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Baking Equipment 101: Essential Tools for Hassle-Free Baking

Baking Equipment 101Baking is a science which requires following recipes exactly as they are written to achieve the best results.  Too much of an ingredient, over-mixing a batter or baking over the suggested time can lead to disastrous results.  Hence, it is important to have all the necessary tools, utensils and equipment at your arm's reach when baking.  We list down the basic and essential baking equipment and paraphernalia every Martha Stewart wannabe should invest on.

Measuring Tools
Accuracy is key in baking. Too much or too little of an ingredient can affect not only the taste but also the appearance and texture of the food your are baking.  Make sure that measuring tools such as spoons and cups are handy to ensure that accurate amount of ingredients is used for your goodies.  Some recipes may require measurements in weight so a kitchen weighing scale is also necessary.

Mixing Bowls
You would be dealing with a lot of mixing when baking.  It's useful to have several mixing bowls in varied sizes as many recipes require more than one. A set of nesting mixing bowls would be ideal for easy storage. You may choose bowls made of glass, metal or plastic but versatile ones, like those you can use in a microwave or over simmering water when melting chocolate, are worth investing on.

Whisk
A great tool for aerating ingredients such as egg whites for cake and meringue making and whipping cream.  It is also useful in removing lumps from batters.

Electric Mixer
Many recipes do not require an electric mixer but this device makes whisking and creaming a breeze. With its different attachments, you can cream and whip ingredients in a flash as well as knead bread dough with ease.

Baking Pans and Sheets
Baking pans come in different shapes, sizes and uses.  There are pans for cakes, breads, brownies, muffins, cupcakes and pies as well as baking sheets for cookies. There are also specialty pans such as the Bundt and decorative pans which give cakes fancy shapes.  Choose from glass, stoneware and aluminum pans.

Parchment Paper
Modern baking pans come with non-stick surfaces but nothing beats the old school parchment paper from keeping your baked goods from sticking onto the pan.  Apart from being used to line pans, parchment paper is also an excellent protector to the kitchen counter or table when kneading dough or cutting pastry. The grease and moisture-resistant parchment paper is also a great way to store baked goods so they don’t dry out in your refrigerator.

Oven Thermometer
Most ovens have built-in thermometer.  But the device can become faulty over time and may require calibrating by an expert.  Since you don't know when your oven's built-in thermometer will go berserk, it is a good idea to check if the oven is properly pre-heated by using an over thermometer.  Remember, inaccurate baking temperature can ruin your baked goods.

Sieve
A fine sieve made from metal or plastic is ideal for sifting flour and and other dry ingredients to get rid of lumps and ensure a smooth batter.

Spatula
A spatula is not only useful in mixing ingredients.  It is also great in scraping batter from the sides of a mixing bowl to minimize wastage as well as in leveling the top of the pan to make sure batter is evenly distributed.

Cake Tester
Usually a skewer made of wood or bamboo that is inserted into cakes, breads, muffins, and cupcakes to test for doneness.  When the skewer comes out clean, the baked good is done.  Bits of batter or crumbs on the skewer means the cake or bread needs more baking time.

Wire Rack
This is an essential piece of equipment for cooling freshly baked goodies.  It helps air to circulate around cakes, breads and cookies to prevent sogginess.

Pastry Brush
A handy tool used for glazing the top of bread with egg for brushing filo pastry with melted butter. It's also good for brushing butter onto baking pans.

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