Best Tools And Equipment for Baking Bread

Store bought bread is fine, but there is nothing like the experience of pulling delicious, warm bread that you baked yourself out of the oven. This might seem like a daunting task, but it really isn’t that hard. The most important thing is to have the proper tools and equipment for baking.

Whether you plan on baking bread by hand or with machinery, the process is still basically the same. You will need some of the same equipment for both hand baking and machine baking. The only real difference is in the mixing and kneading processes. First, let’s get acquainted with the tools needed for hand baking, and then the machinery afterward.

Mixing Bowl

The first thing you’ll need for hand baking is, of course, a Mixing Bowl. While this might seem like a no-brainer, there are certain things you need to look for when choosing a mixing bowl.

baking mixing bowl setThe bowl has to be large enough, not just for the mixing process, but for the rising process as well. The dough will need plenty of space to rise and expand.

Instead of a plastic tub or bucket, use one that you can see through. This will allow you to watch the rising action of the dough and make the necessary improvements over time to get it to rise to perfection.

Scale

It’s important to have an accurate scale in order to follow recipes exactly for the perfect loaf of bread. One small mistake in measuring ingredients can lead to total disaster. A manual scale is fine, but an electronic scale is more efficient and accurate.

Dough Scraper

Dough scrapers are used to cut through the dough and shape bread with. They are just sharp enough to cut through dough and blunt enough not to cut you. Sometimes they are referred to as bench scrapers or bench knives. They are also perfect for scraping excess, loose dough for discarding or adding to already divided portions of dough.

Bread Pans

The most familiar type of pan used for baking bread is a standard loaf pan. However, you can buy any shape of pan you prefer to have your bread shaped in. If you do buy a standard loaf pan, it’s a good idea to get at least two of them. You’ll find that most bread recipes will be measured to produce two bread loaves.

Baking Stone &/Or Peel

Depending on what kind of oven you will be using, you might need a peel. A peel is a long, shovel-shaped tool that bakers use to place and pull bread, pizza, and other baked goods out of an oven.

The front end of the tool is usually made out of sheet metal, with the handle end made out of wood. It’s perfect for using in stone or brick ovens, or if you happen to have or purchase a baking stone to place in a moderately large oven.

Let’s face it, if you’re baking your bread in a home oven, it won’t come close to the hearth ovens real bakeries use for baking their bread in, However, purchasing a Baking Stone and placing in the oven comes pretty close.

Bread loaves and other baked goods can be baked right on top of it. Bread comes out evenly baked and with a crackling crust due to the direct transfer of heat from the baking stone to it.

Choosing a Standing Mixer

If you don’t want to knee your dough by hand, one of the most important tools and equipment in baking is a Standing Mixer. It’s important to have a mixer with a higher horsepower and torque than the kinds designed mostly for mixing cookie dough and cake batter.

The mixer should be well-grounded and stable enough to be able to handle the push-back from the moving of the heavy, stiff bread dough. It should also have the right attachments like a spiral and C-shaped dough hooks.
It’s good to have both shapes on hand because you might find that one shape might need particular kinds of bread dough better than others. You have to experiment to realize the difference.

Bread Machines

Using a Bread Machine for baking bread is not something that comes highly recommended. However, it can be one of the tools and equipment in baking that can make the process convenient and fast.

A bread machine will mix, knee and bake the bread for you. Different bread machine capacities come into play, so it’s important that the bread dough is measured carefully and added at the right time.

Baking bread at home for you and your family’s enjoyment will become second nature when you have the right tools and equipment for baking. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try bread recipes that are out of the ordinary. You might be surprised what you might like and eventually grow to love. Happy baking!

Benefits to Purchasing a Convection Oven

If you don’t like spending too much time in the kitchen, then you may be glad to know a convection oven will reduce the amount of time you spend making a meal significantly. That’s just a tip of the iceberg; there are many benefits to purchasing a convection oven as outlined below:

  1. Save Time – Obliviously the fact that a convection oven can cook food quicker by extension means that you’ll save a great deal of time making meals. Unlike standard ovens, convection ovens have a fan that rotates hot air around the food effectively reducing the amount of time it takes for the food to cook. On average, a convection oven cooks food 25% more quickly than a traditional oven.
  2. Save Energy – When compared to a traditional oven, a convection oven uses heat in a more efficient manner. A convection oven requires lower temperature and shorter time to cook food. A recipe that would take an hour and 350 degrees to cook using a standard oven would take 45 minutes and 325 degrees to cook in a convection oven thereby saving you energy and money.
  3. Better Flavors – When you cook food fast, you produce better flavors. A convection oven uses hot air to allow you to attain an even and consistent brown on cookies and roasts which means that the food’s original taste will be preserved. Meat browns much faster and is more juicer when cooked in a convection oven. Roasted vegetables caramelize faster and are tastier if cooked using a convection oven.
  4. Uniform Results – The heating elements that are placed near the food contribute to evenly cooked food. However, in a convection oven, the heat is blown by the fan evenly allowing the food to cook evenly.
  5. Cook More at the Same Time – Faster cooking times means you can cook more food at the same time that you would have if you used a traditional oven. You can also fill the oven with a number of pans, which will significantly reduce the amount of time need to bake separate batches of cakes. In addition, the amount of food will in no way interfere with the heat reaching the food.

You need to make the correct adjustment to your unit so as to maximize the benefits of purchasing a convection oven. Most ovens come with a user guide that will help you on the same.

Using Your Convection Oven

If you have never cooked in a convection oven, you may not have realized that it is a bit different from using a conventional oven. Besides the fact that this type of oven is more expensive than a traditional oven, there are other things that should be handled differently. Read on for several useful convection ovens cooking tips.

When you are making baked goods in a convection oven, you will need to adjust the time a bit. Since convection ovens get considerably hotter than conventional ovens, you will only need about three-quarters of the time to make your dishes. Since you are new to this, decrease the recommended time and see how well your dishes come out. You can make adjustments after figuring out the way that your particular oven works.

Another way to accommodate the difference between convection and traditional ovens is to decrease the temperature. It is best to set the oven to 25-30 degrees less than the recommended temperature since these ovens are much hotter than their conventional counterparts. One thing you should know is that you should adjust the temperature OR the cooking time. Your items will not cook correctly if you make adjustments to both. That is one of the most important things to remember about using a convection oven.

If you are baking cookies in your new convection oven, it is best to use a pan that has no sides. Since this type of oven does not cook the same as the ones you are used to, there is a chance that your cookies will cook unevenly if the pan is too large. This is also a good idea if you are making other baked goods as well.

There are usually three racks in a convection oven and each is used for a different purpose. Keep this in mind when deciding where to place your food. Things that should be roasted will do better on the bottom rack while the top rack is best for things that you want to keep warm. Generally, you should use the middle rack unless the cooking instructions give you different advice.

It is important for you to preheat your oven to a higher temperature EVERY time you want to cook in your new oven. Even though these ovens get hotter than conventional ovens, they cool off considerably when they are opened. Preheating the oven beforehand will ensure that the oven stays as hot as it should even after it is opened. Once your food has been in there for a few minutes, it will be fine to decrease the temperature.

Most people believe that convection ovens are difficult to master, and they can be if you are not armed with the right information. If you pay close attention to the advice give to you here, you should be a master at it in no time. Of course, there will be an adjustment period when you are still getting used to the differences, but before long convection oven cooking will be second nature to you.