Any recommendations for a good immersion blender? My main purpose will be to puree soups right in the cooking vessel. There seem to be a lot on the market that span a pretty large price range...
well first make sure it can be used in hot foods, then see how it feels in your hand, for balance,comfort, the one i got is a Braun multi unit, I wanted to be able to change the speed,
Several years ago I bought a Bamix at the local home and garden show. It really was on a whim, I knew nothing about it at the time. Very few of those things work out for me, but this one did. I love it. It does soups great. You can stick it in a glass of skim milk and turn it into very stiff foam in a minute or so. I whip up eggs the same way add cheese and through the (cast iron) skillet in the broiler for 15 minutes or so. Wonderful. I would replace this with the exact same unit if it ever broke or got "borrowed".
Costco's Braun. About $20 - $30.
I got the KitchenAid after discussing immersion blenders on this forum a few weeks ago. I'm happy with it - it does a good job with soups, and it's easy to clean, store, and use.
The metal wand of the Kitchen Aid is not that long, so if you use really deep soup pots, you may want one of the blenders that has an 8" wand. Those look awkard to use and store, but I guess it might be a trade-off. My soup pot is shallow and wide, so the short wand of the KitchenAid is not a problem.
It cost about $45 or $50 at Target.
I know someone who ordered a Bamix from an infomercial; seems very sturdy and he gave us a demo of the milk whipping that Ken mentions. He doesn't cook a huge amount, but has been happy using it for blended beverages and soups. Very easy to clean. I think it can crush ice too.
I just got a food processor so am trying to hold off getting an immersion blender, but it would be kinda nice to cut down on the pouring of hot soup and cleaning.
There are a lot of things a Bamix CAN do that you would never REALLY do with it. Crushing ice is one of those things. They also tell you that you can grind coffee. I would NEVER use it for that. A blade just destroys coffee. A burr grinder is needed. Yes, it will turn beans into powder but would you want to drink it?? BUT, for normal immersion work, it's great, it's powerful, it's dual speed and it does clean up in seconds, literally.
Ken - Why would you never really crush ice with the Bamix (if one doesn't have anything else that can crush ice, except hammer or maybe mortar & pestle)? Does it do a poor job, or risk damaging/dulling the blades or mechanism? Or do you mean crushing ice is just one of those things that you would never do (need?) anyway? I'm curious as that's one function I'd like to be able to do somehow or other - not often, but would be useful from time to time. I gather that there's a special blade that can be used in the (KitchenAid) food processor for grating ice, but I haven't pursued that yet... would seem for the same reasons of easier clean-up that the Bamix might be more tempting for that use?
I haven't advanced to a burr grinder yet for coffee grinding; still occasionally use a blade grinder but usually take beans to a local coffee shop for grinding. But I guess if I ever start using my "good" - Cuisinart blade vs old Braun blade - grinder for grinding spices (which I presume might transfer to the coffee), that being able to use Bamix (if I had one!) for "emergency" coffee grinding would be a bonus.
Forgot to mention that the Bamix cost was ~$160-180Cdn. I'd rather pay a bit more if something will last ("forever" ideally) or be truly more versatile, but that's quite pricey.
I got this new Braun and I'm loving it. It's got 400watts and I feel real macho using it, lol. I especially like that you can put it in the dishwasher. Also, it comes with a blender attachment that crushes ice. It's one of those things I don't know how I did without it.
Here is a link that might be useful: immersion blender
I'd like to get one of these--with the Braun, what keeps the blade from coming in contact with the bottom of a pot--if you were to use it to puree hot soup for example? I haven't seen one in person yet, but in the pictures I have seen, it doesn't appear that the blade has anything around it to keep it from hitting whatever you immerse it in. Thanks.
Robk2k - good question. I wonder that too. My ancient braun (MR30) had the blade up within plastic housing - so no metal could scrape the pan.
Now I have a Bamix (boy do I love that thing - Ken, thanks for your mentions here, I put it on my christmas wish list). So far I've primarily used it to chop small amounts of herbs, nuts, garlic - so handy, easy clean up. But I haven't made soups since I got it and have wondered about how careful I'll have to be to not rub the blades against the pot.
The new issue of Cooks Illustrated compares some brands of immersion mixers (but not the Bamix?)
We own a Braun and just bought one for my father for Christmas. We would never crush ice with the thing--I have an actual blender for that sort of thing.
It has a plastic housing that keeps it off the bottom of the pan and detatches so that you can can also attach the motor to a whisk or a small food chopper that also came with the blender.
Cost me $30. I've looked at more expensive versions, but frankly I love that little food chopper for making salad dressings and the more expensive models didn't have them.
I've had a Braun for more years than I can remember. Noproblem scratching pans. Has a small blender. Just upgraded to one that comes with a larger chopping bowl (old one still works fine) and really love it. Very easy to clean. The new one comes apart so you can wash it in the dishwasher. The old one cleans easily under running water or running it for a couple seconds in sudsy water. They both can turn nonfat milk into whipped "cream" easily. One cost about $20, the new one about $24. Very compact, very, very useful. Hardly ever have a need for my blender.
My Braun has a stainless housing around the blade that keeps the blade from touching the bottom. After you use it you detach it and throw it in the dishwasher. Love that! It also comes with a large blender container which replaces my blender, and a small container that I use like a small food processor. After I got this I gave away my blender, smaller food processor, and hand mixer.
Here's another one on HSN made by Wolfgang that looks like the Braun but only costs $45. But it doesn't have the large blender accessory. But - it does come in colors!
Here is a link that might be useful: Wolfgang puck blender
I have the Bamix, and I love it. I use it everyday for my morning smoothie. I also make soups with it right on the stove. I think it is the most used tool in my kitchen. It was expensive, but well worth it.
The Kitchenaid is wonderful. I think I could mix cement with that thing.
The thing to keep in mind with an immersion blender is that you don't run them for more than a minute at a time. Think pulses, like a food processor.