Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TKO Tuesday: Baking Zone

 I could offer an abbreviated coverage of kitchen zones as a whole, but to properly explain and show the details of each zone (and so that I avoid writing a super-blog with too much to read, which I've been doing a bit too much of lately), I've decided to address one at a time.

Since kitchens are, primarily, for cooking and baking, and I love baking, I'll start with my baking zone.  After having a small kitchen without a wall oven, and with only one good work area, it was important in our new space that we have room for multiple workers doing different tasks.  It seemed that someone was always trying to bake while someone else was cooking...Or even if I was trying to do both at once, there were crowding issues.

The answer to that in our new house was to make sure baking had its own space.  --Its own appliance, its own counterspace, its own traffic area, and its own storage.  Also, convenient access to water, pantry, and fridge were important.

Here is the whole wall on that side of the room..

This is what we specifically refer to as our Baking Center.    

It has a counter at 34" for better reach and sight angle into the mixer.  After storing the mixer in base cabinets in the last house, we wanted a place where it could sit out all the time, since we use it so much.  

The baking ingredients are housed in the uppers above.  
In the base cabinets, measuring and other tools are in the top drawers, mixer accessories and the food processors in the middle drawer, and cake and pie pans in the bottom.  
The doored cabinet to the right is vertical storage for cookie sheets, and other shallow baking pans, with a slot at the top to hold the pizza peel.

That lower storage is not large enough for larger baking dishes and broiler pans, so they live in the lower cabinet in the adjacent run of cabinets... Just across the aisle, sideways, from the front of the oven.

The oven is, of course, an essential element in the baking center.  
The drawer underneath holds pizza stones when they're not in the oven, trivets, and hot pads.  --Also, my oven manual for occasional, quick reference.  

We use both ovens more than I thought we might.  We run both to bake pizzas on Friday nights, we bake cookies in one while bread bakes in the other, or baked goods in one while meat roasts in the other.  We have both in use at the same time at least once or twice weekly.  The only thing I'd do differently for the 'perfect kitchen' is to have 2 single Wolf E Series ovens, rather than the double. This means they could both be at arm height/eye level, and I'd get the full set of features (convection modes and temperature probe) in both, instead of just the top.  Not that I'm suffering, but if I'm asked to dream...

Since the counterspace around the mixer is limited, especially in depth, the relationship of this area with the island is important.  We use the island for any rolling out, kneading, or pan loading.  
We also store the bread mixer, bread pans, cookie cutters, and cake decorating supplies in the island on the baking center side.  The bread mixer, unlike the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, is used on the island, too.  It's lighter, so not a problem to lift out of the island drawer for use.  Besides that, it's not all that attractive... The Kitchen Aid is more like a functional piece of art.  ;-)

The prep sink is helpful to baking when I need water to start bread dough, when we need to wash gooey hands, and as a temporary place to drop dirty implements, egg shells, etc.

The aisle here is 4 ft wide, planned that way so that traffic can get by busy workers, or people working as a team can fit.  It was advantageous the 3 times the ovens had to be replaced, so that the servicemen could pull out the large, heavy, and awkward appliances without doing damage to the cabinets.

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