I promise you that this list is a money-saving godsend for all of your current baking habits. Baking gurus make it seem imperative that you have ALL of the fancy gadgets. Guess what? They are trying to sell you on their sponsored products that are usually completely unnecessary. I understand their reasoning but you really don't need to go out and buy baking utensils, which you will only use at Christmas and during pandemic quarantines. Furthermore, the items that I have listed here are almost always more effective than the specific baking tool.
Enjoy & Happy Baking!
1. Glass Cup vs. Rolling Pin.
Skip the rolling pin. I prefer a cylindrical glass to roll out my doughs. With a glass cup, there are no awkward handles to try and maneuver around your counter space or in your pan. I find that you have more control using the glass and although it may not cover as much surface area, it's much more precise. Plus, don't tell me you don't have some glass around your house, any tall glass will do.
2. A Regular, Large Spoon vs. An Ice-Cream Scoop
I think that ice cream scoops are overrated. The only thing they excel at is creating pretty round balls and in my experience is not as seamless of a process as it appears on baking YouTube videos. With ice-cream scoops, I have had the following issues:
- after about 5 balls, the dough starts to clump up in the mechanical work and you have a gooey, mess jamming your scoop. Talk about a time-waster!
- when I use the less mechanical one (as shown here), I still have trouble clearing out the scoop entirely when removing the dough.
I am confident that the time you save by using a scoop is not more than that you will spend cleaning out the scoop every 5 scoops. The scooping process seems to be quicker and easier on the wrists with a basic large spoon. Then just a quick roll of the dough (better if using gloves. See number 7).
3. Metal, Fine-Toothed Whisk vs. Wide-toothed, Silicone Whisk
In general, I find all silicone products pretty overrated and hyped up. I used this silicone whisk for a while and initially thought that it was my overpowering strength causing all the flour to go flying. Sadly, I realized it was the silicone whisk. It was not sliding smoothly through the flour like my thin wire one. Who suffers in all this? Your kitchen floor. There is no question, good-old metal whisk do the best job.
4. Parchment Paper versus Silicone Baking Sheets
Eco-savvy people are going to hate on me for this one. Hear me out. First of all, I consider myself one of the re-using most savvy folk around (just ask the 206 yogurt containers that I have in my cupboards). However, there are some things that are not worth the hassle and time. Silicone baking sheets are one of these pain points. They are a bitch to wash and dry by hand. They slip, they slide, they have little grooves that are impossible to clean properly and over time, they seem to hold onto unpleasant leftover baking odours. If you have a dishwasher and can wash them that way, great! However this baking babe thinks they suck to wash by hand! Furthermore, I find baking with parchment paper results in nicer quality baked goods. One more thing: you can purchase the higher quality parchment paper which is reusable at least 2 or 3 times over.
5. Rice Paddle (Shamoji) vs. Spatula
I was in awe when I stumbled across this discovery. It was by accident, of course. I was lacking my spatula when I really needed one and what did I see? My rice paddle. Never will I go back. It has just the right wideness and angle, in addition to the perfect length handle to make scooping anything out of your bowl a breeze. The silicone spatula shown here also sucks. I mean, who doesn't have a rice paddle lying around? If you don't, you definitely should invest in one!
6. Scale vs. Measuring Cups
When I started baking at large volumes, I made the switch to measuring ingredients with my scale and can't go back. There are too many inconsistencies in measuring cups and quantities that I now resort to my scale. If your recipe gives you volume/mass and cup measurements, pay attention to the conversion they provide. I have had some off as much as 50gm or more. Here's what you do:
- The first time that you make a recipe, measure out your ingredients with the measuring cups.
- Then weigh it on your scale.
- Note it down on your recipe or even better, you could make a conversion chart for standard ingredients and have it handy for your next baking production.
***This is harder for small quantities such as baking soda and salt, and there are less inconsistencies. For these, I would stick to measuring spoons.
7. Gloves vs. Vinyl or Nitrile Gloves
Again, sorry to all the haters of waste but again, this makes a lot of practical sense. I have switched from mixing with a spoon to my hands because I just "become one" with my dough more that way. But all spiritual stuff aside, it is such a great tip to wear gloves, even if you're not baking for professional purposes. You can protect yourself from any nail polish (if you do that) or jewelry issues. Furthermore, it just makes handling dough and everything messy manageable. Need to stop the kids from playing in the knife drawer, just whip off the gloves and voilà! And why don't you throw on a hair net while you're at it. Hoenstly from a logical standpoint: no dough in that gorgeous do, and no gorgeous do in your dough ;). The ones I am wearing were something like 10 or 20 bucks for something like 500 nets. They have lasted me FOREVER and they are lightweight and perfect for keeping the strands out of the dough.
BONUS TIP: SANITIZER
Such a useful finishing touch for your kitchen. In these days of trying to keep extra sanitary, it is a perfect go-to. Also, because it's made for professional uses, they are sold in big quantities and last forever. This jug cost me about 18 dollars but get this: you use only about 8 mL for an entire 4L jug of dilution! This jug may outlive me.
I hope you have enjoyed this list of easy "this vs. that" tool substitutions for your next baking adventure.
Let me know what you think or if you have any improvements in the comments below.
Cheers & Happy Baking!
Owner, Très Flavoured Cookies