People bake for many, many reasons. Some like to save money on food, while others have the money to blow on it, but prefer to control what goes into their food. And some, just do it for the sake of doing it! There are some essential baking utensils you’ll need to accomplish your baking tasks.
When it comes to making cakes, many recipes will call for dry ingredients to be mixed in a smaller bowl, to be transferred later into a second, larger bowl that contains the wet ingredients. Mixing bowls are very versatile kitchen equipment that can be used for serving dishes, salads or left-overs.
If you plan on making cut-out cookies – where you roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut out the cookies – you’ll need a few cookie cutters. Likewise, if donuts are on your to-do list. A cookie press is used with a simple dough recipe to make pressed or formed dainty cookies, more commonly enjoyed around the holidays. Presses are easy and fun to use, and results look amazing. Cutters and presses are economical to buy and very durable. Rosettes are a different kind of cookie, deep fried using a rosette or timbale iron.
Baking sheets and accessories
While cookie baking sheets are tin or stainless, you’ll need to decide between silicone, tin or glass for cake and bread pans. Muffin tins are available in tin or silicone. Tin pans come in either plain or with a nonstick coating which helps with food removal and clean-up, but these pans require more care. Silicone bakeware is popular with some and not so with others. If you do try out silicone pans, follow my tips for best results and remember that they are not nonstick and should be greased before using as you would do with a tin pan.
Measuring cups and spoons
In order to follow any baking recipe, measuring cups and spoons are essential. You’ll also find that having duplicate cups can be very handy. You can choose any type of measuring cups and spoons in plastic, stainless or glass, and you’ll find the see-through (glass) one, two and four-cup measuring cups very practical for baking and cooking. Standard measuring cup sets usually have a 1-cup, 1/2-cup, 1/3-cup and 1/4-cup measures – and you will use these different sizes depending on the recipe.
Spatulas and wooden spoons
The term spatula refers to several types of kitchen utensils including rubber or silicone tools to blend or scrape the food from the bowl; metal, silicone or plastic egg turners or flippers. You need at least a couple of rubber or silicone spatulas to scrape the bowl, as well as a small metal spatula to serve desserts. A few wooden spoons for mixing and blending are also handy. An icing spatula, which is a long flat off-set knife, makes it easier to ice a cake. A couple of wire or silicone whisks are also very practical baking utensils.
You can simply use the range timer if yours is so equipped, but having a small minute timer can be very practical. It allows you to take the timer outdoors with you or to another room, so you can hear it and know that you should check or remove your baking. Having more than one timer is handy when you are cooking and baking. There are various types of thermometers, but the most common one used in baking is a candy thermometer if you plan on making candies, chocolates or boiled frostings.
While they sound similar and are often referred to as the same type of pastry tool, a blender is somewhat different than a cutter. A pastry blender is used during the mixing of the pastry dough. It also has lots of other applications, such as blending the flour, sugar, and butter for a fruit crisp or mashing boiled eggs for egg salad. A pastry blender is a basic essential tool for mixing pastry.
While flour sifters have gone by the wayside for many who prefer to use prepared cake mixes, home bakers who want to improve the texture of their homemade specialty cakes, still use them. And there are other uses for a flour sifter, especially a one-cup size – to dust a cake with icing or confectioner’s sugar, or add a cinnamon-sugar mix to cakes or desserts. You can also use one to dust a pastry sheet with flour or to add flour to thicken gravy. Whether it’s an essential baking tool for you depends on how particular you are about your cake textures or alternate uses.