Gear and Equipment

The following is a collection of items that I own and have found helpful/essential when baking my sourdough at home. Where possible, I’ve show that actual product I own. If I couldn’t find my exact tool, then I posted an item of equivalent quality and price. I specified (Essential) for gear I think you need to get started. I hope you find this page helpful! (I’ll keep adding to it)

 
 
The Challenger Bread Pan   Jim Challenger, guest on the podcast, developed this one of a kind bread baking pan to meet the needs of the home baker based on input from the instagram sourdough community. Beautifully designed and ergonomically and functionally superior to a standard dutch oven - Jim’s pan will have you “baking bread like a pro!” Check out my review  here .

The Challenger Bread Pan

Jim Challenger, guest on the podcast, developed this one of a kind bread baking pan to meet the needs of the home baker based on input from the instagram sourdough community. Beautifully designed and ergonomically and functionally superior to a standard dutch oven - Jim’s pan will have you “baking bread like a pro!” Check out my review here.

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6- Quart (Essential)   This is a good multi use tool but is particularly great for baking sourdough bread. Unlike most professional bakers, the average home baker doesn't have a steam injection oven. The cast iron retains great heat and the heavy lid keeps all the steam from the loaf trapped inside where you need it to help create that perfect crust and oven spring.

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6- Quart (Essential)

This is a good multi use tool but is particularly great for baking sourdough bread. Unlike most professional bakers, the average home baker doesn't have a steam injection oven. The cast iron retains great heat and the heavy lid keeps all the steam from the loaf trapped inside where you need it to help create that perfect crust and oven spring.

Oxo Good Grips jar Spatula   This narrow shaped spatula will make your starter feedings a whole lot easier and less messy. The unique shape scrapes the walls of your jar very efficiently. Personally, I like it over a metal spoon because I do a lot of midnight feedings and it eliminates any loud clanking. Stealth mode activated.

Oxo Good Grips jar Spatula

This narrow shaped spatula will make your starter feedings a whole lot easier and less messy. The unique shape scrapes the walls of your jar very efficiently. Personally, I like it over a metal spoon because I do a lot of midnight feedings and it eliminates any loud clanking. Stealth mode activated.

Bread Lame for Scoring (Essential for finer scoring)   Full disclosure, Tyler sent me one of these beautiful lames to test. I found it really worked great and held the blade firmly in place for fine scoring. Other lames I’ve used felt flimsy. I really appreciate his craftsmanship, the eco-friendly packaging and materials, and that they are produced by one guy in Brooklyn and not mass produced in China. I have the Corbeau - it’s made of 100% recycled paper!

Bread Lame for Scoring (Essential for finer scoring)

Full disclosure, Tyler sent me one of these beautiful lames to test. I found it really worked great and held the blade firmly in place for fine scoring. Other lames I’ve used felt flimsy. I really appreciate his craftsmanship, the eco-friendly packaging and materials, and that they are produced by one guy in Brooklyn and not mass produced in China. I have the Corbeau - it’s made of 100% recycled paper!

Flour Shaker with Lid   I use this simple flour shaker every time I make bread! I use it for flouring surfaces during shaping and for decorating the loaf just before scoring. Not essential, but I prefer it over my hand because it allows for a more even distribution of flour and I don’t have to get my hand floury if I don’t want to.

Flour Shaker with Lid

I use this simple flour shaker every time I make bread! I use it for flouring surfaces during shaping and for decorating the loaf just before scoring. Not essential, but I prefer it over my hand because it allows for a more even distribution of flour and I don’t have to get my hand floury if I don’t want to.

Bench Knife (Essential)   An essential tool for shaping and dividing dough. Also great for cleaning up floury surfaces.

Bench Knife (Essential)

An essential tool for shaping and dividing dough. Also great for cleaning up floury surfaces.

Tupperware Thatsa Bowl 32-cup in Rain Drop Blue (Essential for me)   I absolutely LOVE this bowl. It easily holds 4 loaves worth of dough and, with the lid, you don’t ever have to worry about annoying and wasteful plastic wrap while you ferment. It is also SUPER easy to clean, as most of the dough remnants just dry and flake off. No dry on dough cement!

Tupperware Thatsa Bowl 32-cup in Rain Drop Blue (Essential for me)

I absolutely LOVE this bowl. It easily holds 4 loaves worth of dough and, with the lid, you don’t ever have to worry about annoying and wasteful plastic wrap while you ferment. It is also SUPER easy to clean, as most of the dough remnants just dry and flake off. No dry on dough cement!

Parchment Paper (Essential)   I use parchment paper for prepping and baking all my loaves. I’ll flip the proofed loaf onto a piece of paper, score it, and lift the whole loaf up using the paper and place it directly into the dutch oven. No cornmeal, no awkwardly flipping loaves directly into the hot pot, and no scoring in the pot (i.e. less burnt fingers). I can get 2-3 bakes out of each piece. This Kirkland size will last you forever!

Parchment Paper (Essential)

I use parchment paper for prepping and baking all my loaves. I’ll flip the proofed loaf onto a piece of paper, score it, and lift the whole loaf up using the paper and place it directly into the dutch oven. No cornmeal, no awkwardly flipping loaves directly into the hot pot, and no scoring in the pot (i.e. less burnt fingers). I can get 2-3 bakes out of each piece. This Kirkland size will last you forever!

Digital Scale (Essential)   A digital scale is probably the first purchase any serious sourdough home baker will make. You don't need anything fancy. The scale I use is very similar to this one but is no longer made. You could buy a $50 or $100 scale but this $20 model is all you need. This one by Inevifit has great reviews and reads in multiple units including grams, pounds, and ounces.

Digital Scale (Essential)

A digital scale is probably the first purchase any serious sourdough home baker will make. You don't need anything fancy. The scale I use is very similar to this one but is no longer made. You could buy a $50 or $100 scale but this $20 model is all you need. This one by Inevifit has great reviews and reads in multiple units including grams, pounds, and ounces.

Digital Meat Thermometer (Essential)   When it comes to naturally leavened bread, you really must treat temperature as a 4th ingredient (flour, water, salt, temp!). The affect just a couple of degrees, warmer or cooler, can have on your final product is huge. I use my thermometer to check water temp and dough temp as I ferment between folds to make sure my dough is right where I want it at all times.

Digital Meat Thermometer (Essential)

When it comes to naturally leavened bread, you really must treat temperature as a 4th ingredient (flour, water, salt, temp!). The affect just a couple of degrees, warmer or cooler, can have on your final product is huge. I use my thermometer to check water temp and dough temp as I ferment between folds to make sure my dough is right where I want it at all times.

Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun   This gun is not an “essential” but it is helps keep your temps consistent. It works on varying surfaced inside or outside your oven.

Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun

This gun is not an “essential” but it is helps keep your temps consistent. It works on varying surfaced inside or outside your oven.

Book Recommendations

The following collection are books that I’ve purchased or borrowed (or borrowed and then purchased!). I’ve found these books to be full of practical knowledge. Some are for beginners and some are more advanced, but all are inspiring (and beautifully illustrated) and have helped me along in my sourdough journey. Click on the book cover to purchase.

Artisan sourdough Made Simple

by Emilie Raffa - my first “sourdough book” purchase for my sister who was starting her sourdough journey. Emilie’s book is an excellent resource for beginners with over 60 super approachable and easy to learn recipes. Especially practical for learners with busy schedules.

Bread Science

by Emily Buehler - best price is through her website (linked). This book really helped me understand what was happening in my dough at the micro level and how each step of the bread making process affects the final product. Full of helpful illustrations and easy to read scientific descriptions.

BRead Baking for beginners

by Bonnie Ohara - This book is great for beginner SD baker’s (like Jenna Fisher) who might be too intimidated to jump into more advanced recipes. Bonnie’s book works like a training manual using different (delicious) yeasted recipes and builds your confidence and skills graduating you to a beginner’s SD recipe at the end of the book.

Sourdough

by Sarah Owens - This book is simply beautiful. Winner of the prestigious James Beard Award this book “celebrates seasonal abundance alongside the timeless craft of artisanal baking.” She provides a great tutorial on sourdough and guides you through the seasons with recipes highlighting fermentation and a diverse array whole food ingredients.

Bread

by Jeffrey Hamelman - AKA the bread bible. This book is for anyone from beginners to advanced. It covers EVERYTHING from chemistry to technique with tons of recipes that are scaled for home baker’s and professional kitchens. A must have for any aspiring bread baker.

Favorite Bread Quotes

A compilation of inspirational bread quotes submitted by Podcast listeners and why they love them. To Share your favorite quote, send me an Email containing the quote and why it resonates with you.

 
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"Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread." - Pablo Neruda

”First of all, I love Pablo Neruda - he's one of my favourite poets. I think that most art comes from a place of peace. Obviously, there's art that comes from a darker, more anguished place. But even then, there's peace in terms of acknowledgment of the situation. Or using the art to spark a conversation. You can't have art without that honesty or peace. 

There's a similarity in making bread in terms of how you approach it, the need for patience, to trust the process. It's something that can connect us to people who came before, or that we can use to connect us to our families, friends and community. I think there's a lot of humanity in making bread.” - Submitted my @angelabaking

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“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” - Robert Browning

"I find it captures the gestalt of a beautifully baked loaf of bread. Scientifically, being able to manipulate Maillard reactions, flavours, and textures of bread is exciting. But when you actually experience eating that bread - it is ethereal." - Submitted by @andreajdehaan

“Don’t be intimidated - mistakes and “failures” are just opportunities to learn. (Besides, messed up bread often still tastes good!)” - Emily Buehler

“I would have quit sourdough without this quote.” - Submitted by @stacyyyyorrrrrr

“All sorrows are less with bread” - Miguel de Cervantes from Don Quixote

Submitted by @withbreadbakery and @one.loaf

No booksellers, no books
No books, no learning
No learning, no knowledge
No knowledge, no wisdom
No wisdom, no ethics
No ethics, no conscience
No conscience, no community
No community, no bread.
— Talmud, submitted by @remifetzki_istamaize “[Bread] makes me an important person in [my] village of 200 people. I provide the with nutritious bread. They trust me and I’m part of society milling fresh flour. Putting effort to do good. [I’m] not earning much on this business. I’m also a huge supporter of local farmers - we work very close. So that is very sustainable.”