Baking Essentials: Best Tools for the Home Baker
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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Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza
I need some half pans!!! Embarrassed to say that I don’t think I even knew they existed. And our fave thing to do is make cookie dough and put in the fridge so we can have one or two warm cookies on demand. Half sheets would be perfect for that!
Absolutely! The half sheets and the scoops will definitely help!