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Current Thread:

Baker peas, or even all cooking peas, what are your favorite and most helpful kitchen tools?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 10/7/2012 by liasmommy2000 in NSBR Board
 

liasmommy2000
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:24:37 AM
I like to bake but until recently didn't have a lot of time to do so. I'm trying to do more and am wondering what bakeware, gadgets etc I should add to my kitchen. I have all the basics I think but maybe I'm missing something or there are things I haven't heard of etc.

So any recommendations that I can add to my Christmas list? I mostly bake cookies, brownies, and muffins. However I'd like to try some different cakes and quick breads etc. Pies, well I suck at those and am thinking of taking a pie class offered by a local bakery but am not certain. They kind of scare me lol. My mom makes awesome pies and once spent an afternoon teaching my sister and I, but I still suck. However I know I need to practice more but so far just leave the pie making to mom!


Laurie

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Dalai Mama
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:29:20 AM
My best tool for baking is my KitchenAid.


Jo Mama

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liasmommy2000
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:32:20 AM

My best tool for baking is my KitchenAid.


Check! Have one. However mine is from the 90's and forest green. I really really want the raspberry ice color. Not a good reason for getting another, sigh. But I can't stop looking at it online.


Laurie

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creativeflmom
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:36:33 AM
besides a kitchenaid I love my stoneware from Pampered Chef. Also the scoops and cooling rack from PC is a favorite.


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nlwilkins
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:38:06 AM
Hmm, let see.

  • I love whisks
  • rubber spatulas that can take the heat up to 600 degrees,
  • mixing bowls (more than one set),
  • multiple muffin tins so I don't have to wait to get one out to refill it, but can put the whole batch in at one time,
  • Stones to bake on in the oven
  • Pot holders, the mitten kind
  • multiple measuring cups, the liquid kind as well as the solid kind
  • A good set of knives


I am sure there are more, but these things I consider absolutely necessary.


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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:41:13 AM
You could always have the KA painted!

I love to bake as well. One of the best investments I made were those heavy gold baking pans from WS. A good pan makes a difference. A Silpat liner is wonderful for cookies.

I have several measuring cups. Love my OXO one that has the levels inside the cup. No more squatting down to see the level.



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Sarah*H
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:42:45 AM
I bake, maybe not every day, but close to it. I'm not a gadget person. For example, I never use my kitchenaid for regular baking projects.

My big investments were big glass bowls, lots of them. Lots of strong mixing spoons. A nice set of measuring spoons and cups. Vollrath cookie sheets.



dulcemama
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:52:44 AM

My big investments were big glass bowls, lots of them. Lots of strong mixing spoons. A nice set of measuring spoons and cups. Vollrath cookie sheets.

I agree with this. I personally prefer aluminium bakeware. And I would add a good kitchen scale.



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styxgirl
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:58:43 AM
I second the Pampered Chef cooling racks. I have three. They are stackable and they are awesome!

Also, yesterday, I made bierocks and made the dough. I had a Pampered CHef rolling mat that was still brand new from a show last year. It was great! It didn't slip on the counter one bit! It was smooth and had just a little bit of cushion. The rolling pin is a Wilton one from Michaels. Love that too.

My other favorite kitchen gadget is a Pampered CHef Mix n Chop. I've never used it for baking, but I use it almost daily when cooking ground beef for chopped chicken for dinner. Love, love, love that gadget!

Happy cooking!


Nicole

scrappinghappy
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:31:51 AM
Mis en place bowls - I use ramekins from C&B. These are hands down my most used item in the kitchen and I always give 18 as a bridal shower gift. We use them for everything from serving snacks, cracking and separating eggs, creme caramel or brulee, ice cream bowls, and lol for mis en place.

Volrath cookie sheets
Heavy duty 1/2 sheet pans. IIRC I got mine at Sam's club about 12 years ago but I've seen similar there still.
Oven thermometer
Mixing bowls - love my set from WS - 5 different sized stainless bowls with pour spouts
Cooling racks that stack
Nut grinder



King Arthur AP flour. Best ingredient ever.


ETA: I totally forgot about the scale which a PP recommended. I use it so often I didn't even think of it as something most people don't have. Not only essential for weighing ingredients (which is always more accurate than measuring my volume) but I also use it for weighing out layer cakes (tare to zero for each pan before pouring in ingredients) and measuring dough for rolls so all are the same size.


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Basket1lady
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:34:57 AM
Don't buy unitaskers. Meaning gadgets that can only be used for one job. All those "sold on tv" items come to mind, especially baking pans in special forms. Think of how you will store them and the space they take up in your cabinets vs. how much you will use them. A brownie pan is great if you use it weekly, not so great if you only use it 2-3 times a year.

Silpat liners, heavy baking pans/sheets, a muffin scoop, spoon type of scrapers, heavy cooling racks, are all great investments. Make sure you buy the same brand of multiples so that the muffin tins all nest inside of each other. That helps tons with storage. I have a huge kitchen now, but have had tiny kitchens in other houses. (military family)

Do you have a food processor? They make making pie crust easy peasy. Really, the best way to learn to make pie is to make pie. Sounds dumb, but I think pie is an art and you need to tweak your recipe for the humidity and the ingredients. You need to make the pies frequently enough so that you can remember what did and didn't work.


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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:45:59 AM

My best tool for baking is my KitchenAid.


Mine too. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, but I bake WAY more since I've gotten my KitchenAid. I use it practically every day for something.

Other helpful tools I can't cook without:
Good rubber spatulas

Good spoons, spatulas, etc (Cheap ones are too wimpy and bend too easily, which annoys me. I have some new tools that I just bought this past spring that are Zeroll brand that I absolutely LOVE.)

Measuring cups...different sizes for liquids and more than one set of dry cups.

Good knives.

keep a variety of ingredients on hand so you always have what you need. For instance, bread flour, cake flour, regular flour, etc. I also never let myself run out of sugar, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, baking powder, yeast. I have them super organized in tupperware and rubbermaid containers in my pantry.I also always make sure I keep certain spices on hand that I know I use a lot of. About once a month, my grocery store has spices on sale for 1/2 price or more, and I always buy those I use often, even if I'm not out yet.

I would love to have a garlic press. I think I would use that a lot. My next "big" kitchen gadget purchase is going to be a good food processor. I would love to make my own hummuus, pesto, etc.

That's all I can think of for now. If I were you, I 'd just think aobut the things you cook the most and make sure you always have what you need on hand, tool wise and basic ingredient wise.


tania7424
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:53:43 AM
My stand mixer. Mine is a Hamilton Beach Ecletrics, and it's a work horse.

Stoneware. I have a bar pan, rectangle stone, pizza stone, muffin pan and loaf pan in PC stoneware.

Good spatulas. I like the Pampered chef Mix 'n Scrape the best. It scrapes and has a spoon like shape to it. I use it for mixing muffins and brownies. So much so that I have two. It also handles high heat.

Glass bowls in various sizes. They're almost always dirty because they're constantly getting used. I can also build a double boiler for melting chocolate with them, by sticking them on a pot of simmering water.

I prefer pot holders to oven mitts.

Cake pans in various sizes. 8" and 9" rounds, 8" and 9" square, 5x7 rectangle, 9x13 rectangle, 24 full size muffin tins, 48 minis, 2 loaf pans.



Liquid measuring cups in various sizes. I have a 1, 2, and 4 cup measure and it's more than enough.

Love hard anodized cookware. Non stick without the icky teflon coating.




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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:59:25 AM

Make sure you buy the same brand of multiples so that the muffin tins all nest inside of each other.


That's a really great tip. I have a hodge-podge of stuff right now and although stacking is a PITA, it never really occurred to me that when/if I replace it, I should take that into consideration. DUH on my part.

I use a lot of parchment paper so I find that rather indispensable.

I also have a great slotted spatula that is head and shoulders above any other brands that I have. Lamson Slotted Turner. I reach for that thing for everything from fish to eggs to cookies. I must wash it 3 times a day while the other brands that I have sit in my drawer.


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Posted: 10/7/2012 11:03:55 AM

Love my OXO one that has the levels inside the cup. No more squatting down to see the level.

I have this too and love it!



TheBiscuitScraps
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Posted: 10/7/2012 11:20:01 AM
Kitchenaid
4 or more rubber spatulas
Several sizes liquid measuring cups
2 sets of dry measuring cups
2 sets of measuring spoons (one set for dry/one for liquid)
Excellent pans (cookie, bread, cake, plus pyrex oblong and square)
Wooden spoons
Parchment paper


Besides great equipment, the most important thing about baking is fresh ingredients, fresh ingredients, fresh ingredients...did I say fresh ingredients? Don't forget that.

Baking can be expensive, so us fresh ingredients and buy the "good stuff". Don't skimp.

If you cannot use up a 5 pound bag of flour in a couple of weeks, buy only what you will use...go for the small bag and buy more later.

Keep several excellent flavorings on hand...I use my 50% off coupons at M's.

As you are perfecting your baking, stick to one medium until you have it perfected, then go to the next. As you do that, have 2 or 3 recipes that you have perfected and use those when you take something somewhere. Experiment on your family.

If you never perfect pie making, don't be upset. Each medium in baking comes with its own nuance. Find one and let it be your "specialty" and keep working on the one you want to perfect.

I can bake a nice pie, but it's nerve racking for me because I want it to be perfect. It hasn't happened yet...even though my DH thinks so.

I love to bake cookies, but only the basic ones (oatmeal, snickerdoodles, etc) I don't have the patience for the fancy ones, unless Betty Crocker inhabits my body...that happens about once every couple of years.

I don't enjoy baking cakes, but those are my specialty...that is what I take to events.

I hope that made sense.


Carol
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pennyring
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Posted: 10/7/2012 11:26:14 AM
Cake pan insulators / cake baking strips. Whatever you want to call them. So helpful in getting my cakes even!




I am Jen
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Posted: 10/7/2012 11:48:18 AM
The Pastry Blender is something I could not live without in my kitchen.

I make a lot of scones & things that need the butter cut into the flour & my pastry blender is a must have.




PinkKitchenStudio

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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:23:06 PM
Silpat mat is one of my very favorites! Get the name brand and pick what size you need or get a couple. Don't cut on it and just wash it with warm soapy water. Love, love, love these!!!

Silpat mat

Pampered Chef Stones

I love to bake on a stone. My round one, 9x9 and 9x13 get a lot of use.

Stones

My KA mixer is a favorite too!

Good mixing bowls, spatula's, wisk and measuring cups and spoons are essential too.

A good cookie scoop is important to me too!

I have 2 of the PC ones and love them!!! They can be used for cookies, muffins, cupcakes,etc. The quality can't be beat! I have the small and medium one. I use them both and they make great sizes. The small one is the size that makes a typical cookie or one perfect for kids. If I were to buy just one it would be the small one.

Cookie scoop PC

I like to have parchment paper on hand too. Because you can use it for so many things. I just buy a basic brand that Target sells.

I have started purchasing more variety in my pans and love, love, love this brand. I found it at TJ Maxx and they were 1/2 of the price of what I can buy it for online. They are very well made and will last forever. Now that I know the quality I would pay more for it if I needed a specific size and couldn't find it at TJ Maxx but if you have a discount store you might find some there. I found about 5 there last year and they are awesome!

USA Pans

megmc
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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:35:16 PM
anything...love it all.

right now I am into those copper molds that our grandmas use to hand on the wall..

the best thing to have, good spatulas rubber and metal. wilton's are great.

wooden spoons...can't work without them.

I also shop the thrift stores for the unusual things. bundt pans, bread molds, springform pans , tart pans.





mlana
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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:48:28 PM
I have several of the pans that 2peafaithful linked, and I can't recommend them enough. King Arthur flour also sells them and has recipes to go with them.

After 20+ years of marriage, I pretty much have all of what I consider cooking essentials, ie good knives, KA, good pans, food processor, scale. Still, I've managed to add a few good things recently.

Snap seal glass containers - I love these. I try to do food prep once a week and I store my cut produce in these. The seals are so tight, I never smell the 3 lbs of onions I just cut up. They don't hold smells either, so I don't have to worry that my pudding will taste like the onions that I last stored in the container.

Vegetable chopper - I bought the onion version of this, with just one size insert, and loved it so much I went back and bought the multi size one. I have decent knife skills, and I have a food processor, but this thing is so much faster. I wash, clean and peel all my veggies, slice them as thick as I want the piece to be, then I put them thru this baby and I have perfectly diced goodies. I can thru 3 lbs of onions without a tear now because of how little time it takes to get them chopped and put away.

Cutting boards with rubber backing. DH gave me one for Valentine's day, and it is wonderful. It doesn't slip or slide and is dishwasher safe.

Marcy



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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:56:11 PM
cheese grater with a catch 'bin'

different sized whisks

different sized spatulas

candy thermometer

mini chopper

immersion blender

small cutting board

multiple small bowls for holding chopped/measured items (nuts, baking chips, etc)

stackable cooling racks

stoneware

different sized muffin tins



mlana
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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:56:36 PM
Ooops, I forgot what I actually came on here to post.

My most favorite new thing in the kitchen is my iPad. I can't believe how much I use it for cooking related stuff. I use Paprika to organize a lot of my recipes as well as to make my menus and shopping lists. I also have accounts on Allrecipes and Foodnetwork and I use the iPad to display those recipes.

When I am cooking. I place my iPad on a cheap photo easel and it lifts it up so I don't have to worry about a spill getting to it and it makes it easier to see. I often make the font bigger so I don't have to wear my glasses when I cook. If I am following a blogged recipe, I can see the step by step photos.

All this, and I can listen to my music or Sirius too.

Marcy



PEArfect
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Posted: 10/7/2012 2:04:02 PM
I love my Dough Makers cookie sheets. I got rid of all of my others. I also have Dough Maker cake pans. I need to buy a pizza pan and see if I like it better then my PC stone.

I use my Kitchen Aid mixer quite a bit. OP, if you want a different color just paint it, or use decals to change it up.

I use the stones from PC too. My pizza stone is used the most often.

I like glass baking dishes too.

I would like to get another set of measuring cups and spoons. It would be nice not to have to wash in between measuring during prep for one meal.

A large glass measuring bowl is a must. I have two from PC.

I love the solid silicone spatulas by KitchenAid. I also use the silicone pot holders.

I use my food processor a lot too.


Jen


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Posted: 10/7/2012 2:17:58 PM
Kitchen Aid mixer, stoneware, loaf, muffin and bar pans and my ipad


Kelli


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GrinningCat
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Posted: 10/7/2012 2:20:51 PM
Parchment paper
Kitchenaid Mixer
Dry measuring cups
Wet measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Rasp
Scoops
Lots and lots and lots of rubber spatulas
Metal bowls in a variety of sizes.
HEAVY bakeware (emphasis on the heavy), not the flimsy cheap metal shite

Those are things I pull out every single time I bake. I have many other tools but those are my automatic go to tools.

squillen
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Posted: 10/7/2012 3:13:19 PM
The best tools I have are my pie tools --

This awesome PASTRY BLENDER. It is very easy on your wrists - which for me is great since I make so many.

Also, this ROLLING MAT is one that Pampered Chef used to sell, but they have since changed it. I don't like the new one. I still have one exactly like this and it is great!!

And lastly, my beloved Silpin. It's weighted and has ball bearings...and is the Cadillac of rolling pins. I love this thing and have gone through THREE!



liasmommy2000
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 10/7/2012 5:06:11 PM
Thanks everyone! I have some of these things, but not all. And I know my pans are not the best by any means. I will go through this list and see what I think I need and add them to my wish list.

Love the iPad suggestion. Don't think it will happen soon, but now I can tell dh I *need* it to help my cooking. Don't think he'll go for it, but I'd like to see the look on his face when I tell him lol.


Laurie

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cmpeter
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Posted: 10/7/2012 5:50:25 PM
Tons of great ideas here.

What about a subscription to Cooks Illustrated or some of their cookbooks? Love that they explain they science and why's behind their recipes and try different variations and explain what was good or bad about each. They have some great pie crust recipes.

I don't care for most pies, but dh loves them. He is the pie baker in the house. He uses a Cooks Illustrated recipe for his crusts which are wonderful.


Cindi

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Posted: 10/7/2012 5:56:38 PM
Things I love are:
My handheld grater for garlic and ginger
My kitchen aid and love the rubber sided beater and the grater attachment
Food processor
Pizza stones
Insulated baking sheets

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