For National Baking Month I asked on Instagram for your baking questions. When I got hundreds of responses, I decided to make this a series of posts on my site. So far we’ve discussed Pies + Pie Crust, Cakes + Decorating, Meringue, Bread Baking, vegan desserts and now Baking Equipment. If you have any questions I haven’t answered, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get to every comment that I can!
Your Baking Equipment Questions
- Favorite measuring cups and scale? I’ll start with the scale, because I want everyone to use one for baking! My favorite scale is the MyWeigh. My favorites are a sturdy metal set of dry measuring cups. I like a glass measuring cups that have both cups and ML for liquid measures.
- Could you give a list of essential baking tools and some nice extra tools to have?
- How do you organize all of your tools/bakeware? I organize my tools by type, so cake equipment stays together, measuring cups and mise bowls are near each other. I also situate them near where I will be using them, so I am not walking all over the kitchen when I need something. My mixing bowls, whisks, spatulas, jars of flour and sugar all sit very close to my stand mixers, so I can just reach for them in the middle of a project. I admit I am a hoarder of kitchen equipment and so I need a lot of space, but the essentials can really fit in a small space. Here’s a tour of the before and after of my kitchen from a long time ago! And here is an Instagram kitchen tour.
- Do you prefer gas or electric ovens for baking? I prefer to bake in an electric oven. The heat tends to be more even and especially with bread, the outcome is often better. When baking a crusty loaf of bread you need to add steam to the oven and the way gas ovens are vented, they don’t trap the steam, so your bread won’t rise as well and it won’t have a shiny crust. When I do bake bread in a gas oven, I use a Dutch Oven so that the steam is trapped in the pot.
- When should we use convection vs conventional oven? I almost never use the convection setting, unless the recipe specifically calls for it. The wind can brown the outside and leave the inside under baked, so it is best to go with flat heat for baking. If your oven only has convection heat, be sure to adjust the temperature down by about 20-25°F to make up for the intensity of the fan.
- Can I trust my countertop convection oven to bake yeasted breads? $0 to waste experimenting! Yes, my mom bakes her bread in one and it is terrific. She tends to make small loaves, so they fit beautifully. She also uses it for cakes, pizza and whatever else she is baking. It does take some experimenting, since it is convection and most baking recipes don’t call for that. So your bakes may be done sooner than the recipe calls for. Once you get to know the oven, you can adjust the baking times on a recipe.
- Do you have a favorite online shop for baking supplies, ingredients, etc.? I have curated a little shop of some of my favorite tools on Amazon. I also really trust the equipment sold at King Arthur Baking Company, Wilton and Williams Sonoma. There may also be local shops near you that sell good quality baking equipment that you want to support.
- Where do you get those white papers for your muffins? They are called tulip muffin papers and they are linked in the blueberry muffin blog post. You can find them here. or you can make your own, as I do in my blueberry muffin demo during my Magnolia Workshop.
- If you could only buy one, which is more versatile: 8×8 or 9×9 pan? I think I use my 8×8 more often.
- Best way to use silicone canele molds? I have copper molds and tend to use those more frequently, just because I find they caramelize a bit better, but the silicone don’t require all of the fussy prep. You’ll find my Instagram video on caneles here.
- Do you have a link for the embossed rolling pin? I got mine at JK Adams, but there is also a large selection here. in my Pie Q&A I talk about how to use this pin successfully to create an embossed pie crust.
- Do you have a favorite rolling pin? I am ready to tackle crust and want the right tools. I use handled rolling pins and French style pins the most. If I am working with a soft dough, I like the French style pin, because I can feel the dough better under it and I can have a gentler pressure. If I am working with a chilled stiff dough I like a pin with handles so I can put some force into it without it hurting my bony hands. There is no right or wrong rolling pin, just the one that feels the most comfortable. I would just suggest you have one that is large enough to cover the width of the dough you are using, it’s just easier to get an even dough.
- Is measuring with a scale better? It seems to be more popular overseas than here in US? Yes, it is better because it’s MUCH more accurate. Think of how differently we may all scoop flour into a measuring cup. Some people dip into a bag, some people level off, some people spoon it in. Those are all completely different weights and it is way harder to control the outcome that way. There are scales ranging from less than $10 to $80. My favorite scale is priced in the middle at about $45. A kitchen scale is a game changer if you’re trying to become a better baker. Plus, it often results in less dishes to wash!
- What stand mixer do you recommend? I have three and I discuss them all here!
- Where do you get the copper molds for your blueberry muffins? They are mini souffle molds from Mauviel.
- Favorite baking dishes/pans? Find all my essentials in my Amazon shop! This gift guide is also a good place to find out my recommended equipment.
- How to successfully use an ice cream scoop for cookies – they always stick like mad! Start with a sturdy, reliable scoop, that won’t fall apart with a thick cookie dough. Having said that, some cookie dough will stick to just about anything, so spraying with baking spray will help release the cookies from the scoop. You can also wipe it with any cooking oil. For some cookies, like meringue, dipping into hot water between scoops, then tapping dry, also works.
- Favorite cookbooks? I have hundreds of cookbooks and I receive multiple copies of cookbooks each week in the mail. But there are some that are tried and true that I bake from all of the time (see below). Here is my full list of cookbooks.