Over the past eight months of studying patisserie at college and working in a professional kitchen, I’ve seen loads of gadgets and equipment. However there are certain things that I use again and again. I thought that I would come up with a list of things that I find useful and hope that these things may help you with your home baking and pastry.
1. Sugar probe thermometer
This is something I use all the time, from making macarons, tempering chocolate to making fudge. There are many types ranging from the copper thermometers to the infra red gun ones but for home use, I highly recommend this one from lakeland.
I think a microplane fine grater is a real worthwhile purchase. I use mine all the time and it zests your fruit zest so fine and you don’t hurt your hands like other graters do! You pay for what you get! This is the one I own and I love it so much!!!!
3. Measuring spoons
My favourite spoons from lakeland are no longer on sale there which is a real shame as they were double sided and you could fit one end in narrow jars. Anyhow, measuring spoons don’t need to be expensive. In ikea you can get them for a pound and probably the same in any supermarket. Really necessary if you want accurate baking.
4. Digital scales
For accurate baking a set of digital scales is a worthwhile investment. They are not that expensive and will ensure that you have perfect results every time.
5. Oven thermometer
Another thing to ensure accurate baking is an oven thermometer. The real temperature inside your oven can vary hugely between that on the dial so be sure with your own thermometer and don’t burn any more of your bakes!
6. Disposable piping bags
I always have a roll of disposable piping bags in my tool box. So much easier to use than a nylon piping bag. I only ever use my nylon one when piping meringues as I find it hard to get the fat from buttercream or any colours out in the wash. It’s more laziness than anything else! Therefore plastic disposable ones are the way ahead for me and you can normally get them in rolls of 50 – 100 depending on where you get them. There are plenty of sites on the internet that sell them in various sizes.
7. Set of piping nozzles
A good set of nozzles is always useful. I think an open round tip nozzle and an open star one is the minimum you need.
8. Electric Hand whisk
I have a secret love affair with my mum kitchen aid but it’s not mine and when I used to teach my baking classes in Barcelona, I always had a stash of Kenwood hand mixers. They can be used for most things such as making cake mixes, whisking egg whites and are a general life saver. Although I do still whip my cream by hand so I don’t overbeat it, unless I have loads to whip up.
9. Good set of SHARP knives
A good set of sharp knives is so important for me. It means you can peel,chop, julienne etc and they make life so much easier. I have blunt knives in my work knife bag but I refuse to take my good ones to work. Buy the best set of knives that you can afford as they will be with you for a long time. My dream knives are Global knives…..that will be on my christmas list I think!!!
10. Pastry brush
Please do not use the silicon pastry brushes. I think they are just rubbish! I much prefer a pastry brush with natural bristles such as the Mafter ones where you can buy from here.
Are there any essentials you couldn’t live without? Please share your secrets with me!