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Baking Equipment

Many of the following tools are basic bakers tools, along with specialized baking tools, and as your love of baking grows you may find yourself shopping for those less-used, but fun-to-have, or cant-live-without items to add to your collection. Like a kid in a candy store, I have always loved shopping for baking pans, tools, and gadgets. Baking tools are fun to have but beware, as your love of baking grow, shopping for baking tools and equipment can be addicting.

You dont need to buy a whole kitchen full of professional baking equipment to bake well, but do choose each piece carefully.

If you purchase quality baking pans and tools they will increase the quality of your breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries, save you money in the long term, provide years of use, and make your time spent baking atrue pleasure.

The most fundamental components of a bakers kitchen are good quality baking sheets and baking pans. Invest in good-quality commercial-type pans which are heavier and retain heat better than lighter pans, and wont warp or buckle. Most cookie, bread, and cake pans are

made from light-colored aluminum, providing quick steady heat to allow the ingredients to rise evenly and produce tender, delicate crusts.

Cookie sheets are rimless, flat metal sheets, perfectly designed for placing

rows of cookies. They normally have a small rim on the short sides for easy gripping. The long flat edges allow you to slide cookies off the sheet after baking.

Baking sheets have raised edges all around, and are normally the choice for professional bakers. They are a

good, all-purpose pan and can be used for everything from baking cookies to toasting nuts.

You normally want to have a set of 2 cookie sheets or 2 baking sheets, or both. When baking cookies, the second sheet can be waiting to go into the oven while the first one is baking.

If youre buying new, invest in good quality, heavy duty cookie and baking sheets. Heavy duty baking sheets retain heat better, wont warp or buckle when heated, and should last a lifetime.

Choose cookie and baking sheets made of shiny, light colored metals, such as heavy-duty aluminum. The light color encourages even baking and are less likely to burn. Dark metals sheets and nonstick tend to brown baked goods faster; you may need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and reduce the baking time slightly.

Insulated pans have a layer of air trapped between the layers of metal, which help prevent cookies from burning. However, since these pans are poor heat conductors, cookies may not tend to bake and brown as well, and you may over bake the cookies waiting for them to brown.

Jelly Roll pans are the same as a baking sheet. They have a raised edge all around, usually

½ to 1 inch high. The most all-purpose size to have is a 12½ x 17½ by 1 inch Jelly Roll Pan. Jelly roll pans are most often used to make bar cookies, shortbread, sponge cakes, sheet cakes, focaccia breads, and more. A jelly roll pan is also good to place under a fruit pie as it is baking to catch overflowing juices, and to hold springform and tart pans with removable bottoms while baking.

Many basic cake recipes use traditional round layer cake pans that are either 8 or 9 inches in diameter. The pans should be at least 2 or 2½ inches deep so that the batter doesnt overflow. Youll want to have a set of at least two round layer cake pans; however a set of three pans is best as many cake recipes are made with 3 layers. Choose pans with no seams on the inside and a good, heavy feel to them.

Loaf pans are used for most quick bread recipes, such as banana bread and zucchini bread.

Metal, stone, glass, and ceramic loaf pans all work well for quick breads. Loaf pans can also be used for yeast breads. The most useful sizes are a 9¼ x 5¼ x 2½ inch loaf pans for larger loaves and 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inch loaf pans for smaller loaves. Darker loaf pans are good for crusty yeast breads; however light aluminum is best for sweet and quick breads so they dont over-darken.

Cupcake/Muffin Pans and Baking Cups:Cupcake and Muffin pans are a rectangular metal baking pan

with six or twelve cup, used to bake both muffins and cupcakes. Muffin pan sizes are typically mini, standard, and jumbo sized.  Each cup is normally lined with paper baking cups, and then filled with muffin or cake batter. Muffin pans can also be used to bake dinner rolls or individual brownies.A standard muffin pan has 12 cups, each measuring about 2¾ inches at the top and 1-3/8 inches deep. Mini muffin pans normally have either 12 or 24 cups and measure about 1¾ inch across the top and ¾ inch deep.  Jumbo muffin pans normally have 6 cups, and measure 3-3/8 inches across the top and 1¾ inches deep.

Muffin pans are traditionally made of metal; most common are aluminum pans; however flexible silicone pans are now available.

Baking cups are paper or foil cups used to line muffin or cupcake pans. The baking cups hold the batter making it easy to release the baked cakes from the pan. Baking cups are also available in reusable silicone. Paper cups come in a variety of fun and seasonal designs and colors.Shop here forbaking cups.

A single layer sheet cake is most often baked in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch Rectangular Pan,

replacing a typical two-layer cake. The pan should be at least 2 inches deep, and for ease in cleaning, look for pans that have slightly rounded inside corners. Square corners can trap crumbs in the crevices.

Springform pans are used for cheesecakes, streusel-topped cake, delicate tortes, and other cakes that would be damaged by turning them upside down to remove them from the pan. Springform pans are normally round, with expandable sides that are secured with a clamp and have a removable bottom. When the clamp is opened, the sides of the pan expand and release the bottom. When purchasing a springform pan, examine how tightly the side locks onto the pan bottom when clamped into position. Less expensive springform pans may be prone to leaking and will bend or warp easily.

Many bar cookie and brownie recipes, and some small cakes,

use a square baking pan that is either 8 or 9 inches. The pans should be at least 2 or 2½ inches deep so that the batter doesnt overflow. Choose pans with no seams on the inside and a good, heavy feel to them. Aluminum pans are the best for cookies and brownies, and a glass pan is best for fruit desserts, baked custards, and bread puddings.

Tube Pans:The tube is used to conduct heat through the center of a cake, ensuring that the cake bakes evenly. Tube pans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with Angel Food Cake Pans and Bundt Pans being the most common. Except for Angel Food Cake, fluted pans should be generously coated with butter or shortening, then dusted with flour for easy removal from the pan.

tube shaped pan that is ungreased, allowing the cake to raise high by clinging to the sides of the pan, and then turned upside down after baking so the cake does not collapse while cooling. An Angel food cake pan should not be non-stick, allowing the cake to raise by clinging to the sides of the pan and almost doubling in size during baking; and it should include either feet that the pan sits on when turned upside down, or a tube that is wide enough to fit over the top of a glass bottle or wine bottle. A pan with a removable bottom makes removing the cooled cake from the pan, and clean-up easier.

with the d being silent. A Bundt cake is baked in a special pan called a Bundt pan, a ring shaped pan with fluted sided,originally created to prepare German Kugelhopf cake. National Bundt Pan Day is November 15. The modern Bundt pan was developed by the Nordic Ware company in 1950, and its fame rose after a Pillsbury-sponsored baking contest in 1966. The 9 x 4½ inch Nordic Ware Bundt Pan is my favorite, and can be used for many cake recipes.

producing a fancier cake than a basic layer cake.Pans such as Bavaria shape, castle shape, chrysanthemum shape, star shape, heart shape are just a few of the fun shapes to choose from.

baking Kugelhopf, A European cake baked in a special Kugelhopf pan which is a deep, round, tube pan with ornate fluting, and a narrow center tube. The cake is a sweet yeast cake studded with raisins, nuts, and candied fruits, and has a round

Pie pans are available is various sizes and depths. The amount of pie filling will normally determine the type of pie pan to use.

Most pie recipes are written for a 9 inch pie, and the pie pastry and ingredients will normally fit in a 9 x 1½ inch Pie Pan, such as a Pyrex pan with ovenproof glass.Shop here forpie pans.

the best for baking pies as they are an excellent heat conductor, they allow the bottom crust to brown well, the transparency of the glass allows you to see how the crust is browning, the surface is not marred when cutting with a knife, and they are easy to clean.

are beautiful to use and serve from, and the many colors available make them fun to use for holidays and attractive when serving guests.

with a dull satin finish is the best for conducting heat. These pans are not as pretty; however they will not break if dropped. Dark metals can cause the crusts to over-brown and their coated surface can be marred with a knife.

Disposable aluminum pans are inexpensive and handy for freezing and gift-giving, but the thin construction makes these pans a poor heat conductor.

are available in deep dish, and are used when you have a larger quantity of pie filling. The fluted tops enable you to create a beautiful edge with minimal effort.

A flan ring is a metal ring with no fluting

around the sides, and no bottom. The ring is set on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat, and then filled. The baking sheet serves as the bottom of the pan. Flan rings are used to shape open-faced tarts, pastry shells, and some candies.

Tart pans normally have a fluted edge and may come in round, square, or rectangular shapes. They often have a removable bottom which makes is easy to remove the tart without damaging the delicate crust. Since tart pans are normally shallow, about 1 inch deep, the tart crust stars equally along with the filling.

Small tartlette pans are designed as a one-serving size, perfect for buffets or teas. Six 4 or 4½ Tartlette pans will normally replace one large 9 inch tart recipe. Tartlette pans can also be used to make individual cakes and muffins.

A classic Tarte Tatin pan is 9½ inch

diameter copper, lined with tin or stainless steel, with handles on the sides to make un-molding easy. Tarte Tatin is a caramelized upside-down apple tart, a classic French dessert. The pastry is placed over the caramelized apples before baking, and then after baking, the tart is turned out of the pan so the

Baba molds are tall straight-sided,

cylindrical shaped molds about 1½ to 3 inches in diameter, and 1½ to 4 inches in height. They are specifically designed for the classic yeast-raised sweet cakes called Babas. These same molds can be used for individual parfaits, mousses, and ice cream desserts.

A brioche mold is a deep, beautifully fluted round mold, made of tinned steel. They are specifically made for baking the traditional French knot-shaped brioche loaf. A small brioche mold can also be used for baking small cakes, muffins, and individual sweet breads. A large brioche mold can be used for larger cakes and sweet breads.

Ceramic dishes come is round, oval, and rectangular shapes, and a variety of colors. They are perfect for baking crust-less fruit desserts such as fruit crisps, cobblers, crumbles, and bread puddings, allowing your dessert to go from the oven to your table.

A classic French Charlotte mold is a round,

tinned steel mold shaped like a straight-sided bucket, and a handle on each side. A Charlotte is lined with ladyfingers, Madeleines, cake, or occasionally bread, and then filled with mousse, custard, cream, or fruit.

These are 6 ounce cups for baking custards.

Their small size are also good for holding cooked puddings or other desserts, and are also useful for holding pre-measured ingredients when  prepping ingredients for cookies or cakes.

A double boiler is a set of two pans nested together, with enough room in the bottom pan for 1 or 2 inches of water. Double boilers are used to cook or heat foods that need gentle heat, such as melting chocolate.  The water in the bottom pan is brought to a simmer, and the second pan is set on top.

Popover pans have deep, narrow cups,

which force the popover batter to rise up and out, producing the typical tall popover shape. Popover pans made of a dark metal produce the best crust with a golden brown color. A muffin pan may be substituted; however the finished popovers will not be as tall.

A savarin mold is a ring mold with an

extra-large hole in its center. A savarin mold is made specifically for the classic French Savarin dessert which is a light, yeast-risen sweet cake soaked with liqueur syrup. However a Savarin mold can also be used for other cake and quick bread batters, ice creams and mousses.

A pudding steamer is used for steaming some puddings and breads. These pans are typically molded of aluminum or tinned steel with a tube in the middle and a clip-on watertight lid to keep

the bread or pudding moist while baking. Breads, such as Boston Brown Bread, and puddings such as a traditional Christmas pudding are best when baked in a pudding steamer. After placing the batter in the steamer, the lid is clamped on and the pan is set on a rack in a kettle of 1 or 2 inches of simmering water. The bread or pudding is steamed on the stove top or in the oven for 1 to 3 hours until cooked through, resulting in a dessert that is dense, moist, chewy, and beautifully shaped when it is turned out.

Madeleines are a small and tender French cake that is baked in a special pan called a

Madeleine pan with shell-shaped imprints.  The Madeleine pan, also known as a Madeleine plaque, must be generously greased and floured to prevent the delicate cakes from sticking to the pan. Madeleines are sometimes thought of as a cookie, but are actually little buttery spongy cakes, sometimes delicately flavored with lemon, orange, or almond. Madeleine pans usually have 8 or 12 shallow shell-shaped imprints, and come in tinned steel, metal with a nonstick finish, and pliable silicone. A Madeleine pan can also be used to make other formed cookies, such as shortbread, tiny muffins, and petits fours.

paper panettone mold. It is the perfect way to bake, serve, and give as a gift all in one. Panettone is sweet, yeast-risen bread, filled with raisins and candied peels that are a Christmas specialty of Milan, Italy. It has a tall cylindrical shape with a domed top, and is eaten as a breakfast bread, afternoon tea, or dessert.

Souffl dishes are round, with deep, straight sides and decorative ridges on the outside. They range in size from ¼ cup up to 8 cups. Smaller souffl dishes, also called ramekins, can also be used to bake individual souffls, custards, bread puddings or crisps or cobblers. The smaller sizes are also useful for holding pre-measured ingredients when

A good set of mixing bowls will be your constant companion while baking, used for mixing, whipping creams or egg whites, preparing ingredients, raising breads, or just storing food in the refrigerator.Shop here formixing bowls.

A set of clear glass nesting bowls are a popular choice,

providing several sizes to choose from depending on the task at hand, and with several bowls you dont have to wash and reuse the same bowl as often. Glass bowls are also microwave safe and can be used on top of a double boiler. Have at least one small, one medium, and one large mixing bowl, and having two of each is even better. Having one extra-small and one extra-large bowls are also useful to have.

Stainless steel bowls are another good all-around choice;

they are lightweight, durable, and can be heated, but can tend to dent easily and are not microwave safe.

Crockery bowls are very attractive, and normally oven-safe, however they are heavier and can chip if youre not careful with them.

Copper bowls are beautiful and expensive. However no bowl is better for beating egg whites into meringue. A chemical reaction occurs between the egg protein and the copper, giving the egg whites

greater volume and stability than when they are beaten in a stainless steel or other bowl. Copper is often used when making candy and sugars since it is an excellent conductor of heat.

and are lightweight, but may not be micro-wave safe.

Plastic Bowls and Aluminum Bowls:These are the least desirable. Plastic will absorb odors and fat which can transfer into your ingredients. Aluminum bowls will react toacidic foodsto impart a metal taste.

Good quality measuring spoons and cups or a scale is a must for baking. Baking is a precise science and all measuring should be precise to ensure successful baking.

Basic measuring spoon sets include measures for 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon. Larger measuring spoon sets may also include 1/8 teaspoon, 3/4 teaspoon, and

1/2 tablespoon. My favorite measuring spoons are stainless steel as they have sharp precise edges and provide the most accurate measuring.

Measuring spoons are used for measuring small amounts of ingredients such as spices, leaveners, and extracts, and very small amounts of liquids. Pour liquids, such as vanilla extract, to the rim of the spoon; level dry ingredients, such as salt or baking soda with a straightedge. Its helpful to have two sets of measuring spoons so you dont have to wash and dry the spoons to measure multiple ingredients.Shop here formeasuring spoons.

Basic dry measuring cups are purchased in a set that includes 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.  Larger measuring cup sets may also include 1/8 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 1½ cup measures. A dry measuring cup does not have a pouring spout; instead they should have a straight edge to allow for easy

leveling. Dry measuring cups are used to measure all dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, and oats, also for semisolid ingredients such as jam, shortening, sour cream, and peanut butter.

When measuring, add the ingredient into the measuring cup so that it is mounded and overfull, and then level it off by sweeping a straight edge, such as a metal ruler or knife, across the top of the measuring cup, leveling off the ingredient. My favorite measuring cups are stainless steel as they are the most durable and have the best edges; however you may also find acrylic cups you prefer. Its helpful to have two sets of measuring cups so you dont have to wash and dry the cups to measure multiple ingredients.Shop here fordry measuring cups.

All liquid ingredients, such as water, milk, or juice are measured in a liquid

measuring cup. Liquid measuring cups should be made of clear glass or plastic, have a pouring spout, and have clear measurement markings on the side. It is handy to have a 1 cup measure, along with a 2 cup and 4 cup measure for most baking projects.  Liquid measuring cups are also handy for warming milk or melting butter in the microwave. To accurately measure, place the measuring cup on a flat surface and pour the liquid in up to the marking for the amount you need. Let the liquid stop swishing around to determine the level it is at.

An everyday 18 inch clear plastic, metal, or wood ruler is a helpful tool for measuring pans, measuring rolled pastry dough, cutting bar cookies into uniform sizes, as a guide when splitting cakes into

equal layers, or measuring 1 inch cuts for cinnamon rolls. The ruler also provides a neat, straight cutting edge and is easy to wash.

Professional bakers use scales to weigh ingredients instead of using measuring cups to measure by volume, for the simple reason that weight measurements are more precise and accurate.  Scales are used to

measure dry ingredients, along with nuts, dried and fresh fruits, and chocolate, and to measure out portions of dough. The scale is also helpful to determine if multiple cake pans have the same amount of batter.

There are two types of scales, digital and mechanical, with digital scales being the most accurate. A thin, battery powered digital scale with a flat platform for weighing is affordable and is the easiest to use for most home bakers. Look for a scale that measures up to about 10 pounds, has an automatic shut-off that will remain on for at least 5 minutes, has a tare button to reset the scale to zero in order to measure the next ingredient, and the ability to change from pounds and ounces to metric. In addition, all the buttons and controls should be on the front of the scale, not the bottom or thebackof the scale.Shop here forkitchen scales.

Rubber or Silicone spatulas are one of the most versatile and important tools in a baking kitchen. Rubber spatulas have mostly been replaced with silicone spatulas which are easier to

clean and have a higher heat resistance. Spatulas have many uses including scraping batters down from the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl, spreading  fillings, stirring stove top custards and chocolate while heating, folding lighter ingredients into heavy batters, scrambling eggs, and more.

Spatulas come in a variety of sizes and may be made of a solid piece of silicone or have a silicone blade attached to a wooden, plastic or stainless steel handle. A small 1 inch spatula is handy for scraping out the inside of measuring cups and containers. A 2 inch spatula is good for stirring, blending, and scraping the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl. A larger 3 inch spatula is best for folding ingredients together.Shop here forrubber and silicone spatulas.

A wire whisk is another versatile baking tool, used to whisk or stir wet or dry ingredients together, beating egg whites or cream, stirring ingredients as they heat in a saucepan and folding ingredients together. Whisks come in various sizes and strength of wire. The stronger the wire, the heavier the task the whisk can perform. A

sauce whisk is long and narrow, designed to blend mixtures, reach into the corners of a saucepan, and whisk out any lumps without incorporating a lot of air into the mixture. A round, fat balloon whisk is designed to add air to mixtures and is the best choice for whipping egg whites and heavy cream. A small mini whisk is also helpful for small jobs such as beating eggs or egg yolks.

Nothing beats a good set of wooden spoons in the kitchen

. Wooden spoons are strong and durable, withstand heat, wont scratch nonstick pans, and perfect for stirring almost anything, including hot liquids on the stove top. Purchase spoons that are well made, strong, and

Bench Scraper:Also called a board scraper, or dough scraper; this is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. Bench scrapers measure about 6 by 3 inches, have a straight edge, are normally marked with measurement markings, and have a plastic or wooden handle or curved edge for gripping.

Bench scrapers can be used for everything from cutting dough, to scraping flour or crumbs off a pastry board or counter, loosening dough from a work surface as you knead, scoring certain cookies such as shortbread, leveling a cup when measuring dry ingredients, transferring pastry or bread dough from one place to another, and transferring chopped nuts or chocolate from a cutting board into a bowl. My favorite tool to cut bar cookies is a stainless steel bench scraper; simply push the bench scraper straight down into the cookie for straight cuts.

a dough scraper is a small, flexible plastic scraper that is rounded on one edge and flat on the other. The rounded edge is used to get every last bit of batter, dough, or frosting out of a mixing bowl, or flour and dough bits off your rolling pin.The flat edge can be used to clean your work surface or spread and level batters in pans. A dough scraper is also good for cleaning stuck-on food from pans.

Also known as a flour wand or flour shaker, this old-fashioned tool is used to dust a work