Saturday, 17 November 2012

Essential Equipment

For those of you who are just starting out in baking; I've been working on getting an "Essential Equipment" post together over the last few days.

When I first decided I wanted to give baking a try, I had absolutely no baking equipment and had to invest in a few items.

If you're the same (or you just want some new stuff!); I've listed some essential items, and some that will make things much easier!

Analogue are fine, but digital tend to give a more reliable result.

Measuring Spoons
Most packs come with a variety of sizes from 1/2 Tsp. up to 1 Tbsp.

Measuring Cups
Again, most packs come with a variety from 1/4 cup up to 1 cup.
Measuring Jug
Plastic or glass, for volumes larger than 1 cup.
Mixing Bowls
A couple in different sizes are quite handy. As I use an electric hand mixer, I prefer using glass bowls over plastic, but this is really personal preference.
A small heatproof bowl is essential for creating a Bain Marie to melt chocolate etc.

Whisk / Hand Mixer / Stand Mixer
You can use a standard balloon hand whisk if you prefer, but I find a hand mixer or stand mixer makes things much quicker and easier!

Mixing Bowl Cover
This is not an essential, but it saves lots and lots of mess!

Non-slip / silicone mat
This stops your bowl dancing around on the worktop as much! Again, not essential, but I've found them to be very handy.

A fine metal one is perfect for flour / icing sugar etc.

Much easier than wooden or metal spoons for folding in. The silicone ones are excellent for getting the majority of the mixture from the bowl. (Note: If you have partners or children who like to "clean" the bowl, they might resent your spatula investment as very little mixture gets left over!)

Assorted baking trays and tins
Depending what you want to bake, it's a good idea to have a variety of tins available.
You can buy "packs" of baking tins fairly cheaply from large chain stores. These might not be the best quality, but are perfect for starting out, especially if you get into the habit of lining them.
I'd recommend a couple of 7" sandwich tins, a larger round tin, and a square tin (which I have yet to get!) for cakes, and 12 hole tins for cupcakes.
You can also get baking sheets and trays, loaf tins, tart tins, the list goes on!
A note about Silicone "tins": I've found these to be fine too. The times when I haven't lined them though, I've found the cakes stuck, so I now grease and line them as I would any other tin.

Greaseproof / Baking Paper
Essential for lining tins.

Wire Cooling Racks
Essential for cooling your bakes. A clean rack from a grill-pan also helps if you've run out of cooling space!
Pallet Knife
Not essential for baking, but essential for decorating cakes.
Piping Bags
Either disposable or re-usable. Essential for piping cupcakes.
Piping Nozzles
Plastic ones are fine to get to grips with, but the stainless steel ones are better quality. They can be picked up relatively cheaply (£1-2 depending on size and style) from cake decorating suppliers. For icing swirls onto cupcakes, the large star or rosette nozzles give the best effect.
And finally - a washer-upper!
Luckily, my Mr is happy to clean the kitchen and do the washing up. Only as long as there's cakes or baking for him to eat at the end of it though...

think that's all of the basics covered, but please let me know if you think I've missed something!


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