No smoking?
December 11, 2005 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I have a blender that I've used for several months with no real problems. I tried making cookies today and found a setting called "Mix" which I set it too and the blender started mixing the ingredients into cookie dough. However, a few minutes into it, smoke came out of the bottom and it smelt like burnt electronics, although everything seemed fine otherwise. My roommate swears he's had hand mixers smell like that. What's the deal? Are mixers supposed to smoke?
posted by lpctstr; to Food & Drink (25 answers total)
Um, no. As a role, household appliances (with the obvious exception of food smokers) are not meant to emit smoke. I'm guessing that the dough was thick enough that the machinery got too hot from the resistance, and thus produced a small amount of combustion. If it still seems to work OK, it probably didn't suffer any real damage, but I'd be careful with it in the future.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2005

"As a rule..." that is.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2005

The problem was more likely that the thickness of the dough caused the electric motor to draw more and more current, which is why it smelt like burnt electronics as opposed to burnt cookie dough.

(Apologies to cerebus19 if that's what he meant, but it wasn't obvious from the use of 'resistance' and 'combustion')

Anyway, if you wanna make cookie dough, use a mixer, not a blender. The blender blades are ill-suited for the task in any case.
posted by jedicus at 8:37 PM on December 11, 2005

What jedicus said. Blenders are generally not meant for dough.
posted by SoftRain at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2005

yeah, is this a hand mixer? Like this, with the two thingies coming out of the handheld part? Those are way not strong enough for a cookie dough. Also whisks in general are not strong enough for cookie dough.

When jedicus says use a mixer, he means something like this Kitchen-aid. They last a lifetime of cookies, and have no chintzy parts - the only one I've known to be injured by incompetent cooks choked on a frozen stick of butter, but was easy to repair even then.
posted by whatzit at 8:47 PM on December 11, 2005

Response by poster: it's not a hand mixer. It's one of those $70 blenders you see in bars that they use to make margaritas.
posted by lpctstr; at 8:49 PM on December 11, 2005

And your roommate may have had hand mixers smell like that because in general they are pretty inferior mixing devices for anything tougher than an egg. I'd rather stick my hands into anything I'm mixing than use one of those things.
posted by whatzit at 8:49 PM on December 11, 2005

Hand mixers, depending on the kind you get, can be okay for some kinds of cookie dough. Unless you're making something with tons of big chunks, it's worth giving a hand mixer a try.

A serious mixer, like the Kitchen-Aid standalone, will work for pretty much anything -- you can even get attachments with bread hooks.

Blenders only really work for liquids (mixed drinks, some soups) or very-near-liquids (some thicker soups, thick milkshakes). There are a lot of kinds that claim to crush ice, but very few that actually crush ice reliably. Please do not use blenders to make cookie dough, or any other kind of dough.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:52 PM on December 11, 2005

Yeah, I just burnt out a hand mixer on some dough about a week ago. The smoke came out and now it doesn't work anymore. I don't know if I'm ready to shell out the big bucks for a KitchenAid yet though.
posted by epugachev at 8:53 PM on December 11, 2005

Ah. interesting. Still not meant for cookie dough. cerebus19 is right - the dough was thick enough to reach the stall torque of the motor (i.e. how much of a load you can put on it before the shaft stops turning [0 RPM]).

Besides that, I wouldn't expect a blender to be able to mix the ingredients thoroughly enough throughout the blender (top to bottom) since the dough is so goopy it cannot be thrown towards the top layer once mixed.
posted by whatzit at 8:53 PM on December 11, 2005

My hand mixer can barely mix vegetable soup. It'll do it but it needs lots of rest breaks. And it's a huge sturdy Braun thing. If it started smoking I'd be pretty concerned.
posted by fshgrl at 8:54 PM on December 11, 2005

epugachev: if you like kitchen stuff and aren't planning to move around a lot, they are really worthwhile. the cost/batch evens out well considering their age (my parents' is older than i am) and versatility (dough, batter, bread, even sausage add-ons). Other brands with similar forms tend to be pretty good, but don't have the longevity. (i've no stake in kitchenaid but have used and abused them all my life.)
posted by whatzit at 8:57 PM on December 11, 2005

Blenders are not made for making cookies. Even if you fail to fry the machine, you will make bad cookies with it. If you do not have a stand mixer, then just use a spoon to mix your dough.
posted by caddis at 9:10 PM on December 11, 2005

Don't use a spoon. Use a fork.
posted by dame at 9:27 PM on December 11, 2005

I second a KitchenAid, skip the Artisan line - cheaper motors, smaller, the only advantage is price and colors (pink?). Get one from the commercial line, it's well worth it if you EVER make anything bread-like - cookies, pizza dough, etc.

It does a great job on quickly shredding the 1.5 lbs of mozzarella for the pizza, too, if you get the shredder pack.
posted by kcm at 9:34 PM on December 11, 2005

You can get a factory reconditioned KitchenAid on Amazon. Including one from their Professional line for $159.
posted by fionab at 12:36 AM on December 12, 2005

I've made plenty of chocolate chip cookies using nothing more than a hand mixer. Obviously my hand mixer can beat up all of your hand mixers.

One day, when I'm a little more settled in life than I currently am, I will absolutely purchase a Kitchenaid stand mixer. It's not called the machine plant of the kitchen for nothing.
posted by chrominance at 2:45 AM on December 12, 2005

I've made plenty of chocolate chip cookies

Me, too. In fact, I made 14 batches of assorted cookies using my $22 black and decker hand mixer yesterday, with no smoke or weird smells.

Those of you who are recommending a $200+ Kitchenaide are going for overkill, I think. They're nice, don't get me wrong, but its not a necessary kitchen item.

Blenders however, are really a machine intended for mixing liquids or near-liquids (or for chopping ice). Their small blades at the bottom of the blender jar don't have enough reach to mix more solid things (like cookie dough) effectively.

Nothing electric is supposed to smoke. If you're going to make more cookies, please buy a hand mixer.
posted by anastasiav at 4:33 AM on December 12, 2005

They're nice, don't get me wrong, but its not a necessary kitchen item.

You'll have to pry my KitchenAid stand mixer from my cold, dead hands.

(and ditto what everyone else has said about not using a blender to make cookie dough)
posted by briank at 5:19 AM on December 12, 2005

I'll definitley get on the KitchenAid bandwagon. I'm using the one my mother used which her mother used. It's literally been in service for 50 years and it acts like we just unpacked it. It's a lot of money to drop, but it's also the last time you'll ever have to drop it.
posted by GilloD at 6:32 AM on December 12, 2005

Don't use a spoon or a fork. Use a nice silicone spatula.
posted by youarenothere at 7:24 AM on December 12, 2005

A word about KitchenAids: they're still well-made and all, but the brand was sold from Hobart to someone else a little while back, and there was reportedly a quality drop. Still good, AFAIK, but not *as* good as the ones people have been praising that lasted 50 years.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 AM on December 12, 2005

No, really, use a fork. The smooshing action is superior to anything a spatula can give you. And cookies made with a mixer are one step away from being store bought. Just use a fork.
posted by dame at 9:14 AM on December 12, 2005

Wow. I can't remember offhand what brand my hand mixer is, but I'd better go home and kiss it. Not only have I mixed everything short of concrete with it with no ill effect, I've dropped it onto a linoleum floor from a height of six feet and it's kept right on mixing.
posted by hilatron at 9:33 AM on December 12, 2005

Yeah, no reason you can't use hand mixers for regular ol' cookies. Sometimes for thicker cookies (and convenience) I throw the stuff in a food processor (which hasn't been mentioned yet). No smoke smells yet.
posted by artifarce at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2005

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