’s a freezing cold day in Melbourne), then I’ll put them into a bowl and cover with warm tap water. Then I’ll have a cup of tea and come back a bit later, drain them off and then you’ve got perfect room temperature egg whites.
Next, you want very clean and dry utensils – no oil, water or grease of any kind – on the whisk or the bowl. If I’m making something for a really special occasion and I’m a bit sceptical about the cleanliness of the mixer I will sometimes actually just wipe the bowl over with half a lemon. That will really clean it. Then you just need to dry it well.
Pop your eggs in and start the mixer on speed 1, then up to 2, 3, 4. When you are comfortable at about speed 6 or 8 you will notice that it starts to foam up quite quickly and you need to watch it very closely. It will go from soft peaks to firm peaks in a matter of minutes because the beater goes to 67 different points in the bowl, so it is possible to very quickly overbeat your eggs. If I can put it into perspective for you – no other mixer goes to more than 20 different points in the bowl – so you get results quickly with KitchenAid.
I don’t add sugar until the soft peak stage if making a meringue. It also helps to pop the food shield on because it directs the sugar to the very centre of the bowl as well as stopping anything splattering over your bench.
So many great tips there from Jo! The interview continues tomorrow with a focus on gluten free baking and a wicked brownie recipe, join us then! In the meantime if you have any further questions about KitchenAid products then head to AskJo for more information.
Fig & Cherry received the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer with compliments of KitchenAid.