If reality TV is any indication, the art of pastry and dessert making is rather intimidating to most chefs. In many ways bakers are like chemists, who somehow put together the right (and exact) mix of ingredients to create flawless desserts each and every time.
With baked goods, house made desserts will always reign supreme. There's something about using real ingredients like butter, vanilla, milk and eggs (or coconut oil if you're vegan) that just makes food taste better. You can taste the difference, and you can bet your customers do too. Lucky for you, baking is much easier than you think. Don't be intimidated by complex desserts.
When it comes to stocking a commercial kitchen, a baker's kitchen is a very different affair. From mixers and proofers to baking molds, pans and spatulas, the baker uses an array of tools to whip up desserts like cakes, profiteroles, tartes, cookies and more. But just one of something won't cut it in a baker's kitchen—not when you are cooking in bulk! Nothing affects your productivity more than needing to stop midway through baking to do a load of dishes before you can get everything in the oven. So keep in mind that you'll benefit by carrying a full stock of supplies like spatulas, mixing bowls, dishers and more.
In this buying guide, we'll walk you through our favorite baking supplies and equipment for the commercial kitchen. Whether you own a bakery or you're looking to expand your menu, we have the tools you need to get started. Roll up your sleeves, because it's time to get baking.
When it comes to baking in bulk, you need all the extra hands you can get. Lucky for you, there's a selection of baking equipment that is designed to make life easier for you in the kitchen. Whether you specialize in baking bread, dishing up pizzas, or crafting beautiful pastry and cake decorations, these equipment options will give you a helping hand.
The mighty commercial mixer might just be the closest thing to a second pair of hands that you could ask for. Designed to handle the mixing and churning of heavy-duty batters while you keep yourself occupied prepping pans and measuring out other ingredients, the mixer is a must-have in any commercial kitchen. When purchasing a commercial-grade mixer, consider what you intend to bake and how much. High volume operations might consider a large floor mixer while most restaurant kitchens could make do with a commercial-grade countertop mixer, which is built with more horsepower than traditional residential varieties.
Not just for whipping up savory salsas or perfect purees, the food processor also finds a home in the baker's kitchen. This small piece of equipment makes a two or twenty-minute difference when it comes to preparing a quick pastry dough or even chopping nuts. What about shredded carrots for carrot cake? Done. Itching to make your own whole-grain (or gluten free) flour in small batches? Your food processor can do that too.
No need to tell a baker that baking is all about precision. A scale is helpful for measuring out ingredients in bulk when you're preparing large batches of cakes, cookies and more treats. We also like the convenience of scales when it comes to portioning out dough balls; not only does weighing out pre-made dough balls ensure consistency in sizing, but it helps you avoid unnecessary costs when you inadvertently add too much (a little here and there adds up quickly!).
Another fun fact about scales? They're more precise than using measuring cups or spoons. Why? Weight will always be intrinsically the same, but scooping a cup of flour may vary from one recipe to the next depending on how full the cup is, how compact the flour is, etc. If precision and consistency is really on your mind, consider weighing your ingredients next time, instead of just measuring them.
Dough dividers are one of the fastest ways to portion out exact sizes of dough balls, perfect for pizza, dinner rolls and much more. After weighing a pre-portioned set of dough, use your dough divider to quickly cut as many as 36 individual rolls. Easy to use, dough dividers ensure you aren't inadvertently adding too much product to any roll, saving you both money and time.
Save yourself the time of rolling out individual balls of dough and invest in a dough press. This piece of countertop equipment quickly and efficiently presses the dough to a nice flat, pancake. Sure, a rolling pin accomplishes the same thing...but not as fast or exact as a dough press would. Also consider pulling out your dough divider here, which is a big time saver when it comes time to creating loaves or rolls in bulk.
A lifesaver in any kitchen, a proofing cabinet creates a perfectly warm and humid environment to allow dough to rise properly before it's baked. But don't think your proofing cabinet is a one-trick pony—this essential piece of baking equipment also doubles as a holding cabinet, acting as a safe place to store your freshly baked treats until service.
While baking equipment may be the heavy hitters in your kitchen, it's the smaller baking supplies that really help your day-to-day. Below you'll find a smattering of items that are found in any professional baker's drawers and shelves.
For some master bakers, they know their recipes and textures so well that they needn't worry about measuring ingredients. But for the rest of us, there are measuring cups and spoons to help us. When it comes to baking (particularly baking in bulk), consistency is key. You want to ensure that each loaf or cookie comes out the same from beginning to end because consistency helps to measure guest expectations.
The humble, rubber spatula might just be the star of your baking supplies. This helpful tool helps you mix batter and fold in delicate fruits. Most rubber spatulas also feature an angled tip, which helps you scrape the bowl clean so not one ounce of product is wasted. Buy rubber spatulas, and buy a lot of them.
Metal spatulas on the other hand, typically feature a rounded tip and are commonly used for applying frosting. A flat metal spatula is similar to an artist's palette knife; the flexible, thin blade works well for spreading frosting on large, flat surface areas. An offset metal spatula is great for icing the side of cakes and other difficult-to-reach areas.
Baker's shelves are often lined with stacks of sheet pans, cooling racks, round cake tins, pan extenders and more. There isn't much to these baking supplies, other than the fact that you'll need some kind of vessel to bake wet doughs in the oven. Thin sheet pans work well for large sheet cakes where you want thin layers of cake separated by different fillings; alternatively you can also utilize pan extenders to lengthen the height of your sides for a taller cake. You'll also want a selection of loaf pans (great for quick breads and pound cakes), round cake pans (deep pans with vertical sides) and round pie tins (shallower pans with angled sides) to make the perfect pie crust.
Cooling racks are essential for placing cookies and breads on when you want to stop the cooking process immediately (leaving baked goods on their hot pans could result in overbaked goods). Another fun use of a cooling rack? When placed within a sheet pan, cooling racks are great to use for drizzling ganache onto desserts—and the sheet pan helps you collect the excess so it's not wasted!
Ingredient bins are hands down the best way for storing your bulk flour, sugar, nuts and more. Ingredient bins come in a multitude of sizes, from countertop models that hold 40 cups, to floor models that can hold as much as 27 gallons. Floor ingredient bins not only save you some much-needed counter space, but they often sit on casters to ease accessibility.
Also referred to as "cookie scoops," dishers are used for everything from making cookies to filling cupcake liners. Dishers come in a variety of sizes, including ¾ ounce, 1, 2 and even up to 5 ounces. Large cookies are great for selling individually (particularly as an impulse buy right next to the register), and small cookies work for adorable garnishes in ice cream bowls. Dishers are also one of the easiest ways to help you with portion control when you're looking to minimize waste and cut back on costs. Extremely versatile, dishers can also be used for cooking pancakes and waffles (minimal mess) and even filling deviled eggs!
Our advice? Get a lot of mixing bowls, and then get some more.
Mixing bowls are quintessential to any baking operation. Used for mixing dry ingredients, wet ingredients, nuts—mixing bowls are used for everything! We particularly like stainless steel mixing bowls, which will hold up to a variety of ingredients (particularly acidic foods like tomatoes), are dishwasher safe and don't rust.
Baking mats are thin, reusable silicone mats that can withstand high temperatures. Ideal for using in place of parchment paper, try using baking mats the next time you bake a batch of cookies to prevent sticking on your pan. Baking mats are also great for chocolate and candy-making because its flexibility helps you easily remove delicate creations without causing damage; try using the next time you need to flip your dough into your pie tin without breaking! Another perk of baking mats? They give you a nice, flat surface for rolling out dough and make cleanup a breeze.
You've made your dough, rolled it out and pre-portioned it into individual rolls for service—so where do you store it? A dough box! These dough boxes keep your dough fresh and prevent crusting, making it perfect for storing before service. Dough boxes are sturdy and stackable, saving you precious counter space.
Made of a simple rectangular design with a thin edge and a thick handle, the bench scraper is your partner-in-crime for a variety of baking tasks. Also known as a "bowl scraper," these simple tools make scraping out the last bit of dough and batter out of massive mixing bowls a breeze. Ideal for portioning out dough, lifting dough from the counter, transferring delicate pastries and more, bench scrapers are a must in any kitchen.
Sifters are typically used for simultaneously aerating and breaking up lumps in the flour. Sifted flour produces a lighter, airier flour that mixes well with cocoa powder, baking powder and other ingredients. The result? A more thoroughly mixed batter ideal for delicate desserts like genoise, angel food or sponge cakes.
But you can use your sifter for much more than just breaking up lumps! A sifter may also be used for applying a light dusting of flour over a work surface when you plan to roll out or knead dough. Or, try using your sifter to dust off your cakes with a fine layer of powdered sugar.
Certain desserts like madeleines require specialty molds to achieve a classic cookie shape. Other specialty molds include scone and cornbread pans, which help you bake scones in perfect, consistent shapes.
The art of pastry is akin to an artist and her paint brush. Decorating cakes and other desserts often requires a delicate hand with a sincere attention to detail (the ability to multitask doesn't hurt either). Bakers use an array of pastry tips to differentiate styles and designs when decorating. Be sure you stock up on several pastry bags—you'd hate to stop midway while decorating a cake to do some washing! Additionally, there are dryer stands for your pastry bags and tips, which not only help make drying a breeze but also earns you extra points from the health inspector!
For chocolate lovers, there are a variety of chocolate molds in fun shapes like a cherry cordial, oval, or rectangle to help differentiate truffle flavors. Double boilers are a must for getting chocolate to temper, so don't forget that either!
Finally, for the best in presentation, finish off your desserts by packing them with a fancy doily.