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For each minute of using a stand mixer on high, approximately how long (or how much effort, quantified) should a mixture be mixed (whisked/beaten) by hand to achieve similar results?

Baking recipes are frequently encountered which only supply instructions requiring use of an electric stand mixer. Sometimes these recipes indicate that mixing by hand is possible - and indeed, that used to be the main way mixing was performed.

This question inquires as to mixing/beating batters, specifically; such as cake or gluten-free batters - not kneading.

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I wouldn't go by minutes when mixing by hand. The advantage of mixing by hand is exactly the fact that you can stop when your mix has reached the desired consistency, as opposed to hoping that the time will be just enough. Then there is the matter of different things you mix (egg whites are almost as quick as in the mixer, creaming butter with sugar can take hours in the worst case), technique and tools used (I have seen some fancy design whisks which only got a fraction of the air needed into the mix) and the fact that mixing by hand is more similar to medium than high speed setting. –  rumtscho Oct 31 '12 at 23:54
    
I guess I assumed, by the tags that this is for a cake mix so my answer is specific to beating instructions for a cake mix. I will edit my answer. –  Kristina Lopez Nov 1 '12 at 17:31
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Thank you for the input, rumtscho - you're right about minutes being an inferior indicator, especially if we have to frequently pause for rest! But this question would be especially informative for those who don't know what the desired consistency is, such as in attempting new recipes. I've edited the question so that it's more specific, to batters - Kristina, your assumption's valid; I am inquiring about cake batters as well as gluten-free batters. –  bakingwithadæmon Nov 1 '12 at 18:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I remember when cake mixes included the number of strokes needed to mix the batter by hand. The Betty Crocker FAQ website (a U.S. baking mix company) suggests 150 strokes per each minute of electric mixer time recommended. Note: that is not 150 strokes per minute! So if the directions call for 2 minutes of mixing, that translates to 300 strokes.

Betty Crocker FAQ Site

EDIT

The stroke count in this answer is specifically for use with a cake mix. As KatieK pointed out, mixing time and strokes are really dependent on the ingredients and desired consistency for that particular recipe and step in the recipe.

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Thanks! I like how that's in strokes, instead of minutes (which is far more difficult to standardize although it was the first thing that came to my mind). Would this conversion be interchangeable with other batters, such as that of when making gluten-free bread? I imagine the conversion is actually just the number of strokes the machine makes per minute, so I think it should be? Unless speed is an issue as well. –  bakingwithadæmon Nov 1 '12 at 20:14
    
@bakingwithadæmon, I'll consult my old copy of "The Joy of Cooking" which I believe includes hand mixing instructions for bread dough. I'll post that later tonight. –  Kristina Lopez Nov 1 '12 at 21:48
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@bakingwithadæmon, my trusty Joy of Cooking cookbook didn't disappoint - for bread batter you basically stir until the batter is smooth and should be a little sticky. Kneading bread is a very good thing to do by hand and there are plenty of websites and videos to teach the art of kneading. One more goody: glutenfreegirl's no-knead gluten free bread with step-by-step instructions - no mixer needed! Best of luck! Thanks for picking my answer! glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-crusty-boule –  Kristina Lopez Nov 2 '12 at 2:26
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Oh no i lost count! :) –  grumpasaurus Nov 2 '12 at 23:59
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@AllanChow,lol! Leave out a few chocolate chips or pretzels. Like for 150 strokes, eat one chip for every 50 strokes. –  Kristina Lopez Nov 3 '12 at 1:31

There is no direct translation between work times for hand- versus mechanical- mixing.

There's a huge range to the time estimate provided by any recipe; most of the time, the recipe author is really only saying how long it took them to perform that step. This is true for creaming and mixing time, oil heating time, or steak-grilling time - all of which are hugely dependent on a variety local conditions (butter temperature, stovetop heat output or weather).

The best thing to do is match the results of your cooking steps with the expected steps in the recipe. For example "creamed" butter is a specific mixture of fluffy butter and sugar - so keep on mixing until it's done. (This may take a really really long time - I read an old-fashioned ice cream recipe which required hours of mixing.)

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