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Silicone or metal whisks?

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silicone-whisk.JPGThere has been a definite upswing in the number of silicone products in the kitchenware department of most stores. Some of the products, like spatulas, basting brushes and pot holders, work wonderfully. Others don’t. Silicone bakeware, for example, continues to pop up in new shapes and sizes despite the fact that it never performs as well in comparison tests with more traditional (metal, glass, pyrex, etc.) bakeware.

One silicone product that has been popping up more and more frequently is the silicone whisk. Regardless of specific shape, these whisks are promoted as being ideal kitchen tools because they are nonreactive and can be used in all types of pots and pans. They also won’t scratch other surfaces. The implication is that they are superior to more conventional metal whisks.

The fact of the matter is that a silicone whisk might be perfectly fine for stirring up a gravy or sauce, but silicone simply will not perform as well as metal when asked to do one of the most essential whisking tasks: beating egg whites. The resistance of the metal whipping through the whites is what allows the egg’s proteins to stretch and trap air. Flexible silicone whisks just don’t produce the same quality result – and even if you get the eggs to the right stage, it will take much longer than it would with a conventional whisk.

If you want a whisk that has no potential to damage your cookware, look for either a metal one that has a silicone coating  or a stiff nylon whisk, but in general, you’re going to be better off with a metal whisk.

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  • Jason
    April 20, 2007

    Really, you should always use metal whisks. Nylon and silicone are great, but being synthetic, they’re molecularly “open.” Which is a fancy way of saying if you whip any sort of fat (oil, butter, egg yolks, etc…) you can never really get 100% of the fat off of the whisk, even after a good washing. And even a speck of fat can completely foil your attempts to whip egg whites.

    Stick with metal.

  • gilly
    April 20, 2007

    I know that silicone is gaining alot of popularity in kitchen gadgetry and implements, but I’m still not sold on it. I agree, I think I will stick with my metal whisk for now.

  • Nicole
    April 20, 2007

    Excellent point, Jason! I know I encountered the fat-clinging problem after I once unthinkingly used a cooking spray to grease a silicone cake pan.

  • Dr. Biggles
    April 21, 2007

    Yay! Technology sucks! Thank you so much, I’ll stick to my old metal ones. Ahhhhh, that’s better.


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