Tools of the Baking Trade

DSC_0515

As many of you know, I often link to Amazon whenever I want you to see a specific tool or piece of equipment I am using.

I do like Amazon since they have just about everything under the sun and their prices are very competitive- if not the best around.

This time with the launching of Gretchen’s Bakery I wanted to only include those items that I absolutely use each and everyday rather than a chaotic page full of “just stuff”

Whether you are an avid Amazon user, or you don’t touch the stuff……my more important goal here is to show you in 3-D closeup images the exact same things I am using in my videos and tutorials. I link to these products very often within each blog post so you can click direct and see up close just exactly what I am using.

Amazon does a great job of showcasing those products with all the specifications, not to mention buyer reviews which I LOVE, they are so very helpful.

So my point is whether you want to buy it or not, or you want to go check out another brand of a similar item or a different seller outside of Amazon, absolutely go ahead!

You can also do comparison shopping right there on the site.

So, here I just wanted to take a moment to show you what I am using every day, give you a review on why I love it so much and then give you an opportunity to buy it through my website!

Feel free to leave your own comments and reviews below.  If you have another product you think I should check out or that is better than something I am recommending here…please enlighten me!  I never claim to know everything and I am always open to new suggestions from folks who know better!

At the end of the day the main goal is to help each other be the best we can be! So let’s get to it!

Just click the highlighted link for the product you wish to see more information about!

Alright! Let’s go shopping!

 

kithcen aid mixer

Where else would I start but with the Kitchen Aid mixer! The only reason I advertise the KA Brand so much is because it is my only experience.  I know many of you have asked me to consider other brands like Kenmore, and Hamilton Beach and even Oster sells a planetary stand mixer; and I do apologize for always saying “Kitchen Aid” rather than stand mixer~ my intention is not to single out those other manufacturers.  It is more likely  that since I have been using a kitchen aid since my early years in high school, I have never had a reason or desire to use another brand.  You can however, do a simple internet search for “Planetary Stand Mixer Brand Reviews” and you will get tons of information and comparisons from folks who spent a lot of time researching exactly that topic, just for you! I also want to specify that of course not everyone can afford a stand mixer and 99% of my recipes work without one, so if it is a hand beater you are shopping for, I prefer the ones with a balloon type beater rather than those old fashioned egg beater style ones, like this one here

Americolor Gel Paste

Americolor Soft Gel Paste Colors are almost identical to the Chefmaster gel paste colors I more frequently use.  It is simply because I can get the Chefmaster brand in bulk sizes, but the quality is virtually identical and most of you probably wouldn’t need the 10ounce bottles of every color under the sun anyway!  Gel paste colors are superior to liquid food coloring because you need just a drop to get a very intense color to your food, and without adding liquid to it at the same time.  Liquid food colors take way too much while adding unwanted liquid to recipes.  Especially in coloring buttercream, the last thing we want is to saturate it with moisture.

clay characters from kids book

Whenever I need an explicit visual of how to make modeled figures out of fondant or modeling paste,  the Clay Characters for Kids Book is my savior.  So what that it’s for clay, isn’t modeling paste nothing more than edible clay!? Check out this book, it is very affordable and has almost 80 pages of close up lesson on how to model some really cute figures!

turntableThe Ateco Cake Turntable is something I could not live without! I bought mine back in 1990 and still have it today!  These are a bit pricey but worth the investment since 1990 was 25 years ago!  You won’t have to ever buy another one if you stick with this brand leader in cake turn stands!

mixing bowlsStainless steel, assorted sizes nesting mixing bowls  I love nesting bowls for their ease in storage and of course because you don’t always use the same size bowl for each task.  You often see me using metal mixing bowls in many of my recipe tutorials.  They are lightweight and have a large capacity for recipes that require a lot of folding.

half sheet panFat Daddios Brand Half Sheet Pan Now does it have to be Fat Daddios?  Won’t any sheet pan with 12″X18″ dimensions will work just fine?  Well, yes and no.  If it’s just the size you are needing to accommodate, then yes, I suppose you can use some flimsy piece of tin that you may end up throwing away after 2 uses.  Or you can grab a couple of Fat Daddios brand heavy gauge aluminum sheet pans and never have to buy another one again. And the name….Fat Daddio’s? I mean, why wouldn’t you!? (Chicago Metallic is also a great strong long lasting brand)

cake pansFat Daddio’s Assorted Sized Cake Pans be sure to double check exactly which size you are going from since they sell all the sizes from 5″ to 12″.  I always use 2″ Height on my cake pans. I find that I am always filling cake batter to the half way mark and an extra 1″ can confuse people too much.  I don’t think the 3″ height is necessary for anything other than cheesecakes (since as you know I do not use Springforms Pans)

heating pad Heating Pad ? Seriously? What is this for?  After you eat too much cake and your tummy hurts!  Well sure! There is one more good use for this!  But not exactly, you see I like to accelerate the process of proofing yeast doughs by placing the bowl over top of this heating pad.  It probably cuts the proofing time by at least 1/3 not to mention in the winter when your kitchen may be colder than normal it is really helpful for nice big fluffy rising buns!

metro blade_The Metro Blade attachment for Kitchen Aid mixers. Be sure to purchase the correct size for the exact model KA you have.  They make them for 4.5 Qt & 5 Qt Tilt head mixers, as well as the 5Qt & 6Qt Bowl Lift style mixers like I have. Great for cutting down on the time it takes to mix recipes, honestly I wouldn’t have believed the time it actually takes to stop the mixer, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl each time, and this is a crucial step in baking to ensure a proper mix!  Once you get this metro blade you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!  I have been struggling lately though, since the purchase of my 8Qt KA.  That was almost a disappointing purchase because the only real difference is the bowl itself, everything else is virtually the same as my 6qt Pro model.  So honestly, I shouldn’t bad mouth this mixer,  it actually is a great bowl with 2 more quarts capacity, but for me and filming the videos, I need you guys to really be able to see inside the bowl, and that extra 2 inches on it is a huge hindrance.  So I say all that to say, I am using an 8qt mixer with a 6qt bowl and a 6qt metro blade attachment.  It si all not fitting together as it should and I cannot use my metro blade when I use this mix matched ensemble. Anyway- be sure to get the right fit!

duxtopDUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 9100MC Ok, I wouldn’t have needed to buy this had I had a proper kitchen to film in, but since I do not I had to get a tabletop cooker.  I actually LOVE it now that I got the correct pots that are compatible! Buyer beware, some pots and pans will say they are induction compatible, but I learned NOT TRUE. I had to return an entire pot and pan set after unpacking the entire contents! have you ever tried to RE-pack a pot and pan set?? Not fun.  So just be sure you are truly getting induction compatible otherwise this DUXTOP cooker will not ever turn on. Its heats up in an instant, well its should…that’s the nature of induction heating.  I have no trouble with the controls reacting to lowering or higher temperatures in an instant. It may be a learning curve if you are used to electric or gas, but give it a try I bet you will be happy with the speed and even cooking it doles out.

scale_Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale  Do not make me say it!  You know how I feel about weighing your ingredients.  So for those who are still on the fence I will ask you to read all about Measuring and then come back here and take a look at this very affordable price tag.  I use this scale everyday in weighing my ingredients for video prep and for the research and development of new recipes.  The success of the recipe depends 5% on the baker and 90% on the measuring system with 5% of luck thrown in! It has multi TARE function meaning you can weigh 1 ingredient, then TARE then add more ingredients on top without ever removing the bowl.  Great for measuring dry ingredients that are all going to get sifted together anyway! My favorite pick right here!

9X13Chicago Metallic 9″X13″ Cake Pan or Casserole Dish this reminds me of the pyrex casserole my mom used to make lasagna in!  So honestly you can use this cake pan from dual purpose!  It’s the 9″ X 13″ dimensions we are after.  But this brand is heavy duty top of the line in cake pans, so I highly recommend for my Brownie Recipe and well… pretty much whatever you want to put n it!

 

cuisinartCuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor I use this contraption all the time!  I am not sure how I functioned before I had one!  Since it is the best from shredding, chopping, fine grinding ingredients and FAST!  very easy to clean as all the parts are detachable and dishwasher safe. Mine didn’t come with all those veggies though 🙁 I think I got ripped off 🙂

serrated_Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 10-Inch Serrated Bread/Slicing Knife I bought this knife as a back up to my trusty “$56,000 knife” that you all see me using in my videos.  For those who have followed me since my Crumb Boss days, you will understand that reference LOL.  But I will have to say, as much as this knife is GREAT, nothing compares to that 20+year old one I am still using to this day from my Culinary Institute knife kit I got on my first day of school!  Now don’t get me wrong this one is perfect and does the job just fine but BE CAREFUL this knife IS SHARP! Not only will it cut your cakes horizontally with ease, but if you are not careful it will cut right through your hands horizontally with ease as well! It is perfect for bread slicing too since it is so sharp.  Some cakes need a sawing motion like my Butterfingers Cake so this serrated will do a much better job than a traditional chef’s knife.

knifeJ.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife this is the same exact knife I have.  I use it every single day.  It is the perfect size that is comfortable in my hand. I recommend to get the feel for the knife that is best suited from you, your hand size and your grip as well.  Not all hands are created equal so the knife is definitely not a once size fits all situation!  Check out this post to see a good example of how to properly hold a knife

scoops_Jenaluca Ice Cream Scoop Cookie Scoop Melon Scoop 3 Pc Set Now you don’t necessarily have to get this brand or even a set of scoops, however I found that this stainless steel 3 piece set was perfect not only in size for the applications I am constantly using (I scoop cookie dough balls for the freezer all the time!) but they are strong and well made. I have found in the past that the cheaper gear like models as shown here can break easily when scooping a big quantity of doughs or ice creams as well as stiff doughs and hard ice creams.  I have not had any trouble with this set and it has lasted me quite some time

thermometer_Candy & Deep Fry Thermometer    If you are making candy you need this.  You cannot get to the high temperatures (upwards of 350°F) that this can handle with a regular instant read thermometer.  I have always used Taylor, and quite possibly there can be a better brand by now, but despite some bad reviews about glass breaking, I have never had that experience (oops, jinxed!) The clip attachment for the side of the pot is a great feature and very useful

instant readTaylor 9840 Digital Instant Read Pocket Thermometer    displays temperatures from minus 58 degrees to 302 degrees F, very handy for getting a quick (instant!) read on whatever you are cooking such as Custards and Curds that need very close monitoring

silicon matArtisan (2 pk.) Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat Set, 16 5/8 x 11  Silicone baking mats are great for many projects like cookie doughs and even chocolate work.  I have about a dozen of these and I love them since I am not wasting parchment paper over and again, so the money you will save in the long run on parchment is really worth this affordable investment!

brush_OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush  when it comes to pastry brushes Silicone is so much more sanitary.  Yuck to dried food and especially egg washes in your traditional pastry brushes.  You can never quite get that weird smell out of the bristles or the wood in the old fashioned style.  So I stick to using that kind from brushing flour off of my doughs and keep the silicone for the nasty projects!

blowtorchBernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch need I say anything here?  You have seen me time and again with my blowtorch for various tasks from removing cheesecakes from pans to getting smooth sides on cakes!  The trigger start attachment here is quite pricey, but you only have to buy it once, then the cans of propane are CHEAP!  Be sure to pick up the cans separately sine I am not linking them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also like

14 Comments

  1. I have used my Chicago Cutlery 10″ serrated knife for 33 years! I used to decorate cakes and always, always used it to divide my cakes. I continue to use it to this day, as well as my 30 year old Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Great products that set the standard.

  2. I have changed all my cake pans to Fat Daddio’s pans. I would not go back, the best investment I made. Living in Canada I have a problem getting Americolor gels. I purchased the Wilton Performance Colour system colors and have been very impressed. The colors are vibrant and get darker as the buttercream sits. Thank you for sharing all your recipes and knowledge.

  3. Hello Gretchen. Love your comment on the heating pad. I needed a good laugh. (I actually used the heating pad on your advice when I made the cinnamon buns) to proof the dough not on my tummy. Still laughing. Glad to see your humor along with your great recipes are back. Was just saying today, I need to get a scale. Now I know which one to purchase. Thank you for all you do., your recipes, time and great sense of humor. You are the best.

  4. Hi Gretchen, I’ve read that you have to reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees F if you’re baking with Fat Daddios pans. In your cake recipes, like your yellow and vanilla sponge cakes, it says 350F. If I’m using Fat Daddios should I reduce to 325F or will 350F be okay?

  5. Hello,
    Doing a 21 bday cake..how would I be able to safely stick a glass bottle (or can) into the cake…and keep it food safe?

      1. Thank you but I just did some research and even though I see people putting wine glasses on cake, and I’m sure you are correct..but I don’t feel comfortable unless the packaging literally said Food Safe on it. Which they don’t. I’m going to attempt to make a fondant wine glass. Thank you, I appreciate your expertise.

        1. If it is a wine glass that you drink out of, then it is already food safe, because you are using it for drinks… putting it to your mouth. So yes wine glasses and all serving ware is food safe

          1. Yes, thank you..that makes sense. There is a reason why myself and so many others come to you for reliable information. I’m self taught..did not go to culinary school..and you are definitely the most knowledgeable professional out there! I did give you a small donation to getchens bakery for all your kindness and help. Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *