Whether you’re new to baking, or want to stock up your kitchen, there are a few ‘must-have’ items every baker should get. Perhaps you are already a professional baker, but you need to declutter your baking cupboard a bit. Whatever the case may be, we rounded up a few items that are absolutely necessary for every baker!
If the baking bug has bitten you, you might be tempted to go all out and buy every single baking tool there is. But wait! Before you do that, go through our list and see which items you should invest in first! Not only will you save money, by buying the right tools for the job, you can have peace of mind knowing that your baking will be a success!
The most popular rolling pins are made from wood, but nowadays they can be made from glass, metal, ceramic, or marble. If you are in a pinch, and don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a clean wine bottle (label removed).
There are different types of thermometers available for use in the kitchen. An instant read thermometer is used to measure how well meats are done, but it shouldn’t be left in food while it cooks. On the other hand, candy thermometers (as well as deep-frying thermometers) usually come with an attachment clip that allows you to monitor the temperature as your mixture heats up. Finally, an oven thermometer is used to determine the accuracy of your oven. For the baker, the two most important ones are an oven thermometer (an accurate oven temperature will ensure successful cakes), and a candy thermometer, which will help you make fudge, toffees, etc.
When reading recipes, you’d think that a cup means a cup wherever you go. But actually, the exact amount differs from country to country. In Australia (as well as South Africa), a cup means 250mL, whereas in the US, it refers to 240mL. One tablespoon means 15mL, except in Australia, where it refers to a measurement of 20mL. Look for decent quality stainless steel measuring cups and spoons. They can be placed in the dishwasher and won’t shrink over time in the same way the plastic ones do. Measurements on plastic cups are also prone to fade.
Baking paper is mostly used to line baking trays and tins, and is coated so that your baked goods don’t stick. If you use a lot of baking paper, consider investing in a silicone baking mat that can be cleaned and used over and over again.
Accurate measuring is the first step in a successful bake. In everyday cooking you can usually throw in a bit of this or a dash of that without ill effect, but when it comes to baking, all ingredients need to be measured out precisely. This is why you need a scale. Look for a digital scale that has both imperial and metric measurements, which will enable you to use recipes from any book – American, British, Australian, or whatever.
You need at least two sizes. A large sieve to sift ingredients like flour or cocoa, and a smaller one to dust icing sugar. Sometimes the larger sieve is also used to strain the eggy bits out of a custard.
Mixing bowls come in various sizes, and materials. The most popular ones are glass and stainless steel. They are available in plastic too, but if you bake a lot, they won’t last long, so it’s better to invest in good quality bowls. Some even come with non-slip silicon bottoms, which makes it much easier to use!
It’s a good idea to have separate wooden spoons for baking. Often times, they absorb flavors from cooking, so you wouldn’t want to use them for your baking projects. When choosing spatulas, look for high-quality silicone ones. They can withstand high temperatures (great for making candy), are dishwasher safe, and will last much longer than plastic ones.
It will be quite difficult to bake a cake without a cake pan. For starters, you need two 20-cm cake pans (this will be suitable for a layered cake), a loaf pan or two (for bread and loaf cakes like banana bread), and a shallow baking tray for cookies.