Baking is a more precise art than cooking. And it may seem like you need a lot of gadgets to make the perfect baked good. But that’s not the case at all. Here are six essential tools that aid in a successful baking outcome.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
These are normally sold in sets, respectively. It is very important to measure flour, baking soda, sugar, etc. exactly how the recipe dictates. There is usually a very small margin for error when it comes to baking. I would also recommend a glass measuring cup for liquids (2-cup or 4-cup). Pyrex is your best bet for these.
This is the fancy name for a mesh strainer or sifter. I never knew the importance of sifting flour until I started watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. It is true that flours and the like — no matter how fresh — can have lumps in it, which may result in white blobs in your final product. Sifting the flour helps to eliminate that possibility.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re baking cookies, cakes, brownies, or bread, a spatula is the best tool to get all of the batter out of your mixing bowl. It’s also a good idea to have several sizes on hand, just in case you have a baking situation that requires a smaller spatula.
Often, baking entails mixing together the wet ingredients separately from the dry ingredients. As such, you need several mixing bowls to make that happen. A good set of aluminum or glass bowls will meet that objective.
Depending on what and/or how often you bake, it is important to have a few basic baking pans in your repertoire. I would suggest a couple of sheet pans (for cookies), a loaf pan (for bread or meatloaf), two cake pans (8-9 inch), and two muffin pans (standard size). It doesn’t hurt to have a 9 x 13 inch pan on hand, either. This could be used for brownies or cake (or roasting veggies). Glass bakeware and nonstick bakeware are ideal.
Wire Cooling Rack
One large cooling rack should do the trick (unless you bake a lot of cookies, in which case you may need two). I use my rack to cool cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, you name it. This is an important final step in the baking process – letting your baked goods cool completely, out of the bakeware.