There is no denying that freshly baked bread is one of the most delicious foods in the world. Bread seems like such a basic staple, so it should also be easy to make on your own, right?
As it turns out, baking your own bread can take up quite a bit of time, and, depending on the recipe and tools you use, it could take up to 2 1/2 hours to bake just one large loaf of bread.
You may be wondering if devoting the time to make your own loaves is really worth your while.
Well, for starters, baking your own bread is actually much cheaper than simply buying a loaf from the store, and it tastes better, too!
However, there are quite a number of bread-making tools you need in order to get started.
Bread Making Supplies For Baking Bread from Scratch
A baking stone is a large piece of stoneware used to bake bread or pizza on. These stones retain heat much better than normal baking sheets or tins, allowing the heat to be more evenly disturbed around the bottom of your loaf. This will give your bread a nice, crispy crust.
Baking stones come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. Typically, you will want a baking stone that does not have a long handle at the end of it, so that the stone can easily fit into your oven.
Round stones are the most common types, but rectangular or square shape models tend to be the best fits for beginners. This is because these longer shapes are more forgiving of mistakes you might make when shaping your dough, and you can also bake longer loaves on them.
Cook’s Illustrated tested five different baking stones on their durability, their ability to withstand 500 degrees or more without cracking, how well each stone performed in producing an evenly baked, crispy crust, and how easy each stone was to use.
After going through all these tests, they found that the Old Stone Oven brand rectangular pizza stone was the best of the five.
The price for this stone may be a bit steep at around $40 on Amazon, so they have also recommended the Pizzacraft All-Purpose Baking Stone for those on a budget.
Dough Scraper/Bench Knife
A dough scraper or bench knife is a tool that removes dough stuck to any surface, including the inside of bowls and any stuck to the space you use to roll out or knead your dough. You can also use it to scoop up your dough and cut it into smaller portions.
These are typically made of plastic or are just large blades with handles attached to the top. In fact, the terms “dough scraper” and “bench knife” are often used interchangeably when talking about this tool.
For the sake of differentiating between the two, however, we will be referring to the plastic scrapers as “dough scrapers” and the blades as “bench knives.”
If you tend to use a bowl to mix and knead your dough, you should purchase a smaller plastic dough scraper instead of a bench knife. A bench knife may end up scratching the bowl, and you may accidentally cut yourself in the process.
Skillet asserts that the OXO Good Grips bench knife is of great quality at an affordable price. It even has measurements engraved on the bottom of the blade with half-inch increments to allow for more precise cuts.
Loaf tins are, of course, tins that you bake bread in. Baking stones are nice for creating an evenly crispy crust, but if you want your bread to retain that classic loaf shape, loaf tins are the way to go.
They come in a variety of sizes and materials. The most common size these tins come in is 9 inches by 5 inches with 2 1/2 inches of depth for large loaves.
Loaf tins can be made out of glass, ceramic, and metal, and each material can determine how your bread will turn out.
Keep in mind that if you use a glass or ceramic pan for your bread, you should lower the oven temperature by about 25 degrees Fahrenheit less than your bread recipe calls for since these types of pans absorb heat faster than metal pans.
Glass pans and ceramic pans alike will give you bread that is almost like sandwich bread in both texture and color.
However, if you like your bread a little darker than that, aluminum pans are a good choice. This is because aluminum is a good conductor of heat and will evenly cook your bread through without any problem.
Business Insider states that the best loaf pan overall is the Wilton Recipe Right Medium Bread Loaf Baking Pan, while the best aluminum pan is the USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel 1 Pound Loaf Pan.
Flour sifters are a kind of strainer with a wire sieve at the bottom that can help break up large clumps of flour into smaller, more powdery pieces that are much easier to blend with liquids or mixes.
Sifters also aerate the flour, meaning they mix air particles into the flour itself to make it lighter while also providing more volume.
You can use this sifter to mix several dry ingredients together, including sugar, select spices, or fine grains. Be sure that you first measure out your flour or other dry ingredients before you sift them, however, or you may find yourself sifting more than you need.
Some flour sifters will have a crank for you to manually sift, while others will just require you to shake it.
It has a soft handle and no manual crank, meaning all you have to do is shake it. It has both a top and bottom lid, allowing for less spillage as well as another way to store your flour to keep it fresh. It also has measurements engraved onto it, which will help make your bread-making experience a breeze.
For those who are on a budget, the Bellemain Stainless Steel 3 Cup Flour Sifter is a slightly cheaper choice. This sifter does have a manual crank, but it is lightweight, has measurements engraved onto the side, and it was designed with bakers who have arthritis in mind, so it is very easy to use.
It is also quite sturdy and rust-resistant.
Stand mixers are large, electric mixers that have motors powerful enough to mix all kinds of dough.
The mixers are fitted into a stand that hangs over the bowl to place ingredients in, and they typically come with wire whisks, flat beaters, and a dough hook, which is especially important for kneading bread dough.
Some bakers will say that it is easier to mix and knead your dough by hand. And with the rise of “no-knead” recipes cropping up on the Internet, it may certainly seem like stand mixers are now obsolete hunks of machinery.
However, the hosts of The Great British Baking Show beg to differ. They argue that it makes baking (and especially bread-making) that much easier.
They also explain that there are some dough types out there which are much too sticky or loose for mixing or kneading by hand. Typically, brioche, ciabatta, or focaccia bread are made from these types of dough.
The best stand mixer, according to wirecutter.com, is the KitchenAid KSM150PSWH Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield.
Wirecutter.com swears by the mixer’s sturdiness no matter how thick the dough, its durability over the many years they have used it, and how easy it is to clean.
It also comes with a number of other attachments as well, including an attachment for a meat grinder and a pasta maker, so you can use this stand mixer for more than just baking bread!
These knives are for more experienced bakers, or for those who perhaps want to give their loaves that professional “ear” design on the top that make them easier to hold (and makes the bread look prettier too).
Lames (or grignettes in French) are used to score your dough, meaning you slash at it to control the direction the dough expands as it is baking. It is much easier to score with these blades than with regular kitchen knives, because of how thin and curved they are.
The hosts of The Great British Baking Show attest to how especially easy it is to use the Adour Lame-brand Bread Scoring Blade, which can be found at souschef.co.uk.
These baskets are used to help shape circular loaves, giving them that professional swirl pattern on the top of your bread.
You would typically put your dough in here in its proofing (or final rising) stage before baking.
It even comes with a plastic dough scraper and a cloth liner for the basket, so you can also make loaves that are smooth instead of the indented look the basket alone will provide.
Sourdough Starter Storage Jar
As the name might suggest, this is a jar that will store your sourdough starter kit, which is basically a combination of flour and water left to ferment and create the yeast that will then be used to make sourdough bread.
You can use any old container for this starter, but make sure you do not shut the lid too tightly – or else it might burst from the pressure!
This video will show you an example of how to make sourdough starter.
Bread machines are basically appliances used solely to bake bread in. Most have different settings for cooking different types of bread, and they will give your bread a dense texture due to how packed the dough will be.
Other Small Bread Making Tools
You will need a few other bread-baking supplies as well. Luckily, most of these tools can already be found in your kitchen!
Here is a short list of other items that you will need:
These are essential not only in baking bread, but in baking and cooking in general.
They help you precisely measure out all the ingredients that a recipe calls for, and ensure that you are not adding too much or too little of anything.
Wooden spoons are non-reactive to certain acids in foods (like lemon or tomato sauce, for instance), and they do not leave scratches when you use them to mix in non-stick surfaces.
Parchment paper is extremely valuable in baking due to its non-stick properties and its ability to withstand the heat of your oven without catching fire.
As the name suggests, this is a rack used to cool down your bread evenly and quickly once it is done baking.
You can also use these racks to help bake your bread faster, as the holes in the rack allow heat and air to circulate over every part of your loaf.
Here’s a video showing different bread making tools in the bread baking process.
Bread-baking requires a lot of time, work, and materials to get started. However, the delicious end product is very much worth the effort, and you will end up saving a great deal of money in the long run by acquiring some of this equipment and baking your very own bread loaves!
What are your favorite bread making tools?