If you’re just starting to learn how to bake, here are the essential tools and appliances that you should have in your kitchen. You do not have to get everything at once–take a look at the most common recipes you’ll usually do, see what they’ll require, and get that item first. Here’s a list of the essential items that you should consider.
Mixing bowl – There are different materials and sizes for mixing bowls–glass, ceramic, stainless, and copper being the most common ones. You can get them per piece or as a set (excellent for recipes that require many ingredients).
Measuring spoons – In baking, you need to always be precise–unlike other forms of cooking, you can’t do guesses or have estimates. To make sure that you have the exact measurements, you should have measuring spoons, commonly available in stainless steel, plastic, and wood. Get the complete set–from 1/8 tablespoon to one tablespoon.
Measuring cups – It’s best if you get these together with the spoons–same model and brand, if possible. Measuring cups for wet / liquid ingredients have 1, 2, and four-cup measurements; and measuring cups for dry ingredients are 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and one cup.
Whisks – To make sure that those eggs are beaten well, the flour and other dry ingredients (ie. salt and baking powder) blended, or the sauces are well-mixed, have a wire whisk in your kitchen.
Pastry blender – If you’ll be doing recipes that require cold butter (pie crusts, biscuits, scones), you will need this. A pastry blender will help you cut the butter into the flour mixture without melting.
Electric hand mixers / stand mixers – These may be some of the most expensive things on this list, but if you’re serious about baking, you’ll really need to invest in one. A good place to start looking is at your nearest electrical appliances store such as Noel Leeming.
Baking pans (ie. bread pan, cake pan, muffin pan) – These come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, so evaluate your usual baking recipes before you purchase one. If you’re going to be baking cake, you’ll need a cake pan or a springform pan; for cookies, you’ll need a baking sheet; if you’ll be making muffins and cupcakes, have a muffin pan/tin; for bread, have a loaf tin; and, if you’ll be making pies, have a round pie plate or tart pan.
Cooling rack – Cooling is one of the most important steps in baking–you’ll need to cool your finished product before you serve it. If you’ll be making big batches of cookies, cupcakes, breads, pies and cakes, have a rack with more than two levels. If you’ll be making small batches, a single-level rack will be enough.
Rubber spatula – Also called a bowl scraper, this tool will make sure that nothing in your mixture or batter will go to waste. You will also need this if the recipe calls for folding.
Timer – Baking not only requires precise measurements–you also need to have perfect timing. Great for baking and other cooking processes, a kitchen timer will make sure that you don’t over-cook or over-bake.
If you want to have a device or tool that will last a lifetime (and could even be passed on to your children), get a good brand. When it comes to appliances, investing in the best quality is always most advantageous.