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essential baking equipment


prasantrin
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For everyday baking and sweets making (breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, the occasional pie, truffles, etc.) what essential equipment would one need? I've been searching the boards and have not found such a list (though I did find excellent Indian and Chinese pantry lists). So far, I have:

candy thermometer

dry and liquid measuring cups

measuring spoons

rubber spatulas

wooden spoons

mixing bowls

cookie sheets

9x13 baking pan

9" round cake pan

square baking pan (I think it's 9")

muffin pan

a couple of sizes of loaf pans

pie pan

little ice cream scoop for truffle scooping

regular ice cream scoop for big cookie scooping (and ice cream, of course!)

rolling pin

electric hand mixer

parchment paper

I don't yet have a pastry bag or assorted tips, nor do I have tart pans or a springform pan, but I will be purchasing some eventually (as the need arises). I can't afford a stand mixer at this time but it's on the list. Am I missing anything?

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I find I frequently use a 8" square pan. Also, an offset spatula.

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You need two 9 inch round pans for making layer cakes. It's good to buy the two at the same time, same brand so your cakes bake consistently.

I tried using a slightly different pan for one layer and it just didn't work. I had to search everywhere to find one exactly the same as the first one.

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A very fine mesh sifter like this is pretty handy. I have tried tons of fancy mechanical types and they don't work as well or as fast as this kind.

You will also need some cooling racks like these. Cheap ones work just as well as expensive ones.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'd also recommend an 8x12 pan as well. In addition, I've found it useful to have one mini muffin pan to finish off batters (and give me something to taste when I'm making muffins or cupcakes to take out :smile: !)

A pastry cutter may be useful if you're making doughs and I've actually used it for a light mash on potatoes too for soup.

SML

Edited by sml311 (log)

"When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!" --Ralph Wiggum

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I agree that a digital scale should be essential to any serious baker, but with most home-focused cookbook authors still insisting on printing everything with volume measurements only ( :angry: ), home cooks in the US can get by without it.

A digital thermometer is much more accurate, durable and easy use. A model with a probe like this is very versatile and useful.

Your rubber spatula must be heat resistant.

This is an excellent model.

A couple different sizes of whisks should be on the list.

I wouldn't want to be without a couple silicone baking sheets like Silpat, but parchment will do just as well for most things and is more versatile.

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One pie pan? One?

I have a large and deep 10" pie pan for when I'm expecting company, two 9" (one for tonight and one for the freezer), and two 8" for making pies to take to potlucks etc (I put the pie in a foil pan, then the foil pan into the "real" one, which I find makes the crust work a little better).

You may also want to get one or two of the "tart" pans with the removeable bottom. The 11" size is the most common, commercially, though others are available. Many of the stylish recipes you see in magazines will call for these, and there is an added bonus: the bottoms are a great tool for lifting and moving layers as you assemble your layer cakes.

I would also vouch for the utility of a scale. More cookbooks are (finally!) beginning to include weight measurements, and with the wealth of recipes on the Internet there is a greater likelihood that you'll want one (since recipes from outside the US will be more likely to use weight).

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Thanks, all, for the replies!

I did have a digital scale, but it died and have not yet replaced it. I used to use it a lot, but over the last year or so I've used it primarily for weighing cat food (she's on a very strict diet)! I do need another one so I'll add it to my list!

I used to have a Polder, too, but the probe fritzed on me causing an overdone rib roast. I've been probe-shy ever since :wink: . I did like it, though, so it will go on my list, too (albeit in the "when I have more money" column).

Some of the other things I think I can "borrow" from my mother (she never uses her cooling racks, oven thermometer, or off-set spatula, anyway! Though she does love her mini muffin tin so I may have to buy my own). My big spatula is heat-proof, but my little one isn't. I think I have a tamis (which I've only used for making lemon souffle cheesecake) but no other fine-mesh sifters, so those will go on the list, as well. I'm pastry-phobic--do I have to buy more than one pie pan :unsure: ? And is an 8x12 pan the same as a brownie pan? I lust after a baking stone but that's way down the list, and the stand mixer...well...one day! I'd like a red KA, or a Bosch. I like the way Bosch mixers look (I'm a slave to the fashion fairy, even in the kitchen!).

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I used to have a Polder, too, but the probe fritzed on me causing an overdone rib roast. I've been probe-shy ever since :wink: . I did like it, though, so it will go on my list, too (albeit in the "when I have more money" column).

Yeah, the probes are the first thing to go. But don't buy a whole new unit - you can get replacement probes separately. Much cheaper.

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Prasantrin: that's a fairly good list for a start

Aside from the items the others have added, I recommend round cookie cutter (3 or 4-inch) - for rolled cookies, biscuits, etc. It's not essential, but it's fairly cheap and good to have if you want perfectly round cookies and biscuits.

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You don't have to buy a $30 bakers stone. Go to Home Depot or some such and get unglazed tile and line your bottom oven rack (or if a gas oven and it will fit - the floor of your oven). Cost, about 60 cents each and it will take 6 to 9 depending on the size of your oven. It will even out the temp in your oven some and also mitigate the steep temp drop when you open the oven door.

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Richard Kilgore, I have a question: A baker's stone should be made of food-grade materials, but I always had concerns that the stuff you get at the hardware store might contain dangerous materials, such as heavy metals. Have you heard anything about that? Thanks!

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I use my springform pan quite a bit; for cheesecakes; flourless cakes, and other types of mousse cakes, etc.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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