This is one of the most important pieces of equipment for a baker. Just one or two minutes over the baking time can lead to disasters of burnt edges or tops to a bake. Most modern ovens come with a timer but I find it useful to have a timer that I can set and move into another room if baking for long periods of time i.e. fruit cake. They don’t cost a fortune and well worth investing in. Timers differ from a simple rotating dial that will register up to 60 minutes, and then there are the digital timers which are very accurate.
They come in all shapes and sizes; some come with handles and some without. Normally they are made out of wood but marble and plastic is also available. Marble is known to keep its coolness and some people prefer to use marble when rolling out pastry and cookie dough. Plastic hollow rolling pins are another choice where you fill the centre of the rolling pin with iced water. Mini rolling pins are available for children or sugarcrafters to roll out small quantities of sugarpaste.
They are flat smooth boards for rolling out pastry, cookies etc. They can be made from various materials, toughened glass, marble or wood for example. If you have smooth kitchen surfaces these are suffice but taking care not to starch your surface if using knifes or cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
Good flexible silicone spatulas are another essential piece of equipment in baking, they scrape the last morsel of mixture out of a mixing bowl and wonderful for smoothing the top of cake mixture before baking. They are also very useful for folding in ingredients too.
There are various sizes in sieves being made of metal and plastic. For baking, strong fine wire sieve for sifting flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder is the best buy. A little tea strainer with fine wire mesh is wonderful for using with icing sugar, cocoa powder as a dusting on cookies or cupcakes.
The brushes are used for glazing unbaked goods i.e. cookies, pastry. They come in various sizes and materials. I prefer to use the wooden handled ones with natural bristles, although some pastry chefs I have noted using new natural bristles paint brushes. The other types available are of good plastic and nylon bristles, silicone bristle pastry brush the choice is yours as to which you prefer.