Having the proper baking tools makes life easier in the kitchen. Beginner bakers often wonder what tools are essential, while experienced bakers often end up with a collection of items they never pull out. What items are truly essential and which can a person live without? Experts agree the following things should be found in any kitchen, regardless of the cook’s level of experience.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Baking requires precise measurements if the recipe is to turn out correctly. For this reason, every baker needs measuring cups and spoons on hand at all times. This includes both dry and wet measuring cups in standard sizes. Most sets include common sizes, but liquid measuring cups might be sold separately. If this is the case, consider investing in two or three sizes so the standard one cup doesn’t need to be used repeatedly, particularly when you find popular cookie cutters and use them on a regular basis.
Experienced bakers love having access to multiple wooden spoons. They are helpful when stirring a recipe as they work with the heaviest of dough. However, they need to be hand-washed, so keep this in mind and consider having a few spares on hand. Nevertheless, cooks must recognize these spoons require special care or they will break and crack.
Avoid cleaning them in a dishwasher if possible. The heat from the dishwasher dries the wood out, making it more prone to cracks and breakage. Every month, apply a thin layer of food-grade mineral oil to the spoon and allow it to sit overnight. The oil soaks into the wood and reduces the risk of the wood becoming too dry.
Spatulas and Scrapers
Men and women often reach for a scraper or spatula more than they realize. They use this tool to scrape the remaining bits of batter or dough out of the bowl or to get the last bit of jelly out of a jar. Furthermore, these tools are helpful when wet and dry ingredients must be folded together. Invest in silicone scrapers and spatulas because they hold up to high heat better than their rubber counterparts.
A metal turner is useful when moving cookies from the baking pan to the cooling rack. People also use them when serving cake. Purchase a turner with a thin metal blade, as it will slide under anything with ease without damaging the baked goods. A turner differs from a spatula in that it’s made of heatproof materials and often is broader than a spatula. Although some people do refer to the turner as a grill spatula, such as those who work in commercial kitchens, the average baker will find it easier to refer to it as a turner to ensure the right item is selected for any recipe.
People often forget they own a pastry brush because they shove it in the back of a drawer. Don’t make this mistake. Use the brush to grease a pan, put melted butter or an egg wash on the dough, or paint a pie crust with milk. The same type of brush may be used to baste meat or spread a thin layer of butter on a piece of bread. Purchase different brushes for different purposes, however, to ensure the taste doesn’t transfer from one item to another.
A whisk becomes of great help when you are making scrambled eggs for the family for breakfast. Don’t overlook this valuable tool when the time comes to mix dry ingredients or when stirring a homemade custard. Pull out the whisk when making gravy to ensure the finished product is smooth, or whip up some homemade mayonnaise for a family meal. These serve as only a few of the many ways a whisk is helpful to have in any kitchen today.
Men and women might go for years without owning kitchen scissors. Once they get their first set, however, they’ll wonder how they ever did without this tool. The shears are of great benefit when you need to cut parchment paper to fit a pan, to open a bag of chocolate chips for your favorite cookie recipe, or when snipping fresh herbs for use in a dessert. Trim a pie crust with the help of scissors or cut cubes of bread to make delicious monkey bread. This is one tool a person never wants to be without, as it can be used in so many ways.
Bakers recognize they need a rolling pin when making cookie dough, puff pastry, or pie crusts. However, the rolling pin serves many other purposes as well. Place chips, crackers, or cookies in a Ziploc bag and run the rolling pin over them to crush them. Grind herbs and spices with this tool or use it to prop open a cookbook. When people see how handy this tool is, they’ll want to keep it out on the counter at all times.
This tool remains one item that many kitchens lack today, which is a mistake. It makes baking easier and can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks. Pull out the sieve when it’s time to sift dry ingredients for a recipe or use it to put a thin layer of powdered sugar on a dessert after it has cooled. People also use it to drain wet ingredients that are too small for the standard colander or to remove seeds from a fruit sauce.
People often buy a whole set of knives to find they only use one or two on a regular basis. If you have limited space in your kitchen, invest in a good chef’s knife. This knife may be used to mince, chop, dice, or slice a wide range of ingredients used when baking. However, make certain this knife stays sharp at all times because a dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp one.
These tools serve as the ten most useful items to have in any kitchen. As you try new recipes, you might find you want to invest in other items. Do so, as the right tools make any recipe easier. When you have them on hand, you’ll find you want to spend more time in the kitchen creating amazing things people love to eat. Other people will appreciate your work, and you will too.