Taking the Fear Out of Baking – Basic Tools

By Sharon | Tools

Nov 02

A lot of people I talk to tell me they love to cook but they can’t bake. Their biggest reason is that you have to measure exactly to bake and cooking a meal you can just throw things in. Measuring is important in baking but you don’t have to be as exact as people make you feel.  I change recipes all the time and they still come out.

I’m going to give you some tips to remove that fear. Think about something you buy in a box and go home and make. Let’s take brownies for example. If you read the list of ingredients on that box there’s a lot of stuff that’s not natural.  Making them from a few ingredients gives you control of what goes in your food.  They’re still loaded with all the fat and calories but you choose the quality ingredients and nothing more.

Brownies are one of the easiest recipes to make from scratch. It only takes a few ingredients. And measuring is not that tricky.  Alton Brown has a great Cocoa Brownie recipe that is easy and delicious.

The most important thing is having the right equipment in the kitchen.

For your dry ingredients get a set of measuring cups and spoons, plastic or metal, that have clear markings on them.  You will also use the measuring spoons for liquids like Vanilla and other flavorings that are liquid;  small quantities that a measuring cup is too big for.  There are shot glass size cups that you can use to measure small amounts of liquids but the spoons will work just as well.

Have a glass measuring cup with clear markings.  The 2-cup size will work for everything. I like to use the Pyrex ones. They have cup and milliliter markings on them so they can be used for a variety of recipes. They are also microwave safe so if you have to heat milk or melt butter you can do it right in the cup.

Spatulas are great for all your baking and cooking needs. Good quality silicone is a must so you can use them with heat too. I think I have almost one of each size of the Trudeau Silicone Spatulas. I purchased them on Amazon when they were doing a 4-for-3 promotion. I think they almost always have these on that promotion. I like them so much I bought them for my friend and daughter so I have them to use at their house. I have also started to use them when I’m cooking meals because they won’t damage pan surfaces and the handles don’t get hot. Since they’re silicone to 600 Degrees Fahrenheit you don’t have to worry about them melting either. My favorite and most used is the 9-inch blue one.

Something to sift dry ingredients with is essential in the kitchen but you don’t specifically have to buy a sifter. You can use a mesh strainer that is not too fine. I have one in my kitchen that has the resting ring to sit on the edge of a bowl.

I measure large amounts of flour and other dry ingredients for my recipes so I use a crank flour sifter like the Norpro 3-cup Stainless Steel. I dump all my dry ingredients in the sifter and then sift them so they get combined well during the sifting process. You can buy them at Amazon or your local stores. There are also tin sifters which are less expensive and will not hold up as well, they will begin to rust in more humid climates. Mrs Anderson’s makes a variety of sifters that I see on Amazon that are less than the Norpro brand but I have not used one. There are also different types of mechanisms on sifters that I have not used. When I try them in the store they’re not as comfortable on my hands. Go to the store and try them out. See what best fits you.

I also do a lot of recipes that use Metric units instead of US units. You can convert them by doing web searches but it’s a lot of work. I have a mechanical kitchen scale the has both measurements on it and it does a decent job. It’s hard to measure small amounts accurately and you can’t really tare it well to keep adding ingredients.  But it’s accurate enough for all the recipes I’ve made.

On my wish for Christmas this year is a good digital scale that does both US and Metric units. It also needs to have the ability to tare so you can just keep adding ingredients to the bowl. It’s my husbands job to do the research and find the best one on the market.

After you see how easy it is to make something with natural ingredients you’ll be ready to get going on baking. Now you’ll want to add to your kitchen supplies as you go along. I’ll mention my favorite tools in the kitchen as I write.

Basic Tool Summary