Basic Kitchen Tools
Although you may already own most of the tools recommended here, remember a tool that is well crafted will allow you to be more successful in all your baking and cooking endeavors and will help make the process easier and more efficient.
Here is a list of essential kitchen tools:
- Electric mixer: KitchenAid mixers are perhaps the best overall tabletop mixer available to the home cook. A versatile appliance, the KitchenAid ten-speed mixer comes with a five-quart bowl, wire whisk, flat beater, and dough hook. Available in a variety of colors and price ranges, its all-metal construction offers years of dependable service.
- Food processor: Whether you have a processor with a three-cup capacity or a three-quart capacity, this handy machine allows you to quickly and easily chop, mince, blend, mix, and emulsify foods.
- Balloon whisk: Made with stainless steel or silicone, whisks are as great for combining dry ingredients as they are for beating wet ingredients.
- Parchment paper: Used to line cookie sheets and cake pans, parchment paper requires no greasing and easily releases all baked goods that would otherwise stick to cooking surfaces. Parchment paper is coated with silicone so it will not burn in the oven; the surface also helps distribute heat evenly across the cookie sheet or cake pan. Available in rolls or precut sheets, parchment paper can be purchased bleached or unbleached. One sheet of parchment paper can be reused several times, so save it until it's truly ready to be thrown away.
- Two-cup glass measuring cup: Made of heat-resistant glass, the two-cup measuring cup is a convenient “bowl” that allows you to measure and mix wet ingredients at the same time. Hard to break and easy to clean, the glass can be placed in the dishwasher and is perfect for the microwave when you need to heat or melt ingredients. It's also the perfect size vessel for beating eggs.
A standard bridal shower gift, the one- or two-cup glass measuring cup is a timeless kitchen tool. Although it's possible to survive with only measuring cups for dry ingredients, it's not recommended. A one-cup dry measuring cup holds exactly one cup, and you'll inevitably slosh liquid over the side as you transfer it from the carton to the mixing bowl. A liquid measuring cup gives you more leeway, and you can combine several wet ingredients before adding them all at once to your recipe
- Bakeware: Cookie sheets and cake pans are essential for fixing delectable treats. Consider buying at least two cookie sheets and two cake pans. Duplicates will allow you to prepare one sheet or pan while the other is in the oven. Parchment paper makes the nonstick-coating options irrelevant, but generally the heavier the item, the better able to withstand high heat and regular use for many years. The same applies to cookware
- Cookware: Casserole dishes and pots and pans are all kitchen staples. Products that conduct heat well will help you quickly and efficiently prepare food.
- Cooling racks: Transfer baked goods from cookie sheets or cake pans to cooling racks to economize on space and to cool biscuits quickly and correctly. Available in various sizes, select the largest you can store and accommodate on your counters. Stackable racks are ideal for kitchens with minimal counter space. The aluminized steel grid rack allows biscuits, cookies, and cakes to cool properly and prevents “sweating.” Sweating occurs when a baked cake is left in its pan too long. The steam creates moisture, which cannot escape and collects in the form of sweat. This can result in a cake with a soft or mushy bottom
- Resealable plastic bags: These convenient bags are perfect for storing everything from dry ingredients to uncooked meats and vegetables. Select the size and closure method that suits your needs.
Remember to allow baked goods to cool slightly in their original pan before transferring them to cooling racks. Do not place racks on a wooden table; the steam from the baked product will damage the table, leaving a white film. Wash the racks with hot soapy water, but do not scrub too much or you will remove the protective coating.