Baking Tools and Equipment (and Their Uses)

baking tools and equipment and their usesBaking can be a lot of fun, but without the right equipment, it will only cause you a lot of headaches. Just as a mechanic requires the proper tools for fixing a car, you’re going to need the proper tools for your baked goods. If you’re just getting into the baking scene, check out the list below, and make sure you have these tools in your kitchen. You’re going to need them if you plan to make any kind of baked good.

You can take a class in baking bread to get you started. Don’t forget that the tools are only half of the equation though. Without good ingredients, your baked goods won’t come out well if your ingredients are low quality. Take a look at this article on baking ingredients so your baked goods will really have that wow factor.

Measuring Tools

Spoons, cups, bowls. Measuring tools in a number of different materials and sizes, and it’s important that you have a set. You’re going to need them to measure out your wet and dry ingredients. It might cost you a pretty penny, but you should definitely purchase good quality ones that will last you. Some great brands to consider are Cuisipro, King Arthur Flour, Anchor Hocking, and Pyrex.

Make sure you get a whole set of cups and spoons; you’re going to regret it if you only purchase a quarter cup especially when you have to dump in three cups of flour to make some bread. The same can go for spoons. Using a teaspoon to count out three tablespoons can be a pain, especially if you end up losing track. Try out your new measuring tools when you take a course in making gluten free bread.

Baking Pans

When putting your baked goods in the oven, you’re going to need a pan to place them in or on. Stoneware is an excellent choice, but it does need to be preheated for best results. Aluminum pans are another great choice. You’re going to want a number of different pans. There are cookie sheets, brownie pans, circular pans, square pans, rectangle pans, and specialty shapes. Don’t forget pie pans too.

Specialty pans are great for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and so many other parties. You can find pans in a number of different shapes from flowers to monkeys. Take a look at your local craft store, and decide what specialty shapes you just can’t live without. Those specialty pans will come in handy while taking a course on cake decorating for fun and profit. Yes, you can make money selling your baked goods once you get good at them.

Parchment Paper

This particular baking tool has a number of different uses. You can line your pans to keep your baked goodies from sticking, or you can lay them out on your counters to protect that beautiful granite top from flour and sugar. It’s also a great way to store your baked goods so they don’t dry out in your refrigerator. Parchment paper is grease-resistant and moisture-resistant.

Wax Paper

Like parchment paper, wax paper can be used for lining baking pans or storing baked goods so they don’t dry. The only difference between the two papers is really the fact that wax paper has a thin wax coating on both sides, and parchment paper is really heavy paper. Wax paper is moisture-proof and nonstick.

Oven Thermometer

If you’ve ever used an oven, you’re probably wondering what you would need this particular tool for. After all, ovens have dials or buttons that you push, and they’re marked with the temperature. Right? Well, the problem is that ovens tend to become faulty over time so it’s best to check the temperature manually. This way you have the perfect temperature every time you bake something. Oven temperature can make a big difference in baking so don’t consider this tool optional.

Rubber Spatulas

Like parchment paper, this tool has different uses. You can use it to scrape bowls so every last drop of batter ends up in the pan instead of down your sink. You can also use them to fold your more delicate ingredients, and they’re great when wanting to stir things gently by hand. Be sure to get them in a variety of sizes so you have one for whatever baking fiasco you might run into.

Icing Spatula

If you’re planning to take a course in cake decorating, you’re going to want one of these. However, an icing spatula is quite a versatile tool. In my household, we even use it for buttering bread and slapping mayonnaise onto a sandwich. You can also use it for smoothing out your batter in the pan so you end up with a flatter surface at the end (less wasted cake when you go to level it). It’s also great for loosening your baked goods from the pan. Any baker can tell you that even with oiling your pan, you’re going to have some slight sticking. So, plan ahead with an icing spatula in your arsenal.

Whisk

Different shapes have different uses, which few people actually know. A balloon whisk is great when you have to deal with lots of batter. You can also use it for folding sometimes too. Narrower whisks are great for use in your pots and pans when making curds and pastry creams on the stove top. You’re going to want wire whisks and silicone-coated whisks. The silicone ones have the added bonus of scraping the sides of bowls like a rubber spatula.

Pastry Brush

Even if you haven’t baked before, you might have seen those smaller paint brushes in the baking area and wondered what exactly they could be for. Brushes like those actually have a lot of uses from brushing on BBQ sauces to applying glazes to baked goods. The traditional style had natural or nylon bristles that shed and held onto flavors and colors.

This made it difficult to use the same brush for cooking and baking. Now, there are silicone brushes that don’t hold onto colors and flavors, and they don’t shed. This means you can use that pastry brush you used for a blueberry glaze the other day to give your Thanksgiving turkey a nice rubdown in the oven.

Bench Scraper

This tool is especially versatile. You can use it to chop up nuts or cut dough when making large batches. You can use it to scrape down your counters so you don’t end up with sticky dough left behind. You can also use it to scoop up ingredients to dump into a bowl. Once you have one, you’re going to wonder how you ever did without it.

Mixing Bowls

In my household, mixing bowls doubled as popcorn bowls. With the latest mixing bowls, however, you would likely feel guilty using it for your popcorn because many of them come with a spout to make pouring into the pan easier than ever before. You can even find some that have measuring units on the side, which can come in handy when you’re making large batches of items. You should have mixing bowls in a variety of sizes because many recipes require you to mix dry and wet ingredients separately before combining them.

Mixers

If you would prefer to mix your baked goods by hand, I applaud you. Few people mix by hand now because it can take more time and energy than most of us have now. However, if you plan to make a lot of baked goods you probably want to consider purchasing an electric mixer. There are two different kinds that you can purchase – the hand mixer or the stand-up mixer.

The hand mixer is small allowing it to be easily stored away. You simply hold it by the handle, put it into the bowl, and turn it on. Then you just carefully move it around without throwing your batter everywhere. Most people nowadays prefer stand-up or table-top mixers.

Though bulkier than their handheld cousins, stand-up mixers make it easier to just set the speed and let it do its thing. However, they are more difficult to store. More powerful stand mixers often have special accessories for special projects like making bread. If you plan to make a lot of bread, consider purchasing a pricier stand mixer with dough hooks. Otherwise, you will be kneading that dough by hand.

Cookie Cutters

As the name obviously implies, these particular tools are designed for cutting out cookie shapes. All you have to do is roll out some dough on the counter and press the shapes into the flat dough. These are great for making themed cookies beyond the traditional chocolate chip or sugar cookie. Plus, you can decorate them just like you would a specialty cake for even more fun.

Rolling Pin

It would be impossible for you to flatten the dough of any of your baked goods without a rolling pin. These come in handy when baking specialty-shaped cookies or creating pizza. They come in a number of materials and sizes, and they also have different weights. If you’re planning to make a lot of specialty cookies or pizzas, try to get a heavier pin because the extra weight will help roll the dough out smoother with less effort on your part.

Pastry Blender

While it might sound like something you could make a smoothie with, it’s not. This tool is designed with five or six U-shaped steel wires attached to a handle at both ends. These wires run parallel to each other and are usually evenly-spaced. They’re used to cut butter into recipes, distribute fat without melting it, or even just for preparing your dough.

Pastry Cutter

Just like a pizza cutter, this tool involves a straight-edge wheel that is used to cut dough into strips. Though usually used to cut narrow strips for lattice-topped pies, you can use it to cut dough into bread sticks or pizzas into squares. You could even use it to cut your cooked pizzas – after you’re done using it for baking, of course.

Pastry Crimping Wheel

This particular wheel has a fluted design that’s used to cut dough to have a decorative edge. This is usually used for pies, but you can use it to design fancy cookies or even biscuits. You might even consider using it to decorate your calzones.