Top 8 Kitchen Gadgets for Bakers
Why Would a Baker Need Kitchen Gadgets?
Baking can be one of the most rewarding aspects of cooking, especially for those with a sweet tooth, but it can also be one of the most demanding areas of cooking when it comes to the need for various kitchen gadgets. Hardcore bakers use kitchen tools ranging from low-tech rolling pins to high-tech industrial food mixtures, it really just depends on the individual baker's needs. I myself am no baking pro, so don't look for me on T.V. anytime soon (thank God, I'd make an ass out of myself) but I do like to whip up a cake or pie, or three every week. Honestly, how do these food stars maintain their weight, they must run straight to a treadmill after every show.
Anyhow, whether you're Betty Crocker in the kitchen or just an average Joe trying to bake better, here are the top 10 kitchen gadgets for bakers, complete with tips on how to use them.
A springform pan is a neat kitchen gadget that has a removable circle for sides. Simply unclasp the latch and remove the circle and, viola! Your dessert is ready to go with no messy flipping and hoping for the best. Springform pans are crucial for cheesecakes, but I also like to use them with layered cakes as well, because some times cake doesn't shoot out of a pan like a greased pig, and with a springform pan it's easier to get the whole cake out in one piece.
A double boiler is crucial for making any desserts that involve melted chocolate. It may seem like an unnecessary kitchen tool, but trust me, the first time you try to melt chocolate in regular pan you'll know why a double boiler is needed. A double boiler gives the chocolate more indirect heat, which results in melting. Chocolate in a regular pan becomes...like a big ball of dry dough. Trust me, it definitely does not melt, it does all sorts of funky things besides melting. Ask me how many times I have ruined chocolate fondue by completely forgetting a double boiler. Don't be sad and pathetic like me, please use a double boiler to melt chocolate!
This kitchen gadget is a tried and true favorite, and lucky brides and grooms everywhere often include them on wedding registries, and with good reason. A Kitchenaid is one of the most versatile kitchen gadgets out there, and works well for cooks of all proclivities. For bakers though, a Kitchenaid is a great time-saver. Cake mixes, bread dough, cookie dough are all morphed from tedious and muscle building mixing chores to simple tasks that the mixer takes care of for you. And trust me, there is no better machine for making meringues or whipped cream out there. Period. And who doesn't like fresh whipped cream?
Pie Crust Protector
It may seem like a seem like a simple piece of plastic or metal, but for anyone who has baked a pie without the benefit of this simple kitchen baking gadget, it's hardly a cake walk! If you don't protect the edges of the crust they turn black by the time the rest of the pie is done, and if you improvise with tin foil you have to fold and pinch, and then pray that the pieces don't fall off on the short trip into the oven (they always do). Save yourself a lot of grief and make a five dollar investment in a pie crust protector, it'll make you smile, I promise.
When you need icing as smooth as a baby's bottom or a cake as flat as a pond on a calm day, you need an offset spatula. This inexpensive and versatile baking tool works better that a regular, flat spatula because the offset handle allows you to put the blade in action without accidentally icing your fingers as well, and it works great for maneuvering inside of baking pans.
Non-stick Oven Liner
Looking for the one baking gadget that just might save your sanity? Say hello to the non-stick oven liner. I'll leave you two alone for a little bit... Every time your pie bubbles over or your cobbler explodes, the mess lands on the oven liner rather than the oven bottom. And when it's time to clean up? Simply rinse the mess off of the liner. Now I truly know what it is to love a kitchen tool.
Without a pastry blender you won't even get started making a pie crust before you hit a brick wall. A pastry cutter is a crucial kitchen gadget for blending cold butter or shortening into flour mixtures to make dough. If you make pies, tarts or cobblers then you really need a pastry blender!
Pastry Bag and Tips
For anyone who does any baking that deals with icing (cake fans I am talking to you) a pastry bag with tips will sooner or later become and essential kitchen gadget. Need to decorate your cake with flowers, piping, or words? You won't get very far without a pastry bag. Some bags are washable, but even if you use disposable bags you can keep costs down by keeping your tips in good shape and just purchasing bags.
As you can see, baking may require some specialized kitchen gadgets, but most of them really aren't all that expensive. So stop buying pies at the grocery store and get your butt in front of a mixing bowl. Even if you come out of the fray covered in flour, the difference in taste between a store pie and a homemade pie is indescribable. Do you have a favorite baking gadget I didn't include, tell me in the comments below!