14 Tools you Need to Start a Home Bakery
Kitchen gear envy…
It’s a thing man.
Everywhere on Instagram and YouTube we see strings of bakers with like 2 or 3 Kitchen Aid Mixers is pretty pastel colours, huge ovens and a jar with 30 spatulas.
And so we automatically assume that we need all of those things before our kitchen is “good enough” to start our own Home Bakery.
But today I’m telling you once and for all that you don’t need a whole heap of fancy kitchen appliances to start a successful Home Bakery Business!
I got by with the cheapest hand mixer for a year and hand-me-down mixing bowls. All these other expensive appliances are not essential; they just look prettier and make things a tiny bit easier.
1. Your Oven
Most importantly you need an oven… In theory you could use a mini oven, but you won’t be able to bake much at a time, so I recommend that you invest in an 81 litre oven. It’s about 0,6 m x 0,6 m and is usually the standard domestic oven used in homes. It’s the perfect size; you don’t need anything bigger than this.
I’ve used this size oven since the very start of my Home Bakery and I still do. My oven is a Defy and I LOVE it! It’s dependable, accurate and bakes perfectly. I bought it secondhand for $200.
Of course, most homes already have an oven, so you probably won’t even need to buy one!
2. Digital Kitchen Scale (Battery Powered)
Great baking requires GREAT precision.
Unfortunately baking with cup measurements will not give you the same results.
For example; an egg can weigh anywhere from 40 g – 70 g. Every gram of egg makes a significant difference in the end results. I encourage you to buy a digital kitchen scale. They are really inexpensive (like $16 – $20) and will give you great precision and results in your baking!
Another awesome perk of digital scales is that you can bake mix batter much faster! Measuring ingredients in 5 different cup sizes can take forever, but with a scale you can just weigh ingredients directly into your bowl, press the zero button and weigh the next ingredient directly into the bowl.
This obviously also saves a lot of washing up since you’re weighing all ingredients into the bowl and not dirtying your measuring cups.
A digital kitchen scale is my favourite Home Bakery tool by far. Best $20 I ever spent!
When it comes to other tools it really depends on WHAT you’re planning on baking.
If you’re starting with cupcakes and brownies for example, there’s no need for cake tins just yet.
So you don’t NEED ALL of this stuff, but you can choose your own essentials from this list (beyond standard kitchen items like spoons, knives, pots, pans, etc.).
3. Plastic Mixing Bowls
Many bakers use ceramic, pyrex glass or stainless steel bowls. I prefer plastic bowls simply because the hand mixer’s beaters make way less noise against the sides of plastic mixing bowls.
You should have at least 1 Large, 1 medium and 1 small mixing bowl.
I love the OXO plastic Mixing bowls because they have a rubber lining on the bottom which stops them from sliding around when you’re busy mixing.
They also have rubber linings on the top rim for better grip when you’re pouring batter. The OXO Plastic mixing bowls come in sets of 3 in the exact sizes you’ll need.
You should absolutely, always sieve your dry ingredients. This gets rid of any lumps in your flour, cocoa powder, etc. It also catches any strange, hard bits that somehow got in there. Sieving also aerates and mixes your dry ingredients.
5. Large Chef’s Knife
Every baker needs a big knife.
First of all because it makes you feel and look like you’re a pro!
And secondly because a chef’s knife is super useful. I use mine every single day; to slice and chop apples and vegetables for cakes, finely chop citrus zest, chop nuts, slice brownies, chop chocolate and even to make chocolate shaving decorations.
Now please note that it doesn’t have to be an expensive chef’s knife. Mine was like $20. It’s very important that it’s 8 inches (20 cm) though. Anything bigger or smaller becomes difficult to handle and won’t create the same beautiful chocolate shavings – if you plan on making them to give your cakes a professional edge.
6. Silicone Spatula (flat, not indented)
I adore a good silicone spatula! There are few things I enjoy more than scraping every last drop of batter into a cake tin.
Even if you don’t have OCD tendencies like me, a spatula is still essential for scraping the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl throughout the mixing process. This ensures that you won’t have a surprize lump of butter or flour hiding in a corner of your bowl somewhere.
Spatulas are an essential tool for mixing a well incorporated batter.
But it takes a very specific type of spatula to scrape a bowl clean. Some are too flimsy and don’t have enough strength to obey your commands without bending over in the opposite direction – very annoying.
Some spatulas are too hard and don’t give you a “close shave” against the side of the mixing bowl.
Some spatulas are like flat spoons, so you end up needing another spatula to scrape out the indented part of the spatula! Very annoying.
FLAT-sided silicone spatulas are perfect! Because you can just scrape them on the rim of your mixing bowl to get the batter off it and nothing will be stuck to it afterwards.
7. Sturdy Balloon Whisk
Sometimes a spoon just doesn’t cut it.
Stirring with a balloon whisk just gives you a much smoother result and prevents clumping or burning stuff.
It’s worth it to buy a good quality one though because the el cheapos end up coming undone where the wires join the handle. You’ll be whisking along, unsuspected, and then suddenly a wire will shoot loose and flick hot custard in your face – it’s happened to me before.
Trust me, rather buy 1 great balloon whisk instead of 10 cheapies that keep breaking.
8. Electric Hand Mixer
Let me tell you a little secret…
You don’t need a stand mixer to start a Home Bakery Business! Yep, I’ve said it. You can totally get by with an electric hand mixer.
I’ve written a very thorough blog post on buying the perfect hand mixer if you want to go into deeeeeep detail; Hand Mixer Shopping Guide. Most importantly you want something that doesn’t fall over easily, is not too heavy and gives you a lot of control in the speed settings.
A high price doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Be careful. You can buy a perfectly awesome hand mixer for under $20 that will last for years to come.
9. Piping Bags (Preferably Reusable)
Let’s all do our bit in helping the environment shall we?
There are so many things I did wrong in the first few years of baking full time, but I’m so grateful that I bought reusable piping bags from the very start!
Mostly because it makes sense financially; you by one bag in 5 years. If you use disposable piping bags for 5 years you end up spending WAY more.
They’re easy to clean and really inexpensive.
There are many different sizes, but in my experience anything larger than 30 cm (12 inches) is just too big to control effectively while you’re piping.
10. Stainless Steel Piping Tips
Oh, the many millions of piping tips on the market today are staggering!
Of course the ones you buy depend entirely upon what type of frosting piping you want to do. But you totally don’t need to be fancy here.
You’ll use the Wilton 2D to pipe frosting onto cupcakes. I like to pipe my frosting from the inside out so that it looks like a rose. So classic and beautiful!
RELATED: Piping Frosting 101 – The Frosting Piping Manual.
And the large round Wilton 1A is great for piping perfectly round blobs of frosting onto cupcakes, piping out macaron batter, piping macaron fillings onto macarons and piping frosting onto layer cakes.
11. Muffin/Cupcake Tins
Most home bakers begin by selling cupcakes, muffins, cookies and brownies. They are easier to bake and less intimidating than layer cakes or cheesecakes for example!
I recommend buying at least 2 non-stick muffin tins. This way you can use one tin to refill with batter while another one is busy baking. They’re easy to clean and can last a lifetime if you take good care of them.
12. Non-Stick Baking Sheet
A Baking sheet is really a go-to item in any home bakery. You can use them for cookies, macarons, roasting nuts, baking pastries and more!
Generally a 15 x 10 inch pan works great in domestic ovens, but be sure to measure the inside of your oven just to be sure they will fit inside!
13. 2 Inch Cookie Scoop
Although this is not really an “essential” item, it will make your life a heck of a lot easier and will make your cookies look more uniform. The domed shape of the cookie dough will also end up making the center of your cookies thicker and sides thinner. Translation = crispy outside, gooey center!
14. Non-Stick Brownie Tin
Brownies, bars and squares are always a great crowd pleaser! In fact, brownies were the very first items I started selling back in 2008 when I was studying architecture.
I still adore baking brownies and have also found a new love for baking blondies. You could also do layered bars and squares in your brownie tin.
8 x 8 Inch is the standard size that works great for Home Bakery.
Other, disposable items you’ll need:
- Cupcake Liners
- Non-stick baking parchment
- 45 cm Roll of Heavy Foil
- Non-Stick Spray (your best friend – seriously)
- Small, medium and large Ziploc Bags
More Advanced Tools & Appliances:
As your Home Bakery Grows you can expand your collection with some more tools and appliances that make life easier.
- 3 x 8 inch, loose bottom cake tins (not spring-form!)
- Palette Knife (to decorate layer cakes)
- Small, Offset Palette Knife (to decorate layer cakes)
- Cake Scraper (to decorate layer cakes and get a smooth frosting finish on the sides and top of your cakes)
- CROCS! (Yes, they’re ugly, but you really need them! They prevent stacks of pain from hours of standing!)
- Standing mixer (I’ve been using a hand-me-down for 4 years)
- Food processor (I bought the cheapest one at $15 and get by just fine. It helps you to make shortcrust pastry in seconds!)
- Candy/Meat thermometer (the kind with a needle you can poke into things)
- 2 Large Silpat Mats (for macarons and cookies)
- Blender (to make nut butters)
- Turntable (to decorate layer cakes)
- Blow Torch (for torching meringue)
- More mixing bowls as needed
- More baking tins as needed
And that is it my friend! I hope you understand and believe now that you really don’t need a lot of kitchen gear to start a Home Bakery.