Published January 21, 2011 by
If you’ve always wanted to become an expert home baker - the one that everyone requests cookies from, or the one who is known for their cookie gifts - then you need to stock up on a few tools. It’s not hard to learn to bake delicious sweets that come out perfect every time. Having the right equipment can certainly help.
You’ll need good baking sheets. These are a requirement if you’re going to bake anything at all. If you want the best pans, you need to know about the different types. There are aluminum pans that are light in color that are perfect for most baking applications. Professional bakers use them because of their even cooking properties. AirBake pans hold air between two layers of aluminum. These are ideal if you want cookies that don’t burn as easily. The air flows between the two sheets and allows the heat to be distributed more evenly. If you tend to burn your cookies, go with this type of pan.
A good rubber spatula that is not going to bend or crack with extended use is a must for scraping those last bits of batter out of the bowl. Invest in a professional quality spatula found at a restaurant or cooking supply store. You’ll be glad you did.
Have a mixer on hand. When you’re just starting out, you may not have the money for a luxury model like a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. But if you do, by all means get one for yourself. If you need to go with an electric hand-mixer, that’s fine, too. The beaters come off for easy cleaning and you can get by with it for just about every recipe. You may have to replace it once or twice as it wears out from overuse, but they’re cheap enough that you won’t mind.
You’ll need an oven thermometer if you plan to have cookies that come out perfectly baked. Not all ovens are the same. 350 degrees on one may not equal 350 degrees on another. So you’ll want to keep a separate thermometer inside the oven so that you can tell how much heat it’s really throwing. Go by the thermometer and not the external heat control dial. That way, you can bake your cookies for exactly the recommended time and have them turn out ideally.
Good ingredients are really the most important baking tools you can have. If you’re using the freshest chips, the finest nuts, newly opened flour, baking powder and sugars, you know your baked goods will come out tasty. Never use old baking powder or baking soda. They have expiration dates for a reason. Once they are past their prime, they will no longer have the leavening power they once did. The same goes for expired yeast. Just toss it. Once it hits the expiration date, your dough won’t rise at all.
Of course, you’ll want to have quality wooden spoons, measuring cups, and measuring spoons on hand. And really it’s all about browsing the kitchen aisle when you’re out shopping. Do you bake a lot? Then invest in the best mixing bowls you can find either in glass or metal. You’ll be so glad you picked up the best tools because you won’t have to go out and buy them time and again when they break.