Make a baking station in your kitchen
Baking can be a rewarding activity in a number of different ways. Whipping up a homemade pie or batch of blueberry muffins will allow you to express your creativity, give you something delicious to eat, and impart a wonderful aroma to your kitchen.
It can also be a little difficult to motivate yourself to bake, however. The process is often messy, and you may be frustrated by the effort of gathering up all the necessary materials together and taking over a large amount of counter space.
One option for those who bake frequently, or would like to do so more often, is to set up a dedicated baking station in your kitchen. This could be a permanent part of your home, or it could be as simple as a mobile cart that can be rolled out when necessary.
Decide where you'd like to place the baking station. Becky Harris, writing for the home design site Houzz, says you might want to set it up under a window to enjoy the view while you work. Baking stations can also be incorporated into one end of a kitchen island, set up inside a pantry, or even concealed within custom cabinetry.
Try to set the surface for your baking station at a comfortable height. Anne Reagan, writing for the home improvement site Porch.com, says it can be uncomfortable to knead or roll dough at the traditional kitchen counter height.
A lower surface provides you more leverage for these baking tasks. Harris says you might incorporate different heights into your kitchen's countertops or island during a remodel. Alternatively, you can include a built-in or separate footstool to elevate you above the counter.
Marble is a particularly good choice for a baking preparation surface. Not only will it blend well with other kitchen materials, but it will also maintain a cooler temperature and keep butter from melting as you work.
Other types of stone can also work well for the countertop of a baking surface. Acton Construction, a company in Campbell, Calif., recommends avoiding tile and grout, since this material will be more difficult to clean.
When the stone will only be used to surface a mobile station or in a small part of your kitchen, check with a stone supplier. This Old House says they can often provide a leftover piece of stone at a discounted price and cut it to the desired size.
Storing the measuring cups, baking sheets, and other tools near your baking station can do wonders for organizing your kitchen. Acton Construction says deep drawers are good for storing larger containers of flour, sugar, and other ingredients. Drawer organizers can also help keep your kitchen tools from getting muddled together.
A rolling cart can be kept out of the way when you aren't using it and used to collect a variety of baking items. Reagan says carts found in office supply stores can serve this purpose. This Old House says you can even consolidate your entire baking station on a custom cart with a marble surface, drawers, and casters.
Open shelves on a cart on in the kitchen can be a good place to store mixing bowls and other bulky items. Acton Construction says this type of shelving is also a good place to keep cookbooks within easy reach. If you've started to go paperless and use a tablet to follow recipes, you may want to consider adding a pull-down holder to keep the tablet mounted beneath a cabinet and away from the baking mess.
Specialized cabinets can easily reduce baking clutter. Harris says one option is a pull-out shelf to store your mixer in a cabinet. This frees up counter space when you aren't using the mixer, and the cabinet usually has room for dry ingredients or other supplies to be stored on a bottom shelf.
Narrow cabinets can be worked into tight spaces to hold cookie sheets. Vertical pullout drawers can also be installed in narrower areas and have enough room to hold items such as ingredient containers and measuring cups.
When doing a larger kitchen upgrade, you can consider adding a number of features to make baking easier. Reagan says there should be enough electrical outlets near the baking station to support all of your appliances. You might also want to install fold-up or pull-out surfaces on a counter or island to expand your workspace, or a deeper sink to make cleaning up easier.
If you do a lot of baking, a double oven can easily increase your output. Acton Construction says it is helpful to have a refrigerator that is wide enough to hold baking sheets, as recipes may call for a batch to be chilled before it is cooked. You should also look into under-cabinet lighting or other lighting upgrades that will make it easier to work when natural light is not available.
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