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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“I use twenty-inch nonslip bags, which holds just enough frosting to decorate a batch of Dossants on a busy weekend morning. ”
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.”
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.”
“Our eggs come from Zamudio, a local free range egg farm.”
“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.”
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.”
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.