7 Must-Have Tools to Make Baking Easier, According to a Michelin-Starred Pastry Chef

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Michelin Starred Pastry Chef Essentials


Baking can be tricky. But if you’ve ever had a dessert course that has taken you to another world, the pastry chef likely made it all seem so simple. Executive Pastry Chef Mac Daniel Dimla is one of those kinds of chefs. Working at celebrated Los Angeles seafood destination Providence since 2019, Dimla has helped the restaurant proudly retain its two Michelin stars. His pastry, ranging from a zero-waste bean-to-dessert chocolate program to candied buddha’s hand, has skyrocketed him to the top of the pastry world at the age of 27. 

Because of his extensive skill, we were curious what tips and tools he uses in his professional and personal kitchens. Dimla says that “it all starts with the basics, having the right ingredients and tools, and building from there.” If you’re looking to bake something you’re proud of in 2023, check out Dimla’s seven pastry and baking essentials below. 

Chef Mac Daniel Dimla’s Pastry and Baking Essentials 

Silpat Half Size Baking Mat

Nonstick Baking Mat


To buy: $23 (originally $37) at amazon.com 

“A Silpat is one of those things I think every kitchen should have, and I think I only know about it because I work in the industry,” Dimla says. He continues, “You can bake anything you’d use parchment with, and you don’t have to waste it. It’s very sustainable. It lasts for quite a while.” In fact, he says that “We’ve had silpats in the restaurants, using them every day, and they’ve lasted for over two years. They hold onto that value for a long time.” Silpats are available in tons of sizes, and even come with distinct designs so you can evenly space your cookies out. As Dimla mentioned, they are essentially reusable parchment paper, and they fold up nice and small for easy storage as well. 

Silpat Silpain Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat

Silpat Silpain Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat for Bread


To buy: $31 at amazon.com 

Pain, bread in French, is the Silpat I use for baking bread and reheating bread,” Dimla says. “The Silpain acts like a rack and helps you get a nice crust all around. Plus, because it has perforations, some of the dough will slip into it and you’ll end up with a really nice finish.” Dimla continued to say that the Silpain in many ways is the perfect compliment to the Silpat. He uses it for firmer doughs because it’s a bit sturdier and helps promote even baking. 

KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer

KitchenAid KSM150PSAQ Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer


To buy: $350 (originally $460) at amazon.com

“I mean, why wouldn’t you want a stand mixer when you’re baking?” Dimla asks. “When it comes to managing time, whether you’re baking different things or just wanting to enjoy the process more, a stand mixer is essential,” Dimla says. His favorite is the KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It comes in plenty of different colors to match your style, and is large enough for any dough (at least at home). Plus, the bowl is great for measuring ingredients. 

Escali Primo Kitchen Scale 

Escali Primo P115C Precision Kitchen Food Scale


To buy: $25 at amazon.com

“In the U.S., we are so used to using the imperial system, with cups and teaspoons, but when you want to bake something you’re proud of, the scale just makes that much more accurate,” Dimla says. Dimla’s scale of choice is this one from Escali. It has a low profile, but has all of the features you need. It can measure in grams and ounces and has a nifty tare feature that allows you to measure ingredients all in the same bowl. It’s also spill-proof (I can personally vouch for this as I’ve spilled several cups of milk on mine, and it still works).

Tiger Chef 9-Piece Ice Cream Scoop Set

Tiger Chef Assorted Colors And Sizes


To buy: $86 at amazon.com 

“This is one of the things I learned from professional kitchens, and it has saved me from doing so many dishes,” Dimla says. “These ice cream scoops are great for scooping batters, portioning cookies, but really I use them to portion ingredients. It is so much easier to grab ingredients from the container, and measure them with the scale, instead of trying to pour a container into a bowl, and messing up,” he says.

Ateco Offset Spatula

Ateco 1385 Offset Spatula


To buy: $9 at amazon.com

This offset spatula isn’t just great for icing cakes, although it’s great for that too. It’s a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to pastry. Dimla says that “this is probably the one tool I couldn’t live without.” He uses it to cut butter or to scoop ingredients in a pinch. “Because it’s so thin it can go right through semi-cold butter. It’s a multipurpose tool that people don’t really realize. But when we lose it, at the restaurant, we’re all scrambling because it’s so essential.” 

Mafter Bourgeat Kitchen Spatula

Matfer Bourgeat Elveo High Temperature Heat Resistant Kitchen Spatula


To buy: $25 at amazon.com

While Dimla admits he has a Martha Stewart rubber spatula at home, he recommends one brand in particular when it comes to this essential tool. “We use Mafter at Providence and it’s so much better,” Dimla says. “It can take a higher heat  than most so you can use it to make caramel, and it’s durable enough to go into the stand mixer without breaking to bits.” Dimla also mentioned it’s the perfect size — medium — making it ready for just about any task when it comes to baking. 

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