I have been baking at least 2 times a week every since the weather started getting cooler. I revisited a recipe I had for French bread. The recipe is NOT authentic French bread, so I’m just going to call it a recipe for baguettes.
If you plan on baking at home, you should carefully select your bread baking tools. The baking tools and equipment you select will have an effect on how the finished product turns out. Don't believe me? Try baking biscuits on a baking sheet from the dollar store and let me know how that works out for you.
Thin, cheaply made materials don't last very long, and some of them can cause your baked goods to turn out lighter or darker than intended.
In order to last you years, or maybe even a lifetime, a pan must he sturdy enough to take the abuse you’re going to give it. It should also be convenient to use and clean and suitable for the kind of cooking or baking you plan on doing.
Buying bread baking tools and baking pans of good quality for regular use is usually a good buy in the long run. On the other hand, it may not make sense to pay for top quality pans and utensils that you never really use.
Quality of bakeware can be judged to some extent by appearance, but to be sure of what you are getting, look for utensils with descriptive labels. For example, don't just buy a spatula, buy a high heat, stain resistant spatula and you'll have something that will last through years of batters, biscuits and doughs.
Utensils that can serve several purposes are better buys than specialty pans from the standpoint of both money invested and storage space. I recommend that you refrain from purchasing single use kitchen equipment, although there are exceptions to this rule.
Here is my list of essential bread baking tools. Scroll to the bottom for the printable PDF version.
Essential Bread Baking Tools
A large bowl that holds at least two quarts. A glass or stainless steel bowl is good to have around. They can be warmed and it holds the dough at an even temperature. It also protects the dough from sudden temperature changes or chilling.***
A set of measuring cups for measuring dry ingredients. A set includes cups to measure 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup.***
A measuring cup to measure liquids. This may be a 1-cup, 2-cup (pint) or 4-cup (quart) size. This kind of cup has a lip for pouring, like a pitcher, and a little space above the top measuring line.***
A set of standard measuring spoons. Included are spoons to measure 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon.***
A small saucepan, about 1-pint size. This is useful for scalding milk and melting shortening.
A large wooden spoon for mixing. ***
A bread board.
A bowl scraper. This may be rubber or plastic.
A large sharp knife or kitchen scissors, to cut dough or stiff batter.***
A medium-size spatula or plain knife.
Baking pans or cookie sheets.***
Wire cooling racks.
Rolling pin, with or without stockinet cover.
Oven thermometer, to double check the temperature of your oven.
Electric mixer or food processor.
Bread lame (a razor for making slashes in your bread dough). This is for hard-core home bread bakers.
Banneton basket for adding a decorative design to your bread dough while it is rising.
Flour sack towels aka French tea towels-used to line bowls and to cover your bread during the proofing stage
Baking stone- used to even the temperature in your oven. Also great for baking pizzas and bread directly on this stone
Instant read thermometer- to measure the temperature of your liquids, also to take internal temperature of the bread to ensure doneness.
Ove glove- to safely handle hot breads and pans.
Cut resistant safety glove- to use when cutting on a mandolin
Mandolin- used to cut various ingredients for breads and pizzas
A Dutch oven with a lid or a clay baker- for baking breads in micro climate of sorts. This produces an extra crispy crust.
A pizza peel- for moving pizzas and breads in and out of the oven
A baguette pan- for making baguettes. I actually found a new one at a thrift store for $3!!!
Download the printable Essential Bread Baking Tools Checklist!
The first thing I cooked when I purchased my first immersion circulator was an eye of round roast. I wanted to sous vide this cut of meat because it can be difficult to cook a larger cut of beef, like a roast, and have it be perfectly done from edge to edge.
So many people cook roasts rare or medium rare, but in actuality, the roast is well done on the edges and only at the target temperature in the center of the roast. Learning sous vide as a cooking method and investing in an immersion circulator will help you achieve a perfect cooked piece of beef every time, without the guesswork.
Directions for DIY Roast Beef
Season the roast beef with garlic and herb seasoning. I used 2 Tablespoons. Place the beef in a bag and vacuum seal.
Set the temperature of the water bath to 133°F. Once the water comes to temperature, drop in the roast.
I cooked the roast for 10 hours at 133°F for a 1.5 lb roast.
Once the roast is finished, you can slice it right away and eat with mashed potatoes and gravy. Searing it to get a nice bown color on the outside is optional. I didn't sear my roast, sincce I knew I would be slicing it thinly for sandwiches.
You can also chill the roast first to make slicing easier.
This roast beef is much better than and cheaper than deli roast beef that can cost $8 per pound.
Other ideas for using the roast beef
- Cut into cubes for beef quesadillas
- Make beef barley soup
- Cut into strips for a Thai beef salad
- Make French dip sandwiches
I've made my own yogurt in the slow cooker that turned out great, but now that I have a sous vide immersion circulator, I wanted to try making yogurt the sous vide way as well.
At first glance, it may seem like making yogurt sous vide style is overkill, but one thing I really liked about it is that I could make different flavors of yogurt by infusing the milk with different aromatics during the initial heating process.