Kitchen toys

It must happen at least 2 or 3 times a month. One of us here in the King Arthur test kitchen will hold up an orphan equipment sample from a vendor and say, “I hate this thing. Is anyone else actually USING it, before I get rid of it?” Never fails but someone else will say, “I LOVE that thing! Put it on MY station!”

Our kitchen has five stations in it, and four regular inhabitants. Each station has its own quirky collection of gadgets, reflecting the personalities of the bakers in each corner.

There are some things we all use: Everbake, aluminum half-sheet pans, parchment paper, scissors,

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Thermapen thermometers, dough scrapers , cookie and muffin scoops, bench knives,

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nylon spreaders for scraping mixing bowls, these little egg whisks, one or two bread machines for each person.

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PJ needs her food processor,

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spare light for blog photos,

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scissors, flour wand,

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grizzled 5-qt KitchenAid mixer,

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and groovy new scrapes-the-bowl-for-you paddle,

Wondercup, ceramic knife,

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giant spatula, stretch tite,

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agatized wood bowls,

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and her timer on a string. PJ and I both have this Salter scale on our stations.

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When stick butter is on sale, I always buy it for PJ; it’s a small luxury that she truly enjoys. Most of the time we use full 1-pound blocks that we get in cases from our bakery supplier.

Sue Gray likes having a stash of glass bowls near her station,

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and is particularly partial to this whisk.

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Her mixer is a venerable old 7-quart Kenwood,

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and her scale is a sophisticated gram scale (seen above, under the whisk), which is critical when working on mix formulas. We both have a stash of decorating and food-styling equipment that we’ve put together for ourselves.

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Hers is mostly in this toolbox. For measuring, Sue turned me on to these wok spoons.

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They’re perfect for sprinkling dry ingredients into a bowl on a scale, bit by bit.

Andrea uses a lot of metal bowls (she’s often making two or three versions of a formula at once).

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She has a 7-quart Viking and a serious gram scale of her own.

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When we empty the dishwasher, I give her all of these mixing spoons.

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She likes ‘em. I don’t, and for what probably seems like a very picky reason: the bowl is so deep that I get goo stuck in it when I use them.

I’m a little more wooden spoon dependent, myself.

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The blue on the handles is from that plastic goo you dip things into; it’s our way of keeping track of whose stations get what toys. We have red, green, and yellow stations, too.

I’m also partial to spurtles. Aside from the fact that it’s a delightful word to say, the flat edge of a wooden spurtle is great for getting to the edge and across the bottom of a saucepan. They also make handy turners in a pinch.

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I like having a couple of small whisks on hand (good for Web site how-to photos and whisking dry ingredients together before mixing),

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two bowls for my fire-engine red 5-quart Viking mixer,

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pastry brushes with real bristles, and this silicone bowl that’s great for measuring dry ingredients into;

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I can flex it to pour the flour and leavening into the top of my mixing bowl without having to stop the mixer.

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I keep my measuring spoons loose in this old coffee mug, so I can pick out the size I need in a flash. I’ve often told people in classes I teach that an affordable baking extravagance is keeping two sets of measuring spoons, one wet and one dry. Makes life much easier overall.

Some of my other must haves? Disposable pastry bags,
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my favorite pastry blender,

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paintbrushes and Q-tips for food styling,

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(I spent 10 minutes adjusting a squirt of mustard for a corned beef photo yesterday); modeling tools, the Danish dough whisk

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(can’t mix a starter or biga without it), a large-mesh strainer for getting the lumps out of cocoa and confectioners’ sugar,

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dental floss (best way to cut cinnamon rolls or any soft, rolled dough),

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small and large offset spatulas. love these kids’ spatulas . I find them to be just right for stirring small amounts of chocolate that need to be melted.

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My favorite rolling pin hides in plain sight, hanging on my pegboard. It’s stainless steel, and this particular model has oval handles, which I find to be perfectly ergonomic.

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It’s our experience that bakers are equipment geeks; I have no doubt you all have “can’t live without” tools of your own; we look forward to hearing about ‘em!

Susan Reid
About

Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently enjoying her fourth career after stints in advertising, running restaurants, and teaching at the New England Culinary Institute. She joined King Arthur in 2002 to ...

comments

  1. Chris

    I am sending the link to the post to my wife who believes that old tools I don’t use once a year should be pitched.

    I am not alone.

    Reply
  2. Sue

    I love my Microplane Grater. It truly changed how I feel about grating citrus peel, and I’m very partial to my Williams Sonoma rubber spatulas that are slightly curved. There are probably others that are equal but I haven’t run across them. I have an old set of Tupperware measuring spoons that have a 1 1/2 tsp. and a 4 tablespoon, in the set. I’m always amazed at how useful those are.

    Reply
  3. Kim

    We are gadget-geeks! (And yes, I am including myself in that group!) My must-haves: wooden spoons with thick handles – I think the style is Frrench; multiple rubber spatulas and 2 sets of measuring cups/spoons. (My second set of spoons was a necessity after my garbage disposal ate my 1/2 teaspoon!) Oh, and I simply can’t live without my Kitchenaid stand mixer! I live by myself and I couldn’t wait to see if I ever got married to get one. It was a splurge, but one that was truly worth it and I’ve never regretted it! I LOVE that thing! I must agree with the offset spatula for decorating. I use it to spread more than just frosting – it works like a charm! :)

    Love your blog – I’m a recipe addict and I love seeing the mid-process pictures. I’m still in search of the perfect recipe.
    Kim: I’m constantly amazed that people still try to spread batter in any kind of pan without an offset spatula. The perfect recipe for….what?
    Susan

    Reply
  4. Chuck

    And my wife thinks my 4 sets of dry measuring cups, 4 wet measuring cups, 2 wonder type measuring cups, 4 or 5 sets of measuring spoons, 2 measuring scales, countless spatulas, several instant read thermometers, and several different style wisks might just be over-kill
    Chuck: I’m lucky, my husband’s an engineer, and if I tell him a tool does something that no other tool will do, he gets it. Which is why we have possibly every powertool conceived by man at our house…..Susan

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  5. Bridgett

    I do love the scoop I have in my flour canister. I got it free from a cooking party years ago. I would definitely go buy a new one if that one was ever “gone”. And another thing I love (and was also a freebie come to think of it) is my plastic measuring cup that is a shaker for dressings and such; it has a removable lid with a pouring spout and a little mixer thingy that goes on before you put the lid on.

    Bridgett: do you remember (back in the day) when Diamond walnut cans came with their own little grater tops? I still miss having that job when I was baking with my mother. Susan

    Reply
  6. Nicole Shugars

    I had friends over for dinner and sent one of them to face the fated “gadget drawer” in search of a measuring spoon. Guilt made me feel like I needed to explain why the drawer was so full and slightly frightening to open. The friend’s husband opened the drawer and exclaimed…”that’s nothing — you can’t even open ours.” Apparently I need to acquire more gadgets!!! (And I saw a few in your post that look like good ones to try.) Keep up the great posts…I kept coming back to the site this week looking for another post after the jelly roll. I’m addicted…
    We love the contact we get with you all by writing these things; what a great way to meet people who like to bake as much as we do! Susan

    Reply
  7. Beth

    One of my favorite tools is non standard. It’s a pair of nicely weighted needlenose pliers. Great for grasping and pulling out an oven rack, or for rotating pans. I get a firm and precise grip, and no more burns from potholders that are too thin or that slip when performing these tasks.

    The other favorite tools are a vintage pastry blender I picked up at the flea market for a buck, and my bench scraper of course.
    Beth: My chef’s toolkit has needle nose pliers in it for pinboning trout and salmon; I can see the beauty of using it around the oven, too. Susan

    Reply
  8. Christy of MommaOnTheMounain

    By and Large the two things I must have are:

    1) Lot’s of rubber spatulas

    2) KitchenAide Mixer

    Without those I am lost. I have actually paired down my gadgets after years of sifting through all the things I NEVER used…I am down to the occasional (but yet essential) specialty items. (presentation tools, offset spatula, etc…)

    I do really enjoy this blog, and find it rich with useful information.

    Reply
  9. Allie

    What is a flour wand??
    Allie: A flour wand is a spring, basically. You squeeze the handle, the spring opens, and you put the opened end of the wand into some flour or confectioners’ sugar. Then you relax your hand, the spring closes, and you have a sprinkler for dusting the tops of dinner rolls or cakes. Susan

    Reply
  10. fishes and loaves

    Today, I think the gadget I can’t live without is a pot rack. So, since I don’t have one… maybe I better do some shopping and show off the new pots and pans I got for Christmas. :)
    I once had an iron baker’s rack in the kitchen with hooks on it, and used that for a pot rack. After we remodeled our kitchen I went from one pot rack to three! Too many years in professional kitchens; I just want to reach for the one I need without having a door between me and my saute pan. Susan

    Reply
  11. Jesurgislac

    I have a set of plastic bowls – two large, one medium, four or five small, three tiny. Two and a half plastic measuring jugs. A marble rolling-pin I picked up for peanuts in a charity shop. A set of four measuring cups. A set of scales, though I tend not to use it except when I have no alternative. A couple of ordinary-sized balloon whisks and a couple of cute mini-whisks, which are occasionally useful when I really do want to beat just a small amount of stuff up in a cup. A spatula, of course. A metal sieve. Electric kettle and microwave, of course. No mixer.

    I’m not a very gadget-orientated person…

    Reply
  12. Glenn

    I, too, have the useful (orange!) Tupperware measuring spoon set with the 1-1/2 and 4 tsp. measures. Love ‘em. My trusty 5-qt, lift-bowl KitchenAid mixer, Salter scales and baking parchment are indispensable. My KA cookbooks, and CI cookbooks, along with Shirley Corriher’s CookWise and BakeWise are musts. I also keep a small, retractable metal tape for measuring lengths, etc. It is better than a ruler. And since the tape is steel, it is easy to wipe and keep clean. One more thing: the rectangular baking stone.
    Glenn: Ah, you reminded me. I also have a pocket tape measure that I use almost every day; pan sizes can be so variable, I’ve learned to measure ALL of them before trusting them with my dough or cake batter! Susan

    Reply
  13. Michelle

    It is really funny that you posted about your kitchen toys today because I was just thinking about that this morning. I recently ordered a muffin scoop (to add to my cookie scoop collection) which I now know I can’t live without. Also some of my other must have tools are my kitchen aid mixer, bread machine, silpat/parchment paper, wondercup, and I love my many sizes of pyrex measuring cups. I can go on and on because I feel like I have so many things I can’t live without.
    Next on my list of to purchase is that new scrape the bowl while you mix paddle. My husband was asking me why I wanted that and I told him what it does. I think he still doesn’t get why I want it but just knows that he will get to taste all the yummy stuff I make using it!
    Michelle: cut right to the benefit with your husband: tell him it shortens the time between inspiration and snacking, and improves the quality of the baked good at the same time! Susan

    Reply
  14. Allie

    Thank you, Susan! What a fascinating idea. That sounds much easier than loading up a canister with a shaker top and then later having to empty it again. I am definitely going to get one of those. I would use that all the time.
    You’re most welcome Allie! I have to pinch myself some days, living here in the Shangri-La of tools :-) Susan

    Reply
  15. Glenn

    I forgot to add a few more items:

    – I agree. The Danish dough wisk is a must for any type of dough that needs to be thoroughly mixed without being overworked.
    – I have a stackable, folding, 3-tiered oversized cooling rack that is no longer available. It 16″ x 13.25″ and will hold a FULL size sheet full of cookies. I slide the cookies from the parchment right onto this and let ‘em cool. Oh, I how I wish I’d bought two sets! (Yes, I’ve tried Google, written the manufacturer, etc.)
    – I also have a lidded, sandwich bread 1-lb. pan purchased from KA that is no longer available. It is the perfect size.
    – Finally, you simply cannot beat the Vollrath Cookie Sheet. NOTHING bakes like it does. Lots of baking real estate with a lip on BOTH ends of the sheet that doesn’t eat up space.
    Glenn: believe me, we get stuck just like you do when manufacturers just decide to stop making something we love. Our time with our favirite tools isn’t always as permanent as our commitment to them! Susan

    Reply
  16. Kim

    Susan,
    In response to your response to me about my search for the perfect recipe: That’s just it – everything. Even though I have many recipes I like, I’m always searching for the one that is that much better. I’m glad you guys will do a lot of the testing for me so I don’t have to. I think testing recipes is my dream job. I love to bake but I’d rather bake it than eat it. After one slice/piece, I don’t want it around anymore and I want to try something else.
    Kim: I agree that the quest is in many ways more interesting than the acquisition, but I do have a family of recipes that I call my “go-to” collection that never let me down and always garner reactions from speechless (too busy chewing) to life-altering. Susan

    Reply
  17. Alvara

    My family teases me about all my tools and gadgets and that I spend so much time looking at the KA catalogue. I have at least half of your stuff. I love my Zo bread machine and my Kitchen Aid mixer, mandoline, food processor, all kinds of bread pans. I find the stay-fresh vacuum canisters work so well. I’m never done wanting – next it will be the digital scale to measure my flour for bread baking. The scoops work wonderful for cookie making and for muffins.

    Thanks for the wonderful posts, I can’t help looking for a new one every day, even though I know it’s asking too much of you. You are all great at King Arthur.
    Thanks for keeping company with us, Alvara. I won’t tell you how many times I came out here to see if anybody was reading ;)! Susan

    Reply
  18. Chiot's Run

    I try to get by the bare minimum. I figure if people before me did it I can too. But I do lover the plastic spreaders (Mr Chiot’s got me some for Christmas last year). I do use my Kitchenaid mixer when I’m too busy to knead by hand. I’m also a HUGE fan of parchment, makes cleanup so easy and sliding bread onto the baking stone a cinch!
    We often say in the test kitchen about some of our favorites, that once you use them, you’ll never go back. Parchment and cookie scoops are two of those. Susan

    Reply
  19. Sharon

    Among my favorites are some flat-bottom whisks from Ikea; they look something like the little egg whisk in the picture above. All I see now on their website is a set of two “Idealisk” whisks that consists of one flat-bottom one and one balloon-style whisk, but they used to sell these in sets of 3, in graduated sizes. For whisking any kind of sauce or pudding, they are unbeatable, as they conform to the corners of a saucepan and keep the bottom from scorching far better than a balloon whisk. I use them so much that I bought three sets!
    My sister gave me the Danish dough whisk a few years ago, and I’ve been surprised at how useful it is.
    I also love my tapered French rolling pin, which my father made on his lathe. Tapered pins make rolling near-perfect circles infinitely easier.

    Sharon: I think some tools are as comfortable as your favorite jeans or pair of shoes; you just feel more confident with them. Thanks for sharing. Susan

    Reply
  20. Robin

    My digital kitchen scale is so important to how I cook now, that I take it with me when we visit the in-laws. I’ve even used it to mix alcoholic drinks and weigh letters for postage. Another favorite tool is a slim folding cookbook holder to make it easier to read recipes and hold my books off of the counter. My bread machine gets used at least once a week – usually I do let it do all of the work and bake the bread, too. I must have six or seven measuring spoon sets – the dishwasher doesn’t get run often enough to get by with two. Of course, the new gadget is always the favorite gadget – I just bought a baking stone and I already love it!

    Robin: I have a collection of gadgets at my mother’s house that she’s forced to keep on hand for me: a scale, a bread machine, a decent bread knife, and kosher salt, which she’s never understood but tolerates for my sake!;-) Susan

    Reply
  21. Brandee

    I adore this post and I also got my Banters’ Blog fix!

    The things I could not do without in my Kitchen:

    KA Recipes!!
    KitchenAid Pro Mixer
    Escali Digital Scale
    Anchor Hocking Glass Splash Proof Bowl Set
    SAF Yeast :)
    A light for taking photographs of my KA recipes :)
    Italian Bread Pan :)
    Heat Proof Rubber Spatulas
    Parchment Paper
    Silicone Baking Mat
    … and last, but certainly not least… Bakers’ Banter and all the wonderful tutorials.

    I want to thank you lovely people for teaching me how to become a successful baker. If it had not been for your great picture tutorials and excellent advisement, I would still be purchasing all of my baked goods.

    Brandee: Wow, that’s the nicest thing you could possibly say to us. We get the most satisfaction ever from knowing the work we do makes other people’s lives (and the lucky people you bake for) better! Thanks. Susan

    Reply
  22. Debj

    I swear I have a-l-l of the afore-mentioned items, but I also have an assortment of wooden rulers in 12″ – 18″ lengths, like the kind you received many years ago in first grade…wooden with a little brass metal edge. Handy for, ummm, measuring rolled out dough for cinnamon buns. Yeah, that’s it. Seriously, I used them all the time…. We have our share of the same, also some aluminum 18″ ones (they’re a little easier to wash, but sometimes the numbers come off) for the same reason. Susan

    Reply
  23. Deib

    I had to add my two-cents on favorite gadgets. My cousin collected every kitchen gadget and cookbook under the sun (she said she was making up for not being allowed in the kitchen as a child). I have acquired her “brownie cutter” It is a thin metal tool shaped like a Z if you straightened up the center line. It is perfect for cutting and serving brownies, bar cookies, and even the occasional casserole–and it’s small enough to leave in the pan so people don’t keep dirtying up knives (especially at my house where we are constantly “trimming” pans of brownies to “even up” the last cut:) I have never seen another one like it, I just hope mine lasts a long time.
    Wow, that sounds very interesting. If you have a chance, would you mind sending me a picture of this gadget?
    Susan.reid@kingarthurflour.com Thanks.

    Reply
  24. Aulani

    I feel soooo vindicated!! I have had to justify my 3…yes THREE huge drawers full of toys for years! I have been ribbed at family parties for having every size mellon baller known to man and can finally prove in writing why they are so important! I am fairly new to King Arthur and cannot tell you how it has changed my baking life. Although I may soon need FOUR drawers, every item I have ordered has lived up to it’s promise and then some. Thanks to your blogs and photos, I have made recipes I would have never dared to try before. I cannot thank all of you enough! I too, check in almost every day to see if there is a new post. I was getting an anxiety attack just before the jelly roll showed up….was counting the days from the last post!! I hope they never come up with an AA for baking because all of this is just too much fun! Mahalo again for all that you do!
    Our pleasure! Susan

    Reply
  25. Elaine

    Hmm…let’s see if I can list all of my favorites! My Zo which is still going strong after buying it from KA over 10 years ago; parchment paper (the pre-cut one); cookie scoops; Danish dough whisk (perfect for pancake mix); my extra long loaf pan (I don’t think you carry that any more); silicone spatulas; flour storage buckets (my favorite is with the KA logo) and my very own KA apron! There are a few things in the catalog that I’ve been eyeing…must drop some hints since Valentines’s day is coming. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  26. Lynn

    I really enjoyed this post. It was great to see the tools you all enjoy and use. I love kitchen tools and gadgets. Several of the things you mentioned are on my wish list. Thanks again.

    Reply
  27. LeAnne

    What a fun post! I just finished using some of my favorite kitchen tools a few minutes ago. I have found in the last two years that I can absolutely not live without my kitchen scale. It makes measuring and cleanup so much easier. I simply measure ingredients right into my bowl and don’t mess with measuring cups anymore. I also couldn’t live without my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I just had my new Zojirushi bread machine delivered on Thursday evening and I already have the feeling that if anything happens to it (hopefully after years of good use) I will be ordering one to replace it immediately. I use my muffin scoop several times a week (I have 3 kids) and my nonstick rolling mat is an essential. I could go on and on, so I won’t bore you:) Thanks for the blog! Like everyone else who comments, I’m an addict and check it all the time!

    Reply
  28. Alissa

    My favorites, not mentioned already, are the mini angled measure cup, which I only bought in the last year or two and don’t know how I lived without it for so long, and my ove gloves. I also found that since I use my 1-cup measure all the time for flour and typically a half cup measure for sugar, I just leave those (along with a knife and spoon to measure with) in my flour and sugar containers. Less in my gadget drawer and less to pull out.

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  29. Mary

    My Grandmother’s rolling pin. Heavy wood, nicely balanced. I think of her every time I use it, which makes it even more special.

    Reply
  30. Erol

    My own kitchen has reached the point of gadget saturation – if I get a new one, an old one has to go. And since I mostly cook just for myself, I’m biased toward smaller items. Stand mixer? too big, takes up too much counterspace.

    I’ve also avoided getting a scale for the kitchen. It’s too much like work (I’m a research chemist). OTOH I [heart] my Thermapen.

    Other personal favorites are the dough whisk (although it Would Be Nice if KA could offer a dishwasher-safe version), the 2-1/4 t yeast spoon, spatulas of a size KA doesn’t sell anymore (midway between the current standard size and the kid-sized ones), and the KA silicone mat.

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  31. Ted

    I feel so vindicated!
    When I moved into this place, I sort of ‘extended’ the kitchen into the dinette/living room area using 2 48″x18″x72″ chrome racks with 6 shelves each. Now I’m happy. Everything’s in place, usable and functional. I’ve positioned the mixers (KA 6-qt and Bosch) on the shelves and just leave them plugged in. My 3 favorite gadgets have to be first my digital scale–It’s made a huge difference in my baking. When you’re weighing everything into 1 bowl there’s so much less mess, cleanup, and the results more reliable. Second, and I know I’m weird, but I love silicone bakeware! I have great results with it and rarely use anything else. Third, is the BeaterBlade (self scraping) paddle for my KA. That kritter made mixing batters fun again. Ok, I said 3 but here’s a 4th…I’ve got 6 lazy-susans. On one I’ve got all of my baking supplies setup in canisters that sit on an 18-inch turn table–The flour, sugar, salt, yeast, oil, gluten, bakers dry milk–all that stuff. Some call it ergonomics, I just admit to being lazy. The others handle seasonings, extracts, measuring cups and toothpicks!
    Happy baking to all!

    Ted: While I’ve never been fond of the name, I certainly understand the allure of having your ingredients pirouette in front of you for selection! Susan

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  32. Diane

    1. Spatulas – small and large offset, long, thin spatulas, silicone spatulas, and also my “regular” cooking spatulas.

    2. 4 food thermometers (includes a standing one for candy).

    3. 31 yr. old Kitchenaid mixer.

    4. Parchment

    5. 3 Microplane graters

    6. My grannie’s ancient garlic press.

    7. Thick cotton string

    8. Lots of huge bowls

    9. Lots of little bowls

    Diane: You just made me realize my 5-quart Cobalt blue kitchenaid is 28 years old! I think I’d rather celebrate those anniversaries than my high school or college reunions! ;-) Susan

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  33. jennie

    My fave gadgets are the batter bowl – I actually have my grandmother’s old jade-ite one plus a larger pyrex version, and I use them every day! Lots of little nesting prep bowls, and food scissors… and where would I be without parchment paper?!

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  34. cindy leigh

    What a day- daughter was snowboarding at Ascutney with her Scouting group and fell, injured wrist. got the call this morning to drive up and pick her up.

    At the rest stop on 91, we discovered that KA was just 25 minutes north of Ascutney.

    Daughter was doing OK, so we “detoured” to KA before going home. Heaven!! Never been there before (we live in southeastern CT) and was delighted to browse and shop. (and the samples of olive bread were awesome!)

    I got the pain de mie pan I wanted when I saw the previous blog entry about the sandwich bread. AND, now I need some help– I bought the small red double sided lame. (I have been slashing my sourdough baguettes with a steak knife- lol don’t tell anybody!)

    SO….. how do I hold this little curved lame- curve up, or curve down? Parallel to bread, or perpendicular? Describe the technique for me, please! Many Thanks!

    Oh, PS, then went to the ER back at home, and daughter has a hairline fracture. My business trip this week will be postponed so I can take care of her- which means, I’ll have extra time to use that pain de mie pan!

    Hey, Cindy, lets you stay home and watch the inauguration festivities too, right? Hope your daughter’s feeling better! Don’t feel bad, I always slash my baguettes with a chef’s knife, or sometimes even a pair of scissors (SSHHHH). To use the lame, hold it at a 45° angle to the bread – not parallel (0°); not perpendicular (90°). Hold it so the curve is up, so it looks like a little cup you could fill. Slash quickly and like you mean it, yet not too deep; an iron hand in a velvet glove. You want to make a cut that’s flap-like, rather than just straight up and down. Make three long, diagonal cuts that overlap one another. Practice makes perfect; when I was first learning, I practiced over and over on one piece of dough; first unrisen, then risen. Of course, I collapsed it, but it was OK, it rose again. Have fun! And glad you got home safely, in this snow… PJH

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  35. Linda

    I love to see other kitchen toy collectors. I am a jewelery and leather artist along with being a baker. Some of the kitchen toys end up measuring and dipping beads from containers, and the pottery bowls make a wonderful addition to jewelery displays. My favorite cookie cutters and dough decorations are made from my leather punch and stamp collections (yes, they are clean). When all good worlds meet, life is great.

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  36. Jennie W.

    Baking Strips! I would marry these if I could! I also love:

    -pie crust bag. I just got this a few month ago and it’s magnificent. The best $7 I’ve ever spent!

    -pre-cut parchment circles for my cake pans

    -rectangular measuring spoons. I have four sets. No rule about wet or dry (I’m crazy like that) I have to thank you for giving me the idea to take them off the ring and put them in a cup next to my mixer (I use a cute votive candleholder) Simple but brilliant.

    -biscuit cutters. I’m a biscuit addict and my set of nice sharp ones is heavenly. (I’d love to see a set of heart-shaped biscuit cutters. Hint hint)

    -The OXO angled liquid measuring cups that you can read from above.

    -fancy digital scale. I use this way more than I thought I would.

    I love you guys at King Arthur. Over the years you’ve taught me A LOT about baking. (How much? I won the overall “Cookie Making Champion” at the 2007 Utah State Fair. Yee haw!)

    Thanks for your input, Jennie – and congratulations, Queen of Cookies! PJH

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  37. Liz in Texas

    My cast iron pans. I’ve joked saying I can only have three kids because I have three skillets to pass on. One was given to me by my mother-in-law. She cooked three meals a day on it while she raised her 9 kids. It is a real beauty.
    I love my marble pastry board. I often think I should use a silicone mat to roll out dough but I stick with my board.
    I love my apple peeler and corer. It make apple pie so much easier.
    A few more…parchment paper, cookie scoop, two sets of stainless steel measuring spoons, immersion blender, batter bowl, glass nesting bowls, and pyrex ramekins.
    I love the blog. Thanks!

    Reply
  38. PJ Hamel

    Have to chime in here with some more stuff. I love my clunky old cast aluminum flour scoop, that looks like it was whittled out of granite by some Neanderthal. My hand citrus press. The Perfect Beaker. And a huge collection of screw-top Mason jars, good for salt, sugar, yeast, baking soda… anything I’m constantly measuring out. Parchment, always. My oven thermometer, since I don’t trust our ovens. And plain cotton dish towels – flour sack towels – for all-purpose wiping hands, counters, splatters off the walls, etc. :) PJH

    Reply
  39. Jennifer

    Boy, Lots of gadgets that I would love to get but have no more room for.

    Currently what I have that I couldn’t live without is my Kitchen Aid Mixer (it’s actually my mom’s, I broke mine), my digital scale (I panic last week when I couldn’t find it), the multitude of measuring spoons (5 sets I think), my silicone spatulas (I don’t know how I ever managed to cook and bake with out those perfect for melted chocolate and heating the molasses and sugar for Lebkuchen).

    I just wish I had a larger kitchen (or at least a pantry) so things would be better organized. That is one thing we are looking for in the new house.

    Reply
  40. Lorrainesfav

    Now I don’t feel so bad. I buy kitchen gadgets like most women buy shoes and purses. I do really enjoy my stuff and use everything when I cook and bake to it’s fullest potential. My kitchen drawers are organized chaos and there really isn’t room for 1 more thing. I am always searching for a new gadget and am very dissapointed that… I just can’t find anything I don’t have!

    Reply
  41. Kathy

    When people wonder at all my kitchen “toys” I get out the one that confounds them all—a little gaget that makes square hard boiled eggs! Somehow the rest of my tools seem a little more sane after seeing that.

    Reply
  42. Margy

    Oh dear! So many toys and so little space! I have a KA 6 qt. and Kenwood 7 qt mixer, about 10 sheet pans (always trying to find the perfect one!), multiple cake pans of all sizes (I bake the occasional wedding cake), and assorted gadgets. My favorites are my huge old maple rolling pin, my one handle mini-roller (for getting even dough layers and into corners), and my folding triple decker cooling racks to expand my counter space. I also rinse and save the little cups that powdered drink mixes come in and use them as prep cups–a litttle kitchen recycling.

    Reply
  43. Audrey Binder

    This was a great idea for a blog. I don’t feel so “alone” in my love of gadgets. My friends just don’t understand. :) I also like that I share the “challenge” of making certian recipes. Isn’t this a fun place????

    Reply
  44. Sharon

    I have 2 daughters (who don’t like cooking) But they are always teasing me about all my “gadgets”. In a fit of organizing I went thru my drawer and honestly couldn’t find anything I couldn’t live without. I moved a couple things to another drawer so they are not as visible and my drawer no opens easier. For Christmas I bought myself a Kitchen Aid 5 qt. (my mixmaster died after 25 years of faithful use and abuse) I love it, I bake bread a lot and am not as happy about hand kneading as I used to be. My measuring spoons are in a drawer but I like your idea of the cup on the counter, no searching for them with floury hands. I also have a set of the yellow Tupperware measuriing spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law.
    My idea of a fun shopping trip is a kitchen store and could spend hours just looking. One of these days I’m going to take a day and come to Vermont to KA. Maybe after I get my tax return.

    Hi Sharon, I really enjoyed our chat today! Hope you do get to come visit soon! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  45. Cathy

    My favorite kitchen item is not a gadget at all. It’s a large, stainless steel table that I got from a restaurant supply store. When we moved into our 100-year old house, there was a big kitchen, but no counter space. We bought a table with a lower shelf, thinking we’d replace it with a proper island when we could afford to. It’s been 4 years, and I can’t live without it. I’ve never had this much space to work. Two (or three) people can work on either side. I can set a hot pot on it with no worries. It doesn’t stain, you can’t chip it, and nothing melts it. (even sugar at the hard ball phase-245 degrees!) It’s easy to clean and polish, plus I can store all of my pots, pans and mixing bowls on the shelf underneath.

    Reply
  46. Marcia

    I love gadgets and I don’t think there was much mentioned in previous posts that I don’t have.

    I have old fashioned wide drawers in my kitchen, and all 3 are full, plus 2 in the dining room and one in the hall for over flow.

    I wish the baking strips came as a choice of 2 or 3 per set. Can’t make a 3 layer cake because I just have 2 baking strips. : (((

    I made the Garlic Knot soft rolls last week (June 2008) and the scales was so handy. I used parchment on a pizza stone and that was good.

    About the time I think there are no more gadgets to buy, I see a new one! Bought a replacement Cuisinart 11 cup food processor for Christmas and all those silicone spatulas and spoonulas are so handy. The slotted one is a treasurer. I need a bigger jar for them.

    I missed the free shipping because I was not able to get into the web site about 10pm EST.

    Reply
  47. Carmel

    I cannot live without my springform pan. If there’s a recipe I can adjust to make in the springform, I will. I’ve never had a pie as beautiful, easy to make, or easy to slice as I have in the springform!

    Reply
  48. Karen in WA

    My favorites are:
    Zo Bread Machine
    KA Mixer
    Pre-cut Parchment
    Microplane Grater
    Gripstand Mixing Bowl by TG Green Ltd., England
    Anchor Hocking 2 qt. Glass Measuring Bowl–I mix cakes, brownies,
    toppings, and everything I can in it, because I can hold on to the handle while mixing.

    My favorite of all is a 1-1/2 qt. “milk-glass” type mixing bowl made many years ago by Fire King. It has a handle, spout and the sides are more flared than the typical glass measuring bowl. It is perfect for mixing almost anything. I am so afraid I will break it–it was my mother’s and is probably from the ’50′s, maybe earlier. I use it constantly.

    A small, generous 1-cup, stoneware measuring cup with blue lettering and a lid–it’s great for measuring something to leave on the counter for awhile or mixing something ahead to be refrigerated–don’t have to cover it with plastic wrap, just use the little lid. I got it last fall at TJ Maxx–went back the next day to get one for my daughter and they were gone. I use it for mixing lemon butter or a sauce for salmon.

    I also love all of KA’s storage containers–I have the largest ones for bread and all-purpose flours, sugar and smaller ones for brown sugar, powdered sugar, cake flour and whole-wheat flour. I have used them for many years.

    Reply
  49. Alice

    It is so nice to know there are others out there like me, with drawers full of what some people think are too many measuring spoons and spatulas! I have most of what everyone else has mentioned, including a 41-year-old Kitchen Aid mixer — the only one they ever made that cannot accommodate a dough hook, a situation that I will rectify if the middle-aged mixer gives up on me.

    My favorite tool is difficult to find (except, fortunately, at King Arthur): a 2-cup stainless steel measuring cup. Without it, I would have lost count of many cups of flour and sugar over the years! If you don’t have one, treat yourself.

    Reply
  50. Sharon

    I have ALL the toys you and everyone mentioned, plus one of my very favorite whisks – open strands instead of loops. Nothing clogs that baby! This is the first time I’ve seen that someone besides me keeps measuring spoons in a cup. What a pain to have to wash the whole set when you use just one spoon! My table-height island has 3 48″ wide drawers, with most of my knives and toys – oops- tools at my fingertips. Everything in my kitchen is designed for comfortable use – side by side 30″ ovens, shelves that slide out at just the right height for ease of transfering hot baking pans to the countertop, etc. 52 years of marriage, 18 months of planning, and I finally have my dream kitchen. I’m still learning, and KA is one great teacher! How lucky we all are to have you.

    Reply
  51. PharmWife

    My favorite kitchen tool?!? My trusty little inexpensive pocket knife in my main gadget drawer. Perfect for opening the latest box of delights from King Arthur! Gotta run–UPS just came!

    Reply
  52. Norma Jean

    I have handled shakers (from Pampered Chef)– one for flour and the other for non-melting powdered sugar (from KAF). The flour shaker is great for rolling pie crust/kneading bread dough and the sugar shaker is great for decorating baked goods.

    Reply
  53. Jean Aldrich

    I’ve just finished reading about gadgets. A friend came over one day, walked into my kitchen, stared at my small pitcher filled with OXO silicone scrapers and said that all of her friends, altogether, did not own that many scrapers! I have only 7 plus some miscellaneous odd-sized ones. I had to take a few minutes to understand what she meant…. then remembered that she doesn’t cook! There are days when they are all dirty but she doesn’t understand….. however, she sure likes eating what I cook!

    Reply
  54. Nancy

    My favorites (in no particular order)
    My wooden bread board – so much easier to clean up than scraping the counter top.
    My bench blade.
    4 complete sets of measuring spoons and two broken sets (why is it always the 1/2 teaspoon that disappears?).
    My Zo and my Red KitchenAid Artisan.
    A VERY old large plastic spoon with a steel shaft – something about it has just the right amount of flex.
    My Collection of glass Pyrex measures, including the 8 cup (can’t make stuffing without it).
    Solid Stainless steel Revereware cookie sheets
    A very large rack that can hold two cookie sheets at once.
    OOO – time to get those hamburger buns out of the Zo.
    I still wish Zo would make a blue apron with a cute elephant on the front.

    Reply
  55. LaVerle

    Loved seeing all your favorites, but does no one else keep a pair a pliers in the kitchen – an absolute essential for pulling things apart or open or fish bones out? Two of my favorites are your dry measure cups and spoons with 2/3 and 3/4 sizes and the 2 cup dry measure. Also love flexible cutting mats!
    I also seem to need different sized spatulas, scrapers, spoonulas, slotted spoons, wooden spoons, and whisks. I just really love kitchen gadgets, so it was fun seeing yours and reading about other people’s.

    Reply
  56. Dana

    It is just not possible to have too many kitchen tools or cookbooks!

    My husband, who enjoys cooking, is sometimes confused by my purchases. But, he is the “king” of using every spoon, spatula, bowl and pot in the kitchen. At those times, he is appreciative of the purchases!

    My favorites are:

    KA 6 qt pro mixer-double batches of cookies are a cinch
    Rubber spatulas including spoonulas
    Tongs-metal and silicone tipped
    3 sizes of Cuisinart food processors
    parchment paper
    angled measuring cups
    wisks-different sizes and shapes
    Microplane graters
    stoneware from Pampered Chef – I am anxious to try something from the King Arthur catalog to compare lines

    I am of the belief that if you buy the highest quality tools you can afford, then your results will not be disappointing.

    Reply
  57. littleredpotato

    My kitchen is a little galley apartment-sized one (with a 14 cf fridge and a tiny little gas stove), so over the years, I’ve learned to buy one good thing and to make sure it gets more than one use.

    My favourite workhorses are: good knives (I have a nice little collection of Henckels), a “Kapoosh” for keeping them in order, one heavy-duty 12″ sauteuse pan, a 12 quart stock pot (which does triple duty for making stock, cooking pasta and steaming veggies), my beloved “LeCrueset” 5 qt Dutch Oven (takes a beating, and keeps on cooking!), one heavy-duty 11 cup Cuize, lots of baking sheets, three sizes of springform pans, an offset spatula, SS bowls, a bunch of silicon coated spatulas, tons of Pyrex bakeware, good wooden spoons, three different sized whisks and a huge wooden cutting board. Oh, and a bench scraper, too.

    My favourite toy is the “bakers rack/kitchen organizer” my boyfriend and I purchased from “Target” a couple of years ago. When you’re cooking and baking in a small kitchen (with limited storage space), it’s a life saver to have everything you use on a daily basis right in front of you.

    No one’s mentioned this, but I will! It’s also great to have someone willing to take over “dish duty”! ;)

    Reply
  58. mia

    ok. i admit it. I’m a better baker wannabe. love this site and king arthur stuff to. so i was scrolling along and thinking how many of those things would be cool to have but I reallly shouldn’t be spending right now.

    And THEN I got to the comment where the lady talked about the 2 cup dry measure and that did it. I’m goin’ shoppin’!!

    Reply
  59. Elizabeth

    I love my lemon zester that I got from KAF a couple of years ago. I’d been using a tiny 2 inch high handheld grater before that. The zester is much more fun! Mine is the one with a handle and 5 little holes on the end , which is lightning fast. I use it seldom, but when I do it is awesome; and I am much more inclined to add “optional” zest to recipes. Like zucchini bread. Seems like a while before it’ll be time for that again….

    And I * adore* my KAF nut grinder. I use lots of nuts. The nut grinder beats heck out of chopping with a knife. Further, I can delegate grinding nuts safely to my 2 small children–my 3 year old does a great job! So it is also a child distracter, a vital tool when working in the kitchen, and yet another nice way to let the kids help when I’m baking. Best $7 I ‘ve spent (price went up a bit since, but still a great buy).

    Some things I remain low budget on. I use a handheld mixer or my arm, a $50 bread machine, and have refused to buy a large food processor (so far). I confess I did get a mini food processor for Christmas for $30. It has been really useful the couple of times I’ve used it , but not enough to make me want to spend $200-300 for a big one.

    Happy baking, all! I’m off to make Amish Friendship Bread–any comments on that one? Future blog subject?

    Reply
  60. Beth

    PJ, Susan and company, you probably don’t need any suggestions for blog topics, but just in case:
    1) Blog on kitchen organization and storage ideas, especially all the different kinds of bakeware and flour, etc.
    2) Ideas on using the various sugars you sell: coarse, fine, non-melting, glazing, pearl, diamonds, ….

    Thanks.

    Thanks for the ideas. I’ll give PJ and Susan a heads up. Frank from KAF.

    Reply
  61. RHONDA

    I love this blog….I have realized there are more things I need! I need help with kitchen organization – so to the experts out there….help!

    Reply
  62. fleegal

    The plastic dough scraper at the top of the link, has the KAF logo, and I have been trying to get one of those for a while. They are not on the website. How can we get those??? There is no printing left on the one I have, and baby teeth marks tell me I need another. If you put it on the web we will buy! You can get one through a phone order. It’s item number 5108 and costs $1.99, plus shipping. Molly@KAF

    Reply
  63. Alexander

    I’m in the market for a new mixer and would like some opinions on what the top mixer is for my needs. I make a lot of homemade breads and baked goods and need a strong motor to handle the job over the long run. TIA

    Reply
  64. Sharon

    I have to laugh, I bought an armoire for my kitchen, I call it my gadget armoire…It houses all of my “stuff”! kitchen aid mixer, various baking stones, food processor, different baking pans, cake stands, decorating kits many bowls….plus I have a weakness for serving dishes….

    I couldn’t play with out any of it! Love it all!
    Fun post~

    Reply
  65. Hazel Watson

    I like Robin’s idea of having multiples in measuring devices – I’m always pulling the spoon or cup size I need out of the dishwasher and washing it by hand.

    Our kitchen was clearly designed for someone who isn’t serious about cooking and baking. There’s not enough of anything – counter space, storage drawers and shelves, or even enough wall space to hang a pegboard on for my gadgets and pots and pans! I would try for a potrack, but the genius designer built 12-foot ceilings.

    Reply
  66. Joan Brehon

    I love everything I’ve ever purchased from King Arthur!! I have tried to purchase the “old” flat, flexible, plastic scraper with the King Arthur logo on it. I have the new one and it’s o,k, but I like the old one better. I gave away most of mine to family bakers and am now down to one cracked, on it’s last- leg scraper. Are you not selling these anymore or where do I find it in the on-line catalog?
    Thank you.

    Joan Brehon

    Joan, I love these bowl scrapers, too. I’ve asked our merchandise team to consider getting them back again… PJH

    Reply
  67. Linda

    I have to look through these again later but I saw a few of my favorites and have a suggestion for you to try. I totally LOVELOVELOVE your cookie scoops. They are the best I have ever tried. I’m replacing all of mine–even the ones that work decently because yours are so much better. Tougher, less “sticky” and the mechanism looks to be longer lasting. In 5-10 years, I’ll let you know! I also love those silicone spoons that you put on sale some time back. Wood is nice but I like the silicone better. Of course my Kitchen-Aid Mixer is a definitely part of my kitchen as well as the KA Food Processor. My digital scale–it has to be #1 or #2 on the list. I can’t imagine baking without a scale now.

    The one I’d like to suggest is a pastry cutter from this company:
    http://www.kwik-kut.com/

    My mom gave me the one years ago that is round with a straight cutting edge and the wooden handle. I promise you you will love it and want to put it in the catalog. I’ve found more things it can do besides chopping nuts. I use it for cutting rock-hard butter into flour for pastry, cutting shortening into biscuits, chopping nuts and vegetables without smashing or damaging. I’ve made egg salad that is divine and slightly chunky without being mush. Great for chopping apple slices into a nice dice but not overly chopped.

    And of course silicone spatulas. How did we manage before them to stir candy or fudge and get everything out of the mixing bowl and candy pot?

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!

    Linda, you’ll be glad to now we DO carry the Kwik-Kuts – HOORAY! PJH

    Reply
  68. Jeanne Marie Reed

    My favorite kitchen gadget(s) are my hands.

    Certainly they’re the most versatile – and their price is either free or incalculable, since you can’t purchase them… PJH

    Reply
  69. EDITH

    OH, MY GOSH! I thought I was the only one with this addiction! However, my daughter has picked it up and surpassed me. She says to make sure I leave her my wooden fork in my will! I have way too many “toys” to mention but am in the process of acquiring 3 more bakers racks to hold them!

    Reply
  70. LaVerne

    I have so many favorites it’s hard to choose. However, I think my most used and favorite things are my knives. Sharp and ready to use at all times. I have 2 wonderful sets and recently ordered a 3rd set from Wolfgang Puck. My dad was a butcher when I was very young, and I’d go hunting and fishing with him. He taught me at a very early age to use a sharpened knife and how to respect it. There’s never a dull knife in my kitchen.

    I learned how to clean and filet fish and how to cut up a deer, beef and pork. (The great advantage of being raise by farmers and butchers)

    So I can’t do without my SHARP knives and a great set of cookware.
    I love baking and have a great bread machine. This is my second bread machine within 10 years. They are great. I used to bake bread the old fashioned way but being a busy office working AND homemaker, this machine saves so much time.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to really think about this, and these ideas remind me of what my parents taught me among so many other things.

    Reply
  71. Sharon

    I purchased an antique stand Sunbeam Mixmaster (#9) with both glass bowls. I use this mixer for everything – cakes, cookies, dog biscuits, bread. I remember my Mom using one just like it when I was little. Brings back wonderful memories for me. And believe it or not, there are still parts for the old mixmasters still running out there!

    Reply
  72. Chuck aka 1dustychuck

    I used to use an old hobart stand mixer until I could find parts for it anymore, Am now on my third KA, first was a 4-1/2 quart stand mixer that eventually died when mixing some dough for Rye bread. Then I bought a 6qt that lasted all of about 20 minutes until it went up in smoke. KA sent another mixer, same size had it by the following morning and I returned their old new one via same delivery & pickup.
    Have been baking every so often for about 55 years now, usually every other day. Love trying to find the ultimate recipe. My Wife thinks that I am nuts and tries very hard not to eat to much of what I bake. Neighbors are getting somewhat rotund from my samples. Haven’t used a scale in years, need to obtain one. Last one had weights, Grand Children borrowed the weights and now they are history. Thinking of an electronic scale that is solar powered as I have a rough time remembering to buy batteries.
    Had some plastic measuring cups until I left them sitting on a hot oven, now use stainless steel and love them. They don’t warp or become puddles of goo when left sitting on top of the stove when the oven is on. Found out that I must wear oven mitts though when picking them up, it is a little clumsy but oh so much cooler.

    As for what Alexander needs as a mixer, I would suggest a 6 quart KA. If possible run it in the store for a good twenty minutes then buy it. Other wise find a Hobart as they will never wear out in your lifetime if you are over 45. If you are under 45 GOOD LUCK!! Always run your mixer on the second speed when mixing. Never use the first speed for anything except mixing dry ingredients because once you add a liquid to the dry You must use the second speed or higher.
    Love that new scraper that KA has out for their Mixers. It works like a charm. I also bough the whip with the extra wires on it. I can now make a merigine in nothing flat that doesn’t flop. I also can’t spell worth a darn anymore.

    Chuck

    Reply
  73. Angie

    I love my KitchenAid stand mixer so much I bought the same one for my daughter for Christmas a couple of years ago, after she moved down to Texas. I can’t live without my microplane, my rotary cheese grater (I live for pasta!), my collection of wooden spoons and wooden spatula and my nutmeg grater. It is now impossible for me to make drop cookies or cupcakes without using my different size scoops. They make those jobs a cinch and the cookies always come out so nice and even. I finally broke down this year and got a food processor, although I haven’t used it much yet. I am so bad, I have 2 drawers full of “toys” and three counter top pitchers filled with spoons and ladles, etc.

    Reply
  74. Pavel

    I scanned throught this list without finding a single entry for a hemostat. I have two surgical grade hemostats in my drawer, curved and straight. how else can you pull those little bones out of a fish fillet?
    I also have a 60 plus year old cast aluminum citrus squeeze, used twice a year for Key lime pie. It has the strength to reduce a lime to a cardboard-like lump.
    For Alexander, who needs a mixer. If the Kitchenaid doesn’t work for him, he needs a Hobart.

    Reply
  75. Valleri

    I’m a relative new comer to all things King Arthur but I’m as enthusiastic as the others who have responded!
    Can’t do without my KitchenAid mixer, my tupperward dry food storage containers, Williams Sonoma spoonulas, parchment, or my cookie scoops!
    Thank you for for offering such top notch “toys”! Each and every one is put to good use in my kitchen and they make baking a lot more fun!
    Just bought the stainless measuring cups. Love ‘em and it’s great to have some for wet and a set from dry measuring.
    Keep up the great work!
    Valleri

    Reply
  76. Gilda Gildenberg

    I’m a gadget freek like the girl in “Confessions of a Shopaholic”- only with kitchen stuff, not clothes- Nobody mentioned some of my favoites:

    non stick aluminum foil-liine all your roasting pans etc.
    small custard cups
    a full (30″) cookie sheet- hard to find, I’d like another
    and my latest purchase- an immersion blender- it’s terrific and saves pouring and mixing into another appliance
    love this blog!!!!!

    Reply
  77. Harvey

    Tools/Toys,,, They are all part the therapy that is baking/cooking. Just think of how many little stress balls and worry stones are sold each year. We use these gadgets and goodies instead and at least our toys can perform a real function.

    Harvey
    “man does not live by bread alone, sometimes he needs a little butter too.”

    Reply
  78. Cindy

    I still have to have everything close by even though I hardly ever cook anymore. (Still waiting to get a wonderful kitchen stool. I have 3 bulging discs below my waist and can’t stand long). I love my microplane grater, my brother bought me mine, I bought my daughter in law one, and I bought me a microplane spice grater. I have everything known to man for the kitchen. My sister came out last July and re-organized my kitchen. All of my gadgets are still there, they just have their own homes. I have them in a pretty glass jar on the counter, 2 bulk containers in the cabinet under the island. I couldn’t live without my new stainless food saver, my food processor and either of my kitchen aid mixer. There are so many wonderful things I have or had in my kitchen. I spent 4 of my early married (41 now) years in Germany and acquired some of my things there. I love new ideas and I love this site. It is wonderful. If it is about baking I know there will be a great recipe here!

    Reply
  79. Catherine

    I could not do without my crumb drawer/toaster arrangement. My bread box, an OXO square cannister which is an exact fit for a loaf from my Zo bread machine, sits next to my toaster oven which sits on the counter just above my crumb drawer. My crumb drawer contains a bread cutting box – the kind with a wooden grate for the crumbs to drop through, bread knives, and extra racks and toaster oven pans. Any crumbs on the counter just get raked into the drawer which gets decrumbed once a week or so. No crumbs all over the counter or on the floor!

    Reply
  80. Ellen

    Seriously…have we forsaken the computer that keeps us connected to the best and the brightest baking and cooking staff at KA. When I need expert advice, a new recipe or verifying and old favorite, I go to the trusted experts at KA online. The addition of your pictorial recipes are especially instructive. I am only a mouse click away to create inspiration with satisfaction guarenteed! Thank you for your kind words. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  81. Chris

    Love my Thermapen gizmos. Get the Thermapen with the “plug mount” sensor. It costs a bit more, but it is much beefier and there are dozens of different sensors you can plug in. You can also get straight or coiled extension wires. I also use their Infrared “shooter” thermometer quite a bit. You can read surface temp from quite a ways away. Useful for skillets, grills, dough, and such (also useful to check just how warm the air coming out of your furnace is.)

    Reply
  82. Robin

    I can not live without my suede leather potholders from Dean & Deluca. I have been wishing KAF would carry these, since I would rather have KAF branded into them instead! (you guys are the true rock stars of the kitchen!) They are machine washable and come out great! They are the right size, thin, and really grip the pan and mold to your hand holding the pan. I have never felt so confident taking hot things out of the oven. The heat doesn’t go through at all! I’ve had mine several years now and they show no wear. I threw all my old ones away – I thought they were a safety hazard after using these. They are awesome! Other kitchen stores in Colorado carry these as well, so they are not D&D exclusives.

    Reply
  83. Ginny

    No one has mentioned a specially shaped piece of wood that is used to pull an oven rack out of a hot oven. I recently bought a new toaster-oven and absolutely love this one, and I use the rack puller every day. Keeps you from burning your hands.

    Reply
  84. connie

    Yes, we all have gadgets of favorites and mine is my plastic measuring cups and also wooken spoon of so small for just the right touch up oin the dough mixes. [hom made muffins]

    Reply
  85. Loudeni

    It was so nice to see someone else using a toolbox. My husband had an unused 5-drawer fire engine red metal box and I took it and put all of my once-in-a-while tools in it. I put my barware, frosting bags and tips, candy making items, random thermometers, etc in different drawers. The whole tool box fits on a shelf in my laundry room in the next room. I like using it so much that I’m thinking about asking for one of those giant ones on wheels for my birthday. When I am doing serious candy making or pasta making, I could just roll the whole thing into the kitchen and have everything I could possibly want close by. I could see stashing a smaller toolbox under the sink if necessary!

    Reply
  86. Jan Woolley

    I don’t know where to begin! I am 67 yrs old and have collected kitchen gadgets since I was about 8. My mom was an innovative cook and baker who encouraged me and my addiction. When she died I inherited her collection which by then had become my favorites. I have multiples of many and have different reasons why this one or that one is my favorite. Many are old and made with wooden handles and some have no handles remaining.
    Several years ago I got into a specialty/wedding cake business which opened up a whole NEW field of associated supplies, gum paste and fondant cutters,etc. There was a whole new world out there and a gadget collector’s heaven!
    With children grown I moved here to Missouri where a new (old) house gave me a big country kitchen, spare room for cake supplies, vacant closets and cupboards for assorted favorites and wonder of wonders! A whole canning kitchen in the basement. Who needs to go to heaven? I have it right here.
    PS: I still love and buy from kitchen catalogs and KA is one of my favorites, dating from when it was a little 5″x7″ Brinna Sands. Thank you!

    Reply
  87. Carolyn

    I just finished reading this entire blog. Loved it. I am retired and live alone but still I make my own bread. I will go for days without bread if for some reason I am unable to make my own. Do not buy store bread.
    On that note let me say that my daughters bought me a Kitchend Aide Stand Mixer and a Breadmaker. A Zoe would have been great but a little over the budget. The Panasonic that they got me works great. My adult grandson gave me the sweedish Dough Hook and the metal Bench Scraper from KAF for Christmas. And yesterday I ordered the Escali scale. Can’t wait to get it. So I guess there is no excuse for me to do without bread now for any reason. Arthrits makes kneading difficult at times but now I do not have to worry about that anymore. My gadgets have it covered. I too have many gadgets I love and more that I want to love. My kitchen space is limited but I do have a pantry so that helps. Thanks for all the great ideas. Love the KAF site. Go to it almost everyday.

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  88. Kathlene Barnett

    To the lady with the back problems: I too have a very similair disability but have made some major changes in my kitchen in order to allow me to enjoy my favorite past time – cooking & baking. First, I have an office chair that rolls. My appliances – stove & refrigerator – are set side by side. Next to them is an old fashioned Hoosier with an enamel top that slides out. All of my tools, pots, pans, cooking things are set on the lower cupards that I can reach from my chair. Tools, spices, flour, sugar, etc. are on the shelves of the Hoosier. The Hoosier also has 3 drawers that hold measuring cups, spoons, knives etc. Soon we will add a small sink & cook top at the same heighth as the Hoosier. When I go to a wheelchair all of these changes will work from the chair as well as my rolling office chair. The changes that I have made so far haven’t cost too much & many are tax deductible if your doctor writes an order. Life is too short for you to give up cooking. If you live in a large city (I live in the country – far from anywhere) you may be able to have an expert come in & give suggestions regarding organization for your particulair ability – how & where you can best work in youe kitchen. God bless on your jouney.

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  89. Bette Siegel

    My favorite tool is my 30-year-old KA 4-qt. stand mixer. I had problems with the motor and took it in to a small appliance repair shop, where they made it like new. I am a caterer on the side and bought the KA Professional 600. I’d take my old mixer over the new one any day. The new one is the third one I’ve had. The first one burnt out immediately. The second one literally fell apart and I spoke to a supervisor at KA and – even though it was out of warranty by a year or so – I was sent a new one. My recommendation? Get the old one fixed before you buy a new one. The supervisor who helped me has one of the original KA. Treat them with love, and they’ll love you back;-)

    Oh – and cookie scoops – in all sizes. They make a HUGE difference in productivity…also several sets of measuring spons and cups.

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  90. Madeline Brauch

    Loved the blog. What’s a baking strip?

    Hi Madeline – it’s an insulated strip of material that wraps around a round cake pan and fastens with Velcro. It insulates the outside of the cake, so it rises evenly – no domed tops. See a picture of our cake strips. PJH

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  91. Kimberly D

    I too use dental floss for cutting the same things you cut. Every time someone who is over when I do this they think I am strange till they see how easy it cuts into dough! I know can tell them professionals do this too! LOL!! And love my wooden spoons! I love my air bake cookie sheets I got from a home party for cooking, when I use to sell them. The company isn’t the one everyone maybe thinking of for it is no longer in business. And these are better than the ones you buy at a store.

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  92. Jim Owens

    I love the giant spatula. It actually lifts pie crusts without poking holes in it, or tearing it. Two sets of measuring cups and spoons are a minimum. I have tried to explain to my wife that “One on line and one on standby” is a sailor’s expression for safety. I also love my set of stainless steel bowls probably 30 years old and good as new.

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  93. Susan S

    I’m with you, Robin. I love the suede potholders. I had a few and lost them in a move one time. Sad, sad day!!!!!

    Got my first order from KA last Friday. Love the products! Have been looking all over Canada for some of the items I purchased. There is so much more that I want, and want and want……….

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  94. Steve

    What a great post. We all have tools that work for us, somehow. I was/am a real butcher (8000 hour apprenticeship anymore anyone?). Knives are an addiction; I have dozens, but my favorites are old Gustaf’s and for for emulsifying sausage meat its hard to beat my 18″ Scharfen. This time of year I am doing corned beef and my Smokaroma pressure smoker does a great job. Tools, food and gadgets… that’s living.

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  95. Connie

    Ok, everyone seems to love their rubber spatulas. Where are you finding them? I only seem to be able to find silicone, which I am not a big fan of for the kitchen. Don’t like to cook in it and MUCH prefer the old Rubbermaid spatulas with the wooden handle. If someone can point me to a RUBBER spatula I would greatly appreciate it, I could start a 5th gadget drawer! My husband doesn’t get any of it either! Thanks for a great blog.

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  96. Cindy in Arizona

    I too have a funny way to cut cinnamon rolls but mine is not dental floss, it is fishing line…same idea. Kathlene, thanks for the helpful hints but if I were you, I would go ahead and get your electric chair now so you can get used to it as you work in the kitchen. I am going to try to get one or at least a chair with a back to help. Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas!!!!!

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  97. Ched g/c, Philochefer

    My favorite kitchen tools are my fire brick. I have six of them on the bottom rack of my electric oven. I preheat them for at least one hour at 500 degrees for the best pizza crust. I finish bread on them (last five minutes) after baking on baking sheets. The fire brick are less than $1.00 each at most masonry yards and do not break like pizza stones. They are very easily cleaned with water and a stiff wire brush (do not use soap). In fact, if you wet them before baking they create the best steam!!!

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  98. Joysain

    I am a gadget geek too! I swiped an Oster blender from my sister’s “go away” pile, its over 40 yrs old and I couldn’t stand to buy a new one it works so well! My bread machine to make dough, and silpat matts are my to die for items but I want one of those flour wands!

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  99. Reeva Babcock

    My favorite item for the kitchen is my KA flour. I just moved to Okla and can’t find it here. I was able to find it locally in the other state. Miss it so much! :((

    Hi Reeva,
    Here is a link to our store locator online. We are in all 50 states now, so hope this helps you find a local source. ~ MaryJane

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  100. Marjorie in Illinois

    I too have a lot of gadgets. My sister gave me a cookie scoop 25 years ago and I’m still Blessing her for it when I do cookies. Quick and easy. For the last 2 Christmases I’ve hinted for the Zoe bread maker. Even told my husband that we’d have homemade bread not store bought (which he loves) I have a Honey Whole Wheat bread recipe that everyone loves. I bought your pastry cutter and love it. My daughter wants one now. I just bought the Viking blender. Guess next I will just have to buy my Zoe! I’ve made pizza dough with your pizza flour and it is wonderful. I love it, now friends of my grown children tell them invite me over when you are having pizza!! Thanks for wonderful gadgets and the quality of them.

    Hi Marjorie, Hope your hubby picks up on your hints about the Zo :) ~MaryJane

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  101. Armida Ramirez

    …got interrupted on my last note. I LOVE gadets and I LOVE Everbake, I order 3-4 cans at a time so I never run out. I gave a co worker a can to use because she complained about always taste the other sprays and she loved it. She went on a cooking frenzy with it. She orders it now. I call my gadets my kitchen “tools” when my grandson in there with me because he wants to take them to play with. His Tata has his “tools” and I have mine. The next thing I have my eye on are the onion goggles, sounds silly huh? I have sensitive eyes and they water like crazy when I cut onions, my grandson once put his fire fighter helmet with the face shield on me when he saw me tearing thinking it would help. Has anyone tried those goggles yet? I also have multiple sets of silicone scrapers, measuring cups & spoons, mixing bowls, and several crockpots and roaster ovens in assorted sizes stored in the garage. I could go on and on… I’m so glad to see verification that I’m not the only one.

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  102. Pamela

    I loved reading about all your favorites tools and got some great ideas. My most used items are a very old and somewhat dented steel bowl for mixing anything at all and an old set of Tupperware measuring cups that have all the increments I ever seems to need: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 and 1 cup. Thanks for the interesting read.

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  103. Jan Woolley

    I just re read the blog and have a few comments I want to add. I think one of my favorite things is my 32 year old Kitchen Aid mixer. It required new brushes in the motor about 15 years ago and then worked flawlessly up to about 4 months ago when I took it in to an authorized dealer for repairs. I was told that the old models are actually better made and after the servicing, it acts like a brand new machine. I only wish it had a larger capacity for cake making. He did give me one tip that I will pass along to those who might not use their mixer as much as I do mine: If you operate it for 5-10 minutes once a week, it will keep the motor lubricated and save you repair bills later.
    I enjoyed the comment about rubber scrapers by Connie. That is one of my pet peeves. The loss of RUBBER scrapers, particularly those with the wooden handles. they were so good for manhandling thick cookie dough out of the bowl. The little bowl scrapers available now just don’t do it for me. I even used to save the wooden handles to re-insert in the new ones that came with the too-easy-to-break plastic handles. Then even those became unavailable. Oh well, progress. Silicone does work great for on the stove where heat is an issue, but I wish I had the option.
    Knives: I love my set of Sabatier knives. I keep them razor sharp with the Sabatier sharpener and a good steel. (More cuts are delivered with a dull knife.)
    KA’s mushroom slicer: Works wonders on mushrooms. It even saves money by allowing me to purchase in bulk instead of paying someone to precut them for me. And as far as strawberries go…I raise a lot of them and when I am preparing for the freezer, or in any quantity, there is nothing more appreciated.
    A big assortment of stainless steel mixing bowls. I am speaking duplicates here.
    Large, heavy duty pizza peel by KA. Perfect for helping to stack large heavy wedding cakes after they are baked.
    A selection of cookie/muffin scoops.
    Floating dairy thermometers. (When I had a cow and used to make a lot of cheese.) Now I use it when making yogurt.
    I have a broken pizza stone which still works, but I think I will retire it and use some fire bricks suggested by Ched. I used to line the bottom of my oven with quarry tile, but I like the idea of using water on them to create steam. Thanks, Ched.
    I could continue, but the aroma of baking carrot cake wafting from the kitchen calls me to go check on it.
    Thanks so much for this blog and all the tips I glean from it. Thanks for your catalog and all the goodies I find in it. (One more thing, I am desperate to find your Italian Bread Improver you used to carry. I even tried to recreate it from the list of ingredients on my last, (sob) package. I kept it in the freezer for freshness and never could quite duplicate it. It made the best bread ever! Any chance of it returning?) I’ll put a request for it in our cust observations. Mary @KAF

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  104. Brenda

    Another person with an ever-expanding “toy collection”. Let’s see, my dough whisks, old cookie sheets with a raised edge on one short end to use as peel and giant spatula, assorted utensils of silicone, olive wood, & bamboo, cookie/muffin scoops, Thermapen, enameled cast-aluminum citrus squeezer, KA mixer, parchment, plastic wrap, multiple sets of measuring cups & spoons including odd sizes. In answer to Armida, onion goggles do work, but only use them when I have a “ton” of onions to cut up since I have to take my glasses off to use them. The scraper paddle for my mixer, and the s-hook I bought works so much better than the c-hook that came with it, scales, microplane graters, flour wand…

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  105. Jamia

    Thank you for sharing all your lovely kitchen toys with us! I can’t post pictures of all my favorite utensils, but I like my mixing bowl, my measuring cups, my salad servers, among many other…

    A few years ago, when I traveled through the holy land on vacation, I found a little shop selling lovely olive wood serving spoons. Oh, here’s what I’m talking about: http://holylanddesigns.net/tt-ss-pp-121.htm

    Anywho, thanks for sharing this post with us!

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  106. kate chagoll

    REALIZATION: I need measuring spoons for both wet AND dry ingred.??
    I have several measuring spoons…please, a recommendation!! I love to bake, so this is unnerving to say the least! Thanks in advance, Kate
    Kate: All I meant by saying that is it’s a great convenience not to have to dry off the spoon you used to measure vanilla before measuring the salt or baking powder. The measuring spoons themselves are identical; it’s just nice to have one set for juicy things and one set for powdery things. Susan

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  107. benita

    I life in an apartment and have a very small kitchen and no counter top space. I have noticed that in all your blogs you are using a kitchenaid stand mixer. Is there some brand of hand held mixer that you would recommend?
    Hi, Benita. I learned to bake using a hand-held mixer in my mother’s kitchen, and I know a lot of other people started out this way. We’ve tested and like this mixer from Cuisinart. Susan

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  108. Carolyn

    I try to keep redundant tools out of my kitchen (though a second set of measuring cups is on my list!). My favorite baking tool is my bench knife, which makes my constant bread baking easier and cleaner. No more scrubbing dough bits off the counter with brillo pads! What I really need, though, is a set of four or so loaf pans that are the SAME size. I currently own a great nonstick 9×5″, a pyrex one that is slightly smaller, and a 1 1/2 lb pan that is too big for anything.

    My mom always tells me that cooking/baking is similar to home repair in that when you don’t have the right tool it makes your project much more difficult to complete. So I guess I just need a garage for my kitchen tools.

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  109. Ronnie

    One of my favorite tools is my set of measuring spoons that have an oval bowl on one end and a round bowl on the other end and they are held together by small magnets in the plastic handles. I enjoy reading all the blogs and the handy hints given on them. Thanks.

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  110. Beth

    How about posting a summary of all the suggestions made about the most useful kitchen tools. It would be really useful!

    Comments from other customer/bakers are included each equipment/tool item on our website. We’ll forward your suggestion to our customer observations for consideration. Thanks! Irene @ KAF

    Reply

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