Baking Essentials

Baking 101 SnD

A lot of people email or message me asking the kind of oven, pans and other baking paraphernalia to be used. When I started baking, or rather thinking of baking, I too did not know where to begin. Sure, I had read up gazillion things on the internet, had attended a few workshops, but I was still confused as to the right oven, baking trays, parchment paper, gloves, molds and all. Then I attended a workshop by Shaheen @ The Purple Foodie and got the right leads. I will be sharing the baking basics which I learnt over the last two years, with an Amazon.in link of the product wherever available or some other website which delivers across India. Click on the links to see a picture of the said product.

In case of any further queries, please feel free to comment on the post, so that the discussion can be further useful for others visiting the page.

  • Oven or OTG
  1. Oven (beginner) : My first oven was the Morphy Richards 28 Litre OTG. Its a non-convection, which means there is no fan inside. The fan or convection mode is required for baking certain things like French Macaroons, but not required in 90% of the baking. So to begin with the MR 28 L, is great as it comes at a relatively lower cost and is the size of a microwave, although very light.
  2. Oven (convection) : Then a year later, I moved on to Morphy Richards 60L convection oven, which is the biggest they have in over the counter ovens in India. It has an illuminated chamber and the convection function, which circulates air inside the oven for uniform baking. I have it for over a year now, and I am highly satisfied with the results.
  • Baking Pans
  1. Springform Pans : These pans which come with a base that is easily detachable are very useful for making cheesecakes or any delicate desserts like this Chocolate Mousse cake. These springform pans are very sturdy and can even be used to bake other regular cakes.
  2. Cake Pans  : You will need atleast 2-3 cake 8-9 inch cake molds, which are especially useful for making tier cakes or layered cakes.
  3. Tart molds :A Tartlette pan can be used for making tarts and quiches, which gives a nice fluted edge to the tarts, or Ring molds which don’t have a base, and have to be used carefully, lest the tart dough stick to the countertop or the baking pan. It always has to be used while placed on a parchment paper.
  4. Loaf Pan : A loaf pan is very essential for baking all the earthy, fresh loaf cakes, or even for baking a loaf of bread.
  5. Ceramic Ramekins : These ramekins are perfect for baked yoghurts or caramel custards. The ceramic ones look prettier, but you can also use metal ramekins or small metal molds.
  6. Square mold : You need to have atleast one of the square molds for making brownies and blondies.
  7. Muffin pans : Yes, for the cupcakes and muffins! Get them in a miniature size of you want, because cupcakes are the best size to have a dessert.
  •  The Paraphernalia
  1. Kitchen Weighing Scale : A kitchen scale is quite crucial for baking. I prefer grams over cups or spoon measurement because precision is the key in baking. A simple scale does not cost much, but it is a boon. I have had this Nova brand scale for the last two years and all it needs is a change of battery.
  2. Measuring cups : Very handy and simple tool, but quite important. Likewise, measuring spoons.
  3. Mixing bowls : I have two pyrex glass bowls which I always use for whisking and beating. But in Le Cordon Bleu, we always used stainless steel bowls. So see what suits you.
  4. Oven gloves : The microwave gloves do not work for an OTG. The heat in an OTG is very high and once my cotton glove caught fire due to the exposed heating rods on top of the OTG. So it is better to invest in atleast one rubber mitten.
  5. Silpat or Silicon Sheet : I highly recommend a Silpat for releasing baked cookies, tarts etc off easily. Nothing sticks on the silpat, its a miracle!
  6. Pastry Brush : For giving egg wash, or for scraping the crumbs off before decorating a cake and even for soaking cakes in imbibing syrup.
  • Knives, Palettes , Scrapers and Zesters
  1. Pastry Scraper : It is a very handy tool in cutting the dough as well as scraping dough off the countertop. I use a plastic one, but a steel scraper is also handy.
  2. Silicone Spatula : Silicon spatulas make scraping so much easier than wooden or steel spatulas, that this one will be your best friend in the kitchen.
  3. Set of offset palettes : These are essential for icing and decoration of cakes or for frosting. I have a set of three which includes a straight palette, and and offset palette.
  4. Zester : Orange, lemon and citrus-y zest adds a beautiful flavor to baked goods. Ofcourse, you can use a peeler to do the job, but a zester is hassle free and gives soft little curls of zest.
  • Beaters and Mixers
  1. Electric Beater : Although I would love to have a Kitchen Aid eventually, right now this handly little electric mixer with steel beaters and dough hooks works very well. At less than Rs. 2000, it saves a lot of effort beating the hell out of those eggs.
  2. Mixer : Most households have a simple mixer and we are currently using this Philips one, for making purees, juices etc.
  3. Balloon Whisk : A whisk is very important to beat eggs, and creams etc. and do all the work incase you don’t have an electric beater. I have three whisks in different sizes, metal headed with a plastic holder. Works very well to make these meringues.
  • Papers and Liners
  1. Parchment paper : Crucial for lining cake pans and for using as a base layer on the baking pan before baking the  goods. It prevents the dough / batter from sticking to the metal base.
  2. Cupcake Liners : I always stock up on pretty paper liners in different sizes. There are some available on amazon, but you can get them cheaper at the local bakeware store.
  3. Cling / plastic wrap : It is required for wrapping dough to keep it in the refrigerator, or covering any bowl to protect the contents from air.
  4. Aluminium Foil : Certain items like these baked chicken or fish have to be baked in aluminum foil.
  • Decoration
  1. Nozzles and Tips : I currently use the nozzle set which we got as a part of Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie kit. Its fun doing simple designs on the cakes with these nozzles.
  2. Stencils : Stencils can be used for dusting powdered sugar, cocoa powder or even for cutting fondant shapes for cake decoration.
  3. Sprinkles and FLowers : Cake pops and other baked goods can be decorated with multi colored funfetti, sprinkles and chocolate vermicelli.
  4. Food Color : Food color when added judiciously gives a beautiful pop to the baked goodies. Like the macaroons. I use the Wilton cake gel colors, which are better to use with egg whites instead of the liquid colors.

When I started noting down all the baking essentials, I did not realise I used so many of them. But trust me, each and every one of them makes my life easier. 🙂

I have scratched my brains, made multiple visits to all the cupboards in the house, checked all my notes and then have come up with this exhaustive list. Will keep adding stuff as and when necessary.

Have fun, and happy baking! 🙂

51 thoughts on “Baking Essentials

  1. Thanks a lot. It was very helpful and informative. I would appreciate if you could take out some time to answer my query. I want to buy an electric beater but dont know whether to buy the one you mentioned or the one with a stand like the professionals use. Want to know which is more convenient to use. Thanks in advance

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    • It depends on how much you bake. If you are a hobby/ home baker, then the one I mentioned i sufficient. And as you rightly said, if you want to do it professionally, a stand mixer is much convenient, albeit expensive.

      Like

  2. Hi Rutvika … Lovely list – complied section wise… Would be also great if you can direct beginner bakers to the rights location where some / most of these are available ( esp in Mumbai) . For Eg : the service / spread at Arife’s has come down drastically, Modern (@ Pali Hill Road) doesnt stock too many things or is prohibitively expensive. So any valuable reseources (online especially) would be great. like the gourmetco.in,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I have recently bought Richard Morphy otg (convection) I.e with the fan,and I am very much confuse about its functionality.Since I am beginner in baking,so everything seems quite difficult to me.

    U also have that same otg,so I think u can completely resolve my dilemma.
    For baking cakes,muffins,breads which mode is to be used.
    I mean to say (top rod,bottom rod,fan) among these three which combination is used for cakes,breads.

    Because I have heard, for cakes both rod should be lighted,but in my otg,if I put it on baking mode then only bottom rod+fan works.

    If u brief me little bit about otg functionality,then I can also happily start baking 😊

    Like

    • The convection (fan) mode is to be used for baking stuff for macaroons etc. Otherwise just the regular mode with both rods lit up.
      Sometimes while baking a cake, if i think the top is done, i switch to the only bottom heating for a few minutes. But generally top and bottom heating works well.

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  4. Hi am planning to buy a 60 l Morphy Richards OTG, but am getting feedback that the thermostat often troubles leading to over heating and results in burnt cakes and cookies.As you are using the same OTG could you kindly advise if you have faced a similar issue.TIA

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      • Thanks so much ! Another little query- while baking cakes do u use only the lower element+ fan or both elements and no fan ? Sorry for the endless questions but just wanted to be sure before I purchased the oven.TIA

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  5. hii ty for sharing such usefull information i m from very small town n we dont have chance to learn for expert but luckily i get chance here on chef at large. i will try eggless cake n let u know the result.

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  6. Hi ….. I recently picked 28 liter mr …… Now it does not have the nob for which rods to be used …
    But has nob which says bake toast rotisserie broil and keep warm …. And the manual says use bake mode to bake cakes or cupcakes
    It does not have fan mode too ….. Now ever since i got this Otg and tried baking the top of cakes or cupcakes crack and burn ….. Even tried at lower temperatures…… Now when I put the Otg on bake mode only the bottom rods r heated up ….. And top gets heated up occasionally when I open the door to check whether the cake is don’t ….. Getting frustrated….. Kindly help

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    • MR gets ridiculously over-heated. Don’t worry, I have faced this problem several times. Always bake at 160-170 and preheat oven only for 5 mins. I use both rods and then last 5-10 mins if required I switch only to the bottom rod. The fan is good to use, bakes faster. But it is not essential. it is mandatory for macaroons etc.

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  7. Hi Rutvika,

    I have recently bought MR 60 lts and trying to bake macaroons. I preheated the oven to 150 c for 10 min and started baking in the middle rack. But after sometime i see my macaroons are all burnt. I am so scared to use the oven now. Can you please help me understand which rods should be on and which rack the tray has to be kept. On the contrary my convection macaroons turned out really fine.

    Would love your inputs. And thanks a ton dear for the details briefing.

    Like

    • MR over heats tremendously. I have suffered that often. Dont worry. For macaroons, bake at 160C and keep a tight control over the baking. Don’t let it get too hot or it will brown and become hollow. Use both rods and the fan if available. Convection mode in OTG is highly recommended for macaroons.
      Also preheat only for 5 mins. Not more than that. Hope it helps, best luck 🙂

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  8. Thanks for the tips! I’m thinking of doing some changes in the kitchen so to make it more suitable for my baking passion and your list of things really helped me to list out stuffs I need! Thanks😊 one question though, I want a oven with many compartments so to bake bigger batch at a time.. What would you suggest?

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  9. Hi Rutvika

    Ur list for baking was amazing.i hold a morphy 52 ltr otg but does not know which mode should i use for baking..kindly help

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  10. Thanks for information.i am planning to buy a 60lit Morphy richards otg. How many 8 inch cake pans can be kept at a time. And what will be maximum size of the rectangle sheet pan that can be kept inside. Thanks

    Like

    • MR ovens have a problem of overheating. No matter what the recipe calls for, I always bake my cakes, tarts, at 160C. And for 10 minutes more than what the recipe calls for to compensate for the reduced temp. Just keep a check on your cakes till you get a hang of your oven.

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  11. Hi, two weeks ago I bought MR 60ltrs, but I find it takes a lot of time to bake the same quantity cake than my MR 52, any thoughts as to why this is happening?

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    • May be the temperature is not being maintained? My personal experience is that MR overheats. So I always bake it at 160C for may be 5 mins more.
      Try baking a couple of times more , even if it doesn’t work I think it would be better to get it serviced.

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  12. Hi Rutvika! Please help me as to which mode you use in yr MR 60 to bake cakes & cookies?
    Also can we use the same mode for roasting veggies/ potatoes?

    Like

    • Heat is the same. And time is always an approximation. MR ovens have a tendency to overheat. So get to know your oven (which will happen after a couple of bakes) and then decide your time/temperature accordingly. You an always use the recipe as a guideline.

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  13. I baked the cakes at 150 degree about 40-50 minute.
    Top of the cake sponge alwAys make cruncy/hard
    Why?
    Plz tell me reason
    I used 28ltr morphy richard OTG

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  14. How many cakes at a time can be baked in 52ltrs MR convection oven perfectly ?
    can I bake 2 cakes simultaneously on ghe second rack level itself or should i use 3rd rack level for my second cake n swap the cakes at half time ?
    I have baked muffins in two racks swapping them in 10 mins but never tried my cakes this way …

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  15. I have also bought Mr 60 litre and facing problem both at 170 and 140 degree mine cake burnt baking mode and fan on means lower rod only what should I do?

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  16. Pingback: Simple Eggless Bread Loaf with cheese and pepper | Sizzle and Drizzle

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