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Baking equipment is used to make the process of cooking food easier and more efficient. It ranges from basic to elaborate, from budget-friendly to expensive. Using the right type of baking equipment can make cooking enjoyable and produce delicious results. The different types of baking equipment include ovens, mixing bowls, measuring devices, pans and dough proofers.
Ovens come in many sizes and have multiple functions. Commercial ovens can handle large amounts of food at one time, and double ovens allow foods to be cooked simultaneously at different temperatures. Food also can be cooked from a heat source below the food, as is most common, or with the heat source above the food in a method known as broiling. Convection ovens spread the heat throughout the chamber to cook food more evenly. Internal thermostats control the temperature of the ovens and prevent them from getting too hot.
Mixing bowls are one of the most simple but important pieces of baking equipment. They are used to hold ingredients as they are being blended, whipped or beaten. Bowls come in a variety of materials, including glass, plastic, metal and ceramic.
Measuring devices include measuring spoons and cups. These ensure that the correct amount of each ingredient is used in a recipe. Spoons are used to measure small amounts of liquid or dry ingredients such as salt, spices, baking soda or oil. Cups are used for larger volumes of ingredients and typically range in size from an eighth of a cup (29.6 ml) to 1 cup (236.6 ml), or 30 milliliters to 240 milliliters for metric measuring cups. They are ideal for measuring ingredients such as sugar, flour, milk and water.
Pans are used in ovens to bake bread, cookies, cakes, pies and more. They usually are made from aluminum but also can be made of stainless steel, glass or silicone. Their size, depth and shape vary by intended use, with cookie pans being long and flat and cake pans often being circular and deep. Many pans are covered with a non-stick coating to make food removal easier after baking.
Dough proofers are used in bread baking to encourage the dough to rise before it is baked. The proofer creates a warm, humid environment that supports the action of yeast in the dough and encourages a faster rise. Proofers can be small for household use or can be large, commercial chambers.
There are many other bakery supplies that can be useful in the kitchen for specialized jobs. Items such as pastry brushes, thermometers, cookie cutters and whisks are all great additions to a well-appointed kitchen. Baking equipment can be found at many department stores, kitchen supply stores and online retailers.
@Pippinwhite -- Good thoughts, but I'd also add to that list a set of good mixing bowls, metal and glass. You can put glass in the microwave, and metal bowls will last forever. I have one of my mom's that she's had since she married in 1961!
I'd also recommend a set of wooden spoons and a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and many people are finding out how versatile it is. It's the ultimate stovetop-to-oven material, and I've baked many things in my cast iron, including cornbread and pineapple upside-down cake. I wouldn't set up a kitchen without it!
Every baker, home or commercial, needs both dry and liquid measuring cups. Many bakers also use a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients to make sure their measurements are consistent.
Home bakers generally need less equipment than commercial bakers, obviously, but they do need enough equipment to bake a variety of things successfully.
I'd say every home baker needs a 9-by-13 oblong pan, an 8-by-8 square pan, two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans, a pie pan, a 7-by-11 baking pan and a 2-quart casserole dish. As far as baking pans, these are the essentials, to me.
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