If you’re like me, baking is a form of therapy. I love the journey from a random assortment of ingredients to something delicious and special that I can share. Most of us bakers have our tools we rely on, like a mixer, a favorite spatula, and so on. What are some other gadgets that every baker should have if they want to keep improving?
A digital scale
This is baking 101. If you are a perfectionist when it comes to baking, you absolutely need a digital scale. Measuring your ingredients in grams, milliliters, etc is way more accurate than traditional cups. Getting those measurements exactly right can make a huge difference. After all, baking is an exact science, so why not be exact?
A candy thermometer
If you love making candy, caramel, and similar goodies, you know that a lot of the ingredients need to be brought to specific temperatures. A candy thermometer is better equipped to deal with high temperatures than a regular meat thermometer, and it’s just a good idea to have separate ones for sticking into bubbly sugar and possibly-undercooked steak. You have your choice of metal, glass, or digital, and which one you like best is up to you.
Silicone baking mats
Getting something stuck to the bottom of a baking dish is one of the most disappointing and frustrating experiences in the kitchen. You can use parchment paper, but it’s annoying to cut it out the right size every time and then throw it away. For a more sustainable approach, get a few silicone baking mats. There are a handful of sizes available for the standard cookie sheet and round cake pans.
A restaurant bowl
Did you know that professional restaurants use different bowls than us normal folk? These heavy-duty, stainless steel bowls are ideal for prepping things like melted chocolate, whipped cream, and ganache. The bowls are also wider than your normal mixing bowl. The ones from William-Sonoma have the bowl’s capacity marked inside them, too.
A marble pastry board
If you work with chocolate and pastry a fair amount, a marble pastry board is a great tool. They can be chilled, so the marble stays at a cold temperature. Pastry and bread dough is less likely to stick and the butter in the dough won’t get warm and break through. Marble boards are also easy to clean and gorgeous for those Instagram photos you’re always taking.
A silicone oven push/pull
Available from Norpro, this handy device is useful when making anything in the oven, whether it’s a sheet of cookies or roasted chicken. Simply hook the little device and pull out the hot dish, so you don’t need to get close to the sides of the oven. If it isn’t done yet, push it back in the same way.
Sifting ingredients like flour, cocoa powder, and sugar allows for more consistent and accurate mixing. It also results in fluffier textures, which is essential for certain baked goods like cakes.
Moving your baked goods to a cooling rack may seem like an unnecessary step, but they cool much faster and halt the baking process, which can continue if you leave baked goods on the hot pan. If your cookies were right on the edge of being too browned, getting them to a cooling rack can save the day.
A reusable piping bag w/ tips
If you love working with frosting, but are struggling with your artistic vision, a reusable piping bag with tips can make all the difference. Using a real piping bag gives you more control, as do tips. Switch out the tips depending on what you’re frosting, i.e. a small, intricate Christmas cookie will use a smaller, much finer tip than a large cake.
More of a cook than a baker? Here are the gadgets you need.