Baking Gear Guide

The Kitchen hosts test out baking gear to determine if they're Must Haves or Need Nots.

Episode: Just Desserts

Sunny Anderson shares a flour sifter in a Baking Gear Guide, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Bench Scraper

Price: $5 - $20

Uses:

  • Working with dough
  • Cutting dough evenly
  • Transferring dough into pans
  • Transferring ingredients from cutting board to pan

Verdict: Must Have

What to look for when buying:

  • A thick, sturdy metal blade that won't buckle
  • Avoid scrapers made of plastic, because they're less versatile.
  • A good grip handle
  • Metal-handled bench scrapers are easier to clean than wooden-handled scrapers.

Flour Sifter

Price: $12 - $40

Uses:

  • Aerates flour to make baked goods lighter and fluffier
  • Breaks up clumps in flour

Verdict: Need Not
You can get the same job done using a mesh strainer.

Liquid and Dry Measuring Cups

Price: $7 - $30

Uses:

  • Liquid measuring cups should be used for liquid ingredients.
  • Dry measuring cups should be used for dry ingredients.
  • Liquid and dry measuring cups are not interchangeable.

Verdict: Must Have

How to use:

Dry Measuring Cups:

  • Use a spoon to heap flour into the measuring cup.
  • Never dip your measuring cup directly into the flour because it will compact the flour and cause clumping.
  • Use a knife or flat edge to sweep off the top of the flour mound.

Liquid Measuring Cups:

  • Place the cup on the counter and look at the cup's markings at eye level, then pour in the liquid until the meniscus reaches the desired marking.

Pastry Cutter

Price: $10 - $25

Uses:

  • Cutting the fat into pieces and combining it with the flour/sugar/other ingredients for pastry.

Verdict: Need Not

How to use a fork instead of a pastry cutter:

  • Cut the butter into small pieces.
  • Add the butter to the bowl with your flour and other dry ingredients.
  • Use a fork to mash the butter into the flour, until you achieve a crumbly consistency.

How to use a cheese grater instead of a pastry cutter:

  • Use a box grater to grate up the butter.
  • Use cold butter, so it grates easily.
  • Mix the grated butter into the dry ingredients.
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