If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that bread brings a lot of joy - so much so that baking it has grown to be a popular home activity all across the globe during the height of the pandemic. Even in post-lockdown, some people have continued the kneading journey in their own kitchen, trying to master the art of breadmaking!
Whether it's your first attempt or you've been experimenting with different techniques, having the right tools is important to achieve the perfect loaf and we've got a guide right here on all the essentials you need to make bread at home ?
Of course, you can't make bread without the most essential item- flour! With a wide selection of flours out there for you to choose from, the type of bread you bake will essentially determine your choice of flour. Check out what the Bread Experience has to say about the different flours when making homemade bread
and how to store flour using Epicurious' handy tip
2. Sourdough starterCredit: @the_bread_story on Instagram
What exactly is a sourdough starter? To put it simply, it's what bakers use (before the commercial kind was available) to cultivate the wild yeast in a form that can be used for baking. Although you can easily get instant or active dry yeast in stores, you'll find that many homebakers today have gone on to make a starter themselves for convenience and financial purposes. Read all about it in our sourdough starter guide
which also includes a step-by-step process to making your very own sourdough starter!
3. Mixing bowlCredit: @masoncash_au on Instagram
Did you know that bakers back in the day used wooden troughs (they look like this
) to mix dough? We're not saying that you can't or shouldn't use one but for the sake of easy storage, mixing bowls are the way to go. While not necessary, consider getting one that is see through so you can keep an eye on the dough's rising activity and get the proofing time right.
4. Bowl scraperCredit: @londonamericanstores on Instagram
A knife to a chef is a bowl scraper to a baker. This tool's multipurpose function comes in handy in many different ways - from dividing the dough and pre-shaping your loaves to scraping dough off the table.
The same way you'd use a thermometer to check when meat is done, the road to achieving the perfect loaf of bread is by measuring its temperature. Bread dough reacts differently at different temperatures, so keeping this in check will help your end result.
6. Loaf panCredit: @brundbyscanpan on Instagram
Once you're ready throw your bread dough into the oven, you'll need a pan to put it into. However, we're not just talking about any regular pan - a loaf pan is what you want. Not only does it help to form your loaves but it's an essential tool when you're handling grains that form a weaker dough like rye.
7. Proofing basketCredit: @siewpingkitchen on Instagram
Proofing (or proving) is a baking term, which is essentially a step that allows the bread dough to rest and rise one final time. This takes place after you've shaped the dough. It's not always necessary to have one, but it's a tool that can certainly up your bread game.
8. Razor blade or bread lameCredit: @nikoandus on Instagram
The final step before baking your bread in the oven is to make slices at the top using a razor blade or bread lame (pronounced "lahm"). By having these cuts, your loaf gets the chance to puff up to its best size and gives it that rustic sourdough look you find at bakeries! Not looking to get this tool just yet? Then just use the sharpest knife you have in the kitchen.
9. ScaleCredit: @miwamingo1983 on Instagram
In our part of the world, it's common to roughly eye the measurement of ingredients. However, it's an entirely different story when it comes to the world of baking - and that includes making bread. Do yourself a favour and get a scale to make things easier. Alternatively, measuring cups can be used as well.
10. Bread knife
There's nothing wrong with tearing into freshly-baked bread using your hands. We're all guilty of it! But if you want clean slices of bread - whether for a dinner party or just to snap for the 'gram - having a good bread knife will definitely do the job.
With this handy list, it's time to throw on your apron and get your baking game on ??
Here are some recipes you can try out: