Top Ten Professional Tools for the Home Baker

Kitchen-EquipmentJust like how you can’t have a true reality competition show without Ryan Seacrest as the host, you can’t bake amazingly delicious baked goods without the right equipment.  But you don’t need super high end commercial equipment to make delicious baked goods, just a few simple tools to help make your baking life so much easier. Here are my top ten baking tools for the home baker.

1.) Oven Thermometer – this is one of the handiest tools I ever discovered and unfortunately discovered a little late in my baking career.  When I was transferring commercial kitchens about once a year, every oven was different and until I discovered that the internal temperature of the oven was often way different than what the dial said, I was burning cookies left & right. Imagine how frustrating this is when you have a 500 cookie order that needs to be baked by morning! Just invest in an oven thermometer to monitor your oven temperature.  You’ll be glad.

Kitchen-Scale2.) Kitchen Scale – super handy if you’re trying to learn portion control but also really handy when it comes to baking.  One cup of brown sugar measured out by me is definitely not the same as one cup of brown sugar measured out by the unskilled hand of my husband. However, 30 grams is 30 grams. Using a kitchen scale keeps your recipes consistent and accurate.  And if you ever have a recipe that calls for less than 1/4 cup a kitchen is your best tool to measure it out. Here’s a handy tip. Calibrate your scale periodically to make sure it is still accurate by measuring out one cup of water.  One cup of water should weigh 237 grams.

3.) Hand Mixer – Have you ever tried whipping up a meringue with your hands and a whisk? Near impossible…. maybe actually impossible. I do own a stand mixer and I love it but stand mixers can be quite pricey.  So, if a stand mixer isn’t in the budget investing in a hand mixer for whipping creams, blending cakes & making frosting is definitely sufficient.

Candy-Thermometer4.) Candy Thermometer – Even if you’re that into making candies a candy thermometer can still be put to good use, like checking the temperature of your water before activating yeast or oil temp for frying. However if you are into making candy these are invaluable to have! You can always use the cold water test in making candies, but I’d rather just have someone tell me it’s at the right temperature.  I’ve always made a handy chart for candy temperatures you can download here.

Kitchen-Timer5.) Kitchen Timer – I know this is captain obvious but you seriously NEED one! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put things into the oven thinking I’ll remember to check on it in 5 minutes and gotten sucked into the TV and forgot!

6.) Light colored aluminum heavyweight & flat cookie sheets & parchment paper – I like using light colored heavyweight cookie sheets vs. dark cookie sheets because it reflects heat as opposed to absorbing heat which can result in a burned cookie bottom.  The light colored sheets will give you a more even bake.  These are also normally not non-stick so make sure you use parchment paper as a liner.  This will make it super easy to slide your cookies right off until a cooling rack.

7.) Rolling Pin – Unless you are an absolute marvel at tossing pizza dough, I recommend keeping a rolling pin on hand.  I really don’t know how they do it! I’ve tried and tried and tried to master pizza tossing and my dough never fail comes out awful! If anyone knows the trick please share! But any other dough you need a uniform thickness or shape for, a rolling pin works best! I’ve seen some new rolling pins made out of silicon so they don’t stick which is pretty cool but the traditional wooden rolling pins will do.

8.) Pastry Bag & Tips – A pastry bag with a couple different style tips can turn your homemade cupcake into a store front window show stopper! And the bbest thing about pastry bags is that they are reusable with a quick rinse and wash!

9.) Flour Sifter  – This is especially useful if you’re not baking on a regular basis or you live in a more humid climate city. Really fine dry ingredients like powered sugar, baking soda, pastry flour & cocoa powder tend to clump up and using a sifter will ensure you don’t get a huge clump of baking soda in your bit of a cupcake. Yuck! Sifting just provides for a more even distribution so it really helps with giving you a uniform bake.

10.) Silicon Spatula  – I can’t live without this one! Because the silicone is so flexible you can get every last little morsel of dough out of the crevices of your bowl or mixer.

And there you have it! My top ten list of tools that make life a little easier when baking at home.

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