The Tools Every Beginner Baker Needs

Published

Jun 15, 2022

Author

Courtney Kassel

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The Tools Every Beginner Baker Needs

Whether you’re tasked with a birthday cake for a friend, bringing cookies to a bake sale, or just want to dive into that new cookbook you got, baking can undoubtedly be intimidating for beginners. Baking relies much more heavily on finicky techniques and tools than its cooking counterparts, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So what do you actually need to get started? Spoiler alert: not a whole lot! Let’s get into which tools are actually essential for new bakers, why, and when you’ll be reaching for them.


5 essentials tools for baking beginners:


1. A Good Quality Spatula (or Two!)

Perhaps the most obvious, but also the most important tool for bakers, whether beginner or professional. Spatulas are also the tool I reach for most often in baking to do everything from mix to fold to scrape and beyond. Silicone spatulas like the Spatula are ideal because you never have to worry about damaging your cookware or bakeware when scraping or mixing, yet the silicone is sturdy enough to pick up even the heaviest batters. I love to keep one larger one for thick batters and doughs, plus a smaller spatula like the Mini or thinner spatula like the Skinny to get every last bit out of jars and smaller containers, or to frost cakes and loaves.


I would be remiss if I didn’t include my favorite, the Spoonula. If you’re like me and love to bake, but don’t necessarily love the clean-up, the Spoonula is a solid choice. Almost like a super-charged spatula, this tool has the scraping power of a spatula with a more curved edge to hug the sides of every mixing bowl, meaning none of your precious batter gets left behind. And since it’s also part-spoon, it’s great for scooping and portioning batter into pans. Plus, since it’s a spoon and spatula all in one, it’s one less thing to clean up after you’re done.


And if you’re wondering, I don’t really count the trendy offset spatula in this category, since it’s less of a mixing tool than the others. The flat, angled blade of an offset spatula is great for spreading batter, frosting cakes and cookies, and releasing cakes from their pans. While it’s a very useful tool, I would not consider it an absolute essential if you’re just getting started on your baking journey unless you plan to focus on cakes or cupcakes.

2. Measuring Spoons & Dry and Liquid Measuring Cups

As far as essentials go, these are pretty much the definition of essential. Baking is precise, especially when it comes to leavening agents like baking powder and soda, i.e. the ingredients behind the science of baking. Using accurate measurements is among the best, if not the single best way to ensure baking success. That means using liquid measuring cups for liquids like oil, milk, or sticky sweeteners like honey, and dry measuring cups for well, dry ingredients i.e. your flours, sugars, and leavening agents. One set of each, plus a standard set of measuring spoons will cover all your bases.

3. Sturdy Whisk

Another staple in the kitchen, the whisk is equally versatile in baking and cooking. Whether mixing wet or dry ingredients, or both, a sturdy whisk, like this Whisk from GIR, helps ensure your batters are well-mixed and homogeneous. An uneven batter rises unevenly, and can also result in pockets of flour or butter in your final product, which are not only unpleasant to look at, but also to eat. A whisk is also absolutely essential for recipes that require air to be beaten in; and the GIR whisk was specifically developed to expertly aerate faster than other whisks. That means when it comes time to whip up some meringues, macarons, or whipped cream for frostings, you can make quicker, more even, and more efficient work.


4. Oven Thermometer

Perhaps the most important lesson new bakers can learn is that ovens lie! The temperature you set is not always the temperature you get, so an oven thermometer is crucial to get an even bake and never under or overbake. Sometimes, even a 25-degree margin can be the difference between evenly-baked, well-risen cakes and breads and sunked, underbaked, or burnt baked goods. A thermometer ensures that all your hard work (and expensive ingredients!) never go to waste when they reach the final steps in the oven.

5. Nonstick Baking Mat

More reliable, reusable, environmentally-friendly, silicone baking mats are a baker’s best friend. A nonstick silicone baking mat like the Baking Mat ensures that your cookies, cakes, and macaron release easily and cleanly from the pan. I especially love the Baking Mats because they were specifically designed to fit the standard cookie sheet and half sheet measurements perfectly, making cleanup a breeze. I also love to roll sugar cookie dough or pie crust between two baking mats; it’s easier and more foolproof than parchment paper, and makes transferring to the baking sheet seamless. Oh, and on that note, if you don’t already have one, don’t think you have to immediately invest in a rolling pin– a clean wine bottle works in a pinch.


3 tools to take your baking to the next level:

1. Digital Scale

One of the easiest ways to take your baking skills from good to great is to invest in a digital scale. Most professional bakers and pastry chefs rely on grams and ounces rather than cups and tablespoons for accuracy, so you will find recipes often have both measurements. I love using a scale because it ultimately means less dishes for me when I can measure everything in one bowl on a scale rather than dirtying several cups and spoons.

2. A Pastry Scraper

I must admit, this is my personal favorite tool for baking. I love pastry scrapers, or bench scrapers, because they’re among the best tools to elevate specific tasks from tedious and messy to seamless and genuinely enjoyable. Shaping bread dough transforms from a sticky, frustrating process to a meditative activity; rolling cinnamon buns goes from uneven and time-consuming to seamless. And best of all, it makes cleaning up easier, too. Using a tool like the Scraper turns the mess of flour and sugar all on your counter top into a neat pile that you can then funnel right into the trash in no time. As an added bonus, the GIR Scraper has built-in inch and centimeter markings for precise measuring and cutting, and a curved top specifically intended to scrape any dough off your rolling pin. If you’re looking to level up your doughs, this is the most versatile tool to do so.


3. Pastry Brush

A pastry brush is essential for egg-washing pie crusts or shiny-crusted breads like Challah or Parker House Rolls. It’s also great for greasing cake pans or brushing off excess flour when rolling out cookie or pie dough. And better yet, the cooks in your kitchen can use it for basting steaks and chicken, glazing barbecued meats or veggies, or evenly saucing pizza. I prefer a silicone pastry brush like the Basting Brush to one with natural fibers, as those can fall out over time, leaving wisps of fiber on your baked goods. And, as I mentioned, I’m a lazy baker. Knowing that the GIR basting brush is dishwasher-safe unlike the traditional wooden-handled basting brushes is just another reason I reach for it, especially considering most basting involves sticky sugar or water-resistant fats like olive oil or melted butter. A dishwasher-friendly basting brush is a big win in my book.


With these tools, you’re equipped and ready to tackle any recipe. Good quality tools empower you to be a better baker, so go forth with confidence and happy baking!


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