My mother has always been the cook in the family. I’m not just saying this because she’s my mom — but she really is a fabulous cook. So for most of my life I had the “why bother” mentality when it came to cooking. My mom had it covered…so I didn’t need to.
With the help of Food Network, my husband and I have slowly become foodies! Now we love trying to make new dishes — even if they don’t always turn out right. But baking is something that my mother doesn’t do and still I haven’t jumped into that arena quite yet. Baking is a skill that even the best cooks can’t master a lot of the time, but can be a fantastic hobby to get into. But it’s on my “to-learn” list so I’ve reached out to pastry chef Marnely Rodriguez for some help on what tools I might need before I start.
Must-Have Baking Tool List
by Marnely Rodriguez
Tools of the trade are thousands, but the following list is of the top 5 baking tools every person that bakes or wants to start baking should have. They are great tools that, when used correctly, will have you baking cakes and cookies on a weekly basis!
1. Digital Scale
Nothing is more important to a baker than their scale. Baking is a science and differentiates from cooking because you can’t really throw in random, unmeasured ingredients in a pan and magically have a chocolate cake.
A scale will let you precisely weigh your ingredients and develop a sense of awareness when baking. Just be sure to never convert volume measures (cups) to metric measures (ounces/grams). Stick to the metric system and you’ll be a step ahead of the crowd.
2. Heat-Proof Rubber Spatula
One of the simplest tools on the list but such a great tool to have in your drawer! Purchase a heat-proof spatula and you’ll be able to stir your creams on the stove top as well as delicately fold your mousses together.
3. Half-Sheet Trays
Invest in durable baking sheets with walls, and they will outlast many of your tools. You’ll be able to evenly bake cookies, as well as brownies and other bar cookies.
4. Microplane Zester/Grater
Baking and pastry making is all about elevating flavors and ingredients — and a quality zester does just that. Take full advantage of seasonal produce such as grapefruits, tangelos and lemons to literally squeeze and zest bright flavors into desserts.
5. Pastry Bags
You might say “Oh, I can’t decorate a cake!” But you can if you have the right tools! With a small set of pastry bags and some pastry tips you are half way there! Not only can you decorate cakes with them, you can pipe lady fingers, fill cupcakes and decorate cookies! Using a pastry bag will instantly make you more skilled in decorating because you’ll have more control over your icings.
Marnely Rodriguez was born and raised in Dominican Republic. Marnely has baked breads at 3 a.m. in Colorado Springs, CO; made artisanal chocolates in Charlottesville, VA; made a sandwich for Matt Damon on Martha’s Vineyard, MA; edited and proofread endless cookbooks in upstate New York; and she’s not even ¼ of the way done! Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.