Sourdough Tools of the Trade—More Equipment You May Enjoy

Sourdough Tools of the Trade—More Equipment You May Enjoy

When making sourdough bread there is not much equipment you must have; you will likely have the basics. But once you start baking seriously you will probably want more.

Here is a list of equipment and tools I enjoy that you might consider adding to your baking tool box.

Equipment You May Enjoy

Bread Knife (serrated): a good bread knife is serrated and easily saws through crusty loaves without mashing or tearing the loaf.

Personally, I prefer the “fiddle bow” bread saw, which is specialized for just cutting bread. Mine, of course, is made with an Alder handle. Whatever type you use, just be sure it is serrated and saws, not slices, bread. 

Bench scraper (metal or plastic): is a rectangular piece of flat plastic or metal that is used to scrape dough from a work surface or to cut the dough into portions for dinner and cinnamon rolls.

These tools are also referred to as bench knives, bench scrapers, board scraper, dough cutter, pastry scrapers or pastry scraper.

“When you work with sticky dough, it can become quite messy as it sticks to the work surface, utensils, and your fingers. A bench scraper keeps your hands out of the dough while you can still manipulate it. You can use a bench scraper for the early stages of kneading a yeast dough when it is still prone to sticking to your hands. Cookie dough is another challenge, and you may want to use the scraper to work with it before you roll it out.”—Jessica Harlan

Bulk containers are used to store grain and flour. They also work great to keep large amounts of dough covered and most during bulk and long ferments.

For home baking 6-Quart and larger work for both dry storage and fermentation, but I have found inexpensive food-grade containers at Wal-mart and our Dollar Store.

I use these to mix and ferment the dough. Lined with a flour-dusted towel they work well as proofing baskets too. 

Containers For Your Sourdough Starter: there are many to choose from including simply a used quart canning jar. But nearly any glass jar that has a loose-fitting lid will work. Plastic containers work too, but be sure that they are made of food-grade plastic.

The classic choice is a stoneware crock. I have one that might hold coffee or tea, but drinking neither of these, they could be a great container for growing sourdough.

However, warns King Arthur Flour, “Please note! Sourdough starter is a living entity; it needs regular feeding.”  Otherwise, it will need to go into the fridge and a crock takes up quite a bit of space there.

Danish dough whisk also called “brodpisker” in Denmark, is a native tool that replaced wooden spoons centuries ago. Easy to clean, this whisk is strong enough to move through sourdoughs and still be gentle enough to mix pancake batter just right.

Adina Steiman says:

“The Danish dough whisk …really does work some flour-based mojo. Here are just a few of the banes of our existence that this tool has permanently banished:
• No more hard-to-clean spoons
• No more hidden flour pockets or overworked batter
• No more ‘dough gloves’
• No more pockets of raisins”

Dutch Oven/Cast Iron Pot with Lid my personal choice is Barebones cast iron products, but Amazon sells a good variety of these products

The Barebones 4 Qt Classic works both indoors and outdoors. This heavy-duty cast iron pot features a locking lid that seals in steam in for crusty bread. The Medium Skillet, Dutch & Trivet Set is lighter weight and works great in home-ovens. However, it is only available in the set. I have both and use them both indoors and on the campfire.

Kitchen scale: Serious bakers realize the need for a scale rather than cups for measuring. This will prevent too much or too little flour in a recipe. According to Food52 “Every cook wields a measuring cup differently and even cookbook authors and pastry chefs use them differently from one another. If every recipe included reliable weights, and everyone started using a scale, the overall quality of baking …would improve overnight! “

Lame: You can score bread with any very shape knife, but you will soon find a lame is thinner and much easier for slashing a loaf’s surface. Scoring bread (also know as slashing or docking) bread dough just before it goes into the oven allows the dough expand in the oven without in a controlled way. It also lets moisture escape from the dough as it bakes.

Mixing Bowls: personally I prefer stainless steel, but others like plastic with lids and there are wooden bowls large enough too.

Top of the line are stoneware and glass bowls but be sure they are large enough to hold and mix eight cups of flour or you will have a mess on your hands (and your counter and everywhere else too).

Parchment paper has been shown to be the best way to keep bread from sticking to your baking pot or stone. The Spruce Eats says: “Parchment paper is a heat-resistant, non-stick paper that’s used in cooking and baking. You can line baking sheets and cake pans with it to prevent sticking and reduce browning.”

Proofing Basket: Rattan baskets are great for proofing bread. Also known as “brotforms” or “proofing baskets” these used both to provide the loaf with shape and to wick moisture from the crust.  They improve crust texture and if dusted with flour, the crust will be crispier, have better color and consistent professional look.

“A favorite of artisan bakers for raising bread dough. The basket coils provide a beautiful shape and pattern for a traditional hearth loaf look.”— Breadtopia

Sifter: Lucky for us The Spruce Eats has rated the top eight sifters here complete with links to purchase one. Though I have and use a sifter sometimes, I like my small fine-meshed strainer best for flouring my work surface, proofing baskets and loaves.

Thermometer: a meat thermometer works just fine to check and see if your bread has 200°F  internal temperature before taking it from the oven. There is a good selection on the internet; I chose the Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer because the numbers were bigger.

In the comment section below tell us what your favorite kitchen tools are, why you love them and where you got them from.

Author: Darryl Alder lives with his wife in Riverside Lodge, which is their home, along the Provo River in Utah. He is a retired career Scouter and outdoorsman who spent many hours over a campfire using a Dutch oven and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire alike. You can read many of his outdoor recipes here and on this site by searching for Sourdough Saturday or Recipes on the top right-hand side of the blog

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