With GBBO time here again, you may be looking for a new kitchen helper. We try the HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ hand mixer and find it’s perfect for cake making
The butter needs to be just the right consistency to spread evenly into the mix.
Hard cubes of butter wont blend easily with the sugar. In fact, when you apply the mixer they usually fly out of the bowl in all directions.
Of course, you can, in an emergency, soften your butter in the microwave, but that usually leads to molten butter, which is not what you want at all. And many purists still won’t allow a microwave anywhere near their kitchen.
Plus butter that’s too soft won’t become airy and creamy, leading to greasy, over heavy mixtures and flat bakes.
Brevile have a solution, the HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ hand mixer; basically the illegitimate child of a hairdryer and a mixer, but it works. Claiming to soften butter 12x faster.
A press of a switch turns on an air blower which sends a stream of warm air straight down the mixing beaters and direct to the ingredients. Not only do the ingredients get warmed, so do the beaters. So be careful taking them out after, although they easily eject at the press of a button.
Once the ingredients are blended, which takes just a minute or so at low speed, you turn off the blower and make use of the rest of the seven available beater speeds. It all goes a bit quieter at that point, too.
The mixer comes with some thoughtful touches, such as a fixed silicone strap that neatly secures the mains lead into a nice tidy bundle, and a clever transparent dishwasher-safe box that all the beaters fit into.
This is followed by the mixer itself, resulting in a neat, easy to carry, piece of complete kit. No more last-minute frantic hunting through drawers for that missing beater.
All the box packaging, apart from a small plastic bag or two, is cardboard. No styrofoam, so well done Breville for that.
On the practical side, a magnetic copper coloured’splatter guard’ comes off quickly and easily for cleaning afterwards. The mixer can be set back on its rear when you need both hands to work and it won’t topple over, unless the beaters are extremely heavily loaded.
In action it is, as hinted earlier, a bit noisy; Radio 4 disappeared completely, even though it was one of those plays where everyone SHOUTS all the time. Although, come to think of it, that’s most Radio 4 plays these days.
But I didn’t need the heat function for long, after an initial few seconds, when the mixer flung the chilled cubes of butter about, suddenly the magic happened.
Within a minute or two everything had smoothly come together and I turned off the heat and increased the speed as I added more cookie mix ingredients – egg, flour, chocolate, baking powder. (There is also a’boost’ button, for when you need that extra bit of power).
Shortly after beginning, the mix was ready. I’m no pro baker but it seemed exactly the right consistency and I created regular sized balls on a baking sheet, lightly pressed down to make cookie circles.
Fifteen minutes in the oven and they were done. In fact, they were overdone, a flurry of bad language then competed with Radio 4.
A minute or two less would have been perfect, but that’s not the Breville’s fault. Operator error.
Incidentally, the 270W motor actually makes the included dough hooks worthwhile, most hand mixers can’t handle bread dough. I find even my Kitchenaid stand mixer can struggle.
I wouldn’t however recommend using the Breville to knead bread dough for too long, but it does work and at least takes some of the initial effort out of the job, before it’s time to go over to hand kneading.
If the mixer finds itself overheating it will in any case cut out, thanks to a safety feature, .
There’s also a supplied whisk which I found made short work of blending batters and stiffening egg whites. The high top speed boost coming in very useful here
Verdict? As a general-purpose hand mixer, the highpower and solid build quality, along with that clever storage solution, already makes the Breville HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ worth the money.
Add on the clever HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ function and you’ve got a very handy kitchen gadget you’ll really warm to.
Visit www.breville.co.uk for further information about the full range of Breville products.
The Breville HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ has been awarded the Good Housekeeping Institute Approved logo for being Ã¢â‚¬Å“a useful addition to any kitchenÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The Breville HeatSoftÃ¢â€žÂ¢ is available from the following retailers (price dependent on stockist):
EPE international ltd
J.D. Williams & co limited
Q V C