If you relish in the idea of baking, know that some specific tools and tips will take you from a rookie to baking pro! The kitchen is the heart of any home, a workhorse, the center hub, a muscle that continually works night and day to help bring the most delicious foods to your family's table. As such, a kitchen needs to be outfitted with the most helpful tools to assist you in keeping your kitchen running smoothly. Follow these practical baking tips to up your game!
Any baker will agree that a high-quality stand mixer is by far the most used and prized possession in their kitchen. Although a stand mixer is not absolutely necessary when baking, you do have the option of putting in some serious elbow grease and mix things on up your own. However, mixing in a stand mixer beats mixing by hand by a million. Not only does a stand mixer shorten your preparation time, but it also ensures that your mixture is smooth and free of lumps or bumps. Use your stand mixer to mix meringue, various batters, bread doughs, and frostings. A stand mixer is definitely a tool you should invest in if you want to get serious about baking.
KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer - $275.95
Silicone baking mats create a non-stick surface on baking sheets, ensuring that your baked goods won't stick to the baking sheet. Items baked on a silicone mat will cook evenly, and won't burn as easily. Similar to parchment paper, using a silicone mat makes clean-up a snap. However, unlike parchment paper, silicone mats can be washed and reused for later use, making them a great investment for bakers.
Every baker should have some disposable pastry bags on hand and a simple set of piping tips. Use piping bags and tips to decorate cakes, cupcakes, inject fillings into various pastries, and pipe confections such as macarons. Examples of some favorite piping tips include the Wilton 1M, Wilton 1A and Wilton 230. The Wilton 1M can be used to make several designs; the classic swirl, rosette, ruffle, and beehive. The 1A is a round tip and can be used to pipe out macarons. The Wilton 230 can be used to fill desserts with icings, puddings, jams, and creams.
Tip: To fill a pastry bag place it inside a tall cup. Fold the pastry bag down over the sides of the cup leaving a large opening to fill with your desired filling.
Wilton Master Decorating Tip Set - $38.20
Wilton 1M Open Star Piping Tip- $ 4.06
Wilton 230 Round Decorating Tip - $7.39
The silicone spatula is one of the most versatile tools in a kitchen's utensil holder. Use it to scrape down the sides of your stand mixer's bowl, scoop out jars and measuring cups, fold mixtures, spread icings and batters. You'll find yourself grabbing for this little piece of kitchen equipment quite often, so it's essential to invest in a silicone spatula that's high-quality. Seek out spatulas that have a head size no bigger than two inches, flexible yet sturdy, and entirely made of silicone ensuring that the head of the tool won't break away as it weakens with heavy use.
Measuring cups and spoons are essential for any baker, it would be somewhat tricky to eyeball precisely two and three-quarter cups of flour without being a little off, so it's best to use those measuring cups and spoons. However, if you want to get extremely precise, a digital scale is a must as weighing your ingredients is the most accurate way to determine measurement. Digital scales are not costly and do not take up very much room. This tool would be an excellent device to add to your kitchen arsenal if you haven't already.
Ozeri Pronto Digital Food Scale - $11.39
If you've ever been left scratching your head, wondering why your cookies came out burnt when you have not strayed from your recipe, you're most likely the victim of a temperamental oven. If you have an older oven, or you're an apartment dweller, your oven may not be up to snuff. Your oven is could be running hotter, or colder than what's intended. You may set your oven to 350 degrees F, and it could run at 400 degrees F, resulting in burnt goods. To avoid this problem bakers should invest in an inexpensive oven thermometer that is placed inside the oven, offering an accurate measurement of heat so the temperature can be adjusted accordingly.
A sieve is a versatile kitchen tool; it can be used to drain tea, pasta, vegetables or used as a sifter to aerate dry ingredients during baking making them lighter. Unlike a sifter, a sieve is much simpler to use and easier to clean. A sifter has a hand crank which may be laborsome for bakers with hand injuries or medical conditions, to use, whereas a sieve is placed over a bowl and tapped lightly. Cleaning a sieve is easier as well, as there are not as many nook and crannies as there are in a sifter.
KUKPO Strainer- $13.97
An instrumental piece of kitchen equipment for any baker, the bench scraper can be used to cut portions of dough, smooth icing onto a cake, and remove ingredients from a cutting board or table. This handy item is a must-have in any baker's kitchen.
A turning table is a godsend for a cake decorator. This nifty tool speeds of the icing process as the cake plate can spin while you frost your cake, eliminating the need for you to turn a heavy cake holder every time you need to frost more of the cake. This tool also helps achieve a smoother finish.
Another must-have piece of equipment in your kitchen is a high-quality rimmed baking sheet. Lower quality baking sheets will warp over time, which can cause items to bake unevenly. A rimmed baking sheet is also more versatile than a standard baking sheet, many items can be cooked on a rimmed baking sheet as the deeper edged sides contain potential spillage.
An essential item for making the most delectable pastry. This handy tool helps incorporate butter into the flour by cutting it into smaller pieces keeping the butter at the desired cooler temperature, as other methods of mixing may risk warming the butter which could ultimately affect the outcome of your pastry.
Winco 5 Blade Pastry Blender- $5.55
You can never have enough mixing bowls. Some of the more complicated recipes require you to mix different groups of ingredients. Having an extra mixing bowl or two will keep the baking process running smoothly since you no longer need to wash and dry between mixings.
Glass and stainless steel make the best mixing bowls. Stainless steel is lightweight and more affordable than glass. Some stainless mixing bowls have a silicone bottom which helps to prevent slipping. Glass bowls can come with measurements on the side, and they are also microwaveable.
Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set - $12.49
Baking dishes are essential baking tools and should be on hand in several shapes and sizes. You should have an ample supply of 13x9 and 8x8 pans. Eight or nine-inch cake pans are also essential. Keep a springform pan on hand for cheesecake and ice cream cake recipes. Pie dishes, assorted muffin pans, and a loaf pan are also great to have in the kitchen.
Pyrex Glass Pie Plate- $7.99
Nordic Ware Springform Pan, 9 Inch - $11.99
An offset spatula has many fantastic uses in the kitchen. They are great for smoothing icing and serving the perfect slice of pie, but there's even more versatility to this kitchen tool. A couple of large offset spatulas will make quick work of the daunting task that is transferring a cake to a turning table. Once you've mastered the offset spatula, you can push batter into the corner of baking dishes and level off tops like a pro.
Not everyone thinks about the food processor as being a goto tool in the kitchen. However, a food processor can blend, chop, and pulverize items very quickly. It can also be used to create nut flours such as almond or pistachio, which can be expensive at the grocery store. You can even use a food processor to make powdered sugar, using granulated sugar and cornstarch.
Prepping bowls are a truly underrated gem in the kitchen. Portioning out your ingredients into these small containers not only makes the entire process run more smoothly, but it can also keep mishaps from affecting your whole batter. For example, if you crack an egg into a prepping bowl first, you don't need to worry about shells getting into your batter.
Having a fully equipped kitchen is the first half of the battle to creating amazing baked goods. To become a master baker, equip yourself with some of these tools.