Baking is a fantastic way to foster your creativity and sharpen your skills. If you love to bake, adding a baking station to your home is an excellent way to cook up new creations and keep things organized. Baking stations offer you a designated area for all of your baking ingredients, goods, tools and more.
Here’s how to design and build the ultimate baking station at home.
As with any DIY project, you’ll want to start with the materials you plan to use for your baking station. Quartz is a favorite choice for bakers, as is marble, which keeps your butter cold while you’re prepping dough or working it into a recipe.
Once you’ve chosen your countertop surface material, consider how to spruce up the wall behind it. Beadboard or shiplap painted in a charming color is a fabulous choice, or you can install a tile backsplash to add some flair and keep the walls easy-to-clean and protected from damage.
Once you’ve decided on the materials, it’s time to think about where your baking station will be. Here are a few ideas:
Under a window: If your sink isn’t already taking up this space, consider placing your baking station under a sunny window so you can enjoy the view while you bake and prep your favorite homemade recipes.
Kitchen island: Your kitchen island can easily double as a baking station, but make sure you have plans to organize everything when you’re not using it. A stepped-down section with a lower countertop installed on one side of your island is a great option, too.
End of the kitchen island: Another idea is to create an extension of your island with wheels so you can roll it out, then tuck it away when you’re finished. Just be sure that the extension is lower than the island and that you have room to roll it under.
Add on to your kitchen: If you have the budget and the time, a complete extension of your kitchen is an excellent way to designate a particular area just for baking. Always consider the pros and cons of additions or extensions to your home before committing to this type of project.
Pullout shelf: For those short on extra space, a large pullout shelf can double as a counter for your baking endeavors. You can also designate specific cabinets in your kitchen for ingredients, tools and accessories.
Your baking station’s height is very important since you need to be able to comfortably mix ingredients, roll dough, spread dough for a delicious focaccia or knead dough like a pro and perform other baking-related tasks. When designing the station, keep in mind that the counters should be lower than the rest of your kitchen countertops. Table- or waist-height is ideal, which is approximately 30 to 32 inches. If you plan to use an existing table, you can cut the legs to height, making it shorter for better functionality. Ensure that anything with wheels has a locking mechanism, so it stays securely in place.
If you cook everything from sweet cookies to savory breads, you’ll need a variety of different tools and equipment for a successful baking station. Here’s a list to start you off:
- Stand mixer — perfect for all kinds of dough and batters, a stand mixer is a must-have piece of equipment for any avid baker. Additional tools like a paddle can be attached for perfect bread and more.
- Hand mixer — when baking smaller batches or specific recipes like pancakes, a hand mixer can make your baking projects fast and easy.
- Measuring cups and spoons — stock measuring cups for both wet and dry ingredients as well as measuring spoons for accuracy when you bake.
- Cream chargers — they make the process of whipping cream much easier.
- Wooden spoon and rubber spatula —they make it easy to “fold” ingredients together and scrape your bowls without damaging them.
- Baking pans — from cookie sheets to pie plates, you’ll need a variety of baking pans in different sizes and materials, depending on what you love to bake.
- Rolling pin — perfect for rolling your dough to the right thickness, a rolling pin is a critical tool for any baker’s arsenal to create the perfect homemade white bread.
- Wire rack — this tool helps your baked goods cool faster, and it’s another must for your baking station.
- Pastry brush — it makes it easy to add a light layer of butter or egg wash on biscuits, puff pastry dough and pie crusts. This handy baking tool is also great if you want to apply a glaze, syrup or another sugary coating on top of cookies or cakes.
- Whisk — every baker needs a hand whisk to mix ingredients. While a motorized mixer is an excellent piece of equipment, a hand-operated whisk is an absolute must if you want to mix your dough, fillings or other ingredients in a bowl by hand to ensure you reach the perfect consistency.
- Different knives — stock your baking station with various knives for cutting fresh ingredients, trimming pie crusts, and general use. Look for a knife set that includes a storage block so you have all of your knives neatly together in one central location.
- Blender — no baking station is complete without a quality blender. These helpful tools are perfect for handling tasks like crushing nuts or whipping up a pie filling (depending on your recipe). If you don’t have space for a countertop blender, try a smaller hand blender instead.
- Food processor — add a food processor to your list if you want to make chopping and mixing ingredients easier. This helpful tool can make baking a lot easier, especially if your recipe involves a lot of prep work that consists of getting natural ingredients ready, such as fresh fruit or nuts.
- Dough mixer — hand kneading is a wonderful way to make fresh bread and pastries, but a dough mixer can make the process easy and seamless. This helpful baking equipment typically comes as an attachment that you add to your electric mixer.
While every recipe is different, there are some standard ingredients to keep on hand in your baking station, including:
- Flour — cake flour and all-purpose flour are perhaps the most common ingredients in baked goods.
- Sugar — white, brown and powdered sugar are all crucial ingredients for baking.
- Salt — even if you need just a pinch, it’s wise to have plenty of salt on standby for your recipes.
- Cocoa powder — many recipes call for cocoa powder, so be sure to have at least a small amount on hand.
- Nuts — from almonds to pecans, you should stock up on a variety of nuts for various recipes.
- Oil — vegetable, coconut and canola oils are all common ingredients in baked goods, so be sure you stock up.
- Extras — from chocolate chips to dried cranberries, keep some extra goodies stored for different recipes such as a delicious pumpkin bread so you’re prepared.
Once you’ve gathered your tools and essential ingredients together, it’s time to organize. It’s important to keep your baking station tidy and clean, and the right storage can keep this area mess-free. Below are a few helpful tips to inspire you.
Clear jars or canisters with a tight-sealing lid make it easy to find the ingredients you need. Label each jar using stickers or a small chalkboard label that you can write on.
If you have the room, consider installing open shelving over your baking station area, so it’s easy to grab what you need as you go.
Dedicate one section of your kitchen cabinets solely to organizing your baking ingredients. You can use a drawer underneath for your tools and the bottom cabinets for your mixers and other equipment. Use another section for your cookbooks.
Add organizers to your baking drawer so that you can separate items by type or size. It also keeps the drawer from getting cluttered, and you won’t lose your favorite tools in the fray.
A spice rack is a great way to store and organize ingredients that you only need a pinch of, like salt or powdered sugar. Use a tackle box for your food coloring and sprinkles.
To store your cookie sheets more easily, “file” them lengthwise and upright in a lower kitchen cabinet. Install small dividers so each cookie sheet is separated yet stored with the others in one central location.
If you’re short on storage space, use a kitchen or bar cart and stock it with all of your tools and ingredients. This is also a terrific way to access everything you need in one place while freeing up the rest of your kitchen.
Make it Family-Friendly
Baking together as a family is a wonderful way to bond and spend time with those you love. If you want the entire family to cook with you, there are a few important safety precautions to take into consideration:
- Set a few safety ground rules in advance, like washing hands before handling ingredients or cooking.
- Never leave children in the kitchen unattended, especially if the stove is on or there are knives within reach.
- Use a small step stool to help your child reach the countertops so they can bake with you without straining or being tempted to climb onto the counters.
- There are many safe, easy and fun activities young children can help you with. For example, stirring up ingredients in a large bowl is something safe that kids love to do.
- Ensure all pot and pan handles are facing inward to prevent them from accidentally getting caught on clothing or knocked off the
- Store all knives and sharp tools safely out of the reach of children.
Whether you enjoy baking in your free time or your dream is to start your own baking business, a beautifully organized baking station is a great way to get started. Remember to decide on your baking station’s materials and placement first, then stock up on ingredients, tools and equipment. With the right organization and the perfect spot, you can enjoy using your home baking station for years to come.
This article was adapted from the Porch.com blog and was published with permission.