Baking Tips: Necessary Equipment Needed For Baking

Discover what the essential items are that you need to start baking your own cakes, cookies, brownies and other goodies!

So you've decided you want to start baking. Well, if staring at the kitchen equipment at your local department store causes you mental overload, have no fear. I have compiled here a list of the items no baker should be without. In the interest of financial well-being, we'll try and keep it to the minimum.

The first thing most people think of when they consider baking equipment is the pans. You can't bake a cake without a cake pan! But cake pans are only the beginning. Choose your pans according to what you would like to bake. If you aren't interested in baking bread, then loaf pans aren't really a necessity. The pans that you are most likely to need are a rectangular cake pan (these usually measure 9x13" or 11x7"), round cake pans (usually 8"), a square cake pan (usually 8" or 9"), and cookie sheets. Also useful depending on what you want to bake are muffin tins, pie pans, and loaf pans. The material of your cake pans is also something to consider. Nonstick pans are great for baking because they're easy to clean, but metal utensils will scratch them. Aluminum pans are lightweight but will rust if not dried properly. Glass is widely used, but it will break if not handled with care. Also keep in mind that things baked in dark colored metal pans generally don't need to bake as long.

Now, you can't very well bake a cake without mixing the batter, either. You'll need several items for the preparation of your baked goods. To start out with, you'll need several sizes of mixing bowls, ranging from small to large. While it's not necessary to buy an entire set of bowls, the different sizes will come in handy. There's not much point in beating one egg in a gigantic mixing bowl, and you certainly can't mix up a whole batch of cookies in a small bowl.

Measuring equipment is also very important. Buy a good set of measuring spoons. The silverware you have in your kitchen drawers will not measure the same as an actual measuring spoon. You'll also need a set of dry measuring cups and a liquid measuring cup. Dry measuring cups are the kind that usually nest together, and liquid cups generally look like a pitcher. It's important not to use your dry measuring cups to measure liquid and vice versa because the ingredients will not measure out right.

For the actual mixing, the easiest thing to use is an electric mixer. You can get either a stand mixer or a handheld one. For the beginner, a handheld electric mixer is probably the best bet. They're small, easy to store, and much cheaper than a stand mixer. They don't handle thick dough or large amounts of ingredients as well as a stand mixer though. It is, of course, possible to mix with a regular old spoon, but it's so much easier to use an electric mixer. For certain things though, you will need spoons. Large size wooden or metal ones work well and are very durable. Having several sizes on hand is nice, but not a necessity. A whisk is a good item to have on hand, but is also not absolutely needed. Whisks are wonderful for mixing items with a thin consistency, such as eggs. You should also invest in a good thin bladed spatula or scraper. These can be used for mixing, and are also wonderful for scraping batter out of the mixing bowl and into the pan. Silicone spatulas are more expensive than the regular rubber ones, but they are much more durable and stand up to higher temperatures without melting.

Depending on how much money you'd like to spend and what you're planning on baking, several other items could come in handy. Cooling racks are used to place pans on to cool, but you can always use the stove for that. A cooling rack will allow items to cool quicker and more evenly because the air can circulate, but you can certainly get by without one. A rolling pin is necessary if you'd like to bake pies or cookies that need rolled out.

There are many gadgets and gizmos designed to make life in the kitchen easier, but most of them are totally unnecessary. I hope I've been able to enlighten you somewhat on what you need and what you don't. Best of luck in your baking adventures!

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