This segment is sponsored by BestReviews.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — While many people already have the bare necessities for cooking, such as cookie sheets and mixing bowls, they are far from the only parts they will need. A few additional cooking tools and appliances belong in the budding baker’s kitchen, but it’s not easy to determine which ones.
BestReviews baking expert Andrea Boudewijn joins Gary Gelfand and Scott Moak of “Studio40 Live” to explain the best investments for bakers of all experience levels, from stand mixers with spatulas.
Boudewijn starts with one of the best-selling small kitchen appliances on the market, the KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. It may seem pricey at around $450, but it’s a real workhorse that covers all cooking needs – and more. The stand mixer is also compatible with a range of brand name attachments for pasta and ice cream making, vegetable cutting and food processing.
Boudewijn emphasizes the value of everyday kitchen utensils, including metal spatulas. Described as “overlooked tools in the kitchen”, they are essential tools for accomplishing small but important tasks. Although they resemble the silicone spatulas found in most home kitchens, metal spatulas have distinct tapered designs for specialized tasks. Not only do they separate cakes and brownies from pans, but they also cut lasagna and lift muffins from pans.
Another important tool is the pastry brush, which lends itself to countless uses. In addition to painting egg wash on pastries or sealing pie crusts, it’s an ideal tool for oiling cutting boards and wooden spoons. Because they have densely packed bristles, pastry brushes can also be used to clean caramel residue from baking pans, says Boudewijn.
Because accurate measurements are of the utmost importance in baking, Boudewijn recommends investing in a digital food scale. She says it’s much easier to make presentation-worthy chocolate chip cookies when they’re all the same weight — ideally, an ounce each. “It looks like Chips Ahoy. Everyone thinks you’re a master, and all you did was weigh it and make sure it’s the right size.
A digital food scale is also a must-have device for easy conversions from grams to ounces. “The rest of the world uses grams,” says Boudewijn, noting that many people use pastry recipes from European cookbooks that rarely include imperial conversions. Instead of doing calculations – with the risk of human error and less than desirable results – a digital scale handles conversions at the touch of a button. “If you need 355 grams of flour, you can put it in there, and change it to ounces, and find out how much you need.”
Boudewijn says that while novice bakers often limit their budgets when it comes to home baking essentials, “if you’re going to get started the first time, make an investment.” The right tools are not only useful, she says, but they can also make cooking a more enjoyable experience.
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Sian Babish written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.