If you are into making sweets and desserts at home, you must know the importance of a pastry blender. This hand-held tool is wonderful at cutting pieces of butter and blending them into the flour mixture evenly to create an amazing dough.
However, you don’t exactly need this tool to mix the flour if you don’t usually make dough and baked goods. Find out the best pastry blender substitute in your kitchen in my post!
How a Pastry Blender Works
A pastry blender is an important tool for baking pastries. So, what is a pastry cutter? This simple tool, also known as a pastry cutter or dough cutter, is designed to cut butter and blend it into the flour evenly. Normally, bakers use a pastry blender for making scone dough, biscuit dough, or pastry dough.
This tool can have different dimensions, but the overall parts are a handle and multiple curved wires attached to both ends of the handle. When using it, you will use the force of your hand to press down and blend the butter with the dough. A good pastry blender will consist of durable materials and comfort to your hand during usage.
There are different materials in the market for the handle, such as metal, wood, and plastic. Although wood is a classic design, it can easily deteriorate when being exposed to the dishwasher. However, people still prefer using wood as it is very comfortable to hold and press on.
The working part of the pastry blender is the half-moon-shaped wires. The half-round shape is designed to penetrate and blend the cold butter easily while under the pressure of your hand.
Some pastry blenders even replace wires with metal blades for users to penetrate the cold fat faster. However, people tend to go with the traditional stainless-steel wires as they can blend more evenly.
If you still wonder how to use a pastry blender, allow me to share with you how I use it in my pastries recipes:
First, you get a block of cold fat, butter, shortening, lard, or suet. The cold fat avoids the flaky air pockets when it is at a liquid or warm stage. Then, you put it in the flour and press the pastry blender on the fat to cut through it.
When pressing it, you don’t need to use all of your forces. Instead, you can give it multiple medium presses on the cold fat constantly. It is even easier to cut the hard fat into small pieces first before blending it into the flour. That would take you in no time to mash them altogether evenly.
Which Is The Best Pastry Blender Substitutes In Your Kitchen
Since 1950, bakers have been using pastry blenders for their doughs, making it an essential tool to blend fat with flour. However, if you only work on pastry dough or pie crust once in a while, you might not need a pastry cutter to blend cold fat.
So, if you’re stuck at a recipe and thinking, “what can I use instead of a pastry blender?” or “how to cut butter into flour without pastry cutter?” Here is the best pastry blender replacement that you can easily find in your kitchen!
A knife is one of the most important kitchen tools if you cook at home. You can use it to cut into the meat, vegetables, and even frozen butter. So, how to cut in butter with knives?
You only need to polish your knife, and you can start using it to cut the cold fat into flour effortlessly.
It takes two to tango, and so is blending dough. With two butter knives, you can cut the butter and press them on the floor simultaneously. Utilize your hand motions to press and blend them well until there are no bits of butter or fat left, revealing a smooth dough.
Another common yet multipurposed kitchen utensil is a fork. If you have done mashed potatoes, you will understand why a fork is a wonderful hand-held tool for blending. Now it is time you bring this handy tool to your pastry recipes!
When inspecting the fork, we can see a resemblance of the pastry butter cutter. The wire pattern with separate slots, which is for you to press on bits of butter in flour easily, is similar to the fork tines and slots design. That’s why cutting butter into flour with forks is such an ideal pastry cutter alternative way.
When you use it, you should keep it dry, focus on the end of the fork to penetrate the cold fat, and separate it into small pieces. Then squish them with the tines until you achieve your desired texture.
If we don’t have an outsource resource, we can always use our built-in resources. In this case, they are our hands. With our fingers, we can mix and blend the pastry effectively as any machine.
When using hands, we should consider that our body is a habitat of millions of bacteria. Thus, it is important to keep our hands sanitized with soap and water before using it directly on your dough mix. Then, dry your hands thoroughly to start blending the dough.
Add the butter inside the mixing bowl and break it down into pieces. Then use the strength of your fingers and palms to press the butter in flour evenly.
You should note that our hands can give out additional heat when moving affecting the pastry texture, so if you feel that your hands are getting hot and sweaty, pause and cool your hands to continue the mixing.
Cheese graters are not just for cheese, when you can use them to break down the cold fat. When the fat is grated into tiny slices, it can be mixed easily with the flour without too much force.
The critical factor that you need to consider when using a cheese grater is ensuring the fat is hard and cold to use. As when it is grated, the temperature will spread quickly to the flour, leading to the fat becoming warm and melt.
To ensure this, you will start the process normally. When you finish halfway, put the fat inside the fridge again to keep the temperature low. During that time, you can mix it with your hands, fork, or knives.
5. Food processor
A food processor is another great pastry blender alternative because you don’t need to use your own force to mix and blend. Commonly, a food processor is designed to break down the ingredients and mash them all together to create a creamy and smooth mix texture. I usually use them to grind meat, make homemade pesto or curry paste.
That’s why a food processor can easily blend the flour with cold fat. The tricky part is knowing when to stop the machine as you will ruin the dough texture if beating the dough too long.
First, you add the dry ingredients inside the processor and mix it for a maximum of 30 seconds. Then, stop the processor and put in the cold fat, which has been cut into manageable pieces. Close the lid tightly and start the processor. Let the machine run for around 90 to 120 seconds.
6. Egg Mixer
Lastly, an egg mixer or egg beater can be a great pastry cutter substitute due to its blending purpose. This hand-held tool is designed to beat the eggs and mix them evenly with other ingredients.
To use the egg mixer effectively, you should cut the cold fat into small pieces first to blend evenly into the flour. Use your hand force pressing on the egg mixer at a slow speed until you achieve your desired dough consistency.
Ways To Use Pastry Blender
If you have ever asked yourself what a pasty blender, simply put, a pastry blender is used to cut butter or other fats into flour during pastry making.
A pastry blender is a wonderful tool for making biscuits, pie crusts, and other pastry dishes. The structure of the tool is created to cut butter pieces and blend those bits of butter into the flour thoroughly. However, you can also utilize its features to do other similar tasks.
Crushing fruits to the dessert sauces with a dough cutter will create a smoother texture than your fork. Cutting eggs and avocados for salads by utilizing the pastry blender’s wires can get you equal and symmetric cuts.
Mashing potatoes with a fork can take you too long, when you can just press the shortening cutter onto the potatoes a few times to create a creamy texture.
Common Questions About Pastry Blenders
How to clean a pastry blender?
Maintaining the pastry blender for further usages requires you to clean it after every time you use it. Put it in soapy water and use a pad to wash all the fat and excess flour. You can also use sandpaper or wire brushes to get off any rusty spots on your pastry blender.
How to choose a good pastry cutter?
As I mentioned above, the best pastry cutter should consist of durable material and a comfortable design. Therefore, the material for pastry cutter wires or blades should be aluminum or stainless steel with a strong attachment to the handle. A wood handle is comfortable for your hands to press on the flour multiple times as well.
A pastry cutter is a common and useful tool for bakers to make baked goods. With this tool, you can make pie crust, biscuits, and dough effortlessly within a few minutes.
However, you should have no problems without a pastry cutter with a pastry blender substitute in your kitchen.
After this post about the best substitute for pastry cutters, I hope you have found the right tool to work on your dough. As I always tell my friends, you can always use your ways to achieve what you want.