Years ago, when I first started baking, I didn’t know what I need to buy immediately and what I can wait to buy. I didn’t even know I would be into baking or it would be something that I would do only once in a while. The truth is that you don’t need to buy all fancy tools and equipment to start baking, especially when you are just trying things out to see if you would enjoy baking or not. But, it is true that you need some tools and equipment.
This post is all about that. I always thought that it would be nice to know what to buy now and what to buy later. I hope this can help you to figure out if you can start baking something right now or if you need to go buy these bare minimum tools.
You will definitely be limited on making or baking certain kinds of sweets and you might have to spend more time on process as you do it by your hands. But, you can bake pretty much any homemade cookies, cakes, and quick breads such as muffins, scones, banana bread, etc. with the following tools.
Remember, it is crucial to use right tools and methods in baking for the best result, so you will need to buy several things more to expand your baking range and save your time. But, these tools that I have chosen should be enough to get you interested in baking and want to buy right tools one at a time.
I don’t have to mention that an oven is essential for baking. You can make some desserts without oven such as chocolates and confections, but you definitely need an oven either it is regular or mini size for baking. The thing about oven is that ovens don’t work the same way even if they are same brand, so you have to get to know your own oven by experimenting, remembering, and adjusting it as you bake.
Most people have a timer in their kitchen as it either comes with an oven or microwave. You don’t have to have a separate timer. If you have one in your house already, that is one less thing for you to buy.
Measuring spoons are used for both dry and wet ingredients. They usually include 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2, teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon. Many stores sell measuring spoons with 1/8 teaspoon these days. If you are buying a new set now, I recommend you to buy the one with 1/8 teaspoon because it is useful when you make a small batch, but it is certainly not necessary to go out and buy if you have measuring spoons already.
Measuring cups are usually used for measuring ingredients such as flour, cocoa powder, sugar, or nuts; however, they are also used for measuring wet ingredients. A standard measuring cups set comes with 1/4-, 1/3-, 1/2-, and 1-cup measures. Overfill the cup with dry ingredients and level the cup using a knife.
* I personally prefer to use metal measuring cups and spoons over plastic ones because plastic cups and spoons have more chances to get worn.
GRADUATED MEASURING CUP
Graduated measuring cups are used to measure liquid and pourable ingredients. They are marked with lines to show amounts. You can have either glass or plastic measures in 1-,2-, and 4-cup capacities. Over years, I’ve found it is really convenient to have both 1-cup measure and 2-cup measure. But, I recommend to get a glass 2-cup measure if you are getting only one.
A whisk is a non-electronic hand mixer. When you are not yet ready to buy a hand mixer or stand mixer, this is what you need. It is very time consuming, but it will perform baking tasks like whipping, creaming, and mixing. You will be amazed that you can even make meringue with a whisk although I do not recommend you to do that. =] It is good to have different size whisks because you will use in many different ways. Also, a smaller whisk performs better than a bigger whisk.
A sifter is used to sift flour or combine dry ingredients. Sifters usually have a crank that pushes ingredients through the mesh, but sieves work very well as much as sifters. If you have regular sieves that you use for cooking, you don’t need to buy a sifter for baking purpose.
Cooling racks are used to cool cakes or cookies after taking them out of the oven. There are so many different types and shapes of cooling racks, so whatever you have or whatever you can buy will work just fine.
You will find many different lengths and widths rubber spatulas in stores. A wide head spatula is good for stirring and folding batters and a narrow head spatula is useful for scraping foods from jars or bowls. It is good to have one of each size. I recommend you to buy spatulas with silicone heads if you are purchasing one as it can withstand temperatures up to 600F.
Metal spatulas are also known as icing (decorating) spatulas. You will use them to spread batters, decorate cakes, or applying frosting and filling. They are available in many different sizes and flat or offset(angled). If you are planning to purchase one, buy a small spatula offset (angled) because it is much easier to work with.
Pastry brushes are useful when you apply egg wash, moisturize cakes with syrups, or brush loose crumbs from cake tops. They are made with soft nylon, unbleached hog bristles, or silicone (on the photo). It’s good to have one of each kinds, but I would recommend silicone one if you can only choose one because it is easier to maintain.
Bowls come in so many different shapes, sizes, and materials (plastic, glass, silicone, or stainless steal). Most of you already have some kinds of bowls in your kitchen, so you probably don’t have to go buy new ones. It’s good to have a couple of bowls made of different materials, so you can use based one the type of sweets you are making. If I have to pick just one, I would recommend stainless steal bowls because they are light enough to move around and strong enough to take rough mixing motions.
Baking sheets are essential on baking cookies. You can get a standard cookie sheet that has edges without sides to make it easier to slide into the oven. However, I would first get jelly roll pans (on the photo) because they can be used for both of baking cookies and sponge cakes. I personally recommend heavy aluminum baking pans. They will not get rust and last lifetime with a proper care. We all know that some of non stick pans are not really NON-STICK.
Cake pans are also available in many different materials such as steel, aluminum, nonstick coating, glass, or silicone. I started with these glass rectangle pans that I have bought and used for cooking. They are not pretty shapes, but they work well for baking cakes. Plus, it totally gives a feeling of homemade cake. Of course, it is good to have round cake pans if you enjoy decorating. If you are planning to make a cake for someone’s birthday, BBQ party, or anything, it is definitely worth to have round cake pans.
So, what do you think? I’m pretty sure you already have most of these items. Even if you would have to buy some of them and end up not baking so much, you know they will be used in many other ways in your kitchen. Before I go, I will share the stores that I like to shop for my baking tools. You probably already know, but discounted stores like Ross or TJ Maxx are one of the best place that you can buy quality baking pans, spatulas, cake pans, etc. You may not find what you want at the time you want, but it is definitely worth stopping by time to time.