Tuesday, July 15, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Like most Pastry Chefs and Cake Designers, I have loads of cool tools and gadgets in my bakery kitchen. Some are used for very specific tasks or techniques and are used rarely. Others are absolutely indispensable on a daily basis. Below are a few that I can't live without.

Bench Scraper:
This is my Favorite of favorite tools in my kitchen. I use it to gather and portion doughs including scones and pate sucree. It's the preferred "knife" for cutting our gooey S'Mores Bars and dense Sublime Bars. And it is the ultimate buttercream smoother when icing cakes. There are many bench scrapers on the market and I've tried most of them. This is the best. It has a solid wood handle that fits well in the hand, a strong stainless steel blade, and most importantly, a sharp 90 degree angle at the outer edge. If I had to run my bakery on the proverbial desert island, this is the one tool I'd take with me :-)

Syruping Bottle:I trained under a Pastry Chef with a classical French background so I use many techniques in my kitchen that are tres Francaise. I always syrup my cake layers before torting. I can't tell you how many pastry brush "hairs" I had to pick off of cakes before I discovered this beautiful tool. It's a syruping bottle and it has tiny little holes in the rubber top and volume measurements on the side you can squeeze out just the right amount of syrup "rain" onto your cake. I LOVE this tool!
Propane Torch:

I've used kitchen torches for years. You know the fancy little ones from the kitchen shop catalogues? I always had to have one of those. Well, this propane torch from the hardware store kicks butt over those other torches. In addition to browning meringues and brulee-ing your creme, this thing is awesome for helping cakes release from their pans (turn the pan over and torch the bottom to heat it up, the cake will slip right out) and glossing ganache. The propane tank on this thing is HUGE, I've used it every day at Sublime for 3 months and I haven't changed the tank yet. And the best part? It costs under $20!!

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