Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tools I can't live without

Every baker has a list of tools that they just can't live without. Aside from the obvious - Good quality pans, measuring devices, sharp knives and a good sturdy rolling pin, my list is a pretty short. Each of them is a good multi-purpose tool. Like the wonderful Alton Brown, I do not employ many gadgets in my kitchen that only do one thing.

In fairness, I must admit that I am also a cake decorator, and when I put on my decorating hat, I need a lot more tools and gadgets to make my job easier. But for good old-fashioned baking, there are a just few tools I can't live without:

This simple cheap plastic scraper and multi-purpose tool is one of the things I use most often in my kitchen.  I use it as a spatula, a bowl scraper, a frosting knife, and it makes the best pie server ever. It has a very thin flexible "blade" to get in between the pie crust and the pie plate, for serving up beautiful slices that are not broken or dented. I actually bring it with me every time I bring a pie anywhere, because standard pie servers make for messy slices. It is also my go-to tool for loosening cake layers from their pans, and any time I need to get a thin edge under a baked item to lift it. To find this (seemingly nameless) plastic tool, you have to go to a cooking supply shop, or order it online.

Pastry Cutter/Blender - Yeah, that is how much of a baking geek I am. I actually prefer to mix my pie crust with this old-fahioned hand tool rather than the modern food processor methods. Food processors are perfectly capable of mixing dough, and most modern bakers have stepped up to the food processor method. But I still like to "feel" the dough, and why clean up the food processor when doing it by hand is not that hard?

Wire Whisk: I have several in different sizes. I use them to stir, to whip air into things like meringues and whipped cream, and I also use it to mix my dry ingredients together well (flour, salt, baking powder). It is the ideal tool for stirring things when you don't want to get clumps - gravies, puddings and pie fillings (see above, making pudding on the stove).

My KitchenAid Mixer - Okay, I am not so old-fashioned that I can't appreciate a good modern tool. I would cry if my trusty old KitchenAid broke. I have had it for more than twelve years and I use it nearly every single day. KitchenAid mixers may seem expensive, but they last and last. I may love retro recipes and techiniques, but this is one case where we are definitely better off than our Grandmothers were!


  1. Where ca you find the plastic scrapers? The store I bought them from closed and now I can't find them anymore?!!
    Val Powery (at) yahoo . Com

  2. Hi, I'm looking for the plastic spatulas too. I bought a bunch sometime ago from a store, but they don't carry it anymore. Now I need more & my sister wants some too. Thank you. Btw, I can't live without them too....I use it for everything. Sad it's not heat resistant.