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Jul 10, 2008 07:37 PM

Need baking tools, starting from scratch

Baking has sparked my interest. I‘m trying to compose a list of items I need to order. Items being made are muffins, cookies, pizza, breads, rolls, etc.

The only baking tools I own is a cookie sheet, silicon spatula and a Pyrex measuring cup. I just ordered a 6QT KitchenAid mixer and a ceramic deep dish pizza pan. I don’t have mixing bowls, a whisk, flour or even sugar on hand except for some small sugar packets for cappuccinos so I am really starting from scratch.

Stuff I think I will need:

Pastry Board (wood, marble, silicone?)
Mixing bowls. (glass, stainless, ceramic, copper?)
Cooling rack/Cookie sheets
Baking stone
Muffin pans
Loaf pans
Baguette pan
Baking mat
Rolling Pin
Flour Sifter
Pastry Scraper
Spatula set
Measuring cups/spoons

Do I go for silicon pans? Which item if any do I need to spend more on? Anything else I should add on the list. I haven't found any baking sets worth buying. I'm not looking for the cheapest items or the most expenisve

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  1. Looks like a pretty good list. One thing I'd include would be those paper cups for cupcakes and muffins. No worries about trying to pry things out. And books. Recipes in all-purpose bookbooks are very limitecd. For something much better than the standard white bread loaf, I'm enamored of Carol Field's "The Italian Baker" (there are other things in there besides bread, of course).

    If you do a Chowhound search on baking book you'll find other excellent suggestions.

    1. good list. i might add pie pans, springform pans, and other cake pans as you get going/interested. some folks might want to add pastry bag/tip set, cookie press, ramekins. as you get into baking you will probably want to buy an accurate kitchen scale so you can go by baker's weights in recipes rather than cups/measures, but you won't need any of this immediately. you will eventually want assorted cutters-- biscuit, cookie, pizza cutter. pie weights, cake pans for layer cakes, handheld electric/manual beaters (for whipping cream/frosting), egg separator. a very cheap but very handy tool is a cake tester (very thin wire). icing spatulas. high quality silicon spatulas (heat resistant), a basic cake server. a basic, sturdy, long serrated knife (for cutting slices in wide loaves, and layer cakes in half). a very underrated but essential baker's tool is an oven thermometer. many home ovens are inaccurate and this tool will help you adjust cooking times & ensure recipe success.

      your first priorities for tools/equipment should be: whisks, bench/pastry scrapers, measuring cups/spoons, a good rolling pin, mixing bowls (i'd start w stainless). get a nice baking stone as soon as you are able because it will improve the quality of whatever you bake. check local thrift stores/secondhands for high-quality used baking tools, this art is fading from common practice and sometimes you can get higher quality stuff at goodwill for pennies(!) than you can buy at top dollar at the premium cookware stores. vintage baking equipment is generally stellar. buy your first cooling racks, specialty cake pans/cookie sheets, loaf pans, muffin pans, brownie pans, misc. at the secondhand store & upgrade as necessary, as you perfect your favorite recipes/techniques. if you totally luck out, you can get your pastry board secondhand, otherwise this is absolutely an investment to save up for. i like a large marble slab kept cool, and also a large heavy wood board. a floured cloth overlay is useful for pie crusts. i'm not nuts about silicon bake ware-- i end up using these for frozen molded desserts. prefer old-fashioned shiny tin bakeware, & glass. not ceramic. stoneware is great though. you also want to have a set of decent knives, a good peeler, perhaps a cherry pitter if you are doing a lot of pies & fruit based desserts.

      don't forget to spend money on ingredients and books, this is more important than your choice of cookware ime. don't forget to buy parchment paper. bla bla bla-- listen to me, i'm not even a great baker.

      1 Reply
      1. re: soupkitten

        I finally got rid of my marble board because I never used it. I have a silicone mat for rolling out pie crust and pastry, and I put this over a stone counter. Sometimes I just flour the counter and use that, but I prefer the silicone mat because you need less flour and the pastry doesn't stick. I absolutely second the advice for an accurate kitchen scale. There are many very accurate and inexpensive versions of these available, and I frequently weigh my ingredients instead of measuring for greater accuracy. Many cookbooks now give weight as well as measure, and if you compare the weight of what you have in a measuring cup with the weight that the recipe specifies, you will find that you are over/under measuring. It is inevitable, and avoidable with a scale. It is frequently written that cooking is an art and baking is a science, and this is particularly true when it comes to things like cakes. Bread is more a matter of feel, but for a good result with cakes, you should use a scale.

      2. The equipment I use most -- for nearly everything I bake, in fact -- is, in roughly the frequency of use:

        flat-bottomed stainless steel mixing bowls (I've got oodles, ranging from 3/4 quart to 20 quarts)
        silicone spatulas (get several, in different colors, so you can tell them apart)
        a good digital scale, one that reads by grams and 0.05 ounce, to 5 kg (11 lbs)
        glass measuring cups (pyrex or the like)
        measuring spoons
        measuring cups
        half sheet pans
        parchment paper
        cooling racks
        stand mixer

        Beyond that, it becomes recipe dependent. You need cake pans to bake cakes, pie pans for pies, etc. Buy that sort of stuff as you decide you need it.

        1. Thanks for all the suggestions. My list of items was composed of items from people’s list on Amazon. I choose what I think I would need.

          I was already looking at digital scales to make even burgers. Now I’ll have another use for it. An oven thermometer was also something I was going to buy. I use one on my BBQ grill grate.

          Things I’m adding on my list for initial purchase:
          parchment paper
          egg separator
          a springform pan
          muffin paper cups
          long serrated knife for breads -currently using a steak knife. I know, I know =)

          I’ll add other cake pans, icing utensils as I go along. I’ll be baking the most basic of things initially. The last time I made cookies or cake from a box mix was a dozen years ago when I was a kid.

          I guess, I’ll drop the idea of silicon pans and go for traditional metal based. For a whisk, do I get a balloon, ball whisk or French whisk? Heavy rolling pin with ball bearings or the type with a single stick? Do I need two sets of measuring spoons? For if a recipe asks for 1 tablespoon of yeast then 2 tablespoon of sugar or something. Do I need to worry about contaminating the remaining supply of yeast, sugar or other powder?

          I don’t think I’ll have time to try second hand stores. My mother used to buy cookware via thrift shops and yard sales when I was a child. I prefer to have mine new since I’m a germaphob =)

          1 Reply
          1. re: The_Whistler

            I agree with dscheidt's list.

            You don't need an egg separator, just use the eggshell halves or your fingers. You also don't need a sifter, just use a whisk, or a fine-mesh strainer. I would also skip the springform pan unless you have a specific use for it in mind. I have used mine once in the last 8 years. You are also right to skip silicone baking pans, they are practically worthless.

            If you intend to use the parchment for cookie sheets, I'd skip it and buy a couple Silpats instead.

            Whisk: French, OXO makes a couple very good ones.
            Rolling pin: Whatever you prefer, I like the one with the rotating drum, some people like the one-piece (a.k.a. the 'french' rolling pin).
            Spoons: Two sets are nice, but not necessary. 3 teaspoons equal a tablespoon, and 16 tablespoons equal a cup, so if one spoon is dirty you can usually measure with some other implement. These are my favorite measuring spoons:


            The slender shape lets me get into spice jars and other narrow containers.

            I wouldn't worry too much about cross-contamination between things like sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, just keep a side towel handy and wipe the measuring spoon off in between measurements. However, I would hesitate to stick a spoon that had been used for yeast into something else (or vice versa).

          2. Thanks for the tips. I made a trip to Williams Sonoma to window shop and grabbed a few items from my list. I had to splurge and get the All-Clad measuring set. The cups are mini sauce pot like. I also went to the grocery store to grab a bunch of ingredients.

            Items purchased from Williams Sonoma:

            mixing bowls (10 glass nesting bowls)
            measuring spoons (All-Clad)
            measuring cups (All-Clad)
            pastry scraper
            pastry blender

            Will be ordering from Amazon this weekend:

            Cooling rack
            Jelly roll sheet (Chicago Metallic half sheet)
            Muffin pan (12-Cup)
            Silpat mat (half sheet)
            Oven Thermometer
            Loaf pan (Pyrex)
            Whisk (Kuhn Rikon 10-Inch French)
            egg separator (its cheap $2)
            cake tester (also cheap $2)

            Marble Pastry Board - Maybe this one from Sur La Table

            Stuff I‘ll order shortly. Need to see exactly what my needs are first:

            Extra silicone spatulas
            digital scale
            Baguette pan or terracotta/stone bread baker
            Baking stone
            Canisters for flour and sugar
            Rolling pin - I don’t think I’ll be making anything that calls for it just yet.