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Gift Ideas for the Avid Home Baker

by Liam Williams
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When I find myself buying a gift for an avid cook or baker I always ask myself what that person wouldn’t already have. Sure another baking tray or cake tin is useful, but why gift something someone can easily get themselves without much thought. 

The following is a list of gift ideas that I (and other passionate bakers) would have loved to receive from a friend or loved one no matter what the occasion. Remember cooking is a constant learning process so buying something that’ll step up, specialize, or teach them something entirely new is always appreciated. 

Dutch Oven

A dutch oven is normally my go-to gift idea when buying for someone who likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. They’re super useful (not just for baking either), they’re not outrageously expensive, not everyone has one, and if someone you know already has one, they definitely wouldn’t mind another. 

Dutch ovens are typically made from cast iron sometimes coated with a vibrantly colored enamel but can also be made from cast aluminum or ceramic. Personally, I wouldn’t go for anything besides cast iron as ceramic can chip and break, and aluminum just isn’t as good of a conductor as cast-iron.

You can view my favorite Cast Iron Dutch Oven here. And if plain black isn’t your thing, you can opt for an enameled cast iron dutch oven from Lodge here.

Baking mat

While a baking mat seems a little mediocre at first I only ever catch the occasional home baker using one despite them being one of the most useful pieces of equipment in a baker’s tool kit. What are some of the perks of having a baking mat? It’s eco-friendly, it’s far less messy, they’re significantly less hassle compared to parchment paper, they’re reusable, and if you buy the right one, come with every measuring tool a baker will ever need. 

Buy once, use forever, almost at least, what’s not to love? Click here to see my favorite baking mat and if you’re looking for something more aesthetically pleasing, this baking mat would be the way to go.

Stand mixer

If someone deserves something extra special this year around consider buying a stand mixer. Granted any professional baker will already have a professional stand mixer, but particularly for a beginner who is still finding footing, a really sturdy stand mixer will take him or her an incredibly long way because it’s phenomenally useful for way more than combining dough and will last for years to come. 

Looking for a Budget Option? The Hauswirt Stand Mixer is an excellent choice for just over a hundred bucks, need something more spiffy? You can’t go wrong with a classic Artisan Stand Mixer from Cuisinart.

Oven mitts

Oven mitts are another very simple yet effective gift and while the baker you have in mind will definitely already own a pair, they tend to wear out pretty quickly especially when they’re sufficiently used and/or aren’t made from the highest quality material. Oven mitts are also a great way to leave a personalized gift and reallow show you’ve gotten to know someones over the weeks/months/years.

My favorite oven mitt is the one from XLNT with Teflon that is heat resistant and slip-free! Looking for something with a little more attitude? This oven mitt always gets a smile from anyone who sees it.

French press

While a french press isn’t a baking tool if there’s one thing most bakers seem to have in common it’s a love for coffee and a french press fits the baker aesthetic perfectly. Even if your recipient isn’t a huge coffee fan, coffee can be used in so many different baked goods particularly containing chocolate. And as an extra bonus, it’ll look super cool to serve guests with because after all, most bakers and cooks I know love to feed other people. This French press is my go-to gift for friends and family that loves coffee or entertains a lot, if you’re looking for something more elegant then this one simple yet eye-catching!

Cake stand

A cake stand is always a safe bet because there are practically unlimited amounts of styles you can choose from. Different heights and designs, different colors and patterns, different materials, and whether it’ll be used to decorate or display delicious cakes are what you could consider when buying a cake stand. Take into account the recipient’s personal tastes and preferences. Maybe they prefer the process of decorating or maybe they live for that perfect, Instagram-worthy pic at the end. This classic cake stand with a glass dome is perfect for any setting or if you’re looking for something more rustic, this 10-inch timber cake stand is the way to go!  

Sourdough set

A sourdough set is great for a baker who is just getting into their bread phase or has been there and is now looking to branch out into the more exciting realm of fermentation proofing. While most sourdough bakers I know (including myself) prefer to make a starter from scratch using our own ingredients, a set can be really handy for a beginner or child. A starter is also like a pet that needs to be fed, grows, and becomes more or less active depending on feeding. Two gifts in one!

Get that special someone some sourdough starter here and to complete the set, a handy guide with all of the uses for sourdough as well!

 

Bread Proofer & Kit

On the other hand, if you know someone who already has a lot of experience making sourdough, they will without a doubt love a bread proofer. A proofer is essentially an incubator that delivers the perfect external temperature for the yeast to do its job on the dough for spot-on rising. Gifting a pair of proofing baskets, a plastic or metal scraper (ideally both), and a scoring lane with some razor blades. 

The Shori Bread kit is the perfect proofing kit to give anyone who wants to venture into creating sourdough loaves. Another option is Pat’s Benneton Bread Proofing Basket 2 pack kit.

 

Cookbook stand

Even Though cookbooks are slowly going obsolete there are still many that use them religiously and to them, a book stand is their best friend. You can get a really wide variety made from lots of different materials, printed with endless designs, and fitted for almost any aesthetic. Perfect for any pool design, this Bamboo cookbook stand is sturdy and stable, and not to mention ECO-friendly! If you’re looking for something a bit darker, it also comes in a dark shade!

Books on Baking

A good cook knows he or she will never stop learning, and while I rarely find myself grabbing a recipe from a cookbook, information is something far better learned from a book. Things like cooking methods and techniques, the chemistry behind all the little reactions when you bake, or maybe simply what goes behind making the perfect, flaky pastry.  A good book for learning baking techniques is this one from the King Arthur Baking Company which I still reference every now and then. Another well-recommended book is Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, which is perfect for those who want to get into artisan bread and pizza!

 

Pizza stone

After months and months of contemplating it, getting a pizza stone is what motivated me (or aspired enough confidence in me) to finally make my own pizza crust. As with most first-time pizza makers, it went horribly wrong but after that first time (and getting it wrong a couple more times) I realized that it wasn’t as hard as I had originally told myself. I still have that pizza stone and even though it gives me kitchen flashbacks to all the wasted pounds of yeast and flour, I’m glad it’s there every day. If you want an easy to use Pizza stone, I highly recommend the Weber Pizza Stone. For the complete beginner, opt for a complete pizza stone set from Cuisinart.

 

Baking extracts

The first and obvious one that springs to mind is vanilla extract, and there’s a good reason for that. Vanilla can easily be worth more than silver in weight (Tahitian vanilla is the most expensive). As a cheap alternative companies synthetically produce vanillin (an aldehyde that gives vanilla its flavor) to add to their products like ‘vanilla extract’. Buying a bottle of high-quality, pure extracts is one of the ways to get into a baker’s good books. My kitchen never runs out of this Pure Vanilla Extract from Nielsen-Massey as well as this Pure Almond Extract which just adds an amazing dimension to all my baked goodies!  

Specialized Cake Tins

While giving a normal baking tray to someone that’s dear to you is a safe bet, handing them a unique, specialized baking tray is way more fun and potentially opens the door to a world of entirely different methods and cuisines. My favorite little cakes to bake are madeleines, macarons, or mini bundt cake tins and they get an absolutely amazing reaction every time. For a non-stick madeline baking tray, check out this baking tray from Bellemain and if you want mess-free macarons then this non-stick silicon macaron baking mat from Garcent is a Godsend! 

Glass Jars

Get big glass jars for the baker who has everything. Glass is exceptionally better for storing anything you could possibly imagine from flours to sugar, to yeast, pie fillings, batters, frosting, nuts, decorations, etc. Glass jars are also a great way to edge someone into the wonderfully complex world of pickling and fermenting. Stocking up on Mason Jars is probably one of the  best decisions I’ve made ever since the start of the pandemic. And if you’re looking for larger sizes, you can’t beat the 32oz sized bottles!

Cake knife

Last but not least is something that isn’t essential for high quality, classy baking but rather is nice to have when the occasion calls for it. I’ve personally always had trouble cutting several layers from a cylindrical block of cake and I know many people who feel the same, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all impractical. If you’re in the market for one (or if you know a home baker who needs one) the cake knife from Mercer Culinary is the way to go.  Get the longest one that fits your space needs because the less strokes used, the less likely your cake is going to get ripped. For more delicate shaping work, a wire cake cutter may just be the tool for the job. 

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