5@5 - Old-school baking essentials
May 31st, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Beware ye unevenly iced cakes and collapsed meringues!

James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, author, restaurateur and founder of Sarabeth’s Kitchen, Sarabeth Levine offers up the tools of the trade to bake your way to success in no time.

Five Old-School Baking Tools Every Kitchen Needs: Sarabeth Levine

1. Bench scraper
"A professional baker would be lost without this squat, wide, spatula-like tool, which is also called a bench knife. My bench scraper is by my side all day long. With a couple of swipes, it scrapes the work surface clean of dough scraps and excess flour. Nothing cuts up dough more efficiently. Once you start using one, you’ll be hooked."

2. Plastic bowl scraper
"This plastic tool is curved (some look like a kidney) to fit the interior of a mixing bowl and lets the baker clean every last drop of clinging batter."

3. Offset metal spatula
"Also called an icing spatula, this tool has a thin, flexible metal blade that is offset from the handle. It is perfect for spreading batter into the corners of a rectangular baking pan and applying icing onto cakes at awkward angles. You should have both sizes, large (9 1/2-inch blade) and small (4 1/2-inch blade).

4. Electric stand mixer
"Where would I be without my heavy-duty stand mixer? It is an essential tool of any pastry kitchen, and I can’t imagine having to make perfect cakes, breads or doughs without one.

When it comes to creaming butter for cookies and cakes or whipping a fluffy meringue for a lemon pie, nothing beats a stand mixer. A handheld mixer is an alternative if space is an issue, but it just doesn’t allow you to be hands free, which is such an important option in baking."

5. Zester
"When removing the flavorful, fragrant zest from citrus fruit, it is critical to collect only the colored peel and not the bitter white pith. A Microplane zester, which looks like a rasp with very fine teeth, grates the surface of the fruit and can also be used for grating nutmeg."

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. shutuphippie

    I don't know what I'd do without my bench scraper and stand mixer. I love baking and those are two that I can seriously say have helped me in that avenue.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  2. alr

    Totally agree about the stand mixer! The time and energy it will save you is worth the cost of the mixer. I use mine to make homemade yeast breads. Let the mixer do the kneading!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
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