6 Tools Every Kitchen Absolutely Needs
Cooking can be one of the most rewarding but also one of the most difficult disciplines you will learn. There are lots of rules to follow. Don’t put raw meat by vegetables, don’t put skillets in the dishwasher, watch out for grease while cooking on an open flame, etc. With all of these rules, people have developed tools to deal with the problems of cooking. Some of the most common tools are pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, and skillets. You can’t cook without these tools. Although these tools are awesome, people are missing out on some other tools that will make their life even easier. These other tools aren’t super well known but they are just as much a necessity in the kitchen as all of the standard tools you see in the kitchen. This post looks at some of these lesser-known tools. Without further ado, here is “6 Tools Every Kitchen Absolutely Needs”.
Silicone Baking Mats
Silicone mats are the perfect solution for any baking need. You can get silicone baking mats at half sheet size or full size. They are also reusable. Parchment paper is great but it’s cumbersome and disposable. Silicone mats solve this problem. Throw it in the dishwasher and you’re golden. Perhaps the greatest thing about these mats is that they provide a guaranteed non-stick surface every time. Your pizza dough, cookies, meat, and roasted vegetables will slide off with ease. No more scraping the bottom of pans for hours on end.
This tool might be a little more well-known but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t own some form of a squeezer. Another crazy thing is that many people own one of these but don’t actually use it. Having a squeezer makes life so much easier. Don’t just take my word for it. According to FoodForThought Chicago (one of the best catering services in the midwest), the citrus squeezer is “an absolute necessity for salad dressings, marinating meats, cooking fish, and anything that involves freshly squeezed citrus fruits. It’s made our workflow in the thriving catering industry so much better”.
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The sifter is for the serious baker. It’s an old-fashioned tool designed to break up clumps in dry cooking ingredients like sugar, cocoa powder, and flower. This tool has kind of been replaced by the whisker which whisks together dry ingredients into a dough mix. The main reason why you would want a sifter is if you are baking for perfection. It gives you precision that a whisker can’t give you. A sifter will perfectly get rid of all clumps in ingredients so you don’t bite into a brownie that has a huge ball of flower in the middle. Another call to use a sifter is if a recipe says “3 cups sifted flower” instead of “3 cups flower, sifted”. When it says “3 cups sifted flower” you are supposed to measure the 3 cups of flower after you sift it. If you don’t you could get a volume of flower that isn’t exactly 3 cups because the flower clumped up. If it says “3 cups flower, sifted” you don’t have to measure the flower after sifting. These recipes know that for certain scenarios, you need an exact amount of an ingredient. Throwing it off even a little bit could ruin the recipe. The sifter solves this problem and it guarantees no clumping of ingredients. In conclusion, sifting gives dry ingredients perfect measurements and spreads to turn your baking from good to great.
The mandoline is an extremely underrated kitchen tool. The perfect slices that you see in propped up food advertisements were done with a mandoline. Mandolines are very versatile and come with many attachments so you can get different slices. They also give you the ability to not have to buy a spiralizer. BBJ Linens (a catering service that specializes in high-end fine dining with a focus on design appearance) describes the mandoline as “the best all around slicing tool to get perfect slices that are worthy of a high-end dining experience”.
The food processor is perhaps the best all-around tool you can have. Dough kneading, rough chopping, spice grinding, cheese shredding and much more can be accomplished with a food processor. Getting one that has a pulse setting is an added bonus. Food processors are also really good for making custom dip mixes, gravies, and salads. They come in sizes that range from something the size of a cereal bowl to something the size of a blender.
The United States is the only country that uses cups as a weigh to measure different ingredients. The problem with the cup method is that it can be very inaccurate. If your recipe calls for 6 cups of cucumbers, you don’t know whether to chop the cucumbers very finely to condense it down and pack into the cup or if you should use larger slices with more space in the cup. This can result in a different amount of cucumber in the final recipe because of the density difference at which things are packed into the cup. The rest of the world gets around this problem with a scale. By measuring things in grams, you won’t run into this problem because you are dealing with the weight of an ingredient. If you get a scale, you’ll be able to work with international recipes and cookbooks with much greater ease.
Coffee Grinder Brush
“The most underestimated accessory for anyone that religiously drinks coffee”-Tradecraft Coffee Experts. This quote comes from one of the best coffee services in one of the biggest cities in the United States, Chicago. Upon exploration, it’s easy to see why they say this. A coffee grinder brush might be a very specialized tool but it’s also one of the best. Almost everyone wakes up to a cup of coffee in the morning. One of the common complaints is that cleaning out the grinder can be an absolute mess. Getting the residue out can be a pain in the butt and it gets everywhere. Grinder brushes solve this problem with ease and usually come with a sweeper at the bottom end to sweep the leftover residue off your counter after you clean up the grinder plates.
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In conclusion, you’re only as good as your tools. This cliché statement holds up in this scenario. Getting really good tools will not only make your cooking go faster, but it will also up the threshold of how good your cooking is. Getting the perfect density and spread with your ingredients will turn that recipe from good to great. In addition, decreasing frustration and increasing your workflow speed will make cooking much more fun. All of these things will help you on your journey to become the best cook you can be, whether it’s for your family, guests, or other people.