The Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer's provision of warm air could be perceived as a gimmick, but it’s actually pretty handy – especially if light, airy cake batter or cookie dough has previously seemed out of reach. It could prove useful for melting chocolate or making soufflés, too. Considering the hand mixer comes with a versatile set of tools, plenty of power and well-thought-out storage, it feels like good value for the price – and a secret weapon in the battle against dense sponge and sunken muffins
- Warms ingredients as it mixes
- Storage case
- Dishwasher safe
- Heavy to hold for extended periods
- Noisy at top speed
- Needs a little more maintenance
- Review Price: £69.99
- 2 x beaters, 2 x dough hooks, whisk
- Clear storage case
- H30 x W21.5 x D8.5cm
Unless a block of butter is in constant use, most of us keep it in the fridge. This means that it either needs to be taken out in advance of a baking session, or you find yourself using the hob or microwave to soften it, but Breville’s HeatSoft Hand Mixer offers a solution.
It introduces a gentle warm air blower that softens as it mixes –it will take cold butter to room temperature 12 times faster than waiting for it to acclimatise by itself.
This is pretty exciting for all those impulse bakers out there. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a boost button for quickly ramping up the speed, to enable it to power through thicker mixtures. So does it deliver on those claims? Let’s find out.
Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer – What you need to know
- Sponge batter test – Creaming butter and sugar was faster than using a standard hand mixer, with the resulting sponge irresistibly light and fluffy
- Bread dough test – Combining the dough took several minutes on a low speed and the mixer strained when kneading. However, the loaf baked well
- Egg white whisking test – It took three minutes to whisk egg whites into firm peaks, but holding the mixer for this long resulted in arm ache
Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer design – Genuinely useful features make this a handy addition to any baker’s kitchen
Electric hand mixer design hasn’t moved on a huge amount in the past few decades. Other than more ergonomic handles and beefier motors, modern mixers aren’t that different to the vintage models hanging around in Granny’s kitchen. And while Breville’s HeatSoft doesn’t look that different, in terms of functionality, it’s a game-changer.
Rather than offer mixing and whipping alone, its HeatSoft feature speeds up the process of combining butter and sugar for cakes, biscuits, muffins and other sweet treats by blowing warm air onto the mixture. It’s a little like a hairdryer on a low setting – there’s a vent at the back covered by a filter, and a warm air blower above the tool slots. A magnetic removable nozzle prevents any stray flecks of butter clogging up the blower, making it easy to clean afterwards.
There are a few downsides to the design, however. One is that the HeatSoft hand mixer is heavy to hold for extended periods, especially when on the higher settings. Creaming butter and sugar, and making bread dough was bearable, but my arm ached after three minutes of holding it for egg whites. The body of the mixer, and ejected tools, can also be quite hot following use for a few minutes, and the motor can strain when combining heavier ingredients – although to its credit, it never stopped.
Often, the secret to ensuring small appliances have a long lifespan is to treat them well. Wrapping cables roughly around them after use and leaving tools to bounce around in a drawer is a surefire way to encounter problems. What’s notable about the Breville HeatSoft is that it comes with a way to be stored, in order to keep working perfectly.
Its clear plastic storage case not only has a recess at the bottom for all the tools and the cord (which is also equipped with a wraparound cable tidy), it also has supports for the mixer body to sit on, a clip to keep the body securely in place, and a hollow for the power cable to sit without being squashed.
This is a clever way of avoiding damage, although it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. The packed-up storage case, while neat, will inevitably take up more space in a drawer or cupboard than the separate components, or placing it all in a storage bag.
The other niggle to be aware of is that the warm air blower results in a little more cleaning than you’d encounter with an ordinary mixer. It’s recommended that the filter vent is washed every three to six months, depending on usage. On the plus side, all the tools – even the magnetic nozzle – are dishwasher-safe, so clean-up following use was fuss-free.
Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer performance – Makes quick work of cake batter
I used the HeatSoft Hand Mixer to make a basic sponge cake – and it performed excellently. It softened chunks of butter in seconds, as the beaters creamed it with sugar to produce a pale and fluffy mixture.
Crucially, the air wasn’t hot enough to melt the butter, and the feature was independent of the beaters – meaning it could be switched off when it was time to incorporate eggs and flour without stopping.
The baked sponge halves were noticeably light and fluffy, with no signs of the more solid texture that can come from not having enough air in the creamed mixture.
Of course, all this warm air would be useless without the power to back it up. Fortunately, the designers have included seven speeds, ranging from the lowest, which was slow enough to combine the ingredients for bread dough without throwing them out of the bowl, up to the highest, which turned egg whites into meringue-ready firmness in about three minutes.
Like most hand mixers, at top speed it’s incredibly noisy, so the Breville HeatSoft mixer is best reserved for the jobs when only fast whipping will do. The other option is its boost button, which gives a burst of the highest speed without having to change the setting. I used this to aerate the sponge batter at the end of mixing, which left it visibly bubbly.
Should you buy the Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer?
This is primarily a mixer for people who bake regularly with butter and don’t want to wait around for it to reach room temperature. Even better, there isn’t much of an uplift in price resulting from the HeatSoft feature – considering that a good hand mixer, such as Dualit DHM3 Hand Mixer, can cost around the same.
However, since HeatSoft means the mixer is heavier and there’s a bit more maintenance than with a standard hand mixer, this isn’t for those who simply plan to use it for a bit of light whipping and whisking.
Where the Breville HeatSoft Hand Mixer comes into its own is taking the hassle out of planning baking sessions – making it great for impromptu cookie-making with the kids, or last-minute cakes for bake sales.
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