5 Essential Bread Baking Tools (And One You Don't Really Need)
The more you bake the more you will discover that measuring by weight instead of volume will give you the most consistent results. My own baking changed significantly for the better when I started working with a scale. OXO Good Grips makes a great one with a pull-out display and an 11-pound capacity, which is good for bread baking.
Buy it: OXO Good Grips® Stainless Steel Scale with Pull-Out Digital Display ($49.99), bedbathandbeyond.com
Wooden dough bowl
When it comes to mixing bread dough, wood is better than almost any other material, since it can grip the dough and actually help the mixing process. Sure, you have to wash by hand, but it is worth it. The bigger the better. I use an antique dough bowl that was a gift from a friend, but this one would be a good one to try.
Buy it: Medium Wooden Dough Bowl ($39.95), pier1.com
Danish dough whisk
As much as I love baking bread, and love the hands-on kneading and forming process, I have never been a fan of the initial mixing: Getting wet dough embedded under my fingernails and trying to wash up after is just not my thing. A Danish dough whisk fixed all of that. Designed to help get your dough to come together initially, these sturdy helpers are also great for heavy brownie and cookie batters. This one is all stainless steel so it can go in the dishwasher.
Buy it: Black Walnut Handle Dough Whisk ($29.95), williams-sonoma.com
Buy it: Spectrum Diversified Stainless Steel Dough Whisk ($41.99 on sale), wayfair.com
Whether you call them by the German brotform or French banneton, rattan proofing baskets are ideal for rising breads. Designed to wrangle soft, high-hydration doughs as well as imprinting those lovely designs on the crusts of your breads, they’re a go-to tool for professional bakers and great for the rest of us as well. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can easily find the ones that work best for your baking practice. Bonus, they also make terrific bread basket for serving! You can find a lovely brotform here.
Buy it: Frieling 8-Inch Round Brotform Dough-Rising Bread Basket ($27.99), bedbathandbeyond.com
Storage containers for flour
The more you bake bread, the more you will realize that you need to store lots of flour. And sure, beautiful cannisters can make your kitchen look like a Food Network set (and here's a pretty set if you’re in the mood). But the real deal for bread bakers is volume and ease of use, so! If you have access to a restaurant supply house, Cambro makes great ones. But these food storage containers (often deployed for pet food) also work really well, come in a variety of sizes, and are on wheels for ease of moving them around.
Buy it: Zebediah Airtight 5 Container Food Storage Set ($25.99), wayfair.com
Investment: A stand mixer
I rely heavily on my stand mixer to do the heavy lifting in my bread baking. For a long time I used the darling of every wedding registry, my KitchenAid. The lift-bowl models come with a screw-style dough hook that does a great job mimicking hand kneading, and you can usually do a two-loaf batch of dough easily.
Buy it: KitchenAid® Pro Line® Stand Mixer, 7-Qt. ($499.95 on sale), williams-sonoma.com
My favorite stand mixer
But my new favorite thing is my Ankarsrum mixer. This Swedish machine can really take your bread baking to the next level. It has two different options for kneading: the roller, which is great for softer enriched bread doughs; and the hook, which can tackle those hearty whole grain or sourdoughs with ease. The bowl is a large 8 quarts, so it can really take on a ton of dough. If you are going to make a long-term investment in your baking, either of these will be a gamechanger, or the best possible gift for the baker in your life.
Buy it: Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer ($699.95), surlatable.com
Excited to get baking while you wait for your cool new tools to arrive in the post? Take the time to explore some new bread recipes. Here’s a great primer: 20 homemade breads made with all-purpose flour. And if you’re just joining the sourdough cult, here’s a great recipe to get you started. Curious about keeping a sourdough starter in your kitchen? Here’s what you need to know.