Favorite Gadgets, Tools, & Cooking Supplies
A good knife will make prep work much more pleasurable, and safer. I see students struggling with dull, cheap knives, and I encourage them to invest in a set of good knives. I'm not saying you have to sell your first born to have a good set of knives, but you should certainly buy the best set of knives you can afford. Sharp knives will save you time and injuries in the kitchen.
Wusthof is a German brand, well respected for its quality knives. Listed is a set I own and appreciate. There are cheaper options, like their Gourmet line, but the Classic is heavier-duty and will keep an edge longer.
To make two batches of perfectly uniform burger buns, you will need seven sets of three springform pans. While this may seem like a lot of pans, the use you will get from these quality pans will make you glad you did. If you never plan to bake twenty buns at one time, then you will only need four sets. You can begin with four and decide if you want to buy more at a later date. Ten 4-inch springform pans fit into a standard half sheet baking pan. These pans are also fantastic for making vegan camembert, blue cheese or brie. They are perfect for small dessert dishes, cakes, cheesecakes, fancy stacked dinner presentations and more. When I’m not using them, I keep them out of the way in my basement in a reusable shopping bag hanging on a hook.
This baking pan also comes with a stainless steel cooling rack which doubles as a baking or a broiling rack. I looked everywhere for this combination and was thrilled to finally find one on Amazon. I have several of them now, and I use them almost daily. I particularly like the sturdy construction of this one.
This stainless steel cooling rack fits perfectly into a half-sheet baking pan. It works well for cooling your pita bread but is also excellent for cooking foods under your broiler, or for oil-free baking
A seedling mat is fantastic for proofing dough and for making sourdough starter. It keeps the dough 10-15 degrees above room temperature which give me consisted results. I’ve seen others on-line that are a little cheaper, but this is the one I have experience with and I am completely happy with it. What I particularly like about this model is that the cord doesn’t get in the way of placing articles on the mat. I actually have two and have used one of them for 10 years, the other for 3 years and they still work as well as the day I bought them.
A kitchen scale is an invaluable tool for getting accurate measurements when measuring flour and for determining consistent portion sizes for various dishes. I have had good results with this particular scale. I don’t particularly like flat digital scales (the kind that look like a sheet of glass) because the measurements have wildly inconsistent readings, at least that has been my experience.
I absolutely love my Danish Dough Whisk. It makes working with thick batters a pleasure when a balloon whisk simply cannot handle the task. It will allow you to work with dough right up to the point that you are ready to begin kneading. As you’ll see me mentioning in every video in which I must work with a viscous batter or dough, I don’t know how I ever lived without my Danish Dough Whisk. I highly recommend this product. I have several of them in both sizes, small and large, and have given them as gifts to the delight of my baker friends.
I use these bamboo spatulas for nearly all my stirring needs. They are environmental friendly, light weight, non-toxic, and gentle on my pans. I’ve been using them for years and have never had one wear out. They also don’t ding up the edges of my pots and pans when I tap them on the rims to remove sauce, batter, or other foodstuffs. While I sometimes also use wooden spoons, I particularly like this product, especially it’s shape which is very useful for scraping around a pan. Unlike wood, it is also slightly flexible.
Ball jars are often less expensive at one of your local discount stores if you can find them. They are often seasonal items, so you may want to check out local sources first.
These silicone baking mats are nearly identical to the expensive French Silpat at roughly a third the cost. These are durable and fit my half sheet pans perfectly.
I really like the French rolling pins better than the clunky ones we used to use, the ones with the handles on the ends. These give a lot more flexibility for larger rolling jobs.
For smaller jobs, you can’t beat this little rolling pin. The advantage of it to the larger French pin is that you can work in smaller spaces with it. If you are rolling out six pita breads on one board, this will prevent you from rolling over the bread dough you have already completed or are still waiting to be rolled. They are very useful for teaching children how to roll dough.
Simply Songer Design Custom-Made Chopping Board
Upside Down Shows Hand-grip, Bowl Curve, and Rubber Feet for Stability
I am a chopping board fiend, and I have quite a few for various purposes. I absolutely love this particular chopping board for getting the job done when working on projects that require lots of chopping and separation of cut ingredients. This board was made for me to my specifications by a mom and pop enterprise I discovered at my local farmer's market. Roger and Nancy Songer create high-quality chopping boards in any size you desire. Mine is quite large, 15 x 24-inches and is 2 1/4-inches thick. I had a curve built into it that perfectly fits an 8-inch pasta bowl, which you can find at Walmarts or Bed Bath & Beyond if you want extras. I bought several with future breakage in mind. When chopping large quantities of produce, it is helpful to have a bowl that holds four or five cups of vegetables and can easily be switched out for another. Constructed of end-grain maple, this board is kinder to your knife blades. I also like the fact that I don't have to pick the chopped food off my board; I can just sweep it into the bowl! You can order your chopping board directly from the Songers by phone at 423-612-0428 or by email at email@example.com. I receive no compensation for referring you to them. It is my pleasure to recommend to others this quality product created by these lovely people.
This is an inexpensive dough/bowl scraper. It is more useful for getting wet doughs out of bowls than it is for scraping dough. It fits well in your hand and is a very useful product.
This is another type of bowl scraper. It is more flexible than the Ateco, but it doesn’t cut dough. I use them both equally.
A good pastry scraper/cutter is a must-have when working with wet doughs or when you want to cut dough for weighing.
I prefer this scoop to any I’ve found in my local markets. It is the perfect size for filling ravioli or for making little sorbet balls as palate cleansers.
This biscuit cutter set is my favorite because of its high quality and sharp cutting edge. I use the largest for making ravioli. The smallest makes perfect donut holes.
I like this set because of its versatility. It has a wide range of sizes and stores handily in its tin box. Be sure they are dry before placing in the box because it will rust. It isn’t quite as sturdy or as sharp as the RSVP set, but it is quite good. The largest size is perfect for making English muffins.
This is a perfect spoon for retrieving ravioli or other hot items from a pot of boiling water. You can always trust the quality of All Clad products.and they are made in America!
If you have joined the die-hard fans of the Instant Pot (see Favorite Appliances & Cookware page), the following are some extras that will enhance your Instant Pot experience.
This ceramic insert for the 6 quart Instant Pot is wonderful for preparing foods that contain sugars, peanut butter or nut creams that tend to scorch easily. It is also useful if you plan to keep rice warm for a while. I use mine as often as I use the stainless steel container that comes with the IP.
These little silicone mitts are perfect for lifting your hot inner pot out of your Instant Pot. No more getting potholders stuck on the handles in the middle of working with hot stews!
If you really want to go first class, these babies will have you covered. The set includes the mini-mitts, a pot holder (or pot rest), and a silicone lid to keep your food warm while you are organizing your table. It is also handy to place over your Instant Pot to remind you that your inner liner is in the dishwasher or the sink. I’ve heard horror stories of people who have forgotten that their liner was in the fridge and they poured ingredients directly onto the heating element! Don’t laugh, I almost did that myself!