Choosing the right tools can make a whole lot of difference between a delectable dish and an unsavory one, especially when baking. You'll find numerous kitchen tools used in baking (and other kitchen tasks), from measuring to mixing, decorating, and more. However, a thorough knowledge of the available options and their uses makes you better equipped to face any hurdle that is likely to come by in your baking adventures. Are you excited to learn more about them? Keep reading.
Image by Cindynhiart / Pixabay
The kitchen arsenal has numerous tools for baking, like an oven, measuring spoons, cups, bowls, blenders, spatula, rolling pin, cookie-cutter, and baking mat. Not only for baking, but one can also use most of these tools for other kitchen jobs like measuring, portioning, cooking, and decorating meals.
So, you love baking. And you adore being appreciated for perfection every single time. But do you know, even a 10-degree change in temperature can destroy it? That's where the proper oven setup comes into place.
So, let's begin the list of kitchen tools for baking, starting with this one.
Oven and Oven Thermometer
Do you already own an oven? Perfect. But do you know that oven temperatures tend to be either higher or lower and can cause the range to change the temperature inside? Now, you can consider changing the oven itself. But that's an expensive investment. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the new range will heat up accurately to the required temperature.
So, what's the best solution to this? Voila! An oven thermometer. This gadget is a baker's friend. First, you can use it to measure the temperature inside the oven. Then, you can go ahead and bake that unique dish for your special occasion. With the precision of the oven thermometer, baking will be a breeze.
And yes, you might already be using the oven to roast, heat, and cook different dishes other than baking. Now, with an oven thermometer in hand, you can achieve and maintain the ideal temperature and cook foolproof dishes every single time.
Photo by Ronaldo Guiraldelli / Pexels
Measuring Kitchen Tools for Baking
How do you measure each ingredient before using it for cooking? Some cooking experts merely use their fingers, hands, or random spoons to get the right amount. While that may work for daily cooking, that's not the case for specialty dishes. Since the key to success is the correct measurement of each ingredient, you must have these tools for baking and cooking other dishes.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups: When you read recipes, how often do you go through ingredients measured in teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups? Almost every single time!
Get a range of measuring spoons and cups for different quantities. You'll be measuring dry and liquid ingredients separately, so make sure you buy both of them. That's how bakers ensure no two ingredients mix when measuring them individually.
For a quick bake, measuring cups and spoons are the magic wands in the hands of a baker.
Digital Scales: Are you at a loss if your flour is too loose or too tight in a cup? It can significantly affect the outcome of your baked goods.
When you bake delicacies like a sponge cake or a souffle, ingredient precision by weight matters; nothing can cheat your weighing scale. Cups and spoons are okay for a quick, simple bake, but if you're a seasoned baker and want to ace it every time you bake, make the digital scale your best pal.
Photo by Henrik Larsen , handikapinfo / Pixabay
Mixing Kitchen Tools
Once you have all the ingredients, you'll be beating some, whisking some, and stirring the others. But, of course, you'll not do all that with your hands or anything you find, are you?
For instance, you might need to whisk eggs for a brownie or prepare scrambled eggs for eating without baking. Having the right whisking tool will help you do it the right way.
Here's a list of mixing tools you should have in the kitchen.
Strainer or Sifter: How would you feel munching on a baking soda/flour clump when taking a bite of the cake you baked? A sifter or a strainer prevents you from facing any such scenario. Look for a fine mesh sieve to ensure you're putting in the smooth flour/soda in your next baking project.
Did you know that it is also a nifty trick to incorporate air into your bake with no extra effort at all?
Bowls: Professional bakers prefer using glass or stainless steel bowls for specific reasons. Plastic is the least preferred choice as it'll retain flavors, whether you're baking a muffin, whisking eggs, or simply using it to eat a fruit salad.
Pastry Blender: A pastry blender comes in handy for creating pie crusts, scones, or flaky biscuits by cutting fat into dry ingredients. While this needs you to do the manual job, you can also use a food processor to make your job easier.
Silicone Spatula: You can't already be baking without having a silicone spatula in your kitchen. These heat-resistant spatulas neither absorb flavors nor stain. And you can use them for mixing whipped cream, meringues, and cake batters gently. Apart from baking, silicone spatulas are also great tools for making scrambled eggs and omelets.
Photo by Tonda Tran , sontung57 / Pixabay
Whisk: When you need to whip and aerate a mixture, a whisk is the right mixing tool. This all-purpose tool is a good choice for whisking muffins or brownie batter. However, when making whipped cream or meringue, you can use a balloon whisk, but that would require extra arm strength.
Stand or Electric Mixer: Are you the one who has recently grown fond of baking? An electric mixer is your savior, as you'll need a lot of elbow grease when whipping cream or creaming butter. Buying a stand mixer is an excellent investment if you have a reasonable budget. It helps in whipping egg whites, kneading dough, and much more.
Portioning or Forming Kitchen Tools
Consider any baked goods! How do they manage to portion equally? That's how forming and portioning tools work. And you'll be using these to pick the right amount of ingredients or mix for cooking. Go through this list of must-have forming and portioning kitchen tools for baking.
Rolling Pin: You can't miss this when baking, be it any item – scones, biscuits, cutout cookies, pie dough, or even the fondant. Choose your pick from silicone, metal, marble, or wooded versions and add it to your home baking collection.
The versatile wooden pins can do a lot more than merely roll the dough in your kitchen. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth, and stow it safely. Never soak it in water.
Dough or Bench Scraper: Well, by its name, you know that a scraper can scrape off any mess or chunks off the surface. But bakers also use them to portion, divide, and scoop dough chunks. Check for a comfortable grip while you select your scraper from the metal and plastic ones that are available. Plastic works better in clearing the last bits of dough or batter from the bowl.
Mechanical Scoops: Do you remember using a scoop to pick an ice cream portion with your hand? These mechanical scoops are great portioning tools, used commonly for cupcake batter portioning or creating uniform cookies. However, you can choose the one you feel comfortable using, from options requiring a thumb press or a full-hand squeeze.
Biscuit and Cookie Cutters: Have you ever been fascinated by cookies and biscuits with a myriad of shapes and sizes? The credit goes to the cutters available in all shapes and sizes. You can create a collection and use different shapes for different occasions or start a family tradition.
- Prefer to stay simple? You can make the circle shapes using a cup from your kitchen. Or surprise your kid by making a fish or a dog-shaped cookie by using his playdoh cutter set.
Photo by micheile / Unsplash
Cooking Kitchen Tools for Baking
Yes! We talked about the oven and oven thermometer before. But there's more to it if you want to be a pro baker. So, here's what you should add to your kitchen arsenal.
Silicone Baking Mat: This mat serves as a base for cooking items in an oven or refrigerating things in a freezer. And these mats are made of food-grade silicone and fiberglass material, which are great alternatives to parchment paper. You can also use these mats to catch spills during the cooking process.
Bakeware: In addition to a baking mat, there's a whole list of bakeware you'll be using during the process, like pie pans, baking dishes, baking sheets, muffin tins, and round cake pans.
Silicone, metal, glass, and ceramic are common materials for bakeware, each for individual reasons. While silicone doesn't let anything stick, metal conducts heat better, and ceramic bakeware is decorative.
With glass, you can see the food cooking from outside. For metal bakeware, use thick pans and avoid dark coating. Grease and sprinkle flour for a non-stick finish of your bakeware. Spray or grease a silicone mat before using it.
Kitchen Tools for the Finishing Touch
After baking, you need to cool your bake down and decorate it. Are you using any tool for that? Here's what you'll need for this phase.
Timer: Tell me you don't rely on your nose to know when the dish is ready. There can be times when you completely forget about what you left baking in the kitchen. A timer will help you keep track of the time and precisely follow the recipe. No matter what's cooking, it's always good to keep checking in between, at least once it's halfway through. And, don't set the timer for the exact recipe time but a few minutes short, in case the food gets prepared early.
Cake Tester: A simple toothpick does the trick, while a metal cake tester is another option. It helps in two ways. First, you can reuse it and thus reduce waste. Second, you can't use a toothpick for thick-baked items, but a metal cake tester can do the job. Even when you aren't baking, you can use a cake tester to check if the fish and the meat are warmed thoroughly.
Baking Rack: Do you prefer the traditional way of using windowsills to cool freshly baked goods or use a professional baking rack approach? While windowsills are impressive, today's apartment-based lifestyle barely offers any. So, baking racks are great tools for the job. However, let the cake cool in the pan for a while before putting it on the rack. The air circulation will inhibit overcooking and fasten the chilling process.
Photo by Mockup Graphics / Unsplash
Offset Spatula: These flexible stainless-steel spatulas have a round end and are available in different sizes. The prime purpose of an offset spatula is to spread batter and frost cakes. If you are confused about making the right choice, go for a medium-length spatula. Getting one with a comfortable grip is an excellent choice for the finishing touch.
Piping Bags and Tips: Here comes the decorating part! Add more elaborate designs with better control using pastry or piping bags. Need something to explore your imagination further? Pick from an assortment of sizes and shapes of tips to create roses, stars, and more. Plastic-coated fabric piping bags are common, but you need to wash and dry them after every use. Alternatively, you can use disposable bags.
Pastry Brush: You might find a pastry brush having nylon or natural bristles. Today, silicone brushes have replaced them as the old-fashioned ones shed a lot. This brush is another great decorating tool.
For instance, you can use it to give your pastries or muffins a glossy finish with an egg white coating on the top. Moreover, you can also use it to apply a strong curry or BBQ sauce on your pizza, steak, or another dish that doesn't require baking. Silicone ones don't shed or pick up pigment and flavor and are easy to wash and reuse. And if you are looking for a pastry brush, prefer delicate bristles.
Photo by Meruyert Gonullu / Pexels
Use the Baking Tools for Kitchen Use
Did you know that your baking equipment can be multi-purposed for other uses as well? Oh yes, you've figured it out right. I mean, a digital scale or a measuring cup shouldn't be restricted to baking only. Plus, you can use cookie cutters as napkin holders or a rolling pin as a mallet.
To conclude, baking is an art that requires you to put in the right amount of ingredients, heat, and time to create a savory masterpiece. And kitchen tools from every category discussed above help you stick to the recipe. But that doesn't mean you need to buy a separate set of tools to bake a cake or a cookie. On the contrary, you can utilize most of your baking tools to cook other meals.
In the end, happy baking and enjoying palatable dishes.