Sharing My Toys

A part of why I enjoy baking and swordplay both, is the potential for collecting.  There are always new things to play with and a learning experience to be had with every new tool.  When it comes to baking, I divide these tools into two categories: those that make production go faster, and those that make the finished product prettier.  Sometimes it can be both, and occasionally a piece of equipment can be an essential tool.  Essentials are fairly limited, though.  All you really need to bake (besides an oven) are bowls, spoons and some method of measuring.

As for making your baking adventures easier, probably the best toy you can have is a stand mixer.  They aren’t cheap, but if you do a lot of baking then there’s no better thing to have.  A food scale is also very useful and very affordable.  Since baking is so close to chemistry, you can’t do better for precision in baking than scaling ingredients.  These and other tools of this sort are the things that make baking go faster and have better consistency, but the fun stuff is yet to come.

There are a lot of toys in baking.  These toys are not a requirement, but often help improve the final result of baked goods.  If your passion lies in decorating cakes and the like, you can’t go wrong with a good set of piping tips.  I’ve seen plenty of ways to get around having them, but if you’re seriously into cake making, you’ll want at least a couple of different tips right away.  Some manner of turntable is also great for decorating, making an even decorating job ever so much easier. Don’t talk to me about cupcakes, though, as they are the tool of the devil.

Naturally, my favourite subject is bread, so it makes sense that the toys I like the best are for bread.  A baking stone is really the best way of making the final crust even on all sides, and so is a terribly useful piece of kitchen gear.  A peel helps with lifting the bread to and from the oven.

The best though is my baguette pan.  Really, although you can make baguettes without a proper baguette pan, I always feel like something is missing without it.  A baguette without a baguette pan simply lacks a certain undefinable quality that to me is really off putting.

Those last couple are both useful and fun, but there are some baking toys that are the height of frivolity.  These add nothing to the taste or consistency of the finished product, but can elevate your baking and are sometimes just fun to have.  The most recent addition to my collection is a shortbread mold that, with the holidays coming, I’m looking forward to using a whole bunch.

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