What kit does a novice baker need? Essential checklist
07 Aug 2014|
Having the right tools for the job is essential if you've just caught the baking bug, but with so much choice out there, it can be difficult knowing where to begin.
Whether you want to make three-tiered celebration cakes or simple muffins and biscuits - this rundown of handy gadgets and utensils will help to get you started.
A regular balloon whisk will suffice, but why work up a sweat doing manual labour when you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by purchasing a handheld electric mixer?
It's ideal for mixing cake mixture, kneading bread dough and whisking eggs or cream.
Okay, so it's not an absolute necessity, but serious cooks will tell you they can't manage without a free-standing mixer.
It's extremely convenient as it allows you to get on with other jobs while it's doing the hard work for you. The mixer rotates in a constant pattern, so you'll achieve a nice smooth, light mixture without any lumps.
Kenwood has a range of affordable mixers for under £150, but if you want to push the boat out, the robust KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer is your top of the range cooking companion.
Good quality cake tins
Tins come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but it's worth paying a little bit extra for some heavy-duty non-stick silver ones, which will give you the best results.
If you're planning to make a range of different bakes, such as multi-layer cakes, brownies and muffins, you'll need a few different shaped tins.
Think about what you want to bake before making your purchase so you won't end up with a load of random tins you'll never use.
Cakes that require a lot of air will need mixing in a large bowl, but it's useful to have smaller ones too.
Bowls that fit inside each other are very handy as they take up less space in your cupboards - and they come in lots of different colours too.
You'll soon realise just how essential these are when recipes require a quarter of a teaspoon of this and half a teaspoon of that. Novice bakers often guess the quantities and get it horribly wrong. Measuring spoons ensure you get the correct amount.
Many recipes include milk, oil or other liquids, so a measuring jug is vital for getting the quantities right.
A wooden spoon is a must in the kitchen as you'll use it time and time again. If you don't have a food mixer, use it for beating cake mixes and dough. It's also worth having a large metal spoon for folding in flour.
You'll need a decent rolling pin to roll out dough for biscuits and pies, as well as ready-made icing. Make sure the one you opt for sits comfortably in your hand and is sturdy but not too heavy. Those with revolving handles can make rolling easier.
Sifting may not seem important but dry ingredients like flour, cocoa powder and baking powder tend to form clumps. Using a sieve gets rids of the lumps and makes your cakes lighter.
It's also useful for dusting icing sugar or cocoa over finished cakes.
Baking is an exact science, so accuracy is vital. Just a few extra grams here and there can put your entire recipe out of kilter, so a good set of electronic scales is necessary for measuring out ingredients with precision.
Salter offers a range that will help you achieve great results in the kitchen.
Don't forget about this essential piece of equipment as it helps to circulate air around your bakes. When you remove cakes from their tins their bases will become soggy if you stand them on flat surfaces instead of a cooling rack.
Revolving cake stand
If you're planning to ice and decorate cakes regularly, a revolving cake stand or lazy Susan makes the task a whole lot simpler. It elevates the cake from the table and rotates, so it's easier to reach all the sides.
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