Baking is one of those hobbies that you either love or hate. If you love it, you're probably deep into the rabbit hole: pinning a bunch of recipes, constantly dreaming about food, and looking up kitchen gadgets (aka me. my Amazon shopping cart is always overflowing).
Something I always tell my friends who ask me about baking appliances/tools is that you need less than you think to bake, and big $ purchases aren't needed until you've mastered the basics and are ready to step it up. If you're early in the baking game, I recommend doing everything by hand; yes, it takes longer BUT you really LEARN.
TIP: Before buying a new tool/appliance, ask yourself, "Will this tool/appliance make the process more efficient? Or do a better job than if I was doing it?"
I wish someone had told me all of this sooner because I wasted A LOT of money early on buying things I didn't really use. SO TODAY, I'm rounding up the baking tools you actually need and settling the debate on which purchases are necessary.
NOTE: All of the links below are my suggestions and they are not affiliate links.
1. Hand-held Mixer
The #1 question I get all the time is, "Do I need a stand mixer?", and specifically the Kitchen Aid Stand-mixer. For the novice baker the price tag (starts $300 and goes up to $1000) is such a turn-off , but they may feel they can't bake without it. I'm here to tell you that's 100% NOT TRUE. For years, I used a hand-held mixer, and I baked cakes, cookies, meringues etc, and these days hand mixers come with multiple attachments! I would recommend a hand-mixer: it's easier to store, and won't break the bank.
I Recommend: Cuisinart Powder Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer Super compact, this hand-mixer stores so easily and comes with variety of attachments for different doughs.
2. Digital Scale
Everyone measures ingredients differently, so chances are if you measure a cup of flour and weigh it, the result would be different than someone else. Baking is pure science, and baking fails can be avoided with accurate measurements. If you know you're going to baking for the foreseeable future, get a digital scale, and your bakes will be consistent.
I Recommend: Ozeri Digital Scale This scale measures in multiple units, can handle tiny measurements, and is easy to clean.
3. Measuring Spoons
While a digital scale, can measure tiny increments. I prefer measuring spoons for ¼ of a teaspoon - 1 tablespoon measurements. These measurements are so small so chances of a discrepancy are less.
I Recommend: SpringChef Measuring Spoons The best ones are stainless steel measuring spoons as the numbers won't rub off over time. Also great, because this set comes with a leveler.
4. Liquid Measuring Cups
Glass measuring cups are so useful for measuring out liquid ingredients. Make sure you get ones with a spout/lip so pouring doesn't become a big mess.
I Recommend: Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup Set When it comes to glass kitchen tools, Pyrex is king. These are durable and with multiple units are clearly printed.
5. Aluminum Baking Pans
For baking, aluminum and black steel pans are the best, because they evenly conduct heat. A cake that has unbaked spots is just eww. I recommend getting two baking sheets: one full size and a half size; this gives enough room for things like cookies and and a smaller size for smaller tasks like toasting nuts.
I Recommend: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Baker's Sheet Tested the best overtime, they use only the best aluminum, and the textured bottom prevents uneven baking.
6. Parchment Paper
This is key to preventing baked goods from sticking to pans. As an added bonus, you can use parchment paper for rolling out dough, and it gives baked goods like cookies an evenly browned crisp bottom. YUM!
I Recommend: Smarttake Pre-Cut Parchment Paper There's nothing more annoying than ripping parchment paper crooked. These pre-cut sheets are measured out, so you don't have to worry about folding the paper to fit.
7. Square Baking Pan
If you can only get one baking pan, a square baking pan is the way to go! It's the guaranteed way to get those sharp corners and it's the most versatile (noticing a trend here?) you can bake cakes, brownies, loafs, but of course they will be square.
I Recommend: USA Pan Bakeware Square Pan This pan is so durable, and the high quality makes such a difference. Again, the textured bottom means a perfect even bake.
8. Assorted Mixing Bowls
A good mixing bowl can make all the difference in baking. The perfect mixing bowl, is big enough for all your ingredients to be incorporated without spilling over. The best are stainless steel because they're super light, you don't have to worry about dropping them, and you can throw them into the dishwasher. Make sure you have at least three different sizes to accomodate different bakes.
I Recommend: Finedine Premium Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls This set is so useful and the only one I need since it comes with so many sizes.
9. Rolling Pin
Such a versatile tool, it's not just for rolling out dough. It can smash nuts, tenderize, grind, and crumb. I recommend getting a rolling pin without handles as you can cover more surface area and aren't just limited to rolling tasks.
I Recommend: French Rolling Pin The tapered end makes it so useful for rolling, and its waxed finish is so easy for cleaning.
There's no better tool to cream butter, whisk eggs, and stir ganache. The most versatile whisks are balloon shaped whisk no smaller than 10 inches. I personally like my whisk to be all stainless steel, but there are options with cushioned handles.
I Recommend: Winco Stainless Steel 10" Whisk Winco makes such high quality baking tools, and this whisk is one of them. The stainless steel handle is light and the wires last while in the dishwasher.
11. Silicone Spatulas
These are a must for folding batter together, and ensuring you scrape every delicious drop into your baking pan.
I Recommend: Jamie Oliver Non-Stick Spatula Set The wooden handles are really durable, and the spatula has a sharp side for scrapping the bowl clean, also look how cute these are!
12. Off-Set Spatula
This is the secret to getting perfectly frosted cakes with crisp edges. Off-set spatulas come in a variety of sizes and angles, but I recommend starting with a set (that way you get three different sizes) and buying more later if needed.
I Recommend: Ateco Ultra Off-Set Spatula Set Ateco has the best pastry tools, and this off-set spatula is no different. It's dishwasher safe, and the handle is comfortable.
There's nothing worse than a clumpy dessert. For super finicky recipes like macarons, meringue cakes, sifting your flour before hand can make a huge difference. A smaller sifter is perfect for dusting powders and sugars.
I Recommend: Cuisinart Set of 3 Sifters Why get one sifter, when you can have three? This set is so versatile, not just for baking, and I love how I can hangs these.
14. Oven Thermometer
An oven is like a friend, each one is different and you have to take the time to get to know their quirks and characteristics. An oven thermometer is so useful especially if your oven is hotter or colder than the temperature you set it at. By knowing the actual temperature, you can then adjust the settings to compensate. Say bye bye to burnt cookies.
I Recommend: Taylor Classic Large Dial Thermometer: It's easy to read, durable, and hangs on the oven rungs.
If you've never baked with fruit zest or grated cheese you're missing out! A grater is the only way you're going to get those ingredients fine enough to use.
I Recommend: Microplane Cube Grater This is the best because it's compact and is a 3-in-1 grater so it can handle a variety of ingredients: from cheese; to vegetables; to chocolate; or lemon zest.
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