Here are our picks for essential tools and equipment everybody must own
Baking is one of the most satisfying hobbies; not only do you get the pleasure of seeing something delicious come from the work of your own hands, but you also get to eat it! Learning to bake will give you a sense of accomplishment, delicious loaves of bread and pastries, and undying appreciation from your friends and family. If you’re considering taking up baking as a hobby, you might be wondering what you need to buy (other than the ingredients, of course). Although there are several items to purchase before you’re ready to make bread or cookies, you can usually find less expensive options at your local grocery store!
Measuring Cups - Liquid and Solid
Baking is a science, and the measurements are often precise. Both liquid and solid measuring cups are vital for baking; they were created to make it easier to measure flour, sugar, water, and oils. It’s essential to get both liquid and solid measuring cups – they do make a difference!
When you’re making a recipe, you’ll need various sizes of measuring cups to measure your portions of flour and sugar. However, there are vital ingredients with much smaller amounts necessary. You’ll need a full set of measuring spoons to bake well!
Once you’ve measured the ingredients, you’ll need something to mix them in! Unfortunately, most household bowls are too small to hold all your ingredients. Recipes often call for more than one mixing bowl, so you might need a set.
Different pastries and baked goods require different baking dishes. Unless you plan on specializing in one kind of treat, you need multiple dishes. Here are some of the most common baking dishes:
-Loaf pan (for bread)
-Rectangle baking pan (13” X 9”)
-Square baking pan (8” X 8”)
-Round cake pans of multiple sizes
-Bundt cake pan
-Donut pan or specialty molds
Why do you need a cooling rack to bake? The short answer: science. When the dough becomes bread (or cake or cookies), the heat of the oven dries up the excess liquid to make it a solid. After it’s baked, it needs to cool from all sides.
However, if you just put a hot pan on the counter or a towel, air won’t get to the bottom of the baked item. It can either continue to cook in the heat or absorb all the extra moisture. Using a cooling rack will prevent the bottom of your treat from overcooking or getting soggy!
Safety is one of the most important skills to learn in the kitchen. The oven is hot, especially after baking! Dishtowels are not generally thick enough to keep your hands safe, so it’s vital to purchase some oven mitts.
Okay, so a hand mixer isn’t always a necessity. If you’re just planning on making quick breads, cookies, brownies, and muffins, you might not need a hand mixer (or its larger cousin, the stand mixer).
However, cakes and other pastries have very specific mixing requirements, and it makes sense to buy a mixer if you are beginning to bake any of these. A mixer will save you time and energy as well!
Even if you purchase a hand mixer, you’ll need a few wooden spoons to help you bake. These spoons are better than metal spoons because they are heat resistant and pull through doughs more easily. You’ll use them when recipes call for dry mixes or to “fold” (barely mix) the dough.
Whereas wooden spoons are an essential part of mixing, spatulas are vital for the final steps of baking. You’ll need both hard and soft spatulas to make the most of your batter and cleanly get your baked goods off of the trays.
Soft spatulas have rubber heads and are great for scraping around the edges of a mixing bowl. If you’re making brownies or cake, you want to bake every last drop of batter (especially if you’re measuring for layered cakes). Having several sizes of soft spatulas will help immensely!
Hard spatulas, on the other hand, are great for getting cookies off a sheet so they can cool properly. You’ll need hard spatulas for the end of the baking process, so you don’t have overcooked pastries out of the oven.
Whisks are great for a lot of things not directly involved in baking, such as whisking eggs and whipping cream. However, these things are used for meringues, whipped creams, and bases for batters and sauces. You’ll need a whisk for all of that and more when baking!
Pots and Pans
You bake in an oven, but you use many other parts of the kitchen as well. One of the obvious parts is the stovetop – to bake, you’ll need the pots and pans that you already use for cooking and food prep.
Pots and pans of various sizes are essential for parts of baked goods. Melted butter and sugar, sauces, fillings, and jellies are only a few examples of what you’ll use pots and pans for while baking.
If you’re making any kind of dough, whether it’s cookie dough, bread dough, or pizza dough, you’ll very likely need a rolling pin. It will roll the dough out smoothly and make it an even amount of thinness all across. For your pie crust and pizza dough, evenness is essential!
Of course, there are many other utensils necessary for baking. You’ll need cutlery for various things (spoons for peanut butter or sifting flour, butter knives, and forks for mixing and cutting butter). Kitchen shears are also vital.
If you don’t have a set of sharp knives, such as butcher’s knives, you’ll need to purchase those. Butcher’s knives will help cutting fruit or to do precision work on baked goods. Use everything you already have in your kitchen, from spoons to butcher’s knives, to make baking easier.
It might seem like a long and expensive shopping trip. However, once you’ve gotten all of your beginning baking equipment, you’ll be set to take on almost any recipe!
Remember, baking isn’t about being perfect the first time. It’s about following recipes, learning, and building a fun and enjoyable hobby.