I bake a great deal. So when Lehman’s asked me to name 10 Essential Baker’s Items, I jumped at the chance. No matter what you hear about kitchen tools, there’s one thing that holds true: if you pay for quality, it will last ages. These are pieces that will last you for years. You’ll find yourself using many of them for everyday cooking chores, too.
My favorite items are the Recycled Steel pans. My hubby calls them the “Alien Space Pans.” Nothing sticks to them, and they’re great for baked goods, even sweet quick breads. They heat evenly, and they’re coated in a food-safe silicone coating that makes them easy to clean. I ditched an enameled cast iron and a glass 9”x 13” pans after I got the Recycled Steel 9”x13” pan, because it just does everything. We use it so often that I am seriously considering a second one. If I would add an eleventh item to the list, it would be a stiff silicone or plastic knife/pie server to use in these pans, so you don’t break the pans’ coating.
- Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons: My grandparents got these for me as a wedding gift in 1994. They still look brand new! I popped them onto an easy-open keyring and hang them on a hook on the baking cupboard door so they’re always handy.
2. Measuring cups
- Stainless steel for dry measure (Again, an easy open keyring keeps them corralled. Best wedding gift ever!)
- Oxo 1 and 2 cup or Silicone Measuring Cups for liquid measure
If you wear glasses, you’ll love Oxo measuring cups. No more squinting or peering at counter level when you’re measuring liquids. And the super slick Silicone Measuring Cups are fantastic for oils and syrups.
3. Essential Glass Pie Plates: Again, mine are wedding gifts. Twenty-one years later, still indispensible, still in great shape! These are made in Ohio, and they’re the best. (Throw in a pie crust shield for guaranteed success: much easier than the crimping with foil nonsense.)
4. Rolling pin and rolling pin rings
I wouldn’t trade my soild maple rolling pin. It was my mom’s, and like this one, it’s smooth as silk. But those rolling pin rings, though…I can’t even describe how happy they make me. I bugged the Lehman’s copywriters for a chance to play with them when the samples came in. The rings make getting crusts just the right thickness so easy, and so much less frustrating. I’m not a great pie/pastry crust maker, so anything that helps the process is a gift in my book.
5. Recycled Steel Pans
– Round Cake Pans(2)
– Square Cake Pan 9”x 9”(Quick breads or coffee cakes)
– Square Cake Pan 8”x8” (Brownies! And for just the two of us, ideal for stuffed peppers.)
– Cookie Sheet
Just get all the Recycled Steel Pans. Seriously. You’ll be a better cook and baker for it, and the quality is amazing. There are bread pans, mini loaf pans, and a muffin pan too. Dedicate an entire cupboard to these little beauties. You’ll be glad you did.
6. Flour Sack Towels: Pack of 10
Yes, they’re great for cleaning. But bakers love them because they helps concentrate humidity for dough risings, and they’re super handy: absorbent, a great size, and folded over a couple of times, they’re in-a-pinch-hot pads.
7. Mexican Vanilla
Rich, and smooth, you’ll not find a better flavoring. It’s the real thing, in a solution that’s a bare minimum of extraneous ingredients. Try a dollop in your whipping cream, or your morning coffee…that’s what I’m talking about!
8. Unbleached parchment paper
Chemical flavors won’t transfer, pastries and cakes won’t stick to pans or trays, and it’s a thrifty indulgence! I couldn’t live without it: I go through about 4 rolls of this a year. The amount of dishwashing time it saves me is immeasurable.
9. All-In-One Kitchen Tool Spatula
Simply the best server ever! I have one, and I give it as a gift to folks setting up their first apartments, as part of a baking equipment wedding gift. If someone I know doesn’t have one, I make sure they get one. It’s sturdy, but flexible, nimble and easy to clean.
10. Heat Resistant Spatulas (Small, Medium and Large)
Yes, all three. Because you’ll need one for a jar, and one for a batter, and one for turning hot items while baking. They’re all amazing, and clean so well. When you consider the uses for a spatula, it only makes sense to get the most durable. These are tops in class.