For the best results in baking you always want to use the right equipment and tools. Please don’t feel if you are a new baker that you have to own everything in one go as it takes time to build up a good amount of equipment and I for one don’t own every piece of equipment available. I would advise you to start with the basics and any bakeware you purchase is worth aiming to get good sturdy baking equipment and if possible the best quality, they will last you many years and in the end pay for themselves over and over again. You could always let family and friends know you have a new hobby of baking and who knows they may well help add to your stock of equipment!
The first thing when talking of equipment for me is getting to know your own oven. Does it have hot spots or the temperature seems hotter than it should be? I have a fan oven and when following a recipe I always turn my oven temperature down by 20°C when baking to help prevent drying out of a bake or burning. Oven thermometers can be purchased from kitchen shops and be moved around the oven to check temperatures, but I must admit I have never bothered with one of those.
A cooling rack is a great piece of equipment to have especially the ones with little wire mesh I find are the best. It helps the air circulate around the baked goods and helps prevent a sponge or cookie from becoming soggy if left to completely cool in the tin. They are also invaluable when coating with melted chocolate, for example, the unwanted chocolate drips away through the mesh.
It is good to have various sizes of mixing bowls to hand that stack together perhaps to save space in the kitchen. Mixing bowls should have a flat bottom so they can stand up easily. . There are various types’ stainless steel, plastic, glass, ceramic bowls that can be purchased. Glass bowls are idea for using to sit on top of a simmering saucepan to melt chocolate, whip up egg yolks and sugar etc. Ceramic bowls and stainless steel are perfect for whipping up egg whites, creaming butter and sugar together making short crust pasty etc. Plastic bowls are good for use in the microwave but if strong flavours are used the plastic may absorb flavours after awhile. Whenever ingredients are mixed together in a bowl please ensure the bowl is large enough you have chosen, for example whisking egg whites doubles in volume.
Measuring scales whatever style you aim for are a valuable piece of equipment to have as a baker. Baking is more of a science than cooking and ingredients have to be weighed accurately for the recipe to work. There are spring scales, balance scales and electronic scales the choice is purely individual taste as to which one is preferred, however the electronic scale are the most accurate.
American measuring cups for dry ingredients:
The dry ingredients cups come nestled together in a set in graduated sizes; 1/4 cup 1/3 cup 1/2 cup and a 1 cup. To measure with cups is to scoop the ingredients into the required size cup and level off with the back of a knife.
The liquid jugs (cups) are used for measuring milk, cream etc; they can come in various types of materials such as plastic, glass, metal. The sides are marked with various levels being metric, imperial or cup measures.
Measuring spoons come in sets of graduated sizes, 1 table spoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon; they can come in metal or plastic.