Food52's new baking set is pastry chef-approved
The Five Two Ultimate Baking Tool Set is affordable and works like a charm.
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As a professional pastry chef, I get a lot of questions about tools. What are the must-haves, the essentials? Over the years I’ve gotten attached to certain items, my “non-negotiables,” if you will, for baking both at home and professionally. If you’re going to get into any kind of home baking, I encourage purchasing a few basics that will make the job easier and give your baked goods a much more professional finish.
The Five Two Ultimate Baking Tool Set is a new release from Food52—it includes all the items I consider to be key baking tools, so I was excited to try this kit at home on some of my favorite recipes. Here’s the full rundown of this one-stop pastry shop.
What’s in the set?
This set comes with four items: a pastry brush, a bench scraper, a 9-inch offset spatula, and a 4½-inch offset spatula. These are my pastry must-haves, and they arrived beautifully packaged in a neat box.
How does it look and feel?
I was struck right away by how pretty this set is—unboxing it feels very fancy, which I’m very into. The tools are made of high-quality stainless steel with slate blue silicone handles and gorgeous brass accents.
The feel of the tools is heavy and sturdy, which earns this set points from me right away. The offset spatulas have a particularly nice heft to them, making them comfortable to handle for longer periods of time. The whole set feels luxurious and well-made. Everything is dishwasher-safe as well, which is great if you have a dishwasher. (I don’t have one, but a pastry chef can dream!)
The offset spatulas
I love an offset spat, as I affectionately call them. They're super handy, and everyone should have one! I use mine daily for everything from frosting cakes, to smoothing out some brownie batter before baking, to flipping delicate items in a pan. It’s a fantastic, versatile tool with lots of uses, often overlooked by home cooks.
As I mentioned, these are sturdy and don’t flex or bend too much when you're using them. Offset spatulas that bend and flex tend to easily warp and wear, which can make frosting a cake difficult as it's tough to achieve a smooth, even surface with a warped spatula. These have just enough give and are certainly not flimsy.
I like these offset spatulas, but I don’t feel like the kit necessarily benefits from the two size options. The smaller one is much more versatile, whereas the 9-inch offset is almost too big for most home projects. I’d use it at work for bigger cakes or large pans of batter and the like, but it’s unnecessary for home use and a little redundant in this set that could have taken the opportunity to introduce another tool.
I found the smaller option perfect for frosting buns and smoothing out batters. I’ll get a ton of mileage out of it. I used the longer offset spatula to schmear filling onto a large rectangle of babka dough and it worked great, but could have easily worked out with the 4½-inch offset spat. I also think larger ones are harder to have control over, so a more novice home baker might find the smaller size more comfortable all around.
The bench scraper
Wow, I LOVE this one. I really dig its size and heft. With a 6-inch bottom edge, it’s long enough to smooth the sides of a taller layer cake. It has a honed, sharp edge—sharper than most I’ve used—and this comes in handy big time. It makes it efficient and precise in portioning dough, cutting biscuits, and cleaning flour and stubborn bits of dough off a work surface easily.
The Five Two bench scraper feels much nicer than any of the many bench scrapers I already own. I loved using this tool on a batch of square-cut biscuits from start to finish. It cut my cold butter into nice cubes, helped portion and cut the biscuits, and assisted in transferring them to the baking sheet with ease.
As a bonus, it made clean up a breeze as I used the honed edge to gather up the bench flour. It even has a handy ruler on the blade. I think this tool is the MVP of the whole set!
The pastry brush
I recently misplaced my pastry brush and was going nuts without it. It’s a crucial tool! I like that this one is silicone, which I prefer because most of the time I’m using it to egg-wash pastry and the silicone bristles are so much easier to clean than natural bristles. A silicone brush won’t ever clump together or absorb flavors, and will last longer than a natural brush.
I tested this pastry brush on both wet and dry applications—egg washing and brushing excess flour off the top of a sourdough boule before baking—and it worked great for both. It’s very pretty with a large brass accent, and it feels a little more substantial than the average pastry brush.
What I like about this set
This kit has three very crucial pastry pieces, making it a good one-stop shop for baking tools. They’re beautiful and I wouldn’t mind having them out on my countertop. The quality of the materials is wonderful, and it feels like it'll hold up for a long time. I especially love the bench scraper, which feels like a major upgrade from my tried-and-true restaurant supply ones that I’ve used for years.
What I don’t like about this set
Doubling up on the offset spatulas is redundant and the large one isn’t the most useful for home baking projects. Overall, I’m not mad about the double offset situation, but I think this is a missed opportunity for the inclusion of another crucial pastry tool like a whisk, an all-purpose spatula, or a flexible bowl scraper. I don’t think it can really own the title of “ultimate” without something else like a whisk or standard spatula.
Should you buy this set?
Yes! At $49 I think this set is a steal and I was expecting it to be more expensive based on the quality of the products. I typically buy my tools at a restaurant supply store, which is very affordable, but the look and feel of these are far superior so an extra few bucks per tool is justified here. The attractive minimalist design, brass accents, and overall quality make these worth it if you want to have a stylish home pastry tool kit. Happy baking!
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.