Time to get baked! Erm, get baking*! Whether you are an old pro or a novice trying to break into the highly competitive world of high-stakes baking, there are certain supplies you need in order to pull off your favorite recipes.
Baking is more than just a hobby; for some, it’s a passion. But even the uninitiated could use a few tools and utensils to keep up with those crazy folks on The Great British Bake-Off!
So, if you want to get baking and spoil your friends and family with delicious desserts, read on for the professional baking equipment you need in your kitchen!
Bakering Bad on AMC
Maybe the pandemic made you into a bonafide banana bread baker or a muffin master. Maybe you had your great aunt’s fruit cake and think it’s time you take over the mantle of family dessert chef. Whatever the case, it never hurts to learn a little about the past to inform your present passion!
Ancient baking likely dates back to Croatia, some 6,500 years ago. There, the oldest ovens were discovered, but it’s the Egyptians who hold the distinction of the first civilization to use yeast in their bread around 2,600BC.
From there, the next notable entry into the baking cannon was the formation of the Roman Empires Baker’s Guild, which was established in 168 BC. Known as the Pistorum, the organization was a coalition of bread bakers recognized for the first time as skilled artisans. Anyone who has tried to make a nice bread for a dinner party will agree that much skill is involved!
The Romans had a love of baking, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has visited the local Italian bakery and enjoyed one of the many treats from cannoli to sfogliatella. Baking was so well respected that a yearly festival was thrown to celebrate the Italian god of ovens, Fornax (not to be confused with her tree-loving cousin, the Lorax).
Malcolm in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, it was uncommon to have an oven in the home, which made baking a challenge. We mean, you only have so much precious time until the plague gets ya.
If by some chance, you were one of the fancy socialites who could afford to have an oven in the home, you were likely using it for heat first and baking last. This was because fuel was at such a premium (and you thought gas prices today were bad!).
If you had a stove and the fuel to heat them, your best course of action would be to learn how to make a nice loaf of bread. Back in the Middle Ages, if you could produce a high-quality loaf of bread, you could climb the social ladder. Essentially, you would become the town baker overnight and raise your value in the community.
But, there was a catch! Wheat in the Middle Ages was reserved for only the wealthy. If you were a poor person, as most were, you had to deal with rye and black bread while the elite ate fine, floured wheat bread and dense, rich cakes. Funny enough, these cakes were literally very dense, with some weighing ten to 20 pounds! The baking was substance-focused and emphasized bread and pies.
When You’re 15th Century, and Someone Tells You They Love You
When you think of baking, the first word that comes to mind is globalization, right? Well, maybe not, but globalization and economic growth in the 16th and 17th centuries transformed the baking industry into a whole new beast. There weren’t exactly warehouse supermarkets with exclusive deals on the regular.
Due to an explosion of spices, the baking industry saw ample expansion in 15th Century England. A few mainstays in bakeries entered the market, including sweet dough, mincemeat pies, and gingerbread. These treats, made with lots of cream and butter, were enjoyed by those with enough cash to buy them.
For the first time, the middle class and average person could afford such treats thanks to the economic growth in the century. The accessibility of ingredients led to people making cakes and biscuits. Later in the 17th century, sugar dropped in price, and people started to enjoy more desserts, such as pastries, cakes, pies!
The first cooking literature also came out of this time period. They included recipes for items like yeasted cakes and buns. Kitchen equipment like cake tins popped up as well
The Industrial Revolution was a turning point for baking. Now that many dessert-making ingredients were accessible, the technology finally caught up. The semi-closed oven and the release of The Art of Cookery in 1747 made baking a real skill.
Baking powder also came to the market in the 19th century, making previously dense, yeast-based cakes lighter and more fluffy. Enter from stage left: new recipes.
Modern Baking on ABC
Well, aren’t you just a little baking historian now! Let’s get to the baking supplies you need in your kitchen to start writing some baking history of your own.
Sir Mix A Lot
How are you going to combine all those ingredients without a sturdy countertop mixer? Baking is a science, after all, and you need to mix and match to create the perfect concoction of confections. A handheld mixer will do, but countertop mixers are the best option. They are more sturdy and less of a workout. (When we say we’re cut, we mean: cookie cutters.)
A Measured Response
How are you going to nail the recipe if you don’t have the proper measurements for your ingredients? Measuring cups and bowls are essential for nailing your recipe. If you just eye everything, you are going to mess up your recipe and waste your time! Guesswork doesn’t work. Again, baking is a science! You can’t just eyeball splitting an atom!
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Weigh
A baker’s scale will also increase the accuracy of your ingredient measurements, especially when using items like flour sifters or sieves.
Man on the Spoon
You are going to need spoons, spatulas, and scrapers to get those ingredients out of the bowl and into the pan (also, if you don’t have bowls by now, like, come on! What are ya doing?!?). One wooden spoon is enough, but two is better! These are sturdy and perfect for stirring.
A rubber or silicone spatula/scraper will be needed more often than you might think. Batter and dough are notoriously difficult to get out of a bowl or pan. The rubber spatula is so perfect for getting every last bit from the nooks and crannies.
A regular metal spatula is best to have when it’s time to get those cookies, brownies, or cakes off of the pan or tray. Opt for a thin metal one, but make sure it’s durable.
Timer of the Season
Kitchen timers may seem a bit superfluous considering you have a timer on your stove, microwave, and phone, but it is just safer to have a dedicated timer whose only job is to keep track of whatever is in the oven.
(Non-)Stick ‘Em up!
If you’ve tried to bake in the past only to have your cookies stick to the baking sheet, you are not alone! Put those days behind you and invest in a nonstick baking mat. With one of these, your cookies and candies will never again stick to your sheet pan, and you will have the added benefit of a more even bake.
In Your PANtry
There’s a reason it’s called a pantry, right? You need PANS, man! Pans are a crucial part of every recipe. A regular baking pan is a must-have because you can use it for cakes, brownies, cookies, and just about every other sweet treat you can think of.
If you can only have one pan for some reason, stick with a regular baking pan. If you can spring for another couple of pans, go with round cake pans. These are great for, you guessed it, cake! Two are better than one, so you can make a layered cake and have both in the oven at the same time.
If you are feeling really pan crazy, invest in a loaf pan. Banana, pumpkin, and zucchini bread all require a nice loaf pan. You can also make yeast bread in one of these.
Another pan you can consider is a muffin pan. You can use this to cook pizza. Just kidding! These are great for making muffins or cupcakes. A pie plate is useful, too, if you are interested in trying pie recipes.
Baking sheets/cookie sheets are a necessity in your kitchen, and you would likely benefit from having two. Look for one with raised edges since they help with air circulation and even baking.
A square baking pan is good for baking brownies, cornbread, and cookie bars.
Cut and Pastry
A pastry bag is great to have around. You can reuse them after a quick wash, and they make decorating cakes and cookies a breeze. Most will come with a set of pastry tips to create high-quality designs with precision, just like a professional pastry chef.
Get a rolling pin! A wooden rolling pin is needed for many styles of baking. Use them to flatten dough and fondant and some types of holiday cookies.
Last but not yeast, make sure you have a wire rack for cookies and cakes, so they don’t turn out soggy and unappetizing.
Be Aware of Bakeware
If you stock up on the right tools, there isn’t a recipe that you won’t be able to handle. So, invest now and get baking.
We mean, you are basically a professional baker now, so when are you opening up your own bakery? Can we get some discounts on that beautiful pastry showcase right there?
For more exclusive offers, wild accessories, and shelves full of things you didn’t know you needed, check out our Bulbhead catalog.