Baking Essentials

June 14, 2010

Baking Essentials

With so much baking going on The Purple Foodie, how could I not have a baking essentials list? A lot of people have asked me about “baking must-haves” and emailed me questions about the basics of baking, so I think I ought to give it some attention with this post. Here is a list of some essential baking equipment that will help you along the way…

Getting ready

Mixing bowls: Get yourself mixing bowls in various sizes. You could either get glass or stainless steel ones. Stainless steel bowls are a lot less cumbersome.

Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are so convenient. Some measuring spoons even come with a “pinch” and “smidgen” measure so you don’t have to think too much. I use cups only when the recipes I’m using call for them. Otherwise, I prefer to use a weighing scale.

Kitchen scale: You can never go wrong when you use a weighing scale. Baking is an exacting science. Measuring perfectly is extremely important. For example: a cup of flour can weigh anyway between 120-150g. So if the recipe writer intended you to use 120g of flour and you used 150g, you’ve just increased the dry ingredients by 25% (whoopsy!)

Liquid measuring cup: I love my glass Pyrex jug to measure liquids. I’d love the OXO one though!

Oven thermometer: A lot can go wrong if your oven doesn’t heat to the temperature it’s indicating. To check on that, stick an oven thermometer in and know your over better.

Mixing, rolling and cutting

Flour sieve: Sifting flour is so important. A. you get foreign matter out of it and B. you evenly distribute the baking powder/baking soda into the flour so you don’t get hit by the nasty taste of baking powder clumped up together.

Mixer: You could either get a handheld electric mixer or, if you’re going to be doing a considerable amount of baking, the KitchenAid () is an excellent investment.

Silicone spatulas: Such a blessing! You don’t need to incessantly scrape the sides of your mixing bowls with a wooden spoon. With the silicone spatula, the sides will clear up with just a single scraping.

Balloon whisk: To whisk together dry ingredients and to whisk together the wet ingredients, and then to whisk both of them together. This is indispensable.

Rolling pin: To roll out dough for cookies and pies you will need a good rolling pin. When you buy one, make sure it fits well in your hand and at the same time isn’t too heavy. I currently adore my French rolling pin.

Ice cream scoop: For baking? Yes! Ice cream scoops are excellent for making cookies of uniform size.

Cookie cutters: Buy them in shapes and sizes you like to make butter cookies, linzer cookies or even cream biscuits!

Bake it!

Silpat: God’s gift to cookie lovers. Silpats make baking cookies easier than ever before. No cutting parchment to fit your baking pan. No greasing the baking paper. Nothing. Just lay your cookie dough on the magical carpet to bake your cookies without worrying about cleaning up later. Only drawback: they won’t quite give the bottom of the cookie a golden crust, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Parchment paper: I only discovered the goodness of parchment paper when I bought a roll on my trip to the US in 2009. Nothing sticks to it. Nothing! And I thought butter paper was good. Unlike greaseproof paper, parchment paper is reusable.

Pastry brush: You will need this for brushing your pie doughs and breads with eggwash.

Baking pans:

  • Cake pans: Invest in cake pans in 8 and 9 inch sizes. If you’re going to make multi layer cakes, you should buy two or three of the pans so they can all go into the oven at once instead of you going through the whole rigmarole of cleaning, lining, baking, cleaning, lining baking.. again and again.
  • Square pan (9 inch): excellent for making brownies!
  • Muffin pan: for muffins and cupcakes! And while you’re at it, get some cute cupcake liners as well!
  • Loaf pan: for bread loaves as well as cake loaves – I have two large and 6 mini loaf pans.
  • Pie/Tart pan: for making pies and tarts. A 9 inch pan is standard for most recipes. If you’d like mini desserts then get yourself some mini pans as well.
  • Springform pan: for cheesecakes! The removable bottom and detachable sides make hndling the delicate cheesecake such a breeze.
  • Bundt pan: for fancy looking coffee cakes.

Done baking?

Cooling rack: So very important! You need to let your baked goodies cool without the steam condensing and making it mushy.

Cake tester or bamboo skewers: To test if your cakes are done! This cute OXO grip cake tester is on my wishlist.

Dress it up

Offset spatula: This is one handy tool for spreading frosting on cakes or spreading batters evenly in pans.

Pastry bag and piping tips: A pastry pag is good not only for icing cakes, but also for piping dough into pans without getting too messy. As for the tips, a star tip is the easiest, most convenient tip to get you started.

Cake turn table: If you’re going to be decorating your cakes and making them look fancy-schmancy, a cake turntable is an excellent investment (else, imagine yourself circling your table to decorate your cake!). A heavy duty one is much better than the pretty, delicates ones.

Nifty tools

Microplane zester: I swear by this. Zesting lemons and oranges (and other citrus fruits) has never been easier. In fact, this is so sharp, I sometimes grate nutmeg and cinnamon on it. It’s totally worth the price. It’s also good t get some fresh minced garlic real quick.

Melon baller: For making cute little balls of fruit – more for aesthetics than anything else, really. This also doubles as an apple and pear corer.

Vegetable peeler: Your best friend when you need to peel lots of apples for apple pies!

Pastry wheel – fluted or regular: For cutting marshmallows to cutting pizzas to making a lattice crust for pies. You can use it for ravioli too!

Pastry blender: For cutting the cold butter into the flour when you make pies and tarts.

Bench scraper: Excellent to cut off pieces of dough as well as scrape off the dough stuck on the work surface.

I’ve put a heart against baking essentials I swear by. What are your favourites?

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anita Bangera March 16, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Hi Shaheen,

I’m Anita from Bombay. Your blog is extremely resourceful! I’m excited to share your blog link on my blog! I’m sure it will really help my fellow bloggers and friends!

Regards,
Anita Bangera

Reply

2 Snehal Saraiya March 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I have called for ‘Wilton Recipe Right 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan’ and ‘Wilton Recipe Right Nonstick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan’ from Amazon. I have 18 litre Morphy Richards OTG just wondering if the pan will fit in my oven.

Reply

3 ProductPhotography June 13, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Baking is one of my favourite hobbies, and I even enjoy doing it together with my family. Moreover, the pointers given are indeed meritable.

Reply

4 nidhi September 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Hey sorry to put up such a lame question but is Microwave oven suitable for baking or one needs an Oven only…thought you would be the best person to know this with your experience..
Thanx

Reply

5 Nilesh February 6, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Microwave Oven with baking capabilities is not suitable for intense baking needs.
1) Space constraints
2) Low grilling Wattage (Microwave + Grill = 1000W maximum I have seen) Panasonic Brand
OTG grilling Wattage (Grill) = 2000W So the difference Quicker baking. Better results

I was in the same deli ma as you are. I ultimately brought an OTG and have a seperate microwave.

Reply

6 Anderson Philips September 10, 2014 at 10:43 AM

wonderful that list is very much helpful to me

Reply

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