The best tool for folding isn’t a spatula

During a binge-watching session of the Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek, I found myself chuckling over a scene between Moira Rose (played by Catherine O’Hara) and her son David (Daniel Levy). In the scene, the Roses (down on their luck millionaires) were attempting to make dinner themselves for the first time in years. They were following a recipe but struggled with many of the tasks, and one in particular stopped them cold. David asks Moira what the recipe means by ‘fold in the cheese.’ The pair stumbled, wondering what implement was to be used for the task, and what motions were involved. Unfortunately, we never get to see what they decided was the right method.

sponge cake

This humorous episode reminded me of the many times I have watched contestants on GBBO fold whipped egg whites into their sponge cake batter. Almost every baker chooses to use a rubber spatula. I always wondered why they preferred this tool instead of what I was taught to use – a balloon whisk. A pastry chef friend of mine schooled me on this method, which I find to be much easier. Katherine Sacks of Epicurious agrees with me, and she explains why a balloon whisk is the best tool for folding

Sacks defines the difference between a balloon whisk and straight-edged whisks. To clear up any confusion, the article provides links to the different types so you can see the difference. Sacks explains that the advantage of using a whisk instead of a spatula is that “thanks to its wide, balloon-shaped wire coils, it preserves the beautiful airiness of whipped eggs while quickly helping you blend in other ingredients.” So the next time you are whipping up a cake or mousse, reach for the whisk instead of a spatula. 

Photo of Classic sponge sandwich from BBC Good Food

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