The saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is true when speaking of the leading city-state of the ancient world- and nearly as true for the perfect baked food. It takes years of training to become an expert chef who can make yummy pastries and cakes. And while an outstanding baked food doesn’t take as long to be ready as did Rome, the end result can be just as gratifying.
As a skilled baker, I take pride in my work. Like people in other professionals, I also use a number of tools to help me bake food that is loved by many. By using my baking tools I provide others with edibles such as bread, cakes, pastries, cookies and a number of other baked foods almost too numerous to list. When I bake, I use tools such as a weighing scale, a whisk, a spatula, a baking pan, measuring spoons and cups, a food processor, a pastry brush, a mixing bowl, a rolling pin and a dough hook. Each of these tools is essential for baking as, without them, I would not be able to make the variety of baked foods that I can.
I and my colleagues know that baking requires a great deal of precision. This means that we have to add the right ingredients in just the right amount to successfully create delectable baked foods. Today I want to share with you the uses of a few of the most important baking tools that we bakers can’t do without.
Uses of a Weighing Scale When Baking
One of the biggest reasons we use a weighing scale when baking is that when ingredients are used in just the right quantity the food being prepared tastes very good. So a weighing scale allows us bakers to precisely measure the ingredients that we’re going to use, and when everything else also goes well the end result is a tasty pastry or loaf of bread.
By using a weighing scale, we bakers are able to measure with a precision that is not possible were we to use measuring cups instead. Furthermore using a weighing scale also means that fewer utensils are used for baking, our counter looks cleaner, the ingredients are used most efficiently, every finished baked food tastes as it is intended to and the portions of the baked food are consistent.
Honestly, a weighing scale is to us bakers what flight instruments are to a pilot- we can bake without using it, but then the end result could be akin to a pilot expecting to land to Mumbai but actually landing in Pune instead.
Importance of a Whisk
As a baker I know that there are a number of different types of whisks available; however, when it comes to baking, a balloon whisk is my particular favourite and I consider it as the most important. As the name implies a balloon whisk looks similar in shape to a balloon, actually to a semi-inflated balloon. It is made from eight or more metal wires that are attached to the whisks handle on one end and like an inflating balloon the wires jut out from the handle and come back together at another end. A balloon whisk is used to fill an ingredient with a lot of air. When I bake using a balloon whisk I use it to add air to ingredients such as eggs and thereby increase their volume. I know that it would be impossible to bake a light and fluffy cake or whipped cream without using a whisk.
Uses of a Spatula in Baking
As an experienced baker, I know that the spatula is actually an extension of my own hand, just as I use my hands for everyday tasks, so I use the spatula for the everyday job of baking. A spatula is made from rubber and is an essential baking tool. It is very useful because it allows me to fold flour into a batter or to scrape things like batter into a baking pan. I also use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of a bowl to incorporate ingredients. A spatula is simple in appearance but it is an essential part of any accomplished baker's arsenal.
Knives and Moulds in Baking
Stated simply, a knife has a variety of uses in baking the most important of which is slicing the baked food once it is ready.
I must also use moulds when I bake. A mould is necessary as it gives shape to the baked food being prepared. This means that when I prepare cupcakes I use a different mould than if I were preparing a sponge cake. I pour the batter or sourdough into a mould which after being heated in an oven, gives rise to a delectable cake or loaf of bread in the shape of the mould I used.
If a weighing scale is to me what flight instruments are to a pilot, then my oven is for me what the fuselage is to the former. It is the main act, the primary tool, perhaps even the primary cause.
Allow me to explain, an oven is crucial to baking as it is an oven that actually heats the batter or sourdough transforming it from its thick gooey form into an edible and solid cake or bread. I know that having a good oven is crucial to baking well and knowing what kind of oven to use is equally important.
There are two main kinds of ovens we bakers use, a convection oven and a deck oven. In a convection oven heat is transferred via hot air that is blown from a fan. However, a deck oven directly transfers heat to the food being baked. A convection oven allows me to heat food across a wide range of temperatures. As every good baker knows, bread bakes better in deck ovens while certain pastries like macarons bake better in a convection oven.
Oven Gloves/ Mitts, Chillers, Freezers, Pots and Pans
While I bake I often need to put in and remove hot baking mats, pans, and pots from ovens. This makes it necessary for me to use thick oven gloves or mitts. I use gloves and mitts on my hand to prevent them from being burnt while I bake.
I mentioned the use of an oven but nearly as important as heating the dough is using a chiller to rapidly cool a cake. I use chillers to rapidly cool freshly baked cakes and also use freezers to keep cakes fresh until they are ready to be eaten.
Importantly, I also must have pots and pans while baking because they are used to hold and to mix ingredients.
A Few Words in Closing
Every skilled baker including me knows that baking is an art. Having the right tools allows us bakers to perfect our baking skills and also gives us the freedom to experiment with new techniques which make us even better at our craft- or shall we say art form. When I as a baker have everything I need to bake I feel that I am given the freedom to easily exhibit my baking skills to others.
As you should know by now, there is a lot more to baking than simply putting ingredients together and heating them in an oven, baking requires a great deal of creativity and good bakers are passionate about their craft. You could say we lavish as much care and attention on every cake we bake as a beau does on his first love.
I believe that by practising my craft I can grow to become even more accomplished at it. A good baker like me understands how to use baking tools to bake the best foods. I also know that the ingredients I use, as well as the oven used by me, impact the quality of the food I prepare, hence I strive to fully master how to use ingredients and baking tools together to bake the best foods possible.
Written by Chef Robin