For those of you living in fully developed, non-Asian countries, a guide for baking equipment seems hardly worth a discussion, let alone a whole article. In China, however, baking a cake can turn into an insurmountable task.
Chinese kitchens usually don’t come with an oven; and if you manage to get one, you have to find a place for it in the minimal space Chinese kitchens mostly offer.
All those years in China, I have never thought about getting an oven. But since I moved here for good, and have to spend Christmas in Chinese lands this year, I decided the time has come. After all, we need cookies for Christmas, right?
In order to make it easier for those of you who think about baking in China, here follows a list of essential (and not so essential, but quite useful) equipment and supplies you need for successful baking in China.
Essential baking equipment in China
In Chinese: 烤箱 kaoxiang.
Yes, obviously the first thing you need to acquire is an oven. If you just want to bake cookies and cakes, a smaller toaster oven is sufficient. However, if you are thinking about baking your own bread or pizza you should go for the bigger ovens and make sure that the oven can go up to 250°C (482° F).
I got an oven from the brand Hauswirt 海氏. Actually, it’s a German brand, and I decided, if unsure go for what you are familiar with. I haven’t been disappointed. The oven is about 32cm deep, 31cm high and 35cm wide. It is not the biggest model, but for my purposes enough.
Where to buy:
- The biggest selection of oven scan be found on Taobao (that’s where I got mine from, too)
- Big supermarkets such as Carrefour and Wal-Mart also carry ovens, but the selection might be limited (and the prize higher)
- Electronics stores such as Suning 苏宁 or Gome 国美 (Guomei) might also sell ovens
In Chinese: 电动打蛋器 diandong dadanqi
If you don’t want to whip your cream by hand (trust me no fun), you should get a mixer. They come in very handy for different recipes.
Again you can get very cheap ones for 20RMB or the luxury model for over 2000RMB. I think most 50 to 100RMB models do a very good job.
Where to buy:
- Taobao, again.
- Some bigger local supermarkets with an electronic supplies section might also sell mixers
In Chinese: 电子秤dianzi cheng
Some people can measure things with their eyes. If you don’t belong to those people, and want exact measurements for your cake or bread, you need to get a scale. They come in different sizes and forms. The normal model you can get for about 20RMB on Taobao. There are fancier models for over 3000RMB, if you wish.
Where to buy:
- Taobao, as always.
Useful baking supplies in China
Things you don’t necessary need, but can be very useful if you want to bake a cake, cookies, or a pizza in China. I will not add in detail where to get those things because as you might have realized by now, most, if not all of those things you can get from Taobao.
Flexible cake pan
In Chinese: 活底蛋糕模具 Huodi dangao muju
The usual sizes are 17,3cm (7寸) and 20,3cm (8寸).
Other baking forms
Forms can be differentiated between the purpose of use, there are pizza forms 披萨盘pisa pan, toast/bread forms 吐司面包盒 tusi mianbao he, unflexible round cake pans 蛋糕模具 dangao muju or 固定派盘 guding paipan, 6 cups muffin forms 六连蛋糕模具 liulian dangao muji, etc.
(Stainless steel) mixing pot: 不锈钢打蛋盆 buxiugang dadanpen or 容器盆 rongqipen
Cookie forms: 饼干模具 binggan muju
Measuring cup: 量杯 liangbei
Rolling pin: 擀面杖 ganmianzhang
Flour sieve: 面粉网筛 mianfen wangshai
Baking paper: 烤盘油纸 kaopan youzhi
The list could go on forever. There are so many more things we don’t need, but make life, I mean baking, so much easier.
I can recommend you, before you go out and start ordering everything one buy one, try the set packages on Taobao. Baking is becoming fashion in China, and set packages in varying sizes and with different goodies pop up in the hundreds on Taobao. And they don’t have to be expensive. I got a very good starter set for 159RMB (and say even added panda cookie forms as an extra! Who can say no to panda cookies?).
Here I will end the equipment and supply list for now. Next part will cover essential ingredients for baking in China and where to get them, as this is actually the trickiest part.
What do you do if you are far away from home in a different country and want to bake or cook something that needs equipment you don’t have there?
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