Gadgets/Tools That Any Baker NEEDS?

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  1. I am someone that loves baking, and since I have a new kitchen, I don't have many tools. I want to start over. I know that I am getting a KA stand mixer (the pro 600), but what else do I need? What unnecessary kitchen items are actually really fun (I'm open to buying stupid things that work well, such as kitchen scales, egg separators, etc.)? I really like cool kitchen gadgets. Also, since I'm on a clean slate, what tools are the most important to have in any baker's kitchen? Thanks! :smile:
     
  2. Also, name the brands and cookbooks that you like best. Thanks! :ty:
     
  3. My favs...


    Marble rolling pin
    Marble pastry board
    Pizza or bread stone for oven
    Oven thermometer
    Yeast thermometer (got one free from Red Star Yeast years ago, don't know where you can buy them)
    Pie crust collar-shaped cover so crust edges don't burn
    Cookbook stand/Tablet stand
    Giant bread-loaf-sized spatula
    Pastry cutter
    Pastry scissors


    I make a lot of bread and I like having a selection of super-big bowls for dough
    I also bake a lot of bread in a giant cast-iron skillet. In fact I have a selection of cast-iron baking pans for breads that I like crisped like corn bread. You have to buy the old American-made cast iron though. Cast iron forged overseas often doesn't conduct heat evenly or very well. It's mixed with junk. Look for Made in U.S.A cast iron at garage sales.


    I also like having a bunch of small bread loaf pans for making gift-sized loafs.
     
  4. Electric scale

    Candy thermometer

    Bundt pans in all shapes

    Cake pans in all shapes

    For recipes, I found myself going on the internet more instead of referencing my cookbooks. I like Food Network and Epicurious

    I haven't baked in a while but now I want to :smile:
     
  5. I don't believe in having a lot of kitchen gadgets- companies are constantly trying to find ways to make shortcuts, but seriously hulling a strawberry or separating an egg isn't that time consuming to begin with anyways. I value my drawer space too much to have it full of stuff I'd use once in a blue moon.

    I recommend starting out with the basics:

    variety of cake pans
    good baking sheets- not the flimsy ones that warp
    cooling racks (I have a set of 3 from Michaels craft store that was on sale for $5)
    variety of glass mixing bowls
    star tip for piping (comes in handy for cakes; you don't need to buy piping bags though if you don't anticipate doing a lot of that- just use Ziploc bags)
    off set spatulas
    rubber spatulas for scraping down mixing bowls
    pyrex measuring cup
    metal measuring cups for dry ingredients (the plastic ones just end up cracking over time)
    silpat mats
    parchment paper- should always keep this on hand since you never know when you might need it
     

  6. Ooh! Bundt pans! Love 'em!


    I don't buy cookbooks any longer either as there are so many great recipes on the web. I think Epicurious is the recipe database from now-defunct Gourmet magazine. Their recipes are always wonderful.


    Although I love Food Network recipes, I practice caution as most of those "celebrity chefs" hire freelance recipe writers to churn out recipes for them, and some don't appear to have been tested prior to posting. I've run into some with ingredient amounts that are wildly off. (Think Paula Deen.)


    I still rely on the old Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook from the 1950s. It's got a lot of great basic recipes, plus some great picture tutorials that show how to make various yeast breads. I also like the old Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks from the 1950s-1960s. You can find them on ebay.


    I also like Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Baking Cookbook.


    The rest of my baking cookbooks are more like coffee table cookbooks. Fantasy books with great photos to flip through. And read for techniques and tips. Like Rose Levy Beranbaum's wonderful Pastry & Pie Bible and her Cake Bible. Also like Roland Mesnier's Dessert University. Mesnier was the White House pastry chef for several generations. His apple pie recipe is the best apple pie recipe in the history of mankind. It uses cubed apples that are pre-baked in horrifying amounts of butter and sugar.


    Red Star Yeast sells a line of some practical, but hard-to-find baking tools:
    http://www.redstaryeast.com/products/carols-club%C2%AE
    I really need some of those dough scrapers.
     
  7. Really good quality heat resistant oven mitts and potholders. Commercial grade if you can.
     
  8. I bake a lot. After the KA mixer, I'd suggest investing in the best quality you can afford in the following:

    Cookie Sheets (Williams Sonoma)
    Cake Pans (also from WS)
    Pyrex pie plates/bread pans/glass measuring cups
    Stainless steel measuring cups/spoons
    Scale for weighing ingredients
    Pizza stones (i prefer Pampered Chef ones)
    Rubber spatula (again I like the PC ones)
    Offset spatula for icing cakes
    Parchment paper! (it really makes a difference with cookies and helps with clean up)

    TJ Maxx/Homegoods is a great place to pick up good quality items at a good price. Most of all- have fun outfitting your new kitchen and trying out recipes!!!
     
  9. My KitchenAid mixer is hands down my fav baking tool...it mixes everything so evenly and cuts down on time...good money.
     
  10. luv baking too my must haves among others are:
    convection oven
    dough mixer
    stainless steel bowl
    spatula
    timer
    dough mat/slicer
    oven mitts
     
  11. I have the Cake Bible, too. I tried the simple loaf recipes which turned out ok, but the more complicated frosted cake recipes - oh man, there were so many steps and the precision required...I have a great respect for pastry chefs.
     


  12. The recipes in the Cake Bible are pretty mind-blowing. The photos even more so. When I first saw the book my home-baker heart did a pit-a-pat in wonder and excitement and I considered making my own wedding cake. But then I read the recipes and thought...no, not in this lifetime. You can find cookbooks like this "used" at great prices and in great condition on ebay, because people buy them in amazement but then find themselves too intimidated to actually use them.