Essential Baking Tools Slideshow

Slide Image
Oven Thermometer
Headline
Oven Thermometer
Description

Oven temperatures can diverge wildly from the stated settings. If you're planning on doing any baking, braising, or roasting in your oven (or anything at all), spend a few bucks on an oven thermometer to find out what temperature your oven is really at when you set it to say, 350 degrees.

Credit

flickr/sweet mustache

Slide Image
Kitchen Scale
Headline
Kitchen Scale
Description

While many baking recipes geared toward home cooks give measurements in terms of volume, for the greatest accuracy, you'll want to work in terms of weight, especially with dry ingredients. That's because ingredients like flour and sugar can have chunks if not sifted, or settle, and the weight of a cup of flour can vary dramatically because of this. Take the safe road and know exactly how much sugar you've measured out with a kitchen scale. Look for ones with a glass surface for easy cleanup, and for the greatest accuracy, go digital.

Credit

Hemera/Thinkstock

Slide Image
Whisk
Headline
Whisk
Description

For some people, a whisk is a whisk, but for people who plan on making meringue, they might want to look into balloon whisks.

Balloon whisks are big and, well, balloon-shaped, which means they're great for incorporating air into egg whites or anything else that needs to be fluffed up. Balloon equals air.

Credit

Jupiterimages

Slide Image
Mixing Bowls
Headline
Mixing Bowls
Description

Choose stainless steel bowls for ease of cleanup and maximum durability. Have on hand at least three different sizes — small, medium, and large.

Credit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Slide Image
Spatula
Headline
Spatula
Description

Choose heat-resistant silicone spatulas for the greatest versatility. That way, you won't be confined to just folding batter with them. You'll be able to safely use them to make omelettes and scrambled eggs too, without having them melt.

Credit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Slide Image
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Headline
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Description

When baking, chances are you'll want to stick to the directions, and you'll need to be able to measure out ingredients precisely as they're written. Choose stainless steel ones for superior durability. For ease of use, you may choose to invest in a glass wet measure cup as well as a set of dry measure cups. Why? Because wet measure cups are easier to use with liquids than dry measure cups, which are meant to be filled to the top rather than up to a line. Imagine picking up a dry measure cup full of liquid — sploosh!

Credit

Stock.XCHNG/lynnc

Slide Image
Rolling Pin
Headline
Rolling Pin
Description

If you plan on working with dough at all, a rolling pin is a must.

Credit

Stock.XCHNG/topfer

Slide Image
Baking Sheet
Headline
Baking Sheet
Description

Choose a high-quality, heavy-duty baking sheet. Avoid ones that are too thin, or they will bend under the heat and your goods won't bake evenly.

Credit

Stock.XCHNG/gravityx9

Slide Image
Mixer
Headline
Mixer
Description

There's no need to spend a ton of money on a KitchenAid stand mixer; for most purposes, a handheld mixer will do just fine.

Credit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Slide Image
Food Processor
Headline
Food Processor
Description

People who are well-practiced at making pie dough by hand don't need one of these; for everyone else, a food processor is a practical tool that's useful for many other things as well.

Credit

Wikimedia/Donovan Govan

Slide Image
Bench Scraper
Headline
Bench Scraper
Description

Great for cleanup whenever you're working with flour or dough directly on your work surface.

Credit

Wikimedia/Schnolle

Slide Image
Pastry Brush
Headline
Pastry Brush
Description

Useful for everything from brushing off sugar crystals from the sides of a pan to brushing on egg wash, a pastry brush is an indispensable tool in any baker's kitchen.

Credit

Hemera/Thinkstock

Slide Image
Parchment Paper
Headline
Parchment Paper
Description

OK, OK, so it's hard to really call parchment paper a "tool." But look at just about any cookie recipe and chances are, at some point, you'll need parchment paper. It's a must for anyone wishing to keep their baked goods from sticking to the baking sheet.

Credit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock