This post for Baking Essentials: Best Tools for the Home Baker has been running through my head for ages. I’m the first to admit that baking can be incredibly overwhelming. You need so many tools & products! I’m going to cut to the chase & list my absolute favorites.
Years ago, I remember starting out in my own adult kitchen & slowly adding tools as I could afford them. Now, some of the tools were not made to last & some are still going strong. The biggest complaint I hear about baking is, my bake didn’t turn out. A few summers ago, I visited Jessica. She was complaining that her cookies weren’t turning out. When I saw her bake, I couldn’t believe she was using a crappy black cookie sheet & she didn’t even have a cooling rack. I told her no wonder her cookies were burnt. She didn’t have the tools she needed to be a baking success!
Half Sheet Pans
Growing up, we had cheap & dark cookie sheets. One problem with these pans, is they bake faster. That means burnt cookies. Investing in a half sheet size pan will allow you more continuity for baking mats, pre-sized parchment & fitted cooling racks. I love the half sheet pans from Nordic Ware, but half sheet aluminum pans from a restaurant supply store are wonderful too. I always bake my Texas Sheet Cake in a half sheet pan. No doubt this is at the top of my Baking Essentials: Best Tools for the Home Baker List!
Cooling Racks are a must-have because you need to get your bakes off/out of the hot pans. In the past, I used various sized cooling racks. I must say that having the same size cooling racks as your baking sheets is a GAME CHANGER! After baking, place the cooling rack inside the sheet pan & this allows you to apply glazes, icings & more with less mess. Just like the cooling racks, I love Nordic Ware but the half-sheet cooling racks at restaurant supply stores will do the trick.
Silpat Baking Mats
As a teenager, I worked at Subway. Our store baked all the cookies on Silpat. Y’all this stuff is amazing! While parchment paper is wonderful & I use it for a lot of things, Silpat does it all. Bake your cookies & they never stick. Throw some cinnamon rolls or other enriched doughs on it & the caramelization is incredible. I still use the first Siplat I bought over 15 years ago. This stuff is made to last & for this one, I say go for the name brand!
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Over the years, I’ve used countless measuring cups & spoons. Without a doubt, these measuring spoons are my favorite. They are rectangular, which may not seem like a big deal. This shape allows you to measure in/out of spice jars with relative ease. While I have so many random plastic measuring cups, these stainless steel measuring cups are a staple. Honestly, though, I would splurge on the measuring spoons and buy cheaper measuring cups. If you’re measuring liquids, which you will be doing, please get a different measuring system. I use my glass liquid measuring cups every day. These are a must for measuring liquids.
Whisks are a dime a dozen. But, buy this whisk! I’ve had mine for over 10 years. No rust, easy to clean & gets the job done. This is one of those purchases that is worth every last penny!
You may think this is a frivolous item, but I use my scoops all the time! I have a medium & large scoop because I like HUGE cookies! Using this scoop makes baking so easy. All your cookies are the same size which means even baking times & no burnt edges. I use my scoops to get the batter into pans & muffin tins. I even use them for pancakes!
The truth is I don’t use my rolling pin a lot. But, there is no substitute for a good rolling pin. When it comes time for sugar cookies, buttermilk biscuits or other rolled doughs, you need a good rolling pin. This rolling pin helps you get the exact thickness you need. While a French rolling pin is my favorite, any old rolling pin will do!
Truth be told, some of my favorite rubber spatulas come from Williams-Sonoma. They are sturdy, have cool patterns and get the job done. If you’re starting out, I recommend buying a set of heatproof rubber spatulas at various sizes. This way, they will work on any size bowl & for batters, dough, meringues & even candy.
Now my Dad bakes all the time & doesn’t have an electric mixer. While it’s not truly a must I use mine almost every day. A larger electric mixer is definitely a huge investment. I use my mixer for cakes, meringues, bread & cookie dough & even mashed or whipped potatoes. Years ago, I had a different brand mixer, but when I switched to Kitchen-Aid, I noticed a huge difference in power & durability.
When building your baking tools, add in a few pans & you’re golden. Over the years, I’ve spent money on fancy accessory pans like this one. Well, get yourself a few standard aluminum & glass pans & you can bake cakes, brownies, cornbread rolls & more. These are the pans I use weekly! Aluminum cake pans, muffin tins & a glass 9×13 & an 8×8 dish are on constant rotation in my kitchen.
Must-Have Baking Tools
I truly hope this list helps you stock your kitchen for your next baking session. A few more essentials are SAF Instant Yeast & Flour Hour Podcast. Please let me know if you have any baking must-haves not pictured here! I’m always on the hunt to make my baking easier & better!
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