Danish Dough Whisk

I recently told someone that I was totally over my phase of buying kitchen stuff all the time. With a straight face, I explained that I was content with my current equipment, and that I needed nothing more, really.

I’m afraid this is true in a distorted version of reality that exists only in my head.

I can delude myself all I want, but the fact remains that, over the past three months, I have acquired a little more than zero utensils. I will readily provide a set of indisputable reasons for buying each and every one of them, but still: a flour sifter, a frosting spatula, a set of madeleine molds (one that fits in my small oven), a bulb baster, a new piping bag with metal tips, a sesame mill, and now this.

This, for those of you who are not wholly acquainted with the perfect little baker’s paraphernalia, this is a dough whisk, designed to succeed where the wire whisk and the wooden spoon fail.

This, for those of you who are not wholly acquainted with the perfect little baker’s paraphernalia, this is a dough whisk, designed to succeed where the wire whisk and the wooden spoon fail.

I was completely unaware that the gods of baking had created such a utensil until I visited Portland last spring, for the release of my Paris book: I was to appear briefly on local television, to demo the recipe for chouquettes. I did no such thing, of course, since cooking on a set usually consists in pointing at various items placed on a counter, while talking the host through the recipe.

Local authors might prepare and bring in their own food, but since I was about 5,000 miles from my own kitchen, it is really Sandra, my media escort* and food stylist extraordinaire, who had prepared the choux pastry and the finished chouquettes for me. (And perhaps we can all remember, next time we watch a cooking segment on television, to mentally acknowledge the work done behind the scenes by food stylists.)

As Sandra unpacked all her gear in the station’s kitchen, I noticed the uncanny tool with which she had mixed the choux pastry. She brandished it proudly and explained that she’s had it for years and years, and could not think of a more adequate utensil for the mixing of thick batters and yeast doughs.

If you’ve dealt with thick batters and yeast doughs in the past, surely you’ve noticed that wooden spoons get all gunked up, and that wire whisks get balls of batter trapped inside. Maddening, I know. And this is where the dough whisk steps in: a long wooden handle mounted with a wire coil, cleverly designed to stir and whisk without clogging.

If you’ve dealt with thick batters and yeast doughs in the past, surely you’ve noticed that wooden spoons get all gunked up, and that wire whisks get balls of batter trapped inside.

Sandra had gotten hers from a reputed flour company, but when I inquired about shipping charges to Europe, the quote was eye-popping. I’d have to find another solution.

And as it so often does, serendipity came to the rescue: I was in the Japantown area of Paris**, having sold a few dozen books at a second-hand bookstore, when I happened upon a small droguerie*** I’d never noticed before. I stepped in, looked around, and there it was, my dough whisk, sold at the unbelievable (read: “could this be a mislabeling?”) price of 3.05 €.

I considered buying their stock and starting my own business, but decided that one would do for now.

[December 2008 update: the shop is all out now (the lady told me someone had written about it on a website somewhere -- ahem!) and it was from an old stock, so they won't have any more to sell.]

I have put it to the test several times by now, and I am fully satisfied by its performance, be it in dealing with the above-mentioned choux pastry, the shaggy dough necessary to make no-knead bread, or yogurt scone batter.

Its secondary, less obvious usage is in guessing games, during which participating friends might speculate that it is really, and I quote, a racket to beat the dust out of carpets, or the latest model of scalp massager.

* See here for more info on what a media escort is.
** Paris’ (tiny) Japantown is located on and around rue Sainte-Anne, in the 1st and 2nd arrondissements.
*** Une droguerie, literally a drugstore, is a hardware shop that often sells kitchen tools and cleaning supplies as well.

Opéra Droguerie / map it!
16 rue Saint-Augustin, 75002 Paris
01 42 96 15 07

  • Nancy

    Well, now I have to buy one too. I didn’t know it existed five minutes ago, and now I don’t know how I’m going to manage without it until King Arthur gets it to me. And I just came on to check the recipe archives….Clotilde, this blog is so entertaining but so dangerous!

  • http://chefectomy.blogspot.com/ chefectomy

    Nice posting, I have never heard of this item. I appreciate the tip on the store, I always go to Dehellerin when I visit but love new places in Paris. Thanks for sharing – your blog is excellent.

  • Joan

    What a gorgeous tale of serendipity!

    My churro dough would love to be mixed with a dough whisk..I’ll keep an eye out for serendipity:-)

    The whisk? Mercury going for a wander…

  • http://www.syrupandtang.com Duncan | Syrup&Tang

    That looks extraordinarily nifty. I’m baking tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll spend the whole time thinking ‘now how would this work with Clotilde’s whosamawotsit?’

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.com barbara

    How perfect. I think I’d find one very useful.

  • http://bleedingespresso.com michelle of bleeding espresso

    Enabler! My mom told me about such a thing, but I couldn’t really picture it. Now I really have no reason *not* to get one too.

    Sure you don’t want to start that business? I think you’d do quite well ;)

  • http://playdaze2home.blogspot.com SAS

    I need one of these! I totally know what you mean about the dough getting inside the whisk! Actually when I made your chocolate pear tarte that did happen to me … I thought I had it all too!! My last acquisition was a stainless steel pastry blender (the old-fashioned kind). It was not easy to find! I couldn’t make scones until I had one. As always thanks for a terrific blog entry!!

  • http://salamisays.wordpress.com sg

    I love this dough whisk! It is definitely one of the most useful tools I’ve bought, and I am a kitchen tool junkie, too… :)

    I got mine here. A little less expensive than KAF.

  • http://www.hertzmann.com Peter Hertzmann

    That is a good price since King Arthur sells the dough whisk for $12.95, or about 8.17€.

    When I was young and flour came with small stones and bugs at no extra cost, these dough whisks were also used to aerate flour before measuring.

  • http://gillsnthrills.tumblr.com Gills n Thrills

    Thats really cool and looks like the paddle attachment of a standing mixer.

  • http://www.vegoftheweek.com vegoftheweek

    That’s why I like kitchencontraptions.com

    Blog after blog of utensils to look at and dream about spending money on. It’s Bed, Bath, and Beyond blog style.

  • http://artsy-foodie.blogspot.com Alexa

    So when do we start placing our orders for this handy tool?
    Les gadgets de cuisine are as efficient as their owners. This one looks like a great conversation piece.:-)

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda

    Don’t you wonder how people come up with these ideas? You never even considered the need for something and then you wonder how you lived without it. So many great ideas. I worship the guy who came up with the idea to put wheels on suitcases.

  • http://threedogsandababy.blogspot.com kim

    Mine is from the flour company and I confess I had forgotten I had it. It will be coming out the next time I am in the mood for scones or I decide to make pizza dough without the KitchenAid. Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.windowseatblog.com The Window Seat

    Oh don’t worry, Clotilde. After you have every gadget you’d ever want, then you enter the phase where you have an insatiable desire to upgrade your gadgets.

    It never ends.

    Have a cake leveler yet?

  • http://www.wasabimon.com Stephanie

    What a crazy little device. It’s almost a work of abstract art.

  • Isabelle B

    That dough whisk looks like a whisk that my children have toyed with! I never thought of using anything other than a wooden spoon to deal with pate a choux, but now I am curious to try one.

  • Michelle

    I’ve been looking for one of these after reading elsewhere how indispensable it can be–especially for those of us without stand mixers.

    sg, thanks for the link to Baker’s Marketplace! Shipping is only $1.85 to my house, so I’ll be acquiring my very own dough whisk for $9.85 (about 6.21€)! I’ve been making the bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (love it!), and this will work perfectly for incorporating that last bit of flour.

  • http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/varina/ Varina

    I just moved to Switzerland and I so regret not bringing my dough whisk with me. That and my baguette pan (which is ridiculous since I could easily walk into the lovely village boulangerie and get a good baguette, but my very American love of baking my own bread is unsatisfied by that perfect crust and dense chewy interior). If you ever do decide to go into business I am in.

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    Je ne connaissais pas cet ustensile!

  • http://cookingquest.wordpress.com Joe Horn

    So very cool. Thanks for this. I just made choux pastry to use for a baked gnocchi with Gorgonzola and prosciutto. It was the first time that I used choux pastry and it was quite fun. Now I have a reason to make it again because I will have this new tool soon!

  • http://happygomarni.blogspot.com Marni

    i love this dough whisk! it really really works! i learned about it when I took a breadbaking class from King Arthur Flour when they came out to Southern California from Vermont. The chefs at King Arthur Flour swear by this little tool. So much so, that everyone in the class bought one on their way out.

  • http://www.kittalog.com Kitt

    What a pretty, whimsical tool! Of course I didn’t need it before. Now I’ll be keeping my eyes open for one.

  • http://squishyness14.blogspot.com/ Amelita (Squishy)

    That thing looks awesome. Can you get them in Australia?

  • http://portobellokitchen.blogspot.com/ Tessa from Portobello Kitchen

    How I love your blog! You make me feel normal – I recently bought an amazing Porkert spice grinder which is clamped to a shelf in my kitchen and I’m sure would also do sesame seeds. Yesterday I caught myself nearly buying a tortilla press on eBay. Do you think you can get help for random kitchen equipment addiction???!!!

  • Lord Daniel

    If you do decide to go back and buy out their stock for your own business, consider naming it Whisky Business.

    I am deeply ashamed of this pun and shall self flagellate myself forthwith.

  • http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net/blog/ Angela

    Oh, that’s what they are! I don’t know why, but I always thought it was a miniature carpet beater.

  • CarlaH

    Like you Clotilde I love gadgets and when I saw this I had to have it despite the fact that I am not a frequent baker. Just ordered two (one for my baker sister). Now I’ll be looking for the right recipe so that I can put it to work as soon as it arrives.

  • Rookie

    I love this. Although now it feels like every attempt to bake without one will be a subpar experience…
    Just when I think I’m all set with my kitchen gadgets!

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    I’m still confused how it works. Does it just get less clogged because it has less wire to get clogged on? And is it in that funky spiral shape for a reason or do different dough whisks vary?

    All these questions only mean one thing: I’m intrigued!

  • http://www.spicedish.typepad.com EB

    I JUST hit the Japanese dollar store here in San Francisco and came home with a bucket full new kitchen gadgets. Did I get one of these lovely contraptions? No. Must I now? Yes.

  • http://thezest.wordpress.com Trisha

    My kitchen is now presenting an acute *need* for one of these — my sincere thanks. And, seeing it head on the way it’s presented in your photo, it looks of a shape Picasso could most certainly have dreamed up.

  • gingerpale

    Wow–I can see how well this will work with the no-knead dough!

    It looks like it’s about to wink at us.

  • http://www.wannabetvchef.blog.co.uk kevin ashton

    Dear Clotilde,

    I think your whimsical piece on gadgets reminded that many amateur cooks pay too high a price for their kitchen equipment. As a chef when I perform cooking demonstrations I am constantly advising the audience to compare prices and check out professional (small wares) kitchen equipment suppliers on the internet, who are more than happy to sell to the home user. The gourmet kitchen shops and their web sites often bank on the fact that avid amateur cooks expect to pay a premium price for good equipment, when they could get the same quality at a lower price buying at a professional kitchen supplier.

    Best wishes and still a fan

    Kevin Ashton

  • Marcia

    I too love kitchen gadgets and have 3-4 drawers full of them. My latest was silicone egg poachers.

    The whisk is handy to make just a small amount of dough; King Arthur emails me often and I love their catalogs. Baking Sheet subscription always has something good to bake.

    We have every ethnic food and grocery store you can think of here in Atlanta, GA. I can spend 2 hours looking at Asian kitchen items.

  • http://www.aworldinapan.blogspot.com Laura

    I cannot agree more! Log time ago I gave away my large robots and use simple ustensils, like the one you show, and small appliances.

  • http://del4yo.blogs.com/ del4yo

    *going*to*Japan Town*tomorrow*

    In the hard path from French gateau to American cakes, this will for sure be a helping hand :) Thanks!

  • http://www.livingtastefully.weebly.com/-passions-to-pastry.html Eileen

    I have seen these before, but never knew how they were meant to be used. I’m in search of one now.

  • http://etherwork.net/blog/ Elizabeth

    But doesn’t the dough still get clogged? (I’m extremely fond of my wooden paddle that I use to mix all bread doughs.)

    Of course, I still might neeeeed to have one of these whisks – to hang beside our flour wand that I keep forgetting to use. (Love that flour wand!! I must remember to use it!)

    The discrepancy in prices for the dough whisks puts me in mind of those rasps that so many people use to zest lemons. (high price at a kitchen store; low price at a hardware store)

  • http://www.foodiereflections.com Jackie

    I found this in a kitchen I once worked in. None of us could figure out what it was – I think we finally agreed it was a fairy wand because we couldn’t come up with a practical use. I’m glad to hear it does indeed have a purpose, and that it works. Now I may have to buy one myself.

  • http://hdailyp.blogspot.com/ Aloha

    I want one. I have thing about whisks…
    I love gadgets for the kitchen. I never know when I’ll be moving so I use simple ustensils in my kitchen. You really don’t need all those large kitchen appliances to be a good cook or baker.

  • http://www.headwatersbandb.com Charissa

    Being in the category of “kitchen gadget collector” is not just my dirty little secret…I scoff at those who have a “paper problem”; I laugh at those who can’t open their closet drawers…yet, I immediately ordered one and then thought of fifty ways to justify the purpose.

    Kitchen Gadget Adicts Unite!

  • http://deliciouschronicles.blogspot.com/ delicious chronicles

    ya, same here… i seem to buy to many gadgets…
    the madness needs to stop… impossible i love gadgets…!!
    love your blog!! been visiting for a couple months!!

  • http://www.cookingandeatinginthewindycity.blogspot.com Erin

    New kitchen tools are always a lot of fun! And it is destiny when you find one when you’re not even looking for it… I have a million excuses for when I need to buy more kitchen stuff, but if it jumps out at you like that, you don’t even need an excuse :)

  • http://www.kathycasey.com/blog Kathy Casey

    Where can I get one of those whisks? PS – I can’t go into a kitchen store without exiting with a basket full of new tools. It’s nice to know there are others out there like me! Thanks

  • http://ave Alanna @ A Veggie Venture

    Last fall I took a bread class from someone who made bread every day — every day! — for 20 years. She sold me on the wire whisk and I have to admit, it’s become a much-used tool in my kitchen too.

  • Bekky

    I have one of these, inherited from my Danish grandmother – I use mine to mix frikadeller (Danish meatballs) and other things. They are really good for working things like stuffing, coarse pate etc.

  • http://www.europeancuisines.com Diane Duane

    I could swear that the Vermont Country Store used to carry these. Don’t know if they do any more, though.

    I was thinking about this subject just the other day, though, while making crumpets. This thing would have been perfect. Must find one.

  • http://bourgeoisbee.vox.com bourgeoisbee

    Finally something to save my hands and wooden spoon from getting coated with dough. Thank!

  • http://www.ChesapeakeBayGiftBaskets.com laura

    I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is an avid fan of yours and told me about your website. After spending a good chunk of my morning purusing your site, I am hooked! And thrilled — what a rich assortment of information — and I’ve already found many recipes to try after my next trip to the market!

    I’m glad to have found you!

  • victoria

    at least you cook a lot! i compulsively buy cooking tools and i only cook (as in, making something that involves the stove and/or oven but not the microwave) once or twice a week. :)

  • Lauren

    Love kitchen gadget!! You have a gift of writing , It makes me laugh , thanks . that,s one of the few gadgets I don’t have .I would have guessed rug beater.Thank-you.Lauren

  • Martha

    I am reading your post from Maine where we are visiting friends. We are on our way right past the King Arthur Flour store en route to Lake Champlaine tomorrow. We always stop in when we are nearby and I have long wondered what to use this particular whisk for. Now I know and must get one. Thank you for enlightening me! Maybe you should see if they will sell your book in the store and give you a discount on shipping!

  • http://brocanteandetc.blogspot.com Judy

    I’ve been so good not buying anymore gadgets or kitchen utensils but now I have to have one of these. I’m off to King Arthur’s site. Thank you (I think).

  • Anna

    Wonderful! I am a celiac and baking gluten free without a stand mixer means the heftiest of workouts with wooden spoons. I think this beauty may be the answer!

  • http://herbivoracious.com Michael Natkin

    I’ve had one of these for decades, given to me by the same old friend who taught me how to make bread. Thanks for reminding me to get it out and actually use it!

  • Malcolm

    Since reading this post I have been endeavouring to find one of these, and have I?? Well no. I have been asking at every kitchen shop I have been into and in the process managed to collect a new cake tin (for storage), 2 cake tins (for cooking), a collapsible funnel, cookie cutters, a rolling pin and new set of stainless steel mixing bowls…all very nice but not the dough whisk I was looking for. If anyone in Perth Western Australia knows where to get one please PLEASE let me know…I am desperate…and so much poorer for it!

  • Ozoz

    Hi,

    Well, i did go to King Arthur’s and ordered 3 – 1 regular and 2 minis for my daughters who love to cook!-I live in the Netherlands but my sister is coming from the States for Christmas so…. Thanks for showing me the light and adding more christmas pressies to the pile. Take care

  • blue mistral

    well I rushed off to the very droguerie recommended to get one of these fabulous looking devices last August. They told me they hadn’t had them for ages! Does anyone know where can I track one down – UK, France, Germany? Thanks.

  • Joseph

    This tool is GREAT! I bought mine at http://www.fgpizza.com. it was cheap and has become one of the best tools that I have in the kitchen.

  • Ken

    I use this wisk on a daily basis when refreshing my bread starter. It is fantastic.

  • Valerie

    Life-changing! In the UK, you can get one here.

  • Alison

    now available from Lee Valley tools in Canada (and the US).

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