No surprises here, but next on your list of must-have tools is a spatula for both mixing ingredients and getting those last dribbles out of bowls and hard to reach places. Look for the ones where the head and handle come apart, for cleaning purposes. My personal preference are the hard silicone types. I find that they don’t break as easily, and are easier to keep clean.
MESSAGE TO SIGNIFICANT OTHER: You only need a couple of these for all your baking needs, but make sure you buy good quality items, because they should last a long time under steady use.
- rolling pin
Again, this is not a surprise device. My point in including it is that, while you can use a wine bottle (or a piece of dowel, if you do home improvement on the side), a “real” rolling pin works better and gives more reliable results. Note that there are two standard types – “rods” and “rollers”. Roller style rolling pins have a thick cylinder with two handles on the end that are not directly connected to the cylinder so that it can spin independently. Rod style rolling pins are just a wooden baton, often with tapered ends. There is no meaningful difference between these two types in terms of the way they work with dough.
MESSAGE TO SO: No special instructions here, for a change!
- pastry brush
We’ve finally arrived at a kitchen tool that you might not have thought of beforehand, but it’s no less important. Many recipes will require you to brush on butter, oil, or some other ingredient as part of the preparation. I prefer a brushes made with hair versus the newer ones that use a silicon brush because the hair-style brushes hold the liquid better. Also, silicone gets gunked up much faster and is harder to completely clean. I find that the regular brushes are cheap enough that replacing them often isn’t an issue.
MESSAGE TO SO: You only need a couple of these in active use, but get your special baking someone a few so that they have replacements as they wear out.
- knife (good one)
Independant of baking, you should be aware that the pairing knife, chopping knife, and serrated knife are the 3 essential knives to have in any kitchen. Nothing about baking changes that basic rule, nor does baking relieve you of responsibility. You need them.
MESSAGE TO SO: In addition to the self-evident advice of getting good knives from a reputable store (so that dollar store set is off the list), also look into some system for sharpening those knives – whether you go with a honing rod, sharpening stone or something fancier.
- portion scoops
Not just for dishing out ice cream, these devices are essential tools to help you control the consistency of your portions. Think cookies: You could just portion out blobs of batter with a spoon, but your sizing is going to vary. For a dozen cookies, that’s not a problem. If you have to whip up a quick batch of 400 cookies, however, portion control matters more. You can use this tool for cookies, filling muffin tins, etc. You can also use them if you double a recipe, and then use the scoops to portion out the correct amount to put into a baking form (such as a coffee cake tin).
MESSAGE TO SO: One size does not fit all. Plan to buy a range of sizes for various applications.
Last week I gave you the 5 essential tools every baker should have in the kitchen. But, as many of you noted, the list was a little… basic. Essential, to be sure, but I’m sure nobody was shocked by the thought that mixing bowls and measuring cups are important to have on hand if you want to whip up a cake or bake some brownies.
Hopefully, however, what also helped was my explanation of why those items are essential to baking, as well as the guidance on what type (metal or plastic, sizes, etc) you should look for.
This week I’m presenting 5 more essential tools for the home baker, with those same thoughts in mind.
There you go. You now have ten essential tools that will get you started as a home baker. In the comments below I’d love for you to ask me questions, offer your opinions on YOUR favorite baking tools, or just connect with the LovePlusFlour community.