Here are some of the most useful tools for sourdough bread baking that can help make the process a little easier.
I did not start with any fancy tools when I began my sourdough journey. All I had was a cast iron Dutch oven, a kitchen scale, and that was it. If you can find a Dutch oven (doesn’t have to be cast iron either) used at a thrift store, you are set! You may already have one.
Basically, you don’t need anything fancy to make a delicious loaf, but these tools sure have helped me as I continue to really work on my craft of bread making.
Cast iron Dutch oven
I’ll start with this basic because, although you will need something to bake your bread in, this Dutch oven is my absolute favorite.
I have a few different pots for baking bread and they vary between type as well (clay, glass, cast iron). Again, this one is my constant go-to.
I seem to get a better bottom on my loaves. Sometimes they can be tough to cut all the way through. Using my cast iron gives me a not so well- done underneath.
This pot also does great with high heat vs others as well. The terra-cotta discolors and I honestly won’t use my glass in this high of heat.
Most if not all recipes go by weight. It makes it easier because it’s an absolute vs a volume measurement that can vary (I say this and yet you’ll find with sourdough even exact weights can be off in some cases, but that’s sourdough for ya!)
I use my kitchen scale for a lot of things in general, but baking sourdough has now become its main purpose. They are fairly cheap and I believe a worthy investment for the kitchen as a whole.
Danish Dough Whisk
This guy is becoming a favorite kitchen tool for me and I now consider it a staple.
Anytime I would need to feed my starter or do an initial mix for dough, I would use a spoon or fork. It was awful because so much would get stuck in the fork or stick to the spoon.
This whisk is perfect because it mixes wonderfully but it is made so nothing really gets stuck in it. It’s also incredibly easy to clean (which I do by hand right after I use it each time so sourdough doesn’t get crusty on it)
I find myself using this for mixing so many things that again, it is just another kitchen staple for us now
I recommend a fully stainless steel one. The wooden handles ones are pretty (and this is what I have) but after some use, the head detaches while I’m mixing dough because it’s so tacky and thick.
When my dough would “proof” (final rise) I would use any bowl I had on hand. This would work pretty well, but the thing is you need to flour it well so the dough releases. If you try to coat a bowl with flour, it all just falls to the center and bottom of the bowl.
Again, I’d just flour the dough itself before placing in the bowls. Now, I use Banneton baskets which are specifically for bread proofing.
They are fairly cheap and are typically made from a rattan material.
They are lovely because they allow better air circulation that arguably can give you a way better crust all around.
I personally love them because they are just dedicated to my loaves and I don’t need to clean them after every proof session.
Again, basically a kitchen essential for us now. This dough scraper is wonderful for helping lift dough off of the work surface. I just used it to help roll and shape a particularly sticky dough off the counter for cinnamon buns.
I use it for scraping dough for baking, scraping dough off the counter for cleaning, cutting dough into sections, and using it for collecting crumbs.
All together, it’s a wonderful tool to have on hand!
This tool is used for getting those pretty designs in your bread – or if you’re like me, just putting your basic “score” down the middle or side of your loaf.
I’m not the best with the fancy designs, but having a one has helped me make very tactful scores in my loaves.
The main score helps your bread release steam and in turn assists with the rising. I typically do mine a tad off center and cut at a bit of an angle and on a curve. This way, instead of exploding from the top middle it, it raises from the side a bit, pushing the middle up and just a smidge over.
There is no specific “right” way to score and this is where I encourage you to get creative! This tool helps with handling the blade (don’t worry it’s fairly dull)
This is probably my most bougie tool – my Brod and Taylor proofing box.
I love this thing though. It essentially keeps it’s own constant environment.
I know for proofing I keep it at a certain temperature with no added humidity and I get the best rise in a certain amount of time.
Now, you do not need this to bake sourdough. The reason I grabbed this is because we keep our home on the cooler side and my dough (and starter) would struggle to thrive.
If you are having a similar issue, what I did do before was I would keep my starter or rising dough in the oven the with light on and door closed.
The heat from the light was enough to give it a warm enough environment (just don’t forget about it if you go to start up your oven!)
When I was able to splurge, I went ahead and snagged this up though because I’m baking bread or sourdough goodies at minimum once a week.
I do want to reiterate that I did not start with most of these things, and you do not need to either. Sourdough baking has become a huge passion of mine. These are just the best tools for sourdough bread baking that have helped!
Ready to get started? Check out my other blog posts about sourdough!