Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Baking Essentials

Baking Essentials

New to baking but don’t know where to start? You are at the right place. In today’s blog, I am going to share some of the essential equipment used in baking. Investing in better equipment can also increase your success rate, and you’ll find it less stressful when baking.

• Scales 

First and most important – scales. Baking is science, and even one gram more or less of an ingredient could make a difference. Look for digital scales, and if you can, invest in one that measures the accuracy to at least one decimal place so that you can measure all the ingredients precisely. For some ingredients, especially chemical leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda, only a small amount is often used, so your scales accuracy is critical.

 

• Thermometer
When choosing a thermometer, I suggest a digital one is best. It helps you to check if your cake is baked through, and it is particularly helpful when you’re working with sugar or chocolate. As the temperature is vital in baking, if your oven is 10°C warmer or cooler than the recipe suggests, it can over-bake or under-baked your cake. I would also suggest you get an oven thermometer if you are unfamiliar with your oven or if yours is somewhat old.

 

• Whisk/Mixer 
A whisk, or ideally electronic hand or stand mixer will help you a lot when you’re baking. Electronic ones especially come in handy when you’re making things like meringues, bread or whipping a large amount of cream, which all need a great deal of mixing/kneading. It can save you from tired hands and make the whole process a lot easier!

 

• Silicone spatula
Silicone spatulas not only can be used in stirring but, most importantly, can help you to scrape out every little bit of cake batter left on the side of the bowl. When buying a silicone spatula, look for bendy and heat-proof ones. People may overlook the importance of a heat-proof, but trust me, it will come in handy when you’re making recipes that need cooking on the hob, like jam and choux pastry.

 

• Sieve 
Sieve for your dry ingredients, your flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar… Sifting your dry ingredients is important when you’re making cakes, don’t just skip this step because you’re lazy. Sifting the flour helps the ingredients mix better, and make sure that you won’t end up with a lumpy batter.

 

• Baking trays/tins
Most of the time, it is preferable to use non-stick bakewares. The reason is probably obvious because they are non-stick. Your cakes or bread can be easily removed from the molds. If your molds aren’t non-stick, you will need to grease your baking tins beforehand, and if you forget, the cake you spent the whole afternoon making will get stuck in the molds, and basically it will be impossible to take it out without ruining its look.

 

• Non-stick baking paper
This is the same as the reason above, but the use of baking paper is more versatile and flexible. You may line your baking trays and molds; you can also make piping bags out of it. Also, it could save you a lot of time cleaning-up!

 

• Cooling rack
Cooling your baked goods on a wire rack can help you to prevent soggy, overbaked products. Always cool your baked goods on a rack; it allows air to circulate around your baked goods as they cool, the heat from the hot pan could overcook your products and cause condensation.

 

 

See you next week!

Hoi Yan



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