It’s sometimes a struggle deciding what’s worth buying and what’s not. Especially in those early days when you only want to purchase what’s really essential until you find your groove.
This is a list of tools and equipment that I’ve put together as the ‘essentials’.
It’s a basic minimal list of equipment and tools needed to make basic sourdough bread, and I have only recommended what I myself would use.
The list is written out right here for your convenience, but do check below for information on why I’ve chosen these specific items and what to look for when buying good baking tools.
1. Digital Kitchen Scales
Weighing all your ingredients is super essential when it comes to bread baking. Using volume i.e. cup measurements just isn’t accurate enough to give consistent results, so good quality weighing scales with guaranteed accuracy is essential. I recommended using OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale.
Why I Like the OXO Food Scale:
It has a large capacity – These scales measure all the way up to 11lb. This is perfect for me as I bake multiple loaves at a time since we’ve switched exclusively to homemade sourdough bread. It’s base is also large enough to fit a massive bowl without struggling to see the measurements (see pull out display section).
Display unit pulls out – This is so useful with bread baking because normally the bowl you are using will be pretty large, due to allowance for the dough to rise. This diplay literally ‘pulls out’, so you can really easily see the display without the large bowl getting in the way. I love this feature as it helps to stay accurate whilst using very large bowls.
It is super accurate – The scales measure ingredients accurate to 1/8 oz (or 1g). Accuracy is really important in baking as it helps to understand proportions and how they correlate to the results in your bread.
Tare function – The scales have a function where you can add ingredients, press zero, and then add more ingredients to the bowl without having to remove what you already have in there. Less dishes to wash and alot quicker when adding multiple ingredients!
2. Loaf Tins
For someone just starting out, I recommend buying this 2lb non-stick loaf tin made by Masterclass.
As a beginner it is best to go with non-stick loaf tins. They have the best price point, and hassle free upkeep. And the 2lb size will make a regular family sized loaf.
These tins have high walls which are good for giving your bread a high rise and good structure.
QUICK TIP: I use two loaf tins per loaf. One for the dough, and one to clamp down on top of the other once it’s in the oven. This is a super effective way of giving your bread an amazing rise and finish. (Shhhhh…..it’s my little secret!)
I used this type of loaf tin for many years. I now prefer cast iron loaf tins like these, as they retain heat much better, give a better crust, and develop bread with a better rise.
But as they are more costly and require more upkeep, I would say they are only worth buying if you are going to be making these kinds of loaves consistently. The non-stick ones do a pretty good job for a beginner baker.
3. Mixing and Proofing Bowls
I recommend using bowls like these heavy duty polypropylene mixing bowls.
Why I like These Bowls:
The bowls are non reactive – Using metal bowls are a complete no no when it comes to sourdough. Because the dough is so acidic, it can react with the metal, especially because the dough is left in there for several hours/days. These bowls are made from food grade BPA free plastic, so nothing will leech into your dough.
NOTE: From my experience, sourdough tends to behave better in plastic rather than ceramic or glass bowls. This is another reason I prefer to use these bowls.
They are large enough for dough to rise – It’s very surprising how much dough can rise when placed in the right conditions. These bowls have ample room to be able to handle the dough even when it increases in volume, and they are available in a range of sizes.
They are lightweight but durable – I use 2 bowls, one upside down on top of the other, and so it’s important to me that the bowl is not too heavy. These bowls are nice and lightweight, but at the same very good quality.
They have a wide rim and no spout – This bowl has a wide rim that lets one bowl sit right on top of the other comfortably, which is how I like to rise my dough.
It’s stackable – One of my pet peeves is when bowls don’t stack properly. What a waste of space! Don’t get me started…
QUICK TIP: Purchase two of them; one for the dough and one to go on top while the dough is rising. I use this method and find that the dough retains just the right amount of air flow and humidity levels to rise at optimum levels.
4. Measuring Jug
I recommend the OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Jug.
I love this measuring jug! It has lots of fun innovative features in it that make it very good value. I prefer the larger size (4 cup/1 litre), but if you are only making one loaf at a time, the 2 cup/500ml size will be just right.
Why I like the OXO Good Grips Jug:
Innovative measuring feature – This jug has a unique measuring band in the middle which makes it really easy to fill up how much you need while pouring, without having to wait for the liquid to settle. It saves a lot of time.
Durable – This jug will probably last a lifetime.
Good grip – The handle has grip that keeps it’s friction even when your hands are wet. This is really handy when you are mixing dough and have wet slippery hands.
This is really all you need to get started with baking sourdough bread. Of course there are other items that make your baking a lot easier, or give you better results. So I’ve got another list of items that are extremely useful for baking sourdough bread at home on this page.
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