Looking to get started in the world of baking bread? I’m no expert, but here are some of the things helping me get there.
KitchenAid Dough Hook
LavaTools Instant Read Food Thermometer
Yes, it’s expensive and seems superfluous, but if you really get into this whole bread thing (or baking in general) you’ll love your KitchenAid. I am personally obsessed with my pistachio colored one.
If you have the KitchenAid, you’ll want a dough hook for kneading bread–don’t use any other attachment! These often come with the mixer, but you may want a spare.
An instant read thermometer is the most accurate way to tell if your bread is done. I like this brand.
Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker
9-Inch Proofing Basket
Aeaker Bread Lame
If you don’t have a professional-grade steam oven, this is your next best bet. I like using my cast iron dutch oven (see below), but this combo cooker makes it even easier to slash the bread and remove the lid when it’s hot. A must if you get serious.
When you’re first getting started you can use a colander lined with a clean towel for proofing, but eventually you’ll want to graduate to a proper proofing basket. I like this size and shape for general boule bread.
When you’re just starting out feel free to use a sharp knife to score your bread, but once again, you’ll eventually want to graduate to a proper lame. I like this one because the replacement blades are inexpensive and easily sourced.
OXO Bench Knife/Scraper
Lodge 6-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Bread Baking for Beginners by Bonnie Ohara
The bench scraper is not an immediate must, but it will make your life a lot cleaner and easier when maneuvering and handling your dough…Plus this tool has a variety of other uses in the kitchen.
A dutch oven is a great way to steam your bread then be able to remove the lid halfway through the baking process so you can brown the outside crust. I have an Instagram story showing the difference between baking in a dutch oven and just in a pan, trust me you’ll get much pretty loaves with a dutch oven!
I think working your way through a structured book is the best way to learn the science behind baking bread, and this book is a fave for me (and I have a lot of bread books). It’s easy to follow, has lots of pictures, and the instructions are sooo detailed, it makes the whole process simple.
Silicon Pastry Mat
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson
One of these is nice to have on hand so you can flour your work surface and easily dump the excess in the trash. Plus it’s great for measuring when you’re rolling out pizza dough or need an exact sized rectangle for things like cinnamon rolls or babka.
If you’re going to buy one book, buy Bonnie’s book (above), but if you’re ready for something more advanced, or just want a pretty bread-related coffee table book, snag a copy of Tartine. This book explores more complex and interesting variations on classic breads and has some great recipes for what to do with all your bread.