Tools They Use: Prep & Pastry’s Hannah Houlden

September 20, 2016
a man wearing a hat
By Jackie Tran
By Jackie Tran

This week's 'Tools They Use' features Pastry Chef Hannah Houlden from Prep & Pastry, Dossant and Danish extraordinaire.

Tools They Use is a series that takes a peek at local food artisans, such as chefs, bakers, brewers, and more, with a simple photo displaying signature items and favorite tools.

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Pastry Chef Hannah Houlden's tools at Prep & Pastry (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Pastry Chef Hannah Houlden’s tools at Prep & Pastry (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pastry Bag

“I use twenty-inch nonslip bags, which holds just enough frosting to decorate a batch of Dossants on a busy weekend morning. ”

Click here to view bags on Amazon

Pastry Brush

In a pastry kitchen, different sizes and textures are needed for different tasks.

“Some are for egg washing delicate breads & pastries, while others, like the one pictured, are strictly dry brushes, used to dust off excess flour while working with laminated dough.”

Click here to view pastry brushes on Amazon

Fluted Pastry Wheel

This fluted pastry wheel adds a visually-pleasing edge to pastries.

Dowel Rolling Pin

Though an empty wine bottle can be a rolling pin in a pinch, invest in a dowel rolling pin to work with the finesse and precision needed for large quantities of dough.

“I prefer a dowel rolling pin, which is very similar to a French-styled pin, however there is no taper. The lack of a taper makes these pins ideal for getting large sheets of smooth, flat, and even dough. These pins are quicker to work with than a standard handled rolling pin, and also give you a connection with your dough that is hard to get otherwise. You can really feel the pressure you’re applying, more so than with a standard rolling pin, which opens the door to really understanding what your dough needs from you, and how to work with it to get the proper end result. Switching to handle-less was a hard road, and led to lots of sore, bruised arms, but I can’t imagine going back to a handled pin at this point.”

Check out this maple rolling dowel

Fluted Ring Set

Fluted Ring sets are essential for a consistent product.

“This fluted set is my favorite ring set, my step-father brought them home from San Francisco for me last year. He’s a chef and has always been extremely supportive in my culinary career, always picking up new tools he thinks I could put to use. Besides being sentimental, these rings are beautiful, and give really nice, consistent edges to small tarts for special events and parties.”

Here’s one ring/cutter option from Amazon


“Our eggs come from Zamudio, a local free range egg farm.”

Bowl Scraper

“They help me handle sticky dough easily, and get every last bit of frosting and filling from the bottoms and sides of bowls, so there’s no waste.”

Bowl scraper on Amazon

Whisk for Standing Mixer

The whisk attachment is Houlden’s go-to for meringues and mousses.

“The whisk is just one of many attachments, for the smaller of the mixers that we use. My mixers are what make it all possible. From the large 40 quart bowl we use mostly with a dough hook to get our breads and dossant dough started, to the 5 quart we use to whip up frosting & fillings, they’re where the real muscle in the bakery lies.”

Microplane Zester/Grater

Inside the bakery, a microplane zester is great for chocolate flecks, fruit zest, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. At home, Houlden uses it as an alternative to a garlic press.

Pastry Chef Hannah Houlden at Prep & Pastry (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Pastry Chef Hannah Houlden at Prep & Pastry (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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Article By

Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...

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