Baking Tools, Books & Other Resources
Here is a list of kitchen items that I use regularly while baking at home. I've also included some of my favourite books and other incredibly helpful resources that you can find online.
This is a list of items that I use on a regular basis. I've included a photo, description of the item and why I like it. If you click on the Name or the photo you'll be directed to a website that sells that product. A couple of these items may have changed since I purchased mine, if that's the case I've linked to a similar item by the same company. Depending on what it is, I may receive a small commission for eligible purchases, so if you do purchase something after clicking the link I'll be very grateful!
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This jar sized spatula gets used way more than I expected. I find it great for feeding your starter. Having a nice spatula is key. You're going to be using this a lot so don't go too cheap. I really like these OXO ones because they're all one piece making them super easy to clean. Also, you don't have to worry about the top of it popping off or collecting old, hard to clean food in the cracks.
This is the regular sized spatula I like. Having a nice spatula is key. You're going to be using this a lot so don't go too cheap. I really like these OXO ones because they're all one piece making them super easy to clean. Also, you don't have to worry about the top of it popping off or collecting old, hard to clean food in the cracks.
A scale is probably the most used item in our kitchen. Not only does it get used a half dozen times during every bake, but I also use it for things like measuring out coffee or weighing equal portions for the kids to avoid fights on who got the bigger piece. It doesn't need to be fancy. A decent sized base is nice and grams are important. 1/2 grams would be a bonus. A lot of grocery stores even carry them now.
Digital Thermometers are another one of those indespensible items required if you're aiming for consistency in your baking. A lot of people check the dough temperature at every stage of the process, I find it makes a big difference even just monitoring the temperature of the water that goes into your mix.
Again, one of those tools that gets used way more than one would imagine. Especially for stuff like cleaning the table after a messy meal with toddlers! I like these OXO ones, they're simple, easy to clean and get the job done.
You don't need anything fancy here, just something that will hold your dough for you. I find it's nice to have something with a somewhat flat bottom as it really helps the dough relax between Folds. Glass is nice becasue you can see the fermentation bubbles on the bottom. I like to mix in a bowl and then transfer to a Pyrex pan for the Folds. Sorry no link for this one.
Most of the time a Batard (oval) loaf is what I choose to go with. I find it to be more practical and generally turn out looking a little bit nicer. The shape is better for sandwiches in my opinion. Bannetons help by allowing the dough to breath just a little bit and keep the shape you worked so hard to achieve. 10" Oval is my favourite for batards. They hold 1kg loaves just fine and I can still pop that in my Lodge Dutch oven.
I personally prefer Batards over Boules but Boules definitely have their place. If you only have a round Dutch Oven, you're going to be making a Boule. Bannetons help by allowing the dough to breath just a little bit and keep the shape you worked so hard to achieve. Colanders can work, but bannetons are miles better. 9"Round is my favourite for Boules. They can hold everything up to 1.5kg of dough with ease for those big dinner parties.
Razor blades are definitely the best way to score bread. Regardless of what you use to hold the blade you're going to want a nice pack of blades to get crisp lines and a decent ear. While you're at it, start shaving with them too! That way you'll never have a buy razor to shave again...just to bake bread
This Pan is legit! Jim Challenger designed these with the sole purpose of baking better bread at home. You can bake Boules, Batards, small Demi Baguettes, Bagels and all kinds of other great things in here. Check them out, they've been doing great things lately. The quality and craftsmanship of these cast iron pans is remarkable. Buy a couple of these and you'll be set for decades of great baking!
This is the Dutch oven that I baked my first loaf of Sourdough in. It's very nice, but it's round so your options are a bit limited to Boules (or at least a pretty stubby Batard). The fact that you can use this upside down is super handy. This gets put to work making bread but it's also a great pot for cooking stews, and other great dishes in the kitchen or even while camping!
My wife and I were given this as a wedding present. The gift wasn't intended for baking bread, but this thing now has a lot of loaves under its belt. It doesn't get used as much as it use to (now that I have a Challenger Pan) but it's still nice to pull out once in awhile. The deep sides make it a bit harder to get dough inside smoothly and safely. I use the 4.2L Cocotte.
This proofer was a game changer for me. It's very simple and the consistency it provides makes a big difference in the quality of my loaves. I was able to make small adjustments to ingredients and timing and know that my temperature was constant and not a factor in changing my results. As a bonus, it collapses very quickly and tucks right into a kitchen drawer. This is great for making yogurt too, I make a full gallon at a time with this!
I had never planned on getting a dough whisk. Breadsmart, a company out of Canada got in touch with me to do some testing before launching their bread baking kit. To be honest at first I thought it was kind of weird. Now I use it every single bake, I can't even remember the last time a made a loaf of bread and didn't use it when adding the water for the Autolyse.
I like this bowl scraper because it's quite stiff for scraping off tough dough. The main bowl I use for my bulk fermentation a pretty tall with straight sides so the straight side of this scraper works really nicely for scraping the walls. You can definitely just use a regular spatula but this is really nice to have around from time to time.
A Couche is nice when it comes to proofing baguettes. You can always use a tea towel, but a Couche works way better! I put off the purchase of mine for far too long. As soon as I used it for the first time I realized I should have gotten one way earlier. The dough releases much more consistently when using one of these. I have the larger size, but the small size would be adequate.
I've been making tin loaves for as long as I can remember. They're great for Sandwich breads and they're a perfect size for small Focaccias. These Chicago Metallic tins are probably my favorite as they have nice crisp corners. I keep a half dozen on hand and do a monthly bake using these for kids lunch bread.
I've mentioned in the "Starter" section that a glass jar with straight walls is nice for keeping an eye on the starters activity and for measuring the growth over time. A 500ml Wide Mouth Mason jar is nice for this and they pretty common place to find. I also have these little yogurt jars that are about 150ml. These are my go-to jars for my starter.
These mitts are mismatched and I don't even remember what brand either of them are, but they put in a lot of work around here. Silicone is great when you're working with smoking hot cast iron coming out of the oven at 550 degrees! Order them online or pick some up at you local kitchen supply or grocery store...just do yourself a favour and get some.
You're going to need a decent sized knife if you're making nice bread. I wouldn't go with anything shorter than 9". A smaller blade will make it tough to get nice smooth cuts to show of those gorgeous crumbs! A slightly curved blade helps to cut right through to the bottom the nicely.
It's safe to say that this book changed my life. This book is what started my Sourdough obsession. I heard about it on the radio while driving home from work. Within days I had my own copy and proceeded to read it cover to cover. It's very informative and well organized. If you're only going to have one sourdough baking book, this one gets my vote. And if you ever find yourself in San Francisco don't pass up the opportunity to visit their bakery!
A great follow up to the first book. This one dives a little deeper into the use of ancient grains. It also has a nice section on pastries and crisp bread if you're looking to expand your repertoire.
Vanessa Kimbell did a great job putting this book together. This book is very informative and really dives deep into the health benefits of Sourdough. It holds a ton of great, healthy and interesting recipe combinations.
Not a book for beginners, but an amazing book once you learn the basics. One of the best resources out there for upping your game and delving deep into the understanding of crumb structure and fermentation. Trevor J. Wilson is a true master of the craft.
A great book that keeps getting updated! The bagels and Focaccia are great. Mike is incredibly talented, especially when it come to Pizza! He's now working with Ooni Pizza Ovens as the Head of Engineering
The internet is a great resource for a lot of different things... but especially Sourdough. Click the underlined writing for a link.
The Sourdough Podcast- Mike interviews all kinds of people connected to the world of Sourdough. From flour millers to cottage bakers to even a Sourdough librarian! The content is rich and educational. I'd definitely recommend giving it a listen.
Artisan Bryan- Bryan Ford is the man! He's been doing great things lately and he's coming out with a book very soon!
The Perfect Loaf- If you've found your way to this site, I'm sure you already know about Maurizio's amazing Website. He's had "The Perfect Loaf" up and running for years now and I've drawn a lot of inspiration from his magnificent bread photos and creative content.
Fullproof Baking- Kristen is the Queen of Sourdough! Check out her Youtube channel or Instagram account. Her videos are very concise and she just makes everything look so easy! Kristen is also very on top of responding quickly to any of your Sourdough queries.
Instagram- All you ever need to know about bread, and more, can be found here if you dig around enough.
The Sourdough Dude - Asher Jordan the man, check out his Youtube video's and Instagram account for some hilarious content and great baking!