5 Pieces of Gear You Need to Start Baking Seriously

There’s never been a better time to start baking. Here’s what you need to hit the ground running.

Published Nov. 16, 2020.

By Chase Brightwell

I grew up with parents who are enthusiastic bakers. Biscuits on weekend mornings, pastries and cakes for birthdays and holidays, a thriving sourdough starter in the corner of the counter—baking was always fun, and we were lucky to spend time together in the kitchen. So when my now-husband and I first moved in together, I knew it was time to take stock of the small, but stalwart, array of equipment that had traveled with me through college and graduate school and invest in some quality supplies that would allow me to recreate my childhood baking adventures in our new home. 

You may have taken a recent interest in baking due to similar nostalgia, or simply a desire for new ways to pass the time and provide food for your family, friends, and neighbors while many of us are spending more time at home. But baking can be intimidating. It’s all about precise measurements and well-practiced techniques, a pursuit of perfection that will hopefully produce flaky pastry, buttery scones, and layer cakes that look like those in a bakery window. One of the best ways to inspire confidence for your baking journey is to start with equipment that will set you up for success.

Whether you’re moving into a new place, searching for the tools to start baking seriously, or simply upgrading what you already have, here are some essentials that you can rely on to up your baking game:

Rimmed baking sheet

Rimmed Baking Sheets

Our favorite: Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet

It’s so frustrating when a baking sheet warps in the oven, leaving a perfectly good batch of cookies misshapen and unevenly baked. I love our winning rimmed baking sheets from Nordic Ware because they were the least likely to warp in our testing, and they’ve never done so in my home kitchen—even while baking dozens of batches of biscuits and mountains of focaccia. Their uses beyond baked goods are also endless, from pairing them with our favorite cooling rack to acting as a roasting pan. We love them so much, we stock more than 950 of them in the test kitchen. They won’t let you down.

Mixing bowls

Mixing Bowls

Our favorite: Vollrath Economy Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

If you’re in the market for a new set of mixing bowls—or even if you’re not— our favorite metal mixing bowls from Vollrath make baking more fun and hassle-free. They’re nice and light, so maneuvering them when mixing and pouring is easy, and they have wide bottoms and gently curved sides that keep them stable when you’re whipping cream or mixing a batter. These bowls are durable, versatile, and inexpensive—what more can you ask for?

Rolling pin

Rolling Pin

Our favorite: J.K. Adams Plain Maple Rolling Dowel

If your kitchen isn’t equipped with a rolling pin, you may have used a wine bottle in a pinch. A wine bottle isn't long enough to roll pie crust, pizza dough, or a batch of biscuits evenly across their entire width. It’s time for an upgrade: Our favorite rolling pin from J.K. Adams has a slightly textured surface that prevents sticking and its moderate weight means that it's heavy enough to help you roll out dough evenly and efficiently, but light enough it's still easy to use. 

Parchment paper sheets

Parchment Paper

Our favorite: King Arthur Flour Parchment Paper 100 Half-Sheets

Parchment paper is ideal for lining baking sheets when making cookies, bread, and even galettes (the pie-making beginner’s secret weapon, in my opinion). My baking has been vastly improved by our top-rated parchment paper from King Arthur Baking Company, which lies flat in a drawer to prevent pesky curling, and fits beautifully in our favorite rimmed baking sheet for a convenient nonstick surface.

Bench scraper

Bench Scraper

Our favorite: Dexter-Russell 6" Dough Cutter/Scraper—Sani-Safe Series

I’m not lying when I tell you that my bench scrapers are my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. Our favorite bench scraper from Dexter-Russell has a spacious surface and sharply beveled edge that makes it perfect for shaping and cutting dough, scraping counters clean, frosting cakes, and especially, transferring chopped ingredients from a cutting board to a bowl or pan. And since it’s about $8, maybe you'll invest in two like I did.

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