5 Kitchen Tools We Love

Choosing a favorite kitchen tool is difficult. Do we go with the most practical? The one we use most often? The most unique? We couldn’t crown one, so today we’re talking about our top five, and why we love them.

A good kitchen tool makes baking easier. It solves problems. It improves our baking. It’s well-made and will last for generations. Here are our top five kitchen tools that we use daily to help us achieve the very best baking results:

1. Cookie scoop

Sticky doughs and batters are no match for a cookie scoop. Not only does it help you portion out your dough quickly, it keeps each portion consistent in size. This is important for looks and taste: equal-sized cookies are uniform in shape and will also bake more evenly. You don’t have to worry about burning the smaller ones and over-baking the larger ones.

5 Kitchen Tools We Love via @kingarthurflour

Beyond cookie dough, we love to use the oversized version (pictured, also called a muffin scoop) for scone batter, muffin batter, and even ice cream. The tablespoon size helps to portion out ganache for truffles and fillings for cupcakes.

Try it for: Vanilla Sugar Cookies or Classic Peanut Butter Cookies.

2. Pastry blender

You’ve seen (and oohed and aahed over) flaky biscuits and tender pie crusts. Here’s a little secret to achieving that kind of perfection: a pastry blender. Shaped like a half moon with a set of sharp blades around the edge, a pastry blender makes quick work of dicing cold butter into pea-sized lumps.

5 Kitchen Tools We Love via @kingarthurflour

If you don’t have one, you can use two forks or a food processor – but both methods have their drawbacks. Using a fork is messy and time-consuming. A food processor does the job in no time, but then you have an entire machine to wash.

A pastry blender is small enough to store in a drawer and easy to clean. The blades quickly reduce chunks of cold butter into small flour-coated pieces. Those little pieces are the secret to making your pie crust and biscuits so flaky.

Try it for: Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie or Fresh Blueberry Scones.

3. Bench knife

Baking can be a messy task. Ask any baker: Leftover dough is a stubborn thing to clean, and will cling to your countertop. Our sharp (and sharp-looking!) bench knife makes quick work of cleaning. It scrapes off loose bits of dough, flour, and butter, leaving your counters ready for a brief wipe down.

5 Kitchen Tools We Love via @kingarthurflour

A bench knife is a useful kitchen tool for a baker in more ways than just cleanup. We use ours to divide bread dough and portion out rolls and loaves. It even helps to slice bar cookies and brownies neatly in the pan.

Try it for: Baking Powder Biscuits or Beautiful Burger Buns

4. French rolling pin

A well-made rolling pin is an essential kitchen tool for every baker. Our favorite? The French rolling pin. Made from Vermont hardwood, it’s tapered at each end to allow for greater control as you press down. The simple, thin shape gives you a better feel for the dough, helping you roll it out evenly.

5 Kitchen Tools We Love via @kingarthurflour

French pastry chefs use this style of rolling pin in professional kitchens, and you’ll understand why after you hold it. The delicate shape is comfortable to handle, and rolls out dough efficiently without tearing or sticking. It’s got enough heft to manage thick, buttery pie dough easily, and it’s pretty beautiful to look at, which earns it extra points in our book!

Try it for: Rustic Peach Tart or Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie.

5. Digital scale

We’ve waxed poetic over digital scales before. They make measuring ingredients a snap. You can measure multiple ingredients into the same bowl, “taring” between each step. The smooth weighing surface is simple to clean; and the small, lightweight device can be tucked in any cabinet or drawer.

5 Kitchen Tools We Love via @kingarthurflour

Most importantly for a baker: Using a scale allows you to measure ingredients with precision. Depending on how you scoop them out into cups or tablespoons, dry ingredients (like flour) can weigh different amounts every time. Using weight measurements ensures that you’re following the recipe exactly.

Try it for: Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread or French-Style Country Bread.

What’s your best-loved kitchen tool? Tell us in the comments!

comments

  1. Amy P

    I was a diehard pastry cutter fan until I learned the trick of grating in cold butter instead. Flakier biscuits and one less tool in the drawer! The scale is essential, though.

    Reply
  2. deb treacy

    I have a French pin and used it for years. BUT, I’ve found that I prefer a long straight cylinder pin. No handles, just about 18 inches long and somewhere around 1.5-1.75 diameter. It allows me to roll out pie crust and cookie dough very evenly – especially since I can put those nifty elastic rings on the end that have the desired thickness. Another great tool that I purchased from KA a long time ago. The French pin I may still use for bread dough, but the cylinder is my choice for thin, exacting applications.

    Reply
    1. Jane M

      I also have a French pin but it hasn’t been used in years because I have a preference for my long straight cylinder pin as well. Now, I need to find one that is approximately 9″ long (same diameter) for smaller items such as pita bread, flour tortillas, potsticker dough, etc. My longer pin makes it more difficult to maneuver the dough while rolling it out.

    2. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Jane,
      You may want to check out fondant/cake decorating supply sites. They will have plastic rollers that are straight and smooth in a variety of sizes. I have a small one from Wilton(?) that is great for potstickers. ~ MJ

  3. William Lundy

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES! (to all five items) I don’t know how anyone gets decent, consistent results without a scale. Over time I have been converting often-used recipes to grams and am getting better and better results every time. Besides being able to reduce the number of dirty bowls I have when doing a project, I can scale things in a flash (if in a hurry or distracted, no multiplying needed: to double a recipe that has, say, 232 g, just weigh our 232 g, tare, then repeat). Thanks to KAF for providing most recipes in grams (and I hope that some older ones will be converted soon), as well as its handy ingredient weights chart (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/master-weight-chart.html) (I’m hoping to see a third, grams, column soon). BTW, some posts on various blogs mention how difficult it is to weigh small amounts with a “regular” scale. There are suppliers that sell very accurate scales for small amounts, and I recommend that serious cooks find one that works for them. It’s helped a lot with ingredients such as yeast, ascorbic acid, and KAF whole-grain bread improver.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I hear a gram section may be coming soon, keep an eye out for it! Jon@KAF

  4. Aaron B

    The bench knife is good for more than just cutting/cleaning up dough too. Outside of baking it makes for easy transfer of things from a cutting board to pan. You don’t have to try to use the broad side of your chefs knife to try to transfer the food and you can worry less about cutting yourself during the transfer since a bench scraper/knife is duller than your regular knives. It is also good for smashing garlic cloves. I keep my bench scraper within reach pretty much whenever I’m doing things in the kitchen.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Right on, Aaron. It really is one of the best tool to have in a kitchen for cooking and baking. Jon@KAF

  5. John Neutzling

    Whether I am mixing, slicing, baking, roasting… You name it… I always start with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel over my shoulder. Having a towel handy makes quick work of cleaning up between chores, wiping knives, scales, etc.!

    Reply
  6. member-Lynchlady

    Ok! A bench knife and a French rolling pin are the next things on my wish list. I love my cookie scoop and my pastry blender, both important tools to have.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You will love both, the bench knife in particular is such a multi-tasker. Jon@KAF

  7. MaryML

    I will agree on all your choices except maybe the French rolling pin. (I have my eye on one of those 8# professional rolling pins for my birthday.) I hate to measure out sticky stuff so I would choose my Wonder Cups over the rolling pin. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my scale….and use that to weigh out sticky shortening.

    Reply
  8. swilliamson1951

    Love my bench knife and the cookie scoops (all sizes) are great helpers. I would also add my set of well-made KAF measuring spoons to the list of “must-haves”!

    Reply
  9. SarahD

    I use my bench knife to cut up brownies and similar things baked in that fashion. I have all these tools except a French rolling pin. I’m happy with my standard (marble) rolling pin.

    Reply
  10. Teri Baker

    I have ordered from you for a few years now, I love everything I have got, You are my go to place for baking

    Reply
  11. Monica

    Oh, yes indeed! I own and use all of the mentioned tools, except for the french rolling I pin. I still use my 44 year old maple standard pin ( a bridal shower gift!) and my equally old pastry blender. The only thing I would add to the list is the silicone rolling mat, with its graduated circles for pie crusts and measured sides for rectangular doughs. VERY useful. And while I do have the traditional metal and wood bench knife, I have been using the new stiffer plastic one which I just purchased from the catalog. It can be used on the silicone rolling mat without doing damage, and is sturdy enough for all the usual jobs for which you would use a bench knife. A super product!

    Reply
  12. DonnaB

    Love them all. Use them all. One wish, however is that the cookie scoop would have the measurement on it somewhere. Tablespoon? Teaspoon? whatever. Many recipes call for use of one or the other in putting the cookie dough on the sheet and I don’t know which scoop to use without doing a liquid measurement with the corresponding measuring spoon. Pain in the patootie!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Donna, hopefully this information helps with your scoop dilemma:
      – the teaspoon cookie scoop holds approximately 1¾ teaspoons of dough. This scoop doesn’t measure exactly 1 teaspoon; it’s sized to mirror the approximate amount of dough a baker gets when using the traditional dinner-table teaspoon to scoop cookie dough. If you’re looking for a foodservice (restaurant) size, it’s #100.
      -the tablespoon cookie scoop holds approximately 4 teaspoons (a generous 1 tablespoon) dough. This scoop doesn’t measure exactly 1 tablespoon; it’s sized to mirror the approximate amount of dough a baker gets when using the traditional dinner-table spoon to scoop cookie dough. If you’re looking for a foodservice (restaurant) size, it’s #40.
      -the jumbo size cookie scoop holds approximately 2 tablespoons dough. Perfect for jumbo bake-sale-sized drop-cookies. If you’re looking for restaurant/foodservice sizing, it’s #30.
      I hope that helps! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. D. Kay Kadlec

      Donna might consider if there is a color code for the cookie scoops…yellow handle is a teaspoon, red is for a Tablespoon. If that is not the case, however, she could try writing on the handle what the appropriate size is with a permanent marker pen (freezer marking pen). Or, if that doesn’t work on the handle, write the measurement (with permanent marker) onto a piece of freezer tape and wrap it around the handle. Hope that helps.

  13. Pat Dobbins

    I love and have all these. Where can I go to learn how to convert my recipes so I can use my scale instead of measuring cups. Love my bench knife to scoop cut veggies into the pan as someone has already mentioned.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pat, we’re thrilled to hear you’ve acquired a scale! It makes baking a science that is easy to follow. Many of our recipes have buttons underneath the “ingredients” heading where you can select to have the ingredients displayed in volume (cups), ounces or grams. If you have a recipe that lists the ingredients in volume only, you can convert that to weight using our Ingredients Weight Measurement Chart on our website. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  14. rjt97355

    Yup! I have them all…I use my scale for more than just baking and portion control: I weigh my ground coffee to ensure consistent results. Top of the coffee storage container says “___ grams for water to Max Level”. The blank is filled in with the weight of coffee needed. Most of the time, the weight doesn’t change–but I have found a few coffee variety/roasts that require a different amount of coffee.

    Of course, you can weigh beans before grinding–but I always weigh out more beans than the final weight needed. For some reason my grinder likes to keep some of the ground coffee for itself! 😉

    Reply
  15. Roberta Cosby

    I have been baking simple things since I was a young teenager. I use the pastry blender to make many things, like fillings for sandwiches as well as baking, also the bench knife. My favorite thing to work with though is my Mother’s maple rolling pin, she always encouraged me in any of my cooking projects and I learned a great deal from her. When my nieces and nephews start to learn to cook I give them something like the pastry blender or other simple baking items to encourage them.

    Reply
  16. Millie Wright

    The pastry blender in the picture does not appear to be the same as the one shown when you click on the word pastry blender. The one pictured seems to have rounded blades while the other has the flat bottom. Am I correct?

    Reply
  17. Cheryl Burke

    Have them all! Can’t do without any of the firve recommended kitchen tools! Love the French Rolling pin to roll my pie crust for a slight thicker cedge for my tarts and crusts, which is wonderful after my goodies are being prepared for the oven! I also use the bench scraper for icing butercreams, Swiss and Italian meringues on my cakes and smoothing to that final icing touch! A baker can’t have to many tools or gadgets!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      I agree, Cheryl. I have 3 different pantries at home including a “cake closet”. ~ MJ

  18. Chris

    Don’t forget the King Arthur dough whip. Essential for artisan bread dough along with the flexible scraper!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Chris, you aren’t the only one that loves the dough whisk, and I’m a big flexible scraper fan myself! Barb@KAF

  19. Helen S. Fletcher

    I love reading what utensils are important to bakers. As a professional mine are slightly different but the scale is definitely the king. If I had only one measuring devise in the kitchen it would be the scale. And for me grams are the way to go.

    One word about converting recipes from volume to weight. I noticed some time ago that KA’s flour measurement is different from the norm used for the rest of the baking world or the majority of the baking world including pastry chefs of which I am one. It took me a while to figure it out, but KA bases their cup weight of flour on sifted flour which is why you come up with 120 grams per cup vs. the 140 grams which is the norm. I haven’t checked out your conversion table but mine, which mirrors the weights most considered to be standard, can be found at http://pastrieslikeapro.com/2013/05/ingredient-conversion-chart/. Additionally there is a fluid ounce conversion chart at http://pastrieslikeapro.com/2013/09/fluid-ounce-conversion-charts, If you go to my blog http://www.pastrieslikepro.com and look under baking information you will find help there.

    I bring this up because there is a difference in weight between a sifted and unsifted cup of flour. Since most people today do not (will not?) sift flour the standard weight of a cup is based on unsifted flour. I know flour companies say the flour is sifted and I am sure it is when it goes into the bags, but after it travels to the stores, it becomes more compact, not lumpy, just compact. Since flour is the most important ingredient in the majority of baking recipes it is important to use the correct amount. So, by all means, use KA’s measurement for flour in their recipes, but if you are converting other recipes you might want to consider using the standard measurement.

    There is no right or wrong way but it is important to find what the author or writer intends so check it out if possible.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Helen, thanks for your comments! While we don’t require sifting to achieve our flour weight, we do recommend measuring flour by volume using this method. As you say, there is no one “right” way to measure flour, but we suggest this method to provide some consistency when measuring our recipes by volume. Barb@KAF

  20. Nel

    What, no Danish dough whisk?
    I use that baby for all kinds of things. I use it instead of getting out the hand-held mixer (don’t have a stand mixer) and resorted to it when the whisk attachments of the hand-held mixer got tangled up and bent out of shape and would no longer work.
    I mixed cookies with it for years before I even got a mixer. Mix pancake batter with it. Mix muffins with it. It does a wonderful job of ‘stirring’ everything and because it’s round, it gets to the bottom of the bowl and mixes everything in usually without all that many strokes (great for something that should not be overmixed). Sturdy enough for bread dough, but efficient for mixtures much lighter. If my kitchen caught fire and I had to choose between rescuing the Danish dough whisk and the mixer – I’d take the whisk.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m feeling a little sad for your mixer, but thanks for the great testimonial regarding the virtues of our dough whisk! Barb@KAF

  21. Deb Orman

    Have and love them all. I keep my bench scraper between the stove and the counter (I have a drop-in range) so it is always handy. Learned to weigh ingredients while living in England, and find it very precise. Love my scale.

    Reply
  22. Susanne

    The cookie scoops look like the ice cream scoop I grew up with: designed for right-handed people and completely ineffective for left-handed people. Are there any lefties out there who have tried them? Do they work for us?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Susanne, you might want to check out this blog about scooping cookies. The commentary following the blog contains a good deal of discussion about the best scoop for lefties. Barb@KAF

  23. Melissa

    I have everything. My favorite is the scale but my second favorite tool isn’t on the list: the dough whisk. Love, love, love it!

    Reply
  24. Jenn

    The bench knife is my favorite tool in my kitchen. I’m renovating right now, so I used that as an opportunity to get rid of all the kitchen tools I don’t really use– and there were a lot! But the bench knife and a few other favorites maintained their place in the cupboard. http://www.expresskitchens.com.au

    Reply
  25. Valerie

    Your top 3 are also my tops! Cannot live without my scoops! Small one for cookies, med one for muffins and also meatballs! Love, love love my pastry cutter and bench knife. Haven’t used my scale, but after reading the posts on weighing instead of measuring I’m going to try it. The pics and memories of makin pb cookies and the sticky cups! Ahhhh.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We think alike! Now you have to jump on board with the scale. You will never go back! Elisabeth@KAF

  26. Jenn

    The only one I do not have is the French rolling pin. I LOVE my scale and would love to weigh rather than measure any day! My sister teases me that only OCD people need scales. So happy to see I’m not the only one who loves my scale!!!!

    Reply
  27. Kris Gasteiger

    I have and use them all except for the dough scoop. I don’t bake enough cookies to say so. The pastry blender tends to hide in the drawer. I’ve never found one the can stand up to cold butter. The blades tend to bend…
    The Bench scraper is a great tool for all kinds of tasks. I use it for bread making, especially for handling soft doughs. It’s great for moving chopped things from the cutting board to the pot or pan, and it’s great for dividing dough when making rolls and buns.

    Reply
  28. chris thompson

    All good things! I prefer my nonstick rolling pin for most things though. I have a question about the digital scale (which I have and use all the time). I always figured sifting flour before measuring was to get the right volume, and the effect on texture was second in importance. Is that true? Does using a scale make sifting less important? I know some things need to be sifted together for proper mixing, and some things (10X sugar) are sifted to break up clumps, but what about just flour?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The beauty of using a scale is that flour weighs the same, whether it’s sifted or not! As you mentioned, there are some recipes that call for sifting the flour alone or with other ingredients, and those directions should still be followed for recipe success. Happy Baking, er, weighing! Irene@KAF

  29. Donald G McIntosh

    From a guy just getting into baking, thanks so much for the practical advice. I’ll have all these items in my cupboards come the next pay day. Imagine that; a guy making pastry….

    Reply
  30. Scott Adams

    I like how you mentioned that a bench knife can be used for both cutting and cleaning. I have been shopping for new kitchen utensils, but I hadn’t thought of a bench knife. It would be nice to have something to cut, and clean up dough. I’ll be sure to start looking for one!

    Reply

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