Calling all bread bakers, muffin makers, and cup-cakers — it’s time to go shopping.
Having the right tools means less prep, more pride, less mess, and more mastery. It is oh-so-satisfying to watch a loaf of bread rise perfectly at 5,000 feet above sea level, to get a cheesecake out of the pan without it falling apart, to make a cherry pie with fresh Flathead cherries, so we reckon it’s time you upped your arsenal of kitchen gadgets.
Whether you like baking traditional pastries or gourmet cupcakes, this buyer’s guide will ensure you have everything you need to make the magic happen in your oven.
#1 — Silicone Springform Pans
Yes, they exist, and they are fantastic. Aluminum springform pans are sturdy, but unless they’re heavily oiled, used in a waterbath, and baked on the full moon, it can be hit or miss for newbies trying their hand at the made-from-scratch cheesecake.
Unlike their metal counterparts, silicone springform pans have a glass bottom that serves up helpings beautifully, and a fantastic seal for sticking into a waterbath (foil isn’t a terrible idea, but may not be necessary). The best part? Once it’s ready to come out, the flexible silicone sleeve peels easily away from your cake, taking no morsels hostage with it.
You can get a silicone springform pan here.
#2 — Flour Sifter
If you bake a lot of bread or delicate cakes, flour sifters are far from a luxury — they make for lighter, fluffier baked goods and make it easier for leavening agents to do their job. Want to lessen the chore of sifting flour when you bake? Get one you don’t hate.
The old fashioned hand crank flour sifters do a great job of aerating flour, as well as dispelling lumps in powdered sugar, while still directing the flour straight down into your bowl. Less mess, easy cleanup, and these little gadgets power through three cups of flour in no time flat.
You can get a stainless steel flour sifter here.
#3 — Immersion Blender
From pureeing fruits for cupcake fillings to pulverizing ingredients for some gluten-free pancakes, I’ve used my immersion blender more times than I can count. This little kitchen gadget is so quick and simple to use, and extremely easy to clean — just pop the attachment off when you’re done and give it a quick rinse.
I’ve put my stick blender through the ringer over the years, so I really can’t recommend this one from Cuisinart enough — it’ll put up with even your craziest kitchen antics, and packs more power than you might think.
#4 — Pie Weights
There’s nothing like carefully putting together a beautiful homemade pie crust with ice cold butter flakes, only to have it puff up into bubbles when you finally get it in the oven.
In case you didn’t know, pie weights are absolutely a thing, and designed to keep your pie crust in place as the heat of your oven compels it to rise. Just drop these little ceramic pieces evenly across the top of your pie, and remove them as it cools for a crust that’s a bit more down to earth.
#5 — KitchenAid Mixer Attachments
Just about every baker (this one included) has a big shiny KitchenAid mixer sitting on their kitchen counter, and it’s the workhorse of all of their most brazen baking projects.
Even better than being one of the toughest mixers on the market though, KitchenAid also offers a slew of mixer attachments that do everything from mill grain to make pasta. Here are a few of my favorites for everything from fruit to grain processing:
- Spiralizer/Apple Corer Attachment
- All Metal Grain Mill Attachment
- Pouring Shield (you’ll thank me when you’re not covered in powdered sugar)
- Mixing Bowl Cover (not an attachment, but GREAT for chilling cookie dough)
- Fruit and Vegetable Grinder/Strainer Attachment
#6 — Silicone Baking Cups
If you’re conscious of how much waste you produce with each batch of cupcakes, consider going green with some reusable silicone baking cups. They’re reasonably priced, available in funky colors and patterns, and peel effortlessly from each cupcake — no more paper residue to endlessly pick away at.
You can get some silicone cupcake liners here.
#7 — Cherry Pitter
Cherry season is upon us here in the Big Sky State, and I know I can’t wait to snag a big bag of them to turn into a towering black forest cake!
If you want to do some baking with fresh cherries but want them to keep their round shape, a cherry pitter is what you need. This one from Westmark is sturdy, stainless steel, and plastic-free!
#8 — Flour Sack Towels
Flour sack towels are handy for everything, but especially in working with pastry dough. Use it over your countertop to keep the flour mess at a minimum as you roll out a pizza crust, or throw it over the top of a bowl of bread dough as it rises.
Lightweight, large, and made of natural cotton, you’ll find yourself using these time and time again. You can get some organic cotton ones here.
#9 — Bread Proofing Basket
If you’ve ever tried to clumsily stuff the ends of a damp dish towel around a big bowl of bread dough as it proofs, you know: the struggle is real. It can be so challenging to proof bread, and then turn it out without completely mangling the dough in the process.
Proofing baskets are the miracle a lot of us (ahem, maybe just me?) never knew existed, and make everything simpler. Just flour the basket, or use a liner, depending on whether you want the weave to imprint on the dough, and set your dough in to rise. Once complete, gently flip the basket upside down, and voila — you have a perfectly shaped, beautiful loaf, ready for the oven!
You can buy a proofing basket here.
#10 — Pizza Stone
Making homemade pizzas? Skip the teflon and aluminum pans and spring for a ceramic or stone pizza stone instead. The density of these materials more evenly distributes the heat throughout the crust, giving you a more consistent cook, every time.
Don’t let it stop with the pizza pie though — use your pizza stone for cookies too, and try not to lament not giving it a shot sooner when you get your first soft batch of snickerdoodles.
You can find soapstone pizza stones here.
#11 — Brown Sugar Disks
I’m embarrassed to admit the number of times I’ve reached for the tin of brown sugar, only to find it had settled into a rock hard lump, just in time for my next batch of chocolate chip cookies.
These ceramic brown sugar disks are easy as pie to use: just soak them in water for 15 minutes, pat dry, and set in your brown sugar container — they’ll keep it moist for up to three months.
#12 — Cookie Scoop
Gone are the days of flicking chunks of cookie dough at a sheet with two warring tablespoons. Cookie scoops make dolling out the cookie dough a one-handed operation, and I’ll never bake without one again.
Wanna be extra crafty? Use your cookie scoop for cookie dough, but buy a regular-sized ice cream scoop to distribute cupcake batter, without creating a drippy mess.
#13 — Wilton Filling Tip
Filled cupcakes are like taking gold, and adding chocolate to it — it just improves on something that’s already pretty wonderful.
If you want to make filled cupcakes like all of the pros, you can carefully carve little plugs out of each and every cupcake, or you can use this extra long filling tip from Wilton. It’s long enough to reach the center of the cupcake, but slender enough not to leave a gaping hole in the top. Just squeeze, frost, and devour.
#14 — Pastry Scraper
Kneading an extra light dough? While you’re working with pastries, don’t leave your precious hard work behind on your work surface — get every ounce with a pastry scraper. It’s great for turning and working with particularly light, thin doughs, and can even double as a cutting board and grilling accessory to shuffle food around with.
You can get a stainless steel pastry scraper here.