10 Baking Essentials Every Home Needs
There are a few key baking tools and tips to keep in mind while you’re baking up a storm in the kitchen. From whisks to rolling pins, baking powder and other long-life essentials, having the proper equipment can make baking effortless.
Whether you’re an avid baker or new to the baking scene, Joseph Joseph has created a simple guide to the basic pieces of kit you’ll need.
So here it is: the top ten to help make home baking a piece of cake!
5 Basic Baking Tools & Equipment
Every recipe should start with the scales. With cooking you can guess quantities and substitute, but baking is a finer art. Recipes are tweaked and fine-tuned over time to the exact measurement – so don’t go making the mistake of measuring by eye or your fanciful soufflé will be more ‘fancy scrambled egg’.
Again, this is one of those tools you can’t substitute if you want results. You can try a fork if you have to, but we promise you’ll realise your mistake for not investing in this wonder.
For the lightest sponge, featherweight angel cakes or the airiest meringue you’ll need a good quality hand whisk and a whipping technique that means business.
3. Baking Parchment
If there’s one item on this list you’ll probably forget about until it’s too late it’s this. A sheet of baking parchment will make your life a lot easier when you want to get your finished product out of the pan.
If you’re caught out and have no baking paper to hand a good lining of butter around the tin will help, but there is really nothing worse than leaving chunks of your freshly baked masterpiece in the tin once the hard part has been done.
4. Rolling Pin
A good wooden rolling pin is for life. It’s the family favourite that’s been rolled by flour-covered hands and sticky little mitts alike.
For first-timers or children it’s also really worth investing in a rolling pin with wheels or rings as well: perfectly flat dough is key - many an uneven biscuit has been ruined by being a little too crispy on one side and squidgy on the other.
The king of silicone kitchen utensils, this tool was made for the best part of baking; we could say that it’s there to minimise mess and ensure all the batter gets into the tray, but in reality it’s to make sure you get all that leftover batter into your mouth.
5 Key Ingredients to Get Started
1. Baking Powder
This is one of two key raising agents; baking powder is an ‘all rounder’ baking essential made from a mix of simple raising agents that fill the ‘wet’ mixture with bubbles of carbon dioxide that become pockets of air once baked. Unlike Bicarbonate of Soda it also has a filler to help absorb some moisture.
Don’t be tempted into thinking adding more will mean a lighter bake though! Always stick to the recipe as too much baking powder will actually make your bake collapse as well as taste terrible.
2. Bicarbonate of Soda
Much like baking powder, this raising agent works by releasing bubbles of air into the batter or ‘wet’ mixture once it’s added, so it’s vital to add it last minute before baking begins.
However, unlike baking powder, bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda) is more alkaline and needs an acid to work which tends to work best in stronger flavoured bakes such a ginger breads, chocolate or fruit-based cakes.
Sounds strange but few people know that a sprinkling of salt is a baker’s best friend when using flour. Adding a small amount (no more than a pinch) helps take the edge of flour’s ‘clay’-like flavour and regulate yeast if needed.
4. Vanilla Essence
Vanilla essence is brilliant for adding a little something extra to any sweet bake. Unlike vanilla extract, which is alcohol based and has a more ‘artificial’ vanilla flavour, a teaspoon of good-quality essence (or even vanilla pods) is guarantee to add a little lift of French-style finesse to even the most basic sponge.
Cornflour, or corn starch, is a fine, tasteless powder that acts as a thickening agent and can help stabilise the texture of runny, liquid-based dough. When added to liquid it becomes a smooth cream which binds the batter together. Never add directly to hot liquid or it will form lumps! Mix with two parts cold liquid then stir in.