The Office Supply You Should Keep in Your Kitchen
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There's one tool for your gadget drawer that you won't find in the kitchen aisles. Walk over to the office supplies area to find this handy must-have.
In my kitchen, there are some tools I can’t live without: my KitchenAid mixer, glass bowls galore and a few tools from my great-grandma, like her pastry blender and rolling pin. One item you might not expect to see on my must-have list, though, is a ruler.
Yep! A plain school ruler is in my gadget drawer right alongside my favorite wooden spoon, spatulas and measuring cups. And I’d argue that a ruler should have a place in your kitchen too. Here’s why:
Measuring Cooking Gear
I love to bake, which means my cupboards are stuffed with pans, cutters and gadgets galore. While I like to think I know a two-inch biscuit cutter from a three-inch cutter, I always like to be sure before I dive into a homemade biscuit recipe. That’s where the ruler comes in handy.
I also use my kitchen ruler to measure cake pans, loaf pans, sheet pans—pretty much any baking vessel. Having the right size pan is crucial for baking success, so I always double-check with my trusty ruler.
Rolling Out Doughs and Pastry
My favorite recipe of all time, this chocolate babka, requires the dough to be rolled out into a rectangular sheet so it can be filled up with a mix of chocolate and cinnamon. Instead of guessing when the dough is the right size, you know that I’m reaching for that ruler.
The same goes for rolling out pie pastry. I use my ruler to check that the crust is large enough to fit in my pie dish and to measure the thickness of the pie dough (you don’t want it too thick or thin).
Of course, if you’re an experienced baker, you do get a feel for when you’ve rolled out your dough to the right thickness and when it’s the right size, but I say it never hurts to check! I’ve made more pie crusts than I can count, but I always snag that ruler out of my utensil crock to be absolutely sure of the size.
Cutting Straight Lines
Lastly, I use my kitchen ruler to mark and cut perfectly straight lines. Using a ruler definitely helps when slicing strips for a lattice-top pie crust. It’s also handy when it comes to cutting dessert bars into neat shapes.
Is it absolutely necessary to have precise lines when it comes to slicing up fudgy brownies or a pan of baklava? No. But taking the few extra minutes to get those lines straight can make your bakes look a smidge more professional—and who doesn’t love to have their friends ooh and ahh over their bakery-worthy treats?
The Best Kitchen Rulers (and Other Measuring Gadgets)
Besides being incredibly useful, a kitchen ruler is a super affordable gadget. I got my wooden ruler for 49 cents. If you want something a bit easier to wash or even toss in the dishwasher, grab a plastic ruler.
But there are other measuring tools you might also want to add to your baking kit. A silicone pastry mat is a great nonstick surface for rolling out cookie, bread and pie dough. The concentric circles in the center help you get the right size and shape for pies and the measurements along the perimeter are super handy for everything else.
And my new favorite tool: this bench scraper from Taste of Home with measurements marked on the edge. This bench scraper is great for clearing off the countertop, gathering bread dough together and making quick cuts into biscuit and cookie dough. It’s super versatile (it sees almost as much use as my regular ruler!).