Saturday, 14 December 2019

Baking # 2 - Most essential baking tools to start baking



In today's post, we will discuss about some of the basic requirements to start home baking.  This post is especially for beginners who are willing to start baking. Through a series of small post, we will discuss some of the basic techniques and requirements of baking. To start with, we need an oven, some beaters, measuring cups and some bowls. Do not invest in everything you see, be stuck on one or two baking pans and beaters. Once, you masters the basic techniques, you can play with a variety of products.



Measurement tools


The foremost important thing we need in our kitchen is measuring cups and spoons. Baking is all about accuracy and precision. It is very important to take the accurate measurement of the ingredients to get a good end product. Some tools are as follows.


  • Standard measuring cups or spoons:   The measuring cups and spoons are meant for measuring the ingredients by volume. Some recipes will give the ingredients in cups, which means you should measure the ingredients with standard measuring cups and spoons.  You can't replace this with regular tea cups or spoons. Also, one cup or spoon means one level cup, but not the thickly packed one. Two types of measuring cups are available in the market. First one contains 4 cups with four different measurements, i.e,  1 cup, 2/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup. The spoons consist of 1 tbsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp.
    The second one contains two extra cups and spoons for 1/3 cups, 3/4 cups and 1/2 tbsp and 1/8 tsp.
  • Measuring jars : This type of measuring jars is meant for measuring liquids like milk, juices, oil etc,. The volume is marked on the jar in ml.
  • Electronic weighing machine:  Professionally, ingredients are always measured in weight rather than volume. It is the most accurate way of measurement. The picture shown below is a digital weighing machine. It will be better to get one and is available at affordable prices.

Mixers

Mixers are used to blend  or incorporate the ingredients by whisking. There are two types of whisk available in the market, hand mixers and electric mixers.

Hand whisk: These are manually operated whisk. It has a long steel handle and have numerous wire loops joint to the end. It is available also in plastic. Both smaller and larger balloon whisk are useful for incorporating small volumes. But it takes lots of energy and time, so it will be better to get an electric hand mixer.
Balloon whisk



Electric hand mixer: The picture shown here is an electric mixer. It comes with two sets of blades, i.e. one set whisk and one set dough hook. It makes baking much easier compared to hand whisk. These are available with stands also , it is more convenient and the better option.


Mixing bowl

Any deep and wide pans can be used for mixing, but plastic is not recommended. Use steel or glass bowls.

Appropriate pan


Pans of different size and shapes are available in the market. It is available in aluminium, non-stick, silicone and glass. The baking time varies with the size of the pan. An appropriate pan is very important to get a nice leavened product.  The large pan will result in over cooking of the baked goods and smaller pans will give heaped products. So my suggestion is to get a set of 6" 8'' 9'' round or square pans, loaf tin and a cupcake mould in the beginning. Later you can go cookie trays, bread moulds, etc.





Oven


Previously baking was done by professionals in large bormas (The place where the products are cooked in a bakery). Due to the fear of fire, the ovens were usually build separated from other buildings. But nowadays baked goods became so much popular and many people started baking at home itself. For many of us this is not only a routine kitchen work, but a matter of enjoyment.  Luckily, wide range of  ovens is available at affordable prices.

Convection microwave oven

Generally, home bakers use an OTG oven or a conventional microwave oven for baking. If  people can’t afford an oven, then it is possible to convert a thick bottomed pan with tight lid or a pressure cooker to an oven. I have seen my parents were baking in pressure cooker with sand (sometimes salt). Definitely this is not easy like ready-made ovens, as there is no controlled knobs or temperature setting in this. But still ...YES... everything is possible, we can bake in pressure cookers also.
OTG oven

While comparing the convention and otg oven, I will say otg oven is the best, as this is cheaper than the other, also the goods baked in an otg oven superior in texture, colour and flavours. If you are planning to buy a new oven, then do go for an otg oven. 


Sieve 

This is an essential tool for baking. Sieving flour not only removes the impurities, but also aerate the product. Any good sieve from your kitchen can be used.

Spatula

Spatulas are used to incorporate the ingredients and scraping the sides. Any spatulas of your kitchen can be used. The coloured one in the picture is made of silicone and it is more flexible than the wooden ones. If possible add one to your collection.

Oil brush

Oil brushes are used to grease the pan, oil or egg wash the fermented good etc. Both silicone and wooden are available.

Liners

Liners are used to avoid sticking of the product onto the pan. The use of butter paper and cupcake liners are really helpful for beginners.




Happy cooking
Anju