Five Must-Have Pastry Tools

Categories: Sugar Rush

Rachel Miller
The technique on this cake is made using a palette knife.
Tarts tins. Ring molds. Loaf pans. Mini tart tins. Pastry bags. Pastry tips. All of varying sizes and shapes. Cake plates. Pie plates. Muffin tins. Madeleine tins. Bundt pans. Sheet pans. A multitude of small wares for manipulating fondant. Cannoli tubes. Chocolate molds. Silpats. Rolling pins. The list goes on, but you get the point that being a pastry chef usually comes with a need for a hoard of equipment.

My collection has grown since I opened my own pastry business. Where one of any particular tool was once acceptable, now 10 are needed. My fiancée shakes his head as he hauls another box of equipment to my commercial kitchen. I always find myself excusing the purchase with a "but I really do need it."

The truth is, I could get by with less.

See Also: 4 Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiences at Metro Phoenix Bakeries

Rachel Miller
Chef Rachel Miller picks her top 5 tools to use in pastry.

In my last place of employment as executive pastry chef, I had to learn to work with less equipment, and it was definitely a challenge. For your ideas to become reality, you must look at each item you wish to make with fresh eyes, and puzzle together how to execute. While most dream of having a plethora of amazing equipment at their fingertips, I have to say that I learn a lot more when I have to push myself using less.

We do, however, need basics. You may see chefs roaming around with a knife roll over their shoulder. Most have their own knives, but what else do we tuck into our arsenal to be able to do our job? Ask any number of pastry chefs or chefs what their five must-have tools in the kitchen are, and each will give you a different answer. It's a matter of training, preference, as well as the varying restaurant concepts in which we work.

These are my five must-have pastry tools that I always, no matter what, like to keep on-hand in my knife roll.

Rachel Miller
A digital scale and a vintage inspire scale can both work for measuring pastry ingredients.

Scale: While you may think it is weird to stuff this into my knife roll, I should warn you that measuring cups are horribly inaccurate. When I teaching baking classes, the first thing that I do is to have everyone scoop a cup of flour and weigh it. We then all compare our cup of flour weights, which often vary from one to three ounces. Often in baking, when you start to see problems with consistency in your product, it comes down to accuracy in the measurements.

There are great digital scales out there for around $40, or you can go old school with one that uses weights. Either way, it is the best way to bake.

Location Info


Phoenix Knife House

4837 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

The bench scraper is one of the most underrated kitchen tools in general. I use mine constantly. It's something you'd never think as necessary in a kitchen, but once you have one you wonder why you ever tried to get along without it.

My preferred model is the Progressive Bash 'n Chop, a simple piece of stainless steel that's been rolled into a handle on one side, and given a butter-knife-sharp taper on the other. I bought mine about 20 years ago (good god, I bought the thing 20 years ago?!) for about five bucks. The no-nonsense design means it's still as good as new, and the price has barely risen since.

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