So I thought I should pen down stuff I have learned and am learning during this arduous and exhilarating journey of becoming a baker!
I am a newbie and by that I mean, I started baking around a month ago. Yeah! Total newbie 🙂 So I thought I could pen down stuff as I am learning and observing them which could help others and me in future. So this part of my blog is titled ‘What I learnt this week’. It may not be a weekly post because I don’t bake so often as to have enough to write every week. Also, I don’t make soooo many mistakes a week. Not that bad…
So I thought I would start with my baking station. I am kinda proud of it 🙂 Even though you are a newb, there are quite a few things you would need and can’t replace or do without. Some investment is needed….
Firstly, you need an oven. Obviously! Mine is a Morphy Richards 28 litres and I am quite happy with it. My family presently consists of my husband, my ten month old daughter and me. So I guess this size works for me. IF you have a large family or you plan to bake in huge quantities, you may need to look at bigger sizes.
An oven mitt and potholder are required to be able to pull the baked goods from the oven since it would be very hot. You could use a kitchen cloth but it needs to be very thick or folded into many layers. I think a mitt is better since its safer and there is no chance of you hurting yourself in any way.
You would need a few mixing bowls in 2-3 sizes. I have five bowls in five different sizes. You can actually make do with 2 or 3. But an indulgent wave blew me to buy so many. I have three bowls in stainless steel which are comfortable since I don’t have to worry about them falling and breaking. Then I saw a few baking videos and programs and fell for the elegant looking glass bowls and bought two of them. But now I do find it easier mixing in a glass bowl when I use a hand mixer. My stainless steel ones are more open which causes the sugar or flour to fly away whereas the glass ones have a straighter wall causing less dispersion of the ingredients.
You would also need baking dishes. These can be glass, aluminum or conningware or ceramic. The choice is yours. Just note that baking is faster in aluminum as compared to glass or ceramic. So you may have to keep it for a little longer in the oven. If you would be more comfortable with following the recipes exactly then you are better off buying aluminum dishes. I have couple of them in glass (a square and a round), one ceramic (loaf tray) and one aluminum (bundt).
You would also need a sieve to sift flour, icing sugar, etc.
Measuring cups and spoons are extremely essential. You can try all you want to work around this but that is not going to be successful. Baking, as they say, is a science and 1 tsp means 1 tsp and not nearabouts 1 tsp. Small errors like that lead to disastrous consequences and is not worth it. I would recommend you to have two sets of the measuring spoons. It is very useful when you have to measure out dry and wet ingredients and you can use one set for each without having to wash and clean them.
I also have a measuring jar which helps to measure liquid ingredients when given in mls instead of cup measurements.
I recently picked up a weighing scale and I must admit it is very easy to measure ingredients by weight as compared to cups in which you need to be extra careful about how much you put in the cup and level it. I bought this on Amazon for around Rs.300. It can measure in both gms and oz upto 7 kgs. I definitely won’t need more than that. It is working fine so far and I have no complaints.
You would also need a whisk. I already did and so did not have to buy one specifically now.
A very simple but extremely useful tool is a rubber or silicon spatula. It is very essential for mixing the dry and wet ingredients in a recipe. You would mix with a whisk but a spatula helps getting all the flour stuck to the wall of the mixing bowl and ensures an even mixing of all ingredients. I read that a silicon spatula is better than a rubber one. But I am quite pleased with a rubber spatula. Please note that a wooden or steel one won’t work out because you need the spatula to bend in order to pull in all the flour.
I bought a hand mixer but it is not an essential IF you are willing to beat eggs and cream butter and sugar with a hand whisk. It takes a lot more time and would be tough to mix but if you are up for it then a regular hand whisk should be fine. I have a Morphy Richards hand mixer and it is quite satisfactory
This sums up the stuff on my baking station. It is not a short list but most of them are stuff you can’t do without. I will update this if I figure out any additional stuff.
Update – I bought these silicon cupcake moulds. They are ok not great. One issue is that some of them start tearing after being used 4-5 times. Also the shape does not always hold. I am thinking of buying a proper cupcake mould. That should hopefully work better!
I am also looking for a wooden chopping board. Not an essential but it looks really good. So if anyone knows where I can find it in Bangalore or online, please drop in a line……I’ll dedicate my next baking project to you 🙂