Oster Expressbake Bread Machine Review

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Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine is a good starting point for having your first bread maker.

It has step by step instructions for beginners to help you learn how to make your first loaf. 

Although the cookbook it comes with doesn’t come with many recipes, it gives you a great starting base to begin making bread at home. 

I have tried these recipes in the cookbook:

  • White bread
  • Italian herb bread
  • Pizza dough
  • Bread pretzels
  • Bagels

My favourite recipes by far is the bagel recipe! There’s nothing better than having a fresh bagel out of the oven, and lathering on the cream cheese for breakfast on the weekend.

I received the Oster 2lb Bread Machine for Christmas 2 years ago. My husband said he didn’t think we would use it much, but his attitude changed within a few weeks. 

I have used my bread maker to make several different types of cakes, rolls, dough,  and bread. We’ve only had one for 2 years and I can’t imagine not having it.

My husband realized he could use it for making pizza dough, he didn’t have a huge mess to clean up after. When he makes pizza dough, it makes enough for 2 large pizzas. I never expected such a small machine to be able to make that much dough at once. 

Sometimes we use ½ the dough for a pizza, and then leave the other ½ in the fridge and use it the following day to make another pizza. 

We use our bread machine at least once a week to make different recipes. It saves us time, it’s less mess, and it saves us money. I love using it make quick dough recipes like pizza pretzels for lunches during the week.

I like to leave my bread maker on the floor when it’s in use. When it’s actively mixing 1 ball of dough, it can unbalance itself easily. We’ve had ours end up on the floor, so now it just lives on the ground after that.

The lid for this machine just rests on the top, there isn’t a latch or anything for it. 

Pros

  • Simple operation
  • Expressbake- makes bread in 1 hour
  • Compact
  • Paddle comes off easily after baking

Cons

  • Pan can wear out over time
  • Loud/rattles around
  • Bread maker cookbook doesn’t have many recipes

I love having a bread maker to make bagels, pizza pretzels, and pizza dough for my family on a weekly basis. The Oster Bread Machine has made learning how to make bread easy. We’ve had our bread maker for just over 2 years and I would recommend it to any beginner who is looking for a bread maker machine.

oster expressbake bread machine REVIEW

Best Food Baller

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The best food baller is the Kmeivol melon baller.

  • comfort grip handle
  • stainless steel – durable and resists rusting
  • heavy duty
  • dishwasher safe

What can you use a melon baller for

A melon baller can be used for a few different purposes:

  • ball fruit for drinks, fruit platters, or for plating
  • cookie dough – perfect size every time
  • ice cream scoop – or for making fancy ice cream desserts like Italian Tartufo

Try using a food baller to create small fruit balls to include in cocktails.

You an use cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, or honeydew with your food baller. After you get a good sized piece of fruit, place it in the drink for added presentation. Your guests will love it.

Another use of a food baller is using it in ice cream. One Italian dessert uses a food baller is a tartufo dessert.

how to make desserts in silicone molds

It’s made with using a food baller to get the center – this could be ice cream, ganache, etc.

Around the center is 2 more layers of ice cream. The multi-layered dessert is decadent, and the center is a perfect circle, thanks to the food baller.

How to Serve Ice Cream at a Dinner Party

Cookie dough is run to roll in your hands to create small smalls of dough, but it doesn’t get the size perfect every time. Use a food baller to create perfect sized cookie balls and your cookies will all be finished at the same time. Sometimes having larger cookies will cause the smaller cookies to burn. Therefore, using a food baller to create cookie dough balls will make your cookies all the same cooking time, every time you bake.

Can you freeze melon balls

You can freeze melon balls of fruit as needed. Frozen melon balls are best used for frozen drinks as they act as an ice cube. They will add a little bit of flavor to the drink without overpowering it since the fruit is frozen. Only freeze the fruit for a couple of days before using for drinks.

Best Garlic Mincer

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The best garlic mincer is by OXO.

Oxo has created a black and silver garlic mincer that creates the most garlic out of all of the garlic presses I have personally tried.

  • produces a large amount of garlic
  • very little garlic remaining in the basket after mincing
  • removable basket to for easy cleaning
  • dishwasher safe
Best Garlic Mincer

Oxo’s garlic press can push up to 3 large garlic cloves through the mincer at one time. I have tried other garlic mincers where you only get 1/3 of the garlic clove out of the garlic mincer.

This particular garlic mincer gives about 90% of the garlic clove and then leaves behind only a small amount of garlic. I remove the leftover garlic by using a butter knife, and then putting it directly in my green bin.

I usually peel the garlic before putting it in the mincer. I find I get more garlic out of the garlic mincer that way.

Best Garlic Mincer

I typically always put the Oxo garlic mincer in the dishwasher because it cleans it much better. I place it flat in the top rack of the dishwasher and it comes out perfectly clean.

Is a garlic press worth it

A garlic press is definitely worth the investment in a kitchen tool. Depending on how much you cook, many recipes require minced garlic for pasta dishes, stir-fry’s, etc.

A garlic press is worth purchasing if you aren’t comfortable using a large knife to cut up your garlic, or using a grater. These options are ok, but they are not ideal. They are much more risky than using a garlic press.

Is it better to mince or chop garlic

Do you need to peel garlic before using a garlic press

You do not need to peel garlic before using it in a garlic press. However, you will get more garlic if you do peel the paper skin away before mining your garlic.

Is it better to mince or chop garlic

It’s better to mince garlic than to chop garlic. Mincing garlic makes garlic granules much smaller than chopping. Since more surface area is exposed of the garlic, the flavor is much stronger. Chopped garlic is usually in bigger pieces, so someone is more likely to get a large piece in their food, which isn’t ideal. The flavor is not as strong using chopped garlic over minced garlic.

What can I use instead of a garlic press

Instead of a garlic press, you can use a grater. Carefully grate the garlic on a grater that has small holes so you can get tiny bits of garlic for your recipe. You don’t want too big of garlic pieces.

You can use a sharp knife instead of a garlic press. This is much more difficult to get little bits of garlic. Typically you’ll want to slice the garlic in half first, and then cut smaller sections of of the garlic until you have small cubes.

Can you grate garlic instead of mincing

You can grate garlic instead of mincing if you don’t have a garlic press. Use a grater that has small holes so you can grate the garlic small enough for your recipe.

Is there a tool to mince garlic

To mince garlic you can use the garlic press tool.

A garlic press has small holes that the garlic is forced through with a metal piece.

The metal comes behind the garlic and pushes it through the holes, giving the garlic a minced preparation.

Is a garlic press worth it

How to prepare and mince a garlic clove

Best Rolling Pin for Tortillas

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The best rolling pin for tortillas is by Bulut. Bulut creates a extra long wooden rolling pin for rolling foods that need be very thin.

  • 35″ long – can roll large tortillas with ease
  • 3/4″ thickness – narrow thickness – allows for quicker rolling of large items
  • solid wood – will last a lifetime
  • cylindrical – even rolling

Tortillas require their dough to be rolled very thin.

Tortillas that are rolled out using a thin and long rolling pin will take less time to roll out than a regular rolling pin, and give you a thinner dough.

When you hold up the tortilla dough after it has been rolled out, it should be thin enough that you can see through it a bit.

If your tortillas are rolled too thick, they will be more difficult to shape and wrap them when you’re ready to use them for your meals. They can also be too chewy when you bite into them, since they will be much thicker.

If your tortillas are not keeping their shape once you roll them out, the dough may need to rest for 30 min longer before rolling them out again.

Tortillas have quite a lot of gluten, and even though they are not kneaded for very long, the dough can be tough to roll out if it hasn’t rested long enough.

Make sure the tortillas have an even thickness throughout before frying the dough in the frying pan.

When you’re shaping and rolling your tortilla dough, keep in mind that the dough should only be rolled out right before frying. As your tortilla is in the frying pan cooking, roll out your next tortilla. This will prevent the dough from drying out too much.

Tortillas can only be made as big as the pan they are cooking in. Keep this in mind when thinking about how large you want your tortillas to be. You may need a larger pan to cook a big tortilla.

Best Rolling Pin for Tortillas

Best Pastry Mat for Rolling Dough

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The best pastry mat for rolling dough is the Silpat.

The Silpat can be used to turn any surface into a non-stick surface.

  • no need to flour the surface of the pastry mat to roll out dough
  • remains in place when rolling
  • non-stick surface – easily peel your dough off of the mat
Best Pastry Mat for Rolling Dough

How to use a pastry mat for rolling out dough

  1. Put your pastry mat onto a flat surface.
  2. Place your dough onto your pastry mat.
  3. Dust your dough and rolling pin with a flour.
  4. Roll out your dough.

The Silpat silicone pastry mat will remain in place while you’re rolling out your dough. You don’t have to flour the surface of the mat, only your dough and rolling pin to roll out your dough on the silicone pastry mat.

how to laminate croissant dough

If you’re rolling out croissant dough or puff pastry you can easily place your silicone pastry mat and dough into the fridge between laminations.

how to proof croissants overnight

Using a silicone pastry mat makes it much easier when you’re rolling out butter for lamination to a specific measurement. The butter remains in place, and it doesn’t create a huge mess. The butter easily peels off of the silicone when you’re transferring it to inside your dough.

pain au chocolat proofing

Silpat pastry mats can be used in the oven to cook pastries and other baked goods as well.

  • Even heat distribution
  • Made to fit your pan exactly – no need to cut parchment paper to fit
  • Durable and long lasting – up to 3000 bakes
  • No greasing needed – no added fat to your recipe
  • Easy release of pastry
  • Professional grade
Best Sifter for Powdered Sugar

Do you need to grease a silicone pastry mat

You do not need to grease a silicone pastry mat to use it. The silicone provides a barrier for your pastry to be easily removed from the mat. Peel off your baked pastry from the mat and place it on a cooling rack.

Do you need to flour a silicone pastry mat

You do not need to flour a silicone pastry mat. Silicone is a special material that does not require it to be floured. It is non-greasy, and you can easily peel your dough or cooked pastry from the mat. When you’re using a silicone pastry mat to roll out your dough, you only need to flour your dough and rolling pin, not the silicone pastry mat.

Where can you use your silicone pastry mat?

A Silpat silicone pastry mat can be used in the freezer, microwave, and the oven.

How to clean a silicone pastry mat?

Wash your silicone pastry mat with some dish soap and a cloth and let it air dry overnight.

How to store a silicone pastry mat?

Store a silicone pastry mat by placing it in a drawer or a cupboard. The silicone mat can be stored rolled up, or folded and will not be damaged.

best macaron mat

Best Quality Cookie Cutters

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The best quality cookie cutters are made by Wilton.

  • 40 different Christmas cutters
  • Mini and standard sizes for variety
  • Cutters are made of metal – will last you a lifetime
  • Sharp cutting edge
  • Rounded on the top for your hands

Wilton has been making baking accessories for over 90 years. They focus on the latest trends in baking and decorating to bring you the best baking accessories for your home kitchen.

Make sure to only hand wash your cookie cutters and let them to dry on a towel overnight. Do not put them away without being fully dry or your cookie cutters will rust from having water sit on them for too long.

4 Recipes using cookie cutters

Can you shape cookie dough by hand

Yes. Roll out your dough to 1/4″ thickness. Then use a glass upside down to cut a piece of dough that’s even.

  • Use your fingers and pinch the dough to make points
  • Use a fork to make decorations on the top of the dough
  • Use a butter knife on a cutting board to cut the dough – a butter knife is better than a serrated because a serrated can cause jagged edges. A butter knife will give you a smooth finish
  • Use your fingers to mold the dough into the shape you want by stretching and pulling the dough

How thick is 1/4 inch dough

1/4 inch dough is about half a macaroni length in thickness.

What to use for cookie cutters

If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can use an upside down glass or glassware to cut your cookies into shapes. You can use a butter knife to cut your own shapes as well.

How to use cookie cutters with chocolate chip cookies

  1. Roll out your chocolate chip cookie dough to about 1/4″ thickness
  2. Place your cookie cutter just inside the dough so there is some overlap for your cookie cutter
  3. Firmly press your cookie cutter into the chocolate chip cookie dough
  4. Remove your cookie cutter vertically so you get a clean cut with your cookie cutter
  5. Cookie cut your way through the entire chocolate chip cookie dough
  6. Remove your cookies and place on a baking pan
  7. Ball up your dough and roll it out again one more time
  8. Repeat steps 2-6 one more time
  9. Bake your cookies for the same amount of time your recipe states
  10. Cool on a cooling rack
  11. Store in an airtight container

8 Most popular cookie cutters

  • heart
  • star
  • tree
  • reindeer
  • gingerbread
  • candy cane
  • snowman
  • circle

Cookie cutter storage ideas

Store your cookie cutters in a tin, glass jar, or plastic container.

If you have a big enough container, you can lie your cookie cutters flat so you can see all of your cookie cutters at once, and not need to fish through your container to find a specific one you’re looking for.

Best Round Cookie Cutters

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The best round cookie cutters are made by Ultra Cuisine.

  • 11 graduated round cookie cutters
  • 1″- 3.5″ in diameter
  • professional grade
  • stainless steel – made to last
  • rounded edges to protect your hands
  • firm cutting edge
  • lifetime guarantee

Ultra cuisine focuses on creating products that are built to last, easy to clean, and easy to use.

Ultra cuisines round cookie cutters have a large depth to them so you can use them and easily remove your cookie dough from the cookie cutter.

The cutting edge of the cookie cutters are sharp so you don’t have to twist the cookie cutter to get the dough off.

Round cookie cutters can also be used to cut donuts – use varying sizes to cut donuts with the cookie cutters.

Other uses for the best round cookie cutters include:

  • poached eggs
  • cutting bread for tea sandwiches or appetizers
  • biscuits
  • dinner rolls
  • English muffins
  • scones
  • fondant

You can hand wash your round cookie cutters when you’re finished with them, or place in the top rack of your dishwasher. Let them dry completely before storing them away.

How to use cookie cutters

  1. roll out your dough until your desired thickness ~1/4″ thick.
  2. Place the cookie cutter on the dough with the round side up. The cookie cutter should sit just inside the dough so it fits fully on the dough.
  3. Gently press down on the cookie cutter until it’s through the dough and you can feel the resistance.
  4. Pull the cookie cutter directly vertical so it makes a clean cut. Cut all of your cookies this way.
  5. After you’ve cut the entire dough, you can start removing your cookies from the dough.
  6. Use a flat plastic flipper to get under the cookie, and place the cookie on a baking sheet. Have them at least 1/2″ away from one another.
  7. Ball up your dough and roll it out again and repeat the process. Only roll out your dough 2-3 times, as any more rolling the cookies will be too tough and not as chewy.
  8. Bake your cookies.
  9. Decorate your cookies.
Best Round Cookie Cutters

Extra Long Wooden Rolling Pin

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A Turkish rolling pin is an extra long wooden rolling pin that is over 30” long rolling pin.

You can find an extra long rolling pin by Bulut that is 35″ long, and only 3/4″ in diameter.

This is one of the classic Turkish Oklava rolling pins.

Baklava (phyllo pastry dough), dumplings, and tortillas are rolled into very thin doughs ~2 mm or less before baking.

To create these thin doughs, having an extra long rolling pin will make it much easier to roll out. The larger the rolling pin, the more surface area the dough has to expand.

These types of dough are light, and will move freely as you press your rolling pin into the dough.

One dough in particular, phyllo pastry dough is especially difficult to make. Phyllo pastry takes a long time to master because the dough becomes substantially large and paper thin.

Phyllo pastry is created by rolling out the dough to it’s final dough thickness – as thin as you can make it. Phyllo pastry requires you to add flour/corn flour to your dough as you continuously roll it out thinner and thinner. The phyllo dough will become as long as your rolling pin.

If you’re working with a rolling pin half the size, it will take you twice as long to roll out your dough. You might not get your dough to the required thinness needed for phyllo using a short rolling pin.

The sheets of phyllo dough are then stacked together to make layers of fat and dough.

Phyllo pastry is used to bake many delicate pastries by manipulating it into different shapes and adding fillings in the center of the dough before baking.

Pasta dough can also be rolled out using an extra long wooden rolling pin. Pasta dough requires the dough to be thinner than paper, which is easily achieved using a pasta maker. A pasta maker squishes the dough together, making it thinner and thinner, working the dough until it’s a uniform thickness.

In a pinch, an extra long rolling pin will help you roll out your pasta dough into thin sheets. You will not get it as thin as a pasta maker, but you can use a rolling pin if necessary.

Lavash Armenian Flatbread becomes quite large and thin when it’s rolled out to ~35 inches long. By using an extra long rolling pin it will save you time rolling out your dough to the suggested length.

sundried tomato pesto flatbread mozzerella
sundried tomato fresh pesto flatbread

Best Solid Wood Rolling Pin

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The best solid wood rolling pin is Ateco Professional Solid Wood Rolling Pin.

Ateco Solid Wood Rolling Pin
Solid wood - maple
Heavyweight
Cylindrical or French
Hand wash only

Ateco’s solid wood rolling pin is made to last you a lifetime.

Ateco creates highly specialized professional quality baking accessories for pastry chefs and has done so for over 100 years.

Ateco’s rolling pins are made of solid maple wood. Their solid wooden rolling pin is heavier than your average rolling pin weighing in at 1.5 lbs for their 18″ rolling pin.

Having a heavier rolling pin is helpful when you’re trying to roll out cold laminated dough like puff pastry or croissant dough.

There will be a lot of resistance when you’re trying to roll out these doughs. Heavier rolling pins help with forcing the dough down for you, so you don’t have to use as much pushing motion.

The surface of the Ateco rolling pin is very smooth, so you don’t need to add too much flour to your dough or rolling pin to effectively roll out your dough.

If your rolling pin has more of a rough surface then you have to add quite a bit of flour to the rolling pin to smooth it out first. If you don’t add enough flour to the rough surface, your dough will stick to the rolling pin.

Ateco’s rolling pin has an exceptionally smooth surface, so you will only need to dust the rolling pin lightly with flour before rolling out your dough.

Ateco’s solid wood rolling pin comes in a few different sizes – 12″, 15″ or 18″ plus the length of the handles.

how to laminate croissant dough

How to use a French rolling pin

To use your French rolling pin, you’re going to be putting pressure on the center of the rolling pin.

  1. Place your dough on a floured surface.
  2. Flour the top of your dough, and flour your French rolling pin.
  3. Place your French rolling pin on top of your dough and begin rolling out your dough by pressing down with the base of your hand and pushing it away from you.
  4. Press the dough with the base of your hands and roll the pin back towards you.
  5. Repeat this motion until you have rolled out your dough with your French rolling pin to your exact thickness needed. Be sure to add flour to your dough and your French rolling pin as needed.

French rolling pin vs Regular rolling pin

French Rolling Pin vs Regular Rolling Pin 
TaperedCylindrical
Direct PressureIndirect Pressure through using handles
More controlLess Control
Gentle on doughMore forceful on dough
Unable to use thickness ringsAble to use thickness rings

A regular rolling pin is cylindrical shaped whereas a French rolling pin is tapered.

A French rolling pin is tapered, therefore you need to put pressure on the center because it doesn’t have any handles.

With a French rolling pin you have more control with it because you are applying direct pressure with your hands in the center of the rolling pin.

A regular rolling pin has handles, which is where you will be putting pressure. You’re sandwiching the dough with a regular rolling pin to force it to roll out.

A French rolling pin is more gentle on the dough because it has direct pressure, versus indirect pressure.

Should you wash a rolling pin?

You should wash your rolling pin with a damp cloth to gently wipe away the excess flour on your rolling pin.

Do not soak the rolling pin in water as this will warp the wood and cause it not to be even. Water will penetrate the wood and potentially crack the rolling pin as well.

Use a soft cloth with a bit of water to wash your rolling pin.

Do you need to oil a rolling pin?

If your rolling pin becomes too dry over the years of use, you can use mineral oil to oil your rolling pin.

Mineral oil acts as a barrier between water and other foods. This will keep your rolling pin from drying out when you wash it.

Putting mineral oil on your rolling pin will keep food and bacteria out of your rolling pin, resisting mold and bacterial growth.

Typically you should oil your rolling pin every 2-3 years depending on usage.

Best Solid Wood Rolling Pin

Learn which extra long rolling pin is best for phyllo pastry, dumplings, or pasta.

Best Marble Rolling Pin

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The best marble rolling pin is the Chefmade 18” marble rolling pin.

The Chefmade marble rolling pin weighs over 2 lbs, making rolling out stiff, cold, laminated dough much easier than a light wooden rolling pin.

  • Ergonomic wooden handle design
  • Smooth marble surface for rolling
  • Wooden holder for marble rolling pin to rest in when not in use

Always keep your marble rolling pin resting in the holder when not in use. Marble rolling pins are prone to chipping, so keeping it in it’s holder should make it last you for a long time.

layered french dessert eggless puff pastry recipe

Marble vs Wood Rolling Pin

Marble rolling pins are best used for butter lamination dough recipes, like puff pastry, or croissant dough.

81 layers of butter for croissant dough

Marble is able to sustain its temperature. Pastry chefs can place their marble rolling pin in the fridge, along with their pastry dough. When they’re ready to laminate their pastry, the marble rolling pin is able to keep its cold temperature. This is ideal for laminating dough. Laminating cold dough is critical for puff pastry and croissant dough because the butter inside needs to be kept cold, otherwise it will break through the dough.

Marble vs Wood Rolling Pin

Marble is particularly heavy, making it much easier to roll out cold laminated dough than a light wooden rolling pin.

Wooden rolling pins are best used for cookie dough, pizza dough, bread, and buns.

Wooden rolling pins are not as heavy as marble rolling pins. Therefore, you need to use more force to roll out dough using a wooden rolling pin.

Wooden rolling pins are ideal for recipes that need flour to adhere to the rolling pin as you roll out the dough. Flour clings to wooden edges easily. Your dough will roll out nicely without having it stick to the rolling pin.

How do you keep dough from sticking to marble rolling pins

Marble rolling pins have a particularly smooth surface, making it difficult for flour to stick to the marble rolling pin. Add a dusting of flour to your dough instead, and then use your marble rolling pin to roll out your dough. The dough will not stick to your marble rolling pin as long as your dough is floured enough for it to be rolled out. Add more flour as needed.

If adding more flour to your dough isn’t working very well, you can place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your dough and then roll it out. The parchment paper will act as a barrier in between and will not stick to your rolling pin, or your dough. Peel the parchment paper from your dough when you’ve finished rolling it out.

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How to clean a marble rolling pin

Clean a marble rolling pin by using a cloth and bit of water to rub it clean.

Only if necessary, use a bit of dish soap to clean off residue that will not clean off with water.

Marble rolling pins are the best rolling pins for making croissants and pastry dough. They are able to keep their cold temperature throughout the rolling and laminating process, unlike wooden rolling pins. Pastry dough and croissant dough are very temperature sensitive. Marble rolling pins are able to keep that consistent temperature and smoothness needed to create these delicious pastries.