When I tried making bread for the first time, I was astonished at just how easy it was using the kitchen tools I had on hand. There was no real kneading, just four times stirring to “pester” the dough, sleep on it, shape it in the morning and bake it. My total involvement with the dough was less than 20 minutes and it was a good tasting loaf of sourdough bread, although not very handsome.
large mixing bowl
medium bowl, for proofing/shaping
linen or cotton kitchen towel
plastic cling wrap
sharp knife or razor blade
dutch oven or baking stone
ovenproof pan for boiling water
serrated knife for cutting your masterpiece, or not
Beginning after my first sourdough bread class I really did not have the right equipment, but I still got a loaf that looked pretty good with just the things I had around the kitchen. A mixing bowl, a second bowl and linen towel, a sharp knife, my old Kitchenetics mixer.
The very day of the class I was determined to get going. I was home by 4 PM and of course, the first thing was to get the start growing. Martha, our instructor, had given each of us a piece of dough in a baggie and told us to put it into a mason jar with 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 water. By 8 PM my start was frothy and ready, so I could not wait.
I dumped the whole start into our old kitchenettes mixer’s bowl and added a tablespoon of sea salt, two cups of tap water and four cups of Einkorn flour. I mixed it up for a few minutes. Then every 30 minutes over the next two hours I would pulse the mixer to pester the dough.
After two hours and during the night I covered the dough with the bowl lid and let it ferment 8 hours while I was sleeping.
In the morning, I turned the dough out onto my counter which I had floured. Then I covered it with the bowl over the top for another 30-minute bench rest. Then I shaped the dough the best I could, but it was a bit of a mess.
It was sad looking, but I put my ball of dough on a linen towel dusted heavily with flour, covered it and waited 30 more minutes while the oven was heating to 465°F. After putting in a pan of boiling water on the lowest rack of the oven, I baked the bread uncovered on a pizza stone for 3o min.
As instructed, I turned the oven off but left the bread in for another 3o minutes. It looked pretty sad, as you can see, but it tasted great. And the best thing is, that I did all this with the stuff I already had in the kitchen.
Making that first loaf gave me the confidence to bake more, which I did.
First I tried a cast iron dutch oven, but my bread burned. Then I sent for a Pampered Chef Stoneware Bread Bowl that gave me remarkable looking results the first time I baked with it.
Still, this was not enough. The sourdough bread bug had bitten me hard and over the next two years, I added proofing baskets, dough scapers (both metal and plastic), a baguette pan, a pyrex cloche, a lame, a Danish whisk, and a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
But of all my purchases, the tool that works best in my home oven is that stoneware bowl I purchased first. Since then, of course I have purchased many more tools, some of which are listed here:
In the comment section below tell us about your favorite tool and be sure to look at our post that describes even more equipment.
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.