For some, baking in the kitchen is a big pain in the neck – if you don’t have all of the right baking accessories and utensils. It’s not easy to select the best baking tools and gadgets that help make this job less complicated. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to put together an essential short-list of baking tools that will help complete your recipes with less hassle.
Making anything from scratch with ingredients in your kitchen looks easy when you watch those how-to videos on your smartphone. They always put less emphasis on the baking tools and gadgets and only focus on what’s been separated, prepped, and placed into a bowl that’s ready to go by the time you start watching. The sad part is that many of these recipes require exact ingredients to be correct since there are so many things that can go wrong.
Worse yet, simple mistakes such as improperly mixing or confusing the measurements by using a teaspoon or tablespoon can have terrible results.
Here are 10 essential baking tools, accessories, and equipment that will improve your baking and cooking skills that every modern kitchen needs to make your life much easier.
A wooden spatula is good for certain things but not exactly great for keeping ingredients mixed properly. The advantage of a silicone spatula is being able to mix the contents inside a mixing bowl and being able to scrape the sides effectively rather than haphazardly. The flexible ability of silicone further gives you more control to scoop out all of the contents inside a mixing bowl into baking forms or baking trays.
Silicone pastry mat
Many pastry recipes require making dough that needs to be kneaded and rolled out with a rolling pin. While you could just use a kitchen counter or tabletop with some flour sprinkled around so the dough doesn’t stick, a pastry mat is a better idea. Silicone pastry mats are naturally non-stick but that doesn’t completely replace using flour so your dough is easier to remove from your mat. Cleanup is very easy using a soft sponge after this.
Most people forget that a kitchen whisk is better than a fork for whipping up eggs or batter mixtures in a jiffy. The whole idea of a kitchen whisk is to add air into select mixtures so you get omelets that are nice and fluffy and pancake batter that is filled with just the right amount of bubble so your pancakes are as soft as new pillows. Any kitchen whisk is highly recommended to break up clumps in powdered ingredients like flour likewise.
Measuring spoon assortment
Many people make the big mistake of using spoons from their serving utensils. These might be a good representation of a rough teaspoon and tablespoon but you would be very wrong. These spoons weren’t meant to give accurate measurements like measuring spoons are designed to do. This is why having a set of accurate measuring spoons will always give you 100% exact measurements each time according to the recipe you’re using.
Even if you don’t have a set of measuring cups or mixing bowls that tell you how much is inside each vessel, a digital scale is just the thing you need. Glass, metal, or plastic bowl weight can be subtracted from the scale using the ‘tare off’ button so you can measure in grams, ounces, or pounds. A digital scale is also perfect for sectioning pieces of dough for pastries or cookies instead of eyeballing these portions with a guesstimate.
Nut and spice grinder
Why spend more money on ground spices and nuts when you can buy them whole and grind them yourself. The advantage to these grinders is finding a model that has a pulse button to get the right size pieces for chopped nuts and select spices. These grinders are usually battery-operated and have chambers that can be easily cleaned. Don’t use a coffee grinder instead of a spice grinder since this will leave leftover spice flavors inside coffee grinders.
Stacking cooling racks’
Baked goods always need a cooling rack for cakes and pastry that comes out of your oven. These racks are made to be customized with shelves from the top and bottom so anything cooling on them will cool off faster. One feature that you want to use to your advantage is a stacking rack system that you can adjust to whatever you’re baking. This way, you can stack items on the lowest rack that will be cooled down sooner than the ones placed toward the top.
Some recipes call for the skin from lemons, oranges, limes, and even fresh ingredients like ginger root and cinnamon that need to be grated. This is exactly what a lemon zester does to get very tiny scraped portions shaved off. A standard kitchen cheese grater that has different grating sizes can work, however, a lemon zester is shaped just like a sanding file rather than a big boxy cheese grater.
Egg cracker and separator
How many times did you need to separate the egg yolk from the egg whites? Culinary students learn how to do this the professional way, but who has time for that? There is a neat device that is perfect for this when you need to make meringues or baking ingredients that only call for the yolk to be used. The advantage is that these gadgets are certainly entertaining to use and make this nasty job so much easier in return.
It sounds so silly to say this, but so many people haven’t gotten around to buying a decent stand mixer. For baking and making dough recipes, a simple Kitchen Aid stand mixer or the Sunbeam Mixmaster are excellent choices. These will come with mixing blades and dough hooks and are powerful enough to make pizza and bread dough. You don’t need to buy expensive stand mixers if you just need a reliable mixer that works all the same.