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A pastry blender is a kitchen tool with many names. Some call it a pastry cutter or a dough blender, for instance. Create dough for almost any baked good you can imagine when using this tool, no matter its name.
If you are new to baking, you may not have a pastry cutter in your arsenal. You require a tool like this option to work butter, lards, or shortenings into your dry ingredients.
Thankfully, there are great pastry blender substitutes available out there. Here’s a quick summary list of pastry blender substitutes you may already have in your kitchen:
- Food Processor
- Cheese Grater
- Egg Mixer
- Two Butter Knives
- Potato Masher
- Your Hands
Table of Contents
- What is a Pastry Blender?
- What to Use Instead of Pastry Cutter?
- Blend Your Dough
What is a Pastry Blender?
If you are new to the baking world, as aforementioned, you may not even know what a pastry cutter is. It is a handheld device with a handle at the top that you hold. On the bottom of the product, there are either dull blades or wires that help to blend the dough.
When following a recipe, you likely need small parts of butter or lard to work into the entirety of your flour mixture. Pastry blenders help distribute these ingredients so that you do not wind up with flaky products.
Do not overwork your mixture, however. This process can cause the butter, lard, or shortening to melt prematurely.
What to Use Instead of Pastry Cutter?
You may wonder if there is a pastry blender substitute if you do not yet have one of these tools. Thankfully, there are several you can consider. Continue reading below to learn more about some of the best options to meet your baking needs.
1. Food Processor
A food processor is a device that helps to chop and mix your ingredients. You will chop up small pieces of butter, lard, or shortening. Add these ingredients with your dry mixture into the food processor to begin the process.
When using this tool, you will want to use its lowest settings. Remember, when you overwork the dough, you will achieve a dry and crumbly product. You will likely only need to keep the mixture in your food processor for a couple of minutes at the most.
2. Cheese Grater
A cheese grater is a fun tool to consider instead of a pastry blender or cutter. You will use it to break up your 50 gr butter or lard to start. After, you will add the grated pieces to the mixture.
The grated butter or lard is significantly easier to mix by hand or with a spoon. Some individuals find the product is difficult to grate as it becomes soft relatively quickly. You can freeze the butter to prolong its shelf life or lard first if you desire to make it firmer for the cheese grater, giving you a much faster process.
3. Egg Mixer
An egg mixer works similarly to a blender. You will, again, need to start with the dry ingredients already in a bowl. After, you can add small chunks of butter that you cut up with a knife beforehand.
When your butter or margarine for your cookies is in the bowl, you can add the egg mixer. Put the device on a slow speed to start. If it goes too fast, you will only end up with a mess. The slowness will also help your dough maintain the right consistency for the perfect baked goods for your loved ones.
4. Two Butter Knives
When using two butter knives, you need to have your ingredients in a relatively large bowl. Start by placing small chunks of the butter on top of the mix of the dry ingredients.
You will want to put one knife in each hand, slicing the butter even smaller directly into the mix. Eventually, you will begin to make coarse crumbs to start the dough. Continue chopping until you have a completed product. This process does take a long time, so be sure you have the patience for it.
Rather than two butter knives, you can use a single fork instead of a pastry blender or cutter. You will need the utensil to be dry before you begin. Ensure that the butter, lard, or shortening you need to blend is in the tiniest possible pieces.
When using a fork, you will want to add your ingredients in small portions at a time. After each addition, use the utensil to squish the butter. Eventually, you will achieve a consistency that resembles dough. This process is another long and difficult one that will require hard work.
6. Potato Masher
A potato masher is likely the closest to the pastry blender substitute. These devices create a minimal mess, as long as your bowl is deep enough. Plus, the ingredients will blend fast. You do not need to get tired when adding your butter or lard.
You will hold a potato masher in similar ways as you do a pastry blender or cutter. There is a handle at the top and small wires on the bottom. Mash the butter as you add it with the lower metal pieces to create your desired result.
7. Your Hands
If all else fails, your hands are your best kitchen tools. Make sure you cut up the butter or other ingredient first, and keep them cold when adding them to the dough. If your hands start to warm up or become moist, wipe them off as the warmth can cause the butter to melt.
When you add the butter to your dry ingredients, you will want to squeeze it between your fingers. This step will help break up the pieces and blend them with the flour. Use a spoon to scrape off any excess that gets stuck on your hands.
Some people have naturally higher body temperatures that can affect their hands. This can make using your hands for a task such as this not very reliable. To counter this, you can wear gloves to stop the heat from your hands immediately touching the butter.
Another way to cool your hands down before doing this is to place an ice pack on them with a paper towel between your hands and the ice rack. We want the hands to get colder but not wet.
8. Coffee Grinder
While it may not have the space to accommodate all the ingredients like a blender might – a coffee grinder can act as a small handheld blender if used right. This will mostly be for cutting up your butter, lard, and other shortening ingredients. You can blend these until they are more manageable and then add them to your dry mixture.
Trying to incorporate a huge chunk of butter into a dry mixture is incredibly difficult. The larger the piece of butter is, the more difficult it will be to melt it into the dry ingredients. Smaller pieces of butter will melt easily into any dry mixture.
Before you can use a coffee grinder, you will want to clean it so you do not have coffee grounds or residue in your pastry dough. To clean a coffee grinder, you can use salt. Not only will this clean the coffee grinder, but it will also sharpen the blades in it as the salt is so coarse.
Add a tablespoon of flakey sea salt into your coffee grinder and let it work for about a minute. The salt and coffee residue should just pour away, and then you will be able to add your butter, lard, or any shortening ingredients of your choice.
9. Vegetable Peeler
While it is not quite as effective as the other options, the goal here is to break your butter into small enough pieces that you can easily melt it into your dry ingredients. A vegetable peeler can help a lot here.
Firstly, you are going to want to make sure that your butter or lard is not too soft. Try freezing it for an hour so that it is not going to make a mess when you apply pressure to it. If your fridge is cold enough, it may be fine in there overnight.
Once your butter is cold enough to withstand the pressure of you holding it with your hands and pushing into it with a peeler, you will be able to begin. While it may be tempting to try and peel away as much as possible at once, this would be counterproductive. Similar to a razor, you want to gently glide across the butter with your peeler, taking off only a paper-thin slice of butter at a time. This will be small enough that when gently mixed with the dry ingredients, it should immediately mix into them without creating clumps.
Blend Your Dough
One of the most beloved tools bakers own worldwide is the pastry blender or the pastry cutter. Not every person has access to one of these products, making it essential to consider pastry blender substitutes.
If you want quick results, you can use a food processor or egg mixer, ensuring you do not go above a slow speed. To achieve more fine-tuned dough, consider using a fork, two butter knives, or even your hands to mash the mixture.
A potato masher works in similar manners to the pastry blender. It has a handle to hold and wire shapes at the bottom to cut the butter, lard, or shortening. Finally, you can use a grater to cut your butter into tiny pieces for any other tools you choose.
What Can You Use Instead of a Pastry Blender?
Many novice chefs do not have access to a pastry blender in their homes. There are several alternative options available, however. Start, for instance, by using a cheese grater to get small pieces of butter for your mixture.
Start by using utensils like butter knives and forks. You will slowly slice the butter or lard into the dough, or you will mash it down.
If the above two products do not work quickly enough for you, consider a food processor or egg mixer. Use these tools on their lowest settings to get the best results.
Finally, you can use a potato masher, which works very similarly to a pastry cutter. If you want to get creative, you can use your hands. Squish the butter between your fingers until you reach dough consistency.
Can I Use a Potato Masher Instead of a Pastry Blender?
A potato masher is one of the best substitutes for a pastry blender or pastry cutter. It has a handle similar to the latter two tools, allowing you to achieve the desired consistency quickly.
On the bottom of the potato masher, you will find metal wires. These features will help mash the butter into the flour, just as they do for potatoes.
Can I Make Pastry in My Blender?
You can make pastry dough with a food processor, also known as a blender. You will need to ensure that the device is on its lowest setting to begin. If you set its speed to something too fast, you will have crumbly dough and a big mess.
Make sure that you only put your dough mixture in the blender for a minute or two at a time. If the consistency is not right after each period, add 30 seconds to a minute more. Eventually, you will achieve results that resemble pastry dough that will be delicious for your recipe.