The amount and type of equipment you will use very much depends upon how much baking you do and whether it is for pleasure or profit. Whilst it is possible to spend a lot of money on equipment, it is best to concentrate on a few basic items to begin with and add more as you need them.
Below is a list of basic items:
- Bowls – A selection of different size bowls is necessary for both mixing and weighing ingredients. These can be made out of glass, plastic or stainless steel to suit your taste and budget
- Spoons – Again a selection of tablespoons, desertspoons and teaspoons are reqired (it is not necessary to purchase cooks measuring spoons) along with wooden spoons for mixing
- Spatula – whilst not essential, it is a very useful tool for removing mixture from around the mixing bowl
- Knives – A small knife is useful for cutting cherries whilst a round bladed knife can be used for cutting butter and lard.
- Scissors – Useful for cutting up fruit such as prunes and apricots also for cutting greasproof paper
- A set of scales
- Whisk – for beating eggs and cream
- Pastry brushes – Very useful for greasing tins with melted lard and also for brushing pastry with milk and “feeding” cakes with alchohol.
- Cake tins
- Cooling racks
In this post I am going to concentrate on the equipment needed for modest baking for pleasure.
Whilst it is possible to bake well without scales, it takes a very experienced cook to bake consistently without weighing the ingredients first.
Scales come in all shapes and sizes and the only real criteria is that they should be accurate. However I have found that the digital flat or block scales are particulary useful. These scales are highly accurate and as you use your own bowl, it is possible to add all the ingredients to that bowl, resetting after each addition. This has the benefit of less washing up and is particularly useful when baking small items such as scones, rock cakes etc. However, when it comes to large celebration cakes, I would recommend wieghing out all the ingredients first. Salter make a particularly nice stainless steel block scale which looks very chic on the work top. These scales are available from www.lakeland.co.uk at £39.99 and are really worth paying that bit extra for.
These can be as inexpensive or expensive as you wish. Cheaper tins are often thinner with a greater risk of the cake burning before being cooked, however this can be overcome by following my quide to lining the tin before baking the cake.
I prefer to use loose bottom tins, as you have more control over the removal of the baked cake, this is especially important if the cake is large or a sponge cake which could break.
Purpose made shaped and novely cake tins can be purchased or hired from many cake decorating shops. This is especially useful if you are making a ‘one off’ cake in that particular design.
Clean baked bean tins can also be used to make individual fruit cakes and also to make the base of turretts for fairy castle cakes.