Every good chef needs to know how to mix their ingredients. The ingredients you use in your dishes have to be introduced and bond with each other in just the right way to bring out the best in them!
Now, when I was little, I loved throwing ingredients into a bowl and mixing up all the different textures to see what would happen! I had a lot of fun but the results were never really edible :) Once I discovered—and got the hang of—different mixing methods, I was ready to take on any recipe that came my way.
To make sure your kids get the most out of their kitchen adventures, it’s important to teach your kids to cook with the right techniques!
These are three of the main mixing methods that are sure to come in handy :)
1) Mixing dry and wet ingredients
This method can be applied to most cake, muffin, and cookie recipes.
Here, you need to show your kids how to combine dry ingredients, like flour and baking powder, and wet ingredients, like eggs and milk.
First, place each group of ingredients in two separate bowls. Your wet ingredients go in one bowl and your dry ingredients will go in the other.
Using a whisk, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl to get rid of any lumps. You can demonstrate the best way to hold the whisk and move the ingredients in the bowl without sending anything flying over the sides. Getting your dry ingredients together doesn’t need too much strength—over-enthusiastic whisking, however, will send some of your ingredients flying out of your bowl so watch out for that!
Now, do the same with your bowl of wet ingredients. This may require more energetic whisking than your dry ingredients to break down your chunky eggs and make a cohesive mixture.
Finally, put the two groups of ingredients together and mix them until they are just combined.
2) Straight dough method
This method is used for making bread dough. Different bread types may need different wet ingredients or kinds of flour, so make sure you plan what kind of bread you want to make ahead of time and have a few extra ingredients on hand.
First, put all your dry ingredients—flour, yeast, and sugar—together and mix them. Once the dry ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, add in your wet ingredients, like eggs and water.
Now, for the fun part! Time to knead the dough!
First things first! Make sure your kids wash their hands thoroughly before they start kneading. Before kneading the dough, put it onto a cutting board or kneading mat. You can even use a clean countertop or table for this step!
Once the dough has been kneaded well, remind your kids to wash their hands again. This is the best way to avoid finding remnants of dough in odd places in your kitchen :)
3) Creaming method
The last of the three mixing methods is also divided into three parts and is used for making most types of cake batters.
Using a kitchen mixer for this method is the best way to make sure your batter is as smooth as possible. Use your paddle attachment, add sugar and butter into your mixer bowl, and mix until the mixture goes from a pale yellow color to a whiter color.
This is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to operate a mixer, and to not put their fingers into the mixing bowl when the mixer is operating (no matter how delicious the batter looks!). Show them how to set the mixer up and remind them to switch it off after they are done with it.
After the color changes, you can add in your eggs. Add them in one at a time and mix until just combined before adding the next.
Finally, add the remaining wet and dry ingredients alternatively. Make sure you begin and end by adding in your dry ingredients, and mix slowly until your batter is nice and smooth.
Learning mixing methods is just the first step
Becoming a chef is a journey. Learning how to mix ingredients is one big step in your children’s journey to becoming independent and confident young chefs :)
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.