If you aspire to be a home baker, then you should consider stocking up on essential baking tools.
Unlike cooking, baking requires a lot more precision and specific needs to complete the tasks such as mixing, beating till incorporated, weighing, folding, rolling, cutting into shapes and of course baking.
Don’t let these terms scare you as you would learn along the way, but first thing first is you would need the right tools to aid you in your baking.
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Stand Mixer / Handheld
Most baking requires mixing of the ingredients and some even need to beat until well incorporated. You may also need to use the mixer / beater to beat the egg whites till desired state such as soft peak or stiff peak, depending on the recipe.
A stand mixer would be useful in comparison to the handheld because you can leave it running while you do other tasks. Depending on the type and brand and capacity that you go for, a stand mixer can be both cheap or expensive. If you bake a lot, then a large capacity stand mixer would be useful but if you are an occasional baker for just a few people, a small sized stand mixer would in fact be more efficient in beating small quantities of ingredients. You should get your stand mixer with at least 3 basic attachments- whisk, paddle and dough hook, though smaller ones normally do not have dough hook as the motor is not powerful enough to beat the tough dough mixture. Smaller stand mixers also come with detachable mixer, making it a handheld for more finer mixing on smaller quantities.
Large mixing bowls are really useful when baking, such as mixing ingredients together, beating eggs and and everything else that requires mixing or in large quantity.
Most cooks would recommend using stainless-steel mixing bowls for easy to clean, lightweight and durability. There are people who loves ceramic mixing bowls as it is aesthetically pleasing, but it is not recommended as it is hard to clean and too heavy to work with. Plastics mixing bowls on the other hand, are most lightweight and cheapest of the lot but it may get stained or absorb smells. Whichever type of mixing bowls you choose to buy, make sure to buy those that can nest into each other for better storage.
Spatula is essential for scraping of the sides of bowls, mixing light batters and folding in egg whites, as there are no other tools in kitchen that can do it more efficiently. It would be good to get spatula that can withstand high heat as sometimes you may work with hot mixtures.
Silicone spatulas are popular in this reason. Besides being a great help in baking, it can be use when you do anything else in the kitchen that needs scraping or mixing.
Pans for baking
When it comes to baking your ingredients in the oven, you would definitely need baking pans for it.
Pans come in various shapes and sizes, depending on what kind of baked goods you are going for. The common ones that you would need for baking are 6 or 12 holes muffin / cupcakes pan, loaf pan for breads and sweet breads, 8 0r 9 inches square pans for brownies and bars, 8 or 9 inches round pans for cakes and half sheet pan for cookies. Yes these are a lot of pans to begin with, so you can actually stock up as you go along, get a round pan for usual cakes first and work up from there. Get good quality metal pans for long lasting baking and not the dark-colored ones as they tend to absorb heat faster resulting in over-browning.
Serious bakers would definitely need to invest in a scale, it would help tremendously in the accuracy of your baking.
If on a budget, you may get the cheaper mechanical scales but I would definitely recommend a digital scale if you can afford it. Digital scale helps a lot by giving accurate readings and easily reset each time as you add on ingredients to the same bowl, saving on washing up later. It is also normally smaller in size and sleeker in look for cool small kitchens.
Measuring cups and spoons
If you are referring to various kinds of recipes, you would definitely come across measurements in cups. It would be handy to have measuring cups and spoons for simple recipes that do not require exact weights.
There would be two kinds of measuring cups, one for wet another for dry. You can almost get away with just the dry measuring cups, as it is more crucial, and normally sold in these sizes – ¼ cup, ⅓ cup, ½ cup and 1 cup. If you want to get a liquid measuring cup, get one with that can measure up to 8 cups, but for budget and space conscious, you can actually make do with measuring liquid using your dry measuring cups, just be careful of spills. As for measuring spoons, you would need these sizes – ¼ teaspoons, ½ teaspoons, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon. Basic measuring cups and spoons can be made of plastics or stainless steels and normally sold in bundles. Stainless steels are preferable as it is more durable and does not absorb flavors but of course slightly more expensive.
With these essential baking tools and equipments, you would be sure you can embark on your home baking. If you are already a home baker looking to reduce the clutter, then take note of the above and would not clear away the important tools for baking. With the baking checklist above, you are well on your way in happy home baking.