When I first started with my bread making experiments, I realized that my kitchen need a serious gear update. Many of my tools were 20+ years old from when I first got married, and they were beat. So I upgraded with new mixing bowls, baking sheets, silicone baking mats, a new rolling pin and measuring spoons. It feels great to have an overall kitchen facelift.
I also needed some additional tools for bread. Let me save you the research and tell you what I ended up with:
1. A good mixing bowl with a cover
It turns out that the batter bowl and cover that I got from Pampered Chef eons ago is perfect for letting dough rise. Of course if you have a good sized pyrex bowl that will work, too. But this one really works great too. It's on their site for $20.
2. Banneton Proofing Baskets
The longer bread proofs, the more the gluten breaks down. This makes the bread easier to digest and more flavorful. A banneton proofing basket helps the bread to keep it's shape and it outs very professional-looking ridges on the top of your loaves. And you don't want to get cheap banneton or it will start to flake. I got mine on amazon from Bread Bosses for about $20 and it work great. Bonus - it comes with a dough scraper, which is another tool I didn't know I needed until I had it.
3. Bowl Covers
Last year I made a commitment to eliminate as much plastic and disposable plastics items as I could from my kitchen. So instead of covering my bowls with plastic, I am using fabric covers. I found a set of 3 cute red-striped ones in various sizes from Earth Bunny for $30 and they work great. I also bought a set of silicone ones from Modfamily on Amazon for $15 that work great if I need to let something rise in a warm oven.
4. A Kitchen Scale
Many of the recipes are very exacting, especially for sourdough. And many of the recipes are in grams. In order to be that precise, I realized that I needed a kitchen scale. I bought the Escali Primo P115C Precision Kitchen Scale from Amazon. It was $25 and it works great.
5. A Dutch Oven
I did not have a proper dutch oven to use for making bread. After doing my research I shopped the sales at Christmas and got the enameled cast iron Staub 5.5QT Round Cocotte at Sur la Table. The cover is specially designs to baste as it cooks, so it helps to keep the crust of the bread moist. This prevents me from having to use a sheet pan full of boiling water in the bottom of the oven - which sounds like a disaster to me. Plus, having this beautiful pot in my kitchen makes me feel like Julia Child.
A more cost effective option is also a classic pyrex set of a bowl and cover. I found this one on Amazon for about $30.
Kris Delaney is a marketing executive, foodie, travel enthusiast, and book nerd based in Atlanta, GA.