Like any self-respecting millennial with an Instagram account, I too have taken to baking bread as a way to pass the time while staying indoors. It’s not a new hobby—my love for sourdough goes way back—but it is one I’m leaning on more these days. Something about the slow prep process and the end result, best enjoyed in chunks for dipping into a pool of olive oil, is extremely comforting.
However, it’s also messy. I don’t have a dough hook attachment on my stand mixer (or a stand mixer, for that matter), so my counters always end up caked in flour and stubborn bits of dough. My kitchen is an older one with finicky plumbing, and whenever I scrub the mixture from my hands, even small amounts occasionally clog the sink. The tedious cleanup was tempering my joy—until I found relief in the form of a $30 stick.
A dough whisk is basically a wand-like hook that does the work of your KitchenAid or your palms, but without the mess. I can mix the ingredients and “knead” the bread all in one bowl, eventually turning it directly into a parchment paper–lined pan. It streamlines everything and leaves my countertops miraculously flour-free, which, when you are as chaotic a cook as I am, is no small feat.
The tool is not as single-use as you might think. Just because it doesn’t have a balloon silhouette doesn’t mean it’s not a whisk. Use it to beat eggs for an omelet or batter for pancakes—though it can also handle heavier mixtures, like piecrust and cookie dough. The wider spiral ensures you won’t have to worry about hard-to-get clumps stuck between the wires when it’s time to do the dishes.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s also aesthetically pleasing. You can find these contraptions at a number of kitchen-supply stores, but I love Williams Sonoma’s version because of the sleek walnut-and-brass handle. It fits right into the countertop crock I use to display all my wooden spoons and spatulas—though given its size, it would be easy to tuck away into a drawer, as well. Sure, it might not be the most critical cookware purchase, but it does get rid of any stressful hiccups in my bread-baking endeavors. And especially right now, that is pretty critical to me.
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