Bread Baking for Beginners is available on Amazon, on kindle, and at Barnes & Noble. Learn more by clicking the link!
Ready to bake and not sure what you might need? Here is a list of some of my favorite tools of the trade.
A thermometer is important, I like this one especially because it’s waterproof.
You will need a digital scale. There are smaller and more affordable versions which are fine, but this one is my favorite. If you plan on baking a lot of bread in the future, it’s a worthwhile investment.
A Dutch Oven is helpful for baking hearth loaves in imperfect home ovens, they help trap steam and deliver even consistent heat around your loaf. Any is fine, but this is my personal favorite, I like the handle on top and it’s nice and big, I can even place a batard shaped loaf inside because it is nice and roomy.
Any large mixing bowl is fine, but I love these type because they are lightweight and big enough to mix lots of dough.
A dough scraper (also called a bench knife) is a very handy tool, I like this style that is all one piece, sometime the ones with a wood or plastic handle become loose with lots of use.
A loaf pan is great for making sandwich loaves, brioches and babkas. USA pan are my favorite, nothing sticks to them and they are extremely durable, and their corners don’t end up tearing your breads like some cheaper lower quality pans do. I use the medium size, which is slightly bigger than the small loaf pan.
For focaccia, fougasse, ficelles, and cinnamon rolls too… any half sheet pan will do, but USA pan is the best.
Nothing is more irrational and irritating than rolls of parchment paper. Naturally you want parchment paper to lay flat… in a roll it curls up and will drive you to madness. Don’t let this happen to you. Pre-cut parchment sheets will keep you happy and sane and 120 of them will last you a long time. Imagine the serenity of having plenty of pre cut parchment paper on hand…. YES.
A lame is basically a special holder for a razor blade that baker’s use to score their breads. I prefer this one out of many that I have tried, it’s easy to change the blades and it holds the blade at an angle which helps with slashing baguettes and batard. I like knowing my blade will not fall out and get lost since I have small kids.
This dusting wand is a fun and frivolous item. Is it necessary? No. Is it super fun way to sieve the finest dusting of flour? Yes. Do kids love it? Absolutely.
When you decide you want a proofing basket this one is a nice option, it comes with a liner and a linen bag to store your bread.
If you are doing a lot of baking, you won’t want to buy yeast in packets anymore, Saf Instant is available in 1 pound bags, and will last you a long time, it’s a much better deal than buying in packets.
These tiny bowls are a very silly thing to spend your money on, but I thought they were a little too sweet to pass up, I like using them for small ingredients (not for measuring) but it’s a great visual cue as well.
When you start making a lot of gorgeous crusty breads, you are going to realize your bread knife just isn’t cutting it. This Wusthof is a fantastic choice and worthy investment. I got mine when I had birthday money to take the sting out of the price tag.
I get asked about how to store bread a lot. A paper or plastic bag will get the job done just fine, but these beeswax fabric wraps are my favorite, they look beautiful and keep your bread soft, but are still breathable so they keep the crust nice and it’s a better choice overall than plastic or paper since you can wash and re-use them <3
If you develop a fascination with making baguettes, you will eventually want a linen couche to proof them on.
If you end up making lots and lots of baguettes like me, this will be a great investment. It allows you to transfer you proofed baguettes from your couche to your peel without damaging them.
A rolling pin comes in handy when rolling out cinnamon roll dough, these style are especially handy for getting all the dough out to the same thickness, which impacts the final product. I have the 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch, but there are a variety of sizes and lengths for different needs. The 1/8 is great for pastry and pie crusts as well, or any situation where uniform thickness is needed.
Okay, now you are really getting serious. Large plastic cambros are durable, food safe and stackable, and seal super tight. When you need to store lots of special flours, make large quantities of dough, or keep a massive amount of sourdough starter on hand, you will start coveting weird things like cambro tubs. You can find these at a local restaurant supply store as well.