Baking for beginners is made easier when you have the right tools of the trade. Spatulas, whisks, electric mixers, cooling racks, baking tins and many other tools serve to help the baker to get the best results. A meringue wouldn't be possible without the simple whisk, crunchy chocolate chips biscuits wouldn't be crispy without the baking sheet, and cooling rack, A cake or clafoutis would have nowhere to rise without an appropriate baking tin.
While it may seem that all you need is a couple of eggs, a pack of flour, some sugar and butter to make the perfect Victoria sponge. Great baking is about bringing together many different aspects; Ingredients, tools, knowledge and creativity. All of these parts function to support each other and lead to delicious baked treats.
With this knowledge, you can make Almond cake, apple dessert, hot cross buns, peanut butter cups, rich chocolate upside down cake, or lemon bars. As well as savoury pie recipes, Irish soda bread, artisan breads and even international foods.
So before you discount investing in a measuring cup and parchment paper, or overindulging in silicone bottle holders. Let's take a look at the essential equipment that you need to start baking at home as a beginner.
The Importance Of Kitchen Tools
Kitchen tools are important for cooking and baking because they support the preparation process. They do this in several ways:
- Protection: Kitchen tools protect you from the cooking and baking process, they keep you safe so that you can cook unharmed. For example, tools like kitchen gloves and wooden spoons protect you from heat.
- Speed and Efficiency: Kitchen tools help you to prepare your meal in a time effective way that is good for hygiene and safety. For example, a kitchen knife will slice through vegetables quicker than a spoon. Having a kitchen with the essential tools will ensure that you can complete most tasks without too much effort and within good time.
- Comfort: As well and being safe and efficient, kitchen tools also need to be comfortable, which helps to make cooking and baking an enjoyable experience.
Do I Need A Recipe Book?
As a beginner to baking, you will need some guidance on how to get started. Recipe books are great at laying out step by step what you need to do and how you need to do it. They provide you with directions and the technique for getting great results.
While you don’t need a recipe book to get started, having a recipe of some kind will be required for guidance. Even seasoned and highly experienced bakers use recipes to help them remember what they have to include and the steps that have to be taken to get the result that they want. So if you are opposed to a recipe book you could get some help from a friend who knows how to bake, an online youtube channel, a baking blog, an online baking tutor, you could also do a baking course. However, in most of these situations, you will find recipes to accompany the process.
However, while recipes are great, they are not the holy grail, and they can be edited and marked up once you get more experienced with any changes you want to make. Or you can use one recipe to inspire your own recipes. Remember that a lot of changes from one kitchen to another, so attention to detail and practising a few times is important.
15 Common Baking Terms Found In Recipes
- Batter - this the result of mixing flour and a liquid, so it is thin enough to pour. If you want to make cakes, you will make a cake batter.
- Cream - This is when you soften fat and beat it until it creates a soft paste. In the recipe, sugar and butter are often creamed together.
- Drizzle - This is when you drip liquid over something in a sparing way. You often see this with desserts that have icing drizzled on top.
- Dust - To dust something is to lightly sprinkle something onto the surface of something. You can dust icing sugar on your cake, you can also lightly dust your work surface with flour before kneading bread.
- Fold - Folding is used to mix ingredients together in a gentle way, this helps them retain the air that may have been added with whisking. This is normally done by carefully by hand.
- Whisk - A whisk is a tool and an action. To whisk something you will incorporate air and volume of the mixture. This can also be done o eggs to create a meringue.
- Grease - To grease something is to rub some kind of fat on to the interior surface of a baking tin to stop items sticking to it.
- Zest - To zest a fruit, is to take the skin off of citrus fruit and use it in cooking to add flavour and intensity to the food.
- Cut in - this is usually used when making the pastry, fat will be cut roughly while sitting in flour and occasionally folded until mixed. Cutting in does not give an even integration but can make fluffy pastry like puff pastry.
- Peaks - peaks are often formed when eggs or other light ingredients are whipped or whisked. You can have soft peaks, or hard peaks and everything in between. The description helps you to get the right result when working with delicate ingredients.
- Preheat - Almost always refers to you turning on the oven for some time before actually using it. This is to ensure the oven is at a stable temperature before you start baking.
- ML - Refers to Millilitres. This is a measurement.
- G - Refers to Grams. This is a measurement.
- Tsp - Refers to a teaspoon. This is a measurement.
- Tbsp - refers to a tablespoon. This is a measurement.
Essential Tools For Beginners
These are tools that all bakers should have as a minimum to get started. An oven is not on the list as it goes without saying that to bake, you will need an oven.
This is first on the list for a reason, this is an important item because, without the right measurements of your ingredients, it will be hard for the beginner to recreate the results as directed in recipes. All recipes will indicate measurements of some kind. Get a kitchen scale that can measure both dry and liquid ingredients so that you only have to use 1 tool for measuring.
Used for: Measuring everything
While you can use things like pots, mixing bowls are cheap and worth the investment. To save money on buying them in various sizes just buy 2 big ones in stainless steel or glass if possible. You can thank me later, these are very used tools in baking and are useful no matter what you are making.
Used for: Mixing ingredients
A Baking Sheet, Muffin Tin And Baking Tin
Some ovens come with a baking sheet, but if you think you will bake a lot, then it could be worth investing in another one. Muffin tins make cupcake and muffin making easier and a few baking tins for cakes and bread.
Used for: Add your unbaked items to these, they go in the oven
A Wire Whisk
When baking cakes, you will find that you get a lot of use out of your whisk. You don't need anything fancy, but having one will make life easier.
Used for: Use to whisk items like eggs to add air into the mixture.
A Wooden Spoon
This is the perfect kitchen tool when you just need to combine some ingredient together. The wooden spoon doesn't retain heat, and it also has no flavour to change the taste of your food and lastly they won't scratch bowls when mixing.
Used for: Mixing
Sifting your flour and dry ingredients can help you to remove lumps and impurities which of course is always better for your baking. A metal sieve is the best investment, and once you have, it will last forever.
Used for: Removing lumps from dry ingredients
Greaseproof Paper Or Parchment Paper
There is nothing worse than baking something and having it stick to the walls of the pan or tin. Sometimes even though you grease a tin you may also need to line it with greaseproof paper this ensures that the whatever you are baking will turn out in good condition.
Used for: Protecting baked goods
For this you can use your phone, just set the alarm and go about doing whatever it is that you need to do. This will help you not burn or undercook baked items. You can also buy a timer, and many ovens do have an integrated timer. A mistake would be thinking that you don't need it because all it takes is for the door to knock or the phone to ring for you to be distracted. While you can rescue undercooked foods, burnt foods only have 1 home, and that is the bin. Its no the best use of your time to burn things so set a timer just in case.
Beginning a journey in baking will be something that you enjoy immensely. The feel of the ingredients as you bring them together, the sound of the process, the taste of the ingredients, the smell of the final item. Everything comes together to create an unmatched experience. Just remember that you don’t need to be perfect. Relax with your bake off and enjoy the process.