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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Loaf Pan : A loaf pan is very essential for baking all the earthy, fresh loaf cakes, or even for baking a loaf of bread.
- 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.
- Square mold : You need to have atleast one of the square molds for making brownies and blondies.
- 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
- 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.
- Measuring cups : Very handy and simple tool, but quite important. Likewise, measuring spoons.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Mixer : Most households have a simple mixer and we are currently using this Philips one, for making purees, juices etc.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aluminium Foil : Certain items like these baked chicken or fish have to be baked in aluminum foil.
- 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.
- Stencils : Stencils can be used for dusting powdered sugar, cocoa powder or even for cutting fondant shapes for cake decoration.
- Sprinkles and FLowers : Cake pops and other baked goods can be decorated with multi colored funfetti, sprinkles and chocolate vermicelli.
- 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! 🙂