Glass Mixing Bowl
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Glass Mixing Bowls, can be tempered, or un-tempered and are generally used to hold and mix foods behind the scenes. They can also be used to Marinade, Temper, Measure, Store, Whisk, Hold, Reheat, etc.

They are not normally used to serve foods at table, but sometimes needs must, and they are brought out for service. Being able to see inside of your Mixing Bowl while you work so that you can check your progress is a great feature of Glass Mixing Bowls. So is the fact that they are microwaveable.

With Mixing Bowls, Smart Kitchen tends to consider how a bowl will work with regards to Reactivity, Fragility, Absorption, Size, Shape, and Weight.

REACTIVITY

Glass Bowls are Non-Reactive. They are fine to use with Acidic Foods like Vinegar, Wine, Citrus (Lemons, Oranges, etc.), Tomatoes (including Tomato Sauce), and many other Fruits (Pineapple, Peach, Apple, Grapes, etc.).

FRAGILITY

Glass is a hard but brittle material. It won't scrape off if metal utensils are used, though a layer coating the glass, may but it can, as we know, shatter. Glass can be tempered to make it more shatter-resistant but it still won't be shatter proof. Think about which uses and which helpers should be working with a fragile mixing bowl. 

Tempered, oven-proof bowls are very handy for mixing, cooking, serving and cleaning only one vessel. Remember though, that all items are not oven-proof, or freezer proof either. In the wrong circumstances glass mixing bowls can shatter. They are also decent conductors of heat. Filling them with a hot item can cause the whole bowl to heat up to such a degree that your could burn yourself without proper precautions (Oven Mitt, Kitchen Towel, etc.)

 ABSORPTION

Glass Mixing Bowls are not highly absorbent. They are a good choice to use when holding fats, oils, and odoriferous items like Garlic or Onions.

SIZE

Glass Mixing Bowls come in many sizes. Not every size is right for every kitchen or chef. Generally, Glass Mixing Bowls can be classified by size as:

1. Under Two Quarts

2. Two to Four Quarts

3. Five to Seven Quarts

4. Eight to Ten Quarts

5. Eleven to Twenty Quarts

The smallest Mixing Bowls are easy to store and can be handy for small tasks like Whisking together a few eggs. Slightly larger bowls are good for handling parts of a Recipe that will later be consolidated in a larger bowl. Separately mixing the wet & dry ingredients for a batter, is a good example. Bowls larger than 5 quarts tend to have enough space to hold multiple ingredients and still do some work. The larger the bowl, the better your margin for error when stirring, mixing, whisking, beating, etc. Tall sides will help keep any of your mistakes or missteps inside the bowl and off of the counter.

We don't see many Glass Mixing Bowls over ten quarts because they are heavy and hard to handle.

Most home-chefs choose a Small (under two quarts), a Medium(two to four quarts) and a Large Mixing Bowl (five to seven quarts) as a starting point.

SHAPE

The issues with Glass Mixing Bowl shape really come down to depth, geometric shape and rims.

Glass Mixing Bowls are most actively used for Mixing, Whisking and Marinating and letting dough rise. Generally, Mixing requires higher sides, meaning a deeper bowl. Keeping the mixed contents inside the bowl leads to a better yield and an easier clean up. Higher sides are also best for holding rising dough.

If the sides are too high, it can be more difficult (especially for shorter chefs and junior chefs) to reach inside the bowl and do their work. This is especially true for Whisking, where a shallower bowl makes it easier to tilt and maneuver the bowl to get the job done.

As to specific shapes, Glass Mixing Bowls are normally round but technically can be any shape. A lot of time can be spent discussing the slope of the interior walls, the type of seams / edges, etc. but we think those items are matters of personal preference. If you don't have a preference now, you will form one as you are trying to pour out the contents or scraping down the edges and fishing out those last bits of dough from a difficult seam.

The issues with Rims are mostly about manipulation. How easy, and or comfortable, is it to grasp and move the glass mixing bowl?  A rim gives you something to hold on to while you work. One quarter inch to one half inch of rim is our preference.

WEIGHT

The issue of weight in Glass Mixing Bowls comes down to how much weight can you manage. Some Mixing Bowls can weigh three or four pounds standing alone, empty. Add the contents to be mixed and a lid and they may get too heavy to be managed by some people. Generally, standard glass and ceramic bowls are already among the heaviest but they can also come in heavy-weight versions for extended use.

Varieties

Ceramic Mixing Bowls, Glass Mixing Bowls, Melamine Mixing Bowls, Plastic Mixing Bowls, Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls, and Wood Mixing Bowls are the materials that are most often used to manufacture Mixing Bowls.

Mixing Bowls also come in a variety of sizes, and shapes with many different features such as spouts, measurements gradations, non-slip bottoms, handles, lids, etc.

Purchasing

When picking a specific Glass Mixing Bowl, or bowl set, there are a lot of choices. We like to have a few different sizes available, typically at least a small, medium and large sized mixing bowl. Some mixing bowl sets are designed to be “nested” or stored one inside the other from largest to smallest. Nested mixing bowls come in various sizes ranging from ¼ cup - 12 cups.

There are also a lot of features available. We normally use Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons but some Glass Mixing Bowls come with measurement gradations already marked on the sides. These can be handy, especially in a clear glass bowl where you can see them easily. Some Mixing Bowls have handles and / or built in spouts to ease pouring. Others have non-skid materials to prevent slipping.

Some come with covers for each of the bowls. Lids are handy to maintain freshness and avoid flavor migration in the refrigerator, if you plan to use your Mixing Bowls as Storage Bowls as well. There are many factors to consider when Purchasing Glass Mixing Bowls.

Storage

Think about how much storage space you have in your kitchen and pantry. How often will you be using that big glass monster and where will it go? With limited space, bowls designed to be “nested” or stored, one, inside the other, from largest to smallest, can be a good choice.

One feature to consider if you are going to be using your mixing bowls for storage as well as for preparing recipes is a matching lid. An air-tight lid will improve freshness and help avoid any odors escaping from your stored food and "influencing" any other foods in your refrigerator.

If you are going to be handling and moving your mixing bowl a lot in storage, handles might be helpful, especially if you have issues with your hands.

Culinary Uses

The major beneficial features of Glass Mixing Bowls are that they are non-reactive, clear (in most cases) non-absorbing and microwaveable. Some are oven-safe and freezer-safe and can be used for cooking and service.

Generally, Glass Mixing Bowls are used for manually, or mechanically, combining ingredients or for Marinating, since they don't react to acids and oils won't be absorbed by the glass. If you are going to be working with odiferous foods like Onions or Garlic, the glass will also not absorb those aromas and pass them on to the next occupant. Rehydrating, Melting, Freezing and Fermenting are some other tasks where tempered glass labeled "oven-proof" and/or "freezer-proof" shines.  

Besides the possibility of chipping, cracking out outright breakage, Glass, when coated, with oil from foods (or hands) is a pretty slippery material. Some chemical food reactions are harder to achieve with glass and better in metal. Beating Egg whites into peaks or foam is an example that comes to mind. Glass is also heavy, so it may be more difficult to pick up and maneuver for Whisking, Pouring, Tossing, carrying, etc.

In a pinch, you probably could use an oven-proof glass mixing bowl in an improvised Double-Boiler but we have never been that far down the rabbit hole where we didn't have a Stainless Steel Bowl as a first alternate.