Baking is an art that has come a long way over the years. Today, the kitchen is cluttered with gadgets and gizmos that complicate the process more often than not. Sometimes simple is best. Whether you’re just now dipping your hands into the flour, a well seasoned pro, or leaving your mothers kitchen for your own, having these 10 items on hand will make the whole experience run that much smoother.
1) A Complete Set of Measuring Cups and Spoons
There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the correct measuring cup for a recipe. One of the keys to successful baking is proper measurement of ingredients. If you have to eyeball a half a cup in a full cup measuring cup there’s a pretty good chance it’s not going to come out right. Make sure you have a complete set on hand. This includes both wet and dry because yes, it matters. The sizes you want are: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup. 1 Tablespoon, 1/2 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/8 teaspoon (dash).
2) A Set of Three Mixing Bowls
While a single large bowl would work for basic recipes, most call for the wet and dry ingredients to be mixed in separate bowls before adding together. Having a set of 3 different sized bowls will allow you to work through the more complex recipes more efficiently. If space is an issue, you can find nesting bowls that take up a lot less space.
3) A Set of Wooden Spoons
There is something profoundly satisfying in creaming your butter and sugar by hand. The best way to do it is by using a wooden spoon. Having a set of varying sizes and styles will allow you to work a variety of mixtures by hand, adding in that extra sprinkle of homemade goodness. An added benefit to using wooden spoons to mix up your batter is that they are less complicated to lick once the yummies are in the oven.
4) A Basic Set of Baking Dishes
You don’t need a bunch of fancy dishes to cook up tasty treats but you do need the basics. You’ll want to have 2 round cake pans, a square and a rectangle cake pan, a pie pan, 2 cookie sheets, a jelly roll pan (the cookie sheets with short edges) and a muffin tin.
5) A Set of Rubber Spatulas
Rubber spatulas allow you to easily fold in delicate egg whites as well as scrap the sides of your bowl. They are also great for spreading frostings and smoothing the surfaces of your creations. Having a set of a few sizes will take care of pretty much every job.
6) A Sturdy Whisk
Similar to creaming butter with a wooden spoon, whipping your own meringues is an accomplishment well worth the effort. It’s much easier to beat eggs to a creamy consistency with a whisk instead of a fork.
7) A Hand or Stand Mixer
While this cook prefers mixing by hand, there comes a time to use a hand or stand mixer, such as for large batches or thick cookie dough. The space you have to work with and the volume of your baking needs will determine which mixer is best for you. The hand mixer takes no counter space while the stand mixer allows for larger batches.
8) An Egg Timer
One of the most important things you need to keep an eye on during baking is how long to cook your treats. An egg timer is a great way to do this because you can set it down to the minute and carry it around with you so you can do other things while the magic happens in the oven.
9) A Sifter
Many recipes call for the flour to be sifted, this is particularly important for light airy cakes. In order to properly sift your flour you’ll need to have a basic sifter. You’ll also find yourself using it to apply a powdered sugar or cocoa powder garnish.
10) A Rolling Pin
Evenly sized cookies, perfect pie dough and flaky biscuits all have one thing in common. They were flattened to an even thickness using a rolling pin. I personally recommend using a marble or other stone pin because the added weight helps reduce the time spent rolling the dough.
Armed with the above baking must-haves, you’ll be able to whip up those goodies and make Grandmas around the world proud.