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Can a mixing bowl be too large?

mixing bowlsMost mixing bowls that are marketed at home cooks are sold in relatively standard sets of three with a small, medium and large bowl. Recipes, in an attempt to help non-pro bakers get the best results possible, often indicate whether a large, medium or small bowl is called for in a given step. The reason for this is that some home cooks will try and work in a bowl that is far too small for the job at hand, so that cookie dough might be spilling over the top of the bowl when they stir in chocolate chips and they have to stir very slowly to prevent a liquid batter from sloshing over the sides of a bowl.  

Now, I am by no means trying to say that all home cooks are like this, but am willing to admit that before I baked all the time and owned such a large selection of mixing bowls (both home-chef types and “pro” types), I also used to try and squeeze things in to a slightly too small bowl. Making the switch to larger mixing bowls, even if it means that there is slightly more surface area to clean when you’re doing the dishes, makes a lot of cooking and baking easier. Mixing bowls are sold in a huge variety of sizes (I like lightweight stainless steel), all of which you can find if you do your shopping at a restaurant supply store. Pick up some larger ones, especially if you’ve struggled with fitting things into smaller bowls. It’ll make things much easier.

And to answer the question above, it is possible to have a mixing bowl that is too large if your bowl is a crazy industrial size and you’re just trying to mix up a batch of pancakes (though it should still get the job done). Other than that, bigger is usually better when it comes to bowls.

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  • chaos_pie
    October 19, 2007

    What is your feeling on ceramic mixing bowls? Also, we have a super small kitchen, I often use my mixing bowls as serving bowls even, can you suggest maybe the bare minimum of bowls?

  • Anne
    October 19, 2007

    I really want to find large, shallow ones – sort of like the bottom one in the photo, or the ones they constantly use on Top Chef. I can’t find them *anywhere* in Sweden, it’s incredibly annoying.

  • Blair
    October 21, 2007

    And I thought the bowls I had from 40 years ago would do, well my bread pans still do, and they’re from before that!

    Like you Nicole, I like SS for it’s quick chilling,, not always a plus, but predictable.

    Looks as if I need to get more bowls before the holidays!

    Thanks for remind us to get ready for that!

  • Chris Davies
    October 28, 2007

    My grandmother always says “what’ll hold a lot’ll hold a little”, which I always remind myself when being ambitious with how much a small container will hold.

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