The Tools 7 Top Pastry Chefs Can't Live Without
From serrated paring knives to tabletop mixers, find out which baking tools the pros rely on.
For a novice baker, browsing the aisles at a local cookware store can be a daunting task. How many pans, whisks and measuring devices do you really need? Even the experienced home baker might not be using today's bevy of gadgets to the best of his or her advantage. To find out which products will go the distance, we turned to some of the top pastry chefs across the country. We had to know: What is their favorite baking tool? So read on, then go shopping before baking your next batch of cookies.
Serrated Paring Knife
"I love it! It is so darn handy! Not only is it inexpensive, but it keeps an edge and is compact enough to go anywhere. From supreming oranges at a catering event for 500 to slicing a piece of bread, it is so versatile." — Lisa White, executive pastry chef, Domenica and Pizza Domenica, New Orleans
Waterproof Digital Probe Thermometer
"A digital thermometer can take a lot of guesswork out of recipes. It helps in working with chocolate, custards, candy making, meringues and butter creams. I use it for checking temps on savory food as well. You can get a decent one for around $20." — Molly Hanson, executive pastry chef, Grill 23 & Bar, Boston
Lightweight Digital Scale
"It is so much easier to weigh items and you don't end up with a bunch of dirty measuring cups and spoons. Also, it is much more accurate." — Erin Mooney, divisional pastry chef, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, based in Chicago
Raplette Dough Spreader
"The raplette dough spreader was invented by MOF Pascal Brunstein, a professor at my school in Paris. It's a tool that is a secret to my success and I couldn't live without it. We use it to spread perfect doughs and batters onto Silpats or to do layered ganaches that we dip in chocolate. It gives us perfect depth on layers due to its graduated leveling. It's not that common, but it's essential." — Kriss Harvey, executive pastry chef, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
"It beats using a hand mixer, and these days, the machine has so many attachments, from pasta rollers to meat grinders." — Noah French, pastry chef, Sugarmill, Denver
Mini Offset Spatula
"It's cheap, multipurpose and fits in your back pocket; frankly, I feel lost in the kitchen without one." — Michael Laiskonis, creative director, Institute for Culinary Education, New York City
"We use a lot of tools in the kitchen, but I would definitely say my hands are my favorite. The desserts and pastries at Yardbird are supposed to look rustic and handmade. We make everything from scratch, so getting that homemade look only comes from adding a personal touch. We crimp the pie crusts by hand and mix and shape the biscuits by hand. There’s no better tool in the kitchen." — Shannon Butler, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami