Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baking. You can usually find me on Pinterest or Instagram trying to get some new ideas for my next baking project. Cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, you name it and odds are, I’ve tried baking it. But of course I couldn’t do all this baking without the essentials. Much like my ‘Kitchen Essentials’ post, I’m lucky to have a kitchen that is jam-packed with utensils and equipment to make baking quicker and easier, but this is my guide for the must-haves in baking.
1. Mixing Bowls
Obviously you need to mix your ingredients in something, right?
2. Wooden spoon
Perfect for all your mixing and stirring needs.
3. Measuring Cups and Spoons
Baking is a science and unlike cooking, it’s important to be accurate when measuring ingredients.
Note: keep in mind that in the UK and US, 1 tablespoon is 15mL and in Australia it’s 20mL. Check the recipe you’re using to see which one it uses
4. Silicone Spatula
One of my pet peeves is watching cooking shows where people Dont.Scrape.TheBowl. I can’t stand it and always think to myself “What a waste!”. A spatula is perfect for getting all your cake batter into a tin, spreading mixtures out evenly, or carefully folding egg whites into a mixture. These are indespensable – and I specifiy silicone as they are heat resistant, so can be used if stirring something on the stove (eg. melting chocolate, making a custard etc).
Not only good for whipping up cream or egg whites, or combining ingredients, I sometimes use a whisk as my “cheat” sifter; that is, mixing dry ingredients with a whisk to aerate and remove most of the lumps.
But sometimes you just can’t avoid having to sieve your flour or (especially) icing sugar, and for that you’ll most definitley need a sieve. It also aerates your ingredients for a lighter mixture, and helps to combine dry ingredients.
7. Measuring jug
This is the most accurate method to measure your wet ingredients, and enables easy pouring not only into your mixture, but also into your cake tin or muffin pan.
8. Rolling Pin
Just what you need to roll out pastry for a pie or tart, or to get uniform thickness for cookies and biscuits.
9. Cooling Rack
Any baked item that comes out of the oven needs to be cooled, especially if it’s going to be iced. A cooling rack allows the air to circulate around your cake/biscuits etc. so they cool quickly and evenly, and prevents over-bake, which would occur if you leave your baked items in a hot pan.
10. Electronic Scales
For me, this is one of THE best tools when baking. They are not that expensive, but they make baking so much easier. This one can measure dry ingredients and liquids. You simply put your bowl on the scales, and simply “tare” or “zero” the scales in between weighing each ingredient. Easy, right?
11. Assorted Tins and Trays
It’s good to have a variety of cake tins, muffin pans and trays, but if you only have a few, make it a muffin tray, large baking sheet and a 20cm round cake tin.
12. Baking paper/Silicone sheet
It is one of the worst feelings when you’ve spent ages weighing ingredients, mixing batters and waiting for it to cook, only to find it gets stuck to the pan (and I speak from experience). To ensure this doesn’t happen, always keep a roll of baking paper in your kitchen and line your tins and trays with it so half your cake doesn’t get stuck in the tin.
Now for a couple of non-essentials, but I thought I’d mention these and their very handy uses
Now if you don’t have this, a whisk can do all the same things, with a bit more elbow grease (but just think of it as a good arm workout!). I often use this for whipping cream to top a pav, whisking egg whites and mixing cake batters.
The next level up from electric beaters. We’re lucky enough to have a KitchenAid (isn’t it beautiful? – see, I really do love baking!), and again this reduces most of the work. I often make cake batters, bread and cookie doughs and pav mixtures in this.
What are YOUR baking essentials?