Ready for holiday baking? You can get in your own way (or a loved one’s, therefore jeopardizing your supply of tasty treats) if you don’t set up your kitchen correctly. Of course we all have unique configurations and different amounts of space to work with, but here are a few helpful suggestions from Baking with the Cake Boss.
1. Work area. If possible, dedicate some counter space to prep work, which is the preliminary work that takes place before the actual baking: chopping, mixing, rolling, and so on. You’ll want some counter space (or table space) where you can keep your basic equipment, which in the case of baking is the rolling pin, mixer, measuring spoons and cups, spatulas, and so on. If there are drawers beneath or above this area, that’s where you want to have your parchment paper and plastic wrap. The ideal scenario is that once you’ve gathered your ingredients from the fridge and pantry, you can do all your mixing, rolling, and other tasks without moving from one spot.
2. Keep the sink and stove areas clear. If at all possible, keep the counter space closest to your oven and sink free and clear and—just as important—clean. Why? Because you are constantly setting things next to the sink, or removing things from the oven, or adding things to a pot on the stovetop, so counter space is precious. Don’t store things there if you don’t have to.
3. Storage. Keep all your dry goods for baking in one place: sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda. You might even consider keeping two containers of salt in your kitchen: one in your baking area and one closer to the stove. This way, you can gather all your ingredients swiftly. It also makes it easy to prepare a shopping list because you can take a quick inventory without having to search all over your kitchen to find out what you have and don’t have; you can just calmly check your baking area and see what needs replenishing.
4. Baking equipment. Equipment such as pans, mixing bowls, and the like doesn’t need to be stored right next to your prep area. In fact, I suggest storing these near your dishwasher or drying rack, because that’s the last place they’ll be before you put them away.