Can't Do Without
Taking for granted anyone reading this has a mixer, bowls, their favorite wooden spoon, and an endless supply of parchment paper, there are a few items even the most languid of bakers shouldn't do without:
1 - Food Scale: I will always tell you if exact measurements don't matter in a recipe, but, let's be honest, baking is a precision sport. Must have features: measures in metric and imperial, has a TARE button, easy to clean, can handle five pounds without throwing an error. (My old scale [not pictured] would error out if my bowl was too heavy when weighing out flour for two loaves of bread. Guessing about that much flour is NOT fun.)
2 - Bench and Bowl Scrapers: If I could pick just one, I'd take the dollar store bowl scraper, but I use one or both almost every time I bake. They handle soft dough, prevent deflation, keep things tidy, cut, and a dozen other things. The stainless bench scraper pictured has a couple cool features: clearly marked rulers on both sides and a helpful conversion chart.
3 - Instant Read Thermometer: I don't love most cakes. Why? Because they're universally over-baked in order to get to the golden brown color people expect. I pull mine at 195F/90.5C. That means they sometimes don't look done, but they certainly taste better that way. I also wouldn't attempt to make my own jam, marmalade, custard, or curd without one.
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Author, Dad, Dog Walker, and Occasional Baker