While you don’t need any fancy equipment to make sourdough bread, sometimes, there are things that really do make your sourdough baking easier – and with life getting busier all the time – easier is always a good thing, right? Here are 10 products that make sourdough baking easier.
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Straight Sided Cambro Containers
If you find it hard to determine when bulk fermentation has finished – these straight sided Cambro Containers could be transformational to your sourdough baking! Because they have straight sides, it’s much easier for you see when your dough doubles (and it must double). You can mark the starting level – and the level it needs to get to – on the outside of the container. Simple, right?
Pre Cut Parchment Rounds
Pre cut parchment paper rounds with lift tabs make placing your sourdough into your hot Dutch Oven so much easier! Now you can of course just use regular parchment paper, however, it can sometimes get scrunched up inside the Dutch Oven. This is a simple, easy way to ensure that your bread is neatly and easily placed into the Dutch Oven.
A banneton is a basket that acts as a shaping container for your sourdough during the cold ferment. It allows your dough to rest, while still maintaining its tension. You can use a tea towel lined bowl – but a banneton is a much better choice as it allows your dough to breathe and also ensures the perfect contour. You can even get the pretty lines you see on some sourdough loaves. The size of banneton you buy will depend on the size of your Dutch Oven (you want your banneton to fit inside your Dutch Oven, then you know your dough will fit). Simple Sourdough Recipe, you’ll find the correct size for a batard here and a boule here.
While traditionally sourdough has been mixed by hand, there are many recipes, including sandwich loaves and pizza dough, which is much easier when mixed in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Depending on how much bread you are wanting to make, stand mixers can start under $100 and range right up to several thousands for more commercial level mixers. Somewhere in between is a mixer that is perfect for the home baker. This Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is the perfect compromise and is perfect for the at home sourdough baker who would like to produce easy sandwich breads, cinnamon buns and other items that need to be kneaded heavily. It’s also handy for those who might not be able to handle sourdough bread due to arthritis or other illness.
If you struggle to keep your sourdough starter or sourdough at a constant temperature then a bread proofer may be the answer you’re looking for. Constant temperature is best for sourdough cultures and you will definitely notice the difference when your starter – and dough – is kept at the perfect temperature for fermentation.
While people have been baking bread without scales for hundreds of years – there is no denying that weighing your ingredients will give you a better success rate when it comes to sourdough. Your sourdough starter will thrive by being fed in grams rather than cups. And your sourdough bread will benefit from the accuracy that comes from digital scales. This set of digital scales is great if you’re not looking to spend too much. This set is perfect if you’d like scales with all the bells and whistles – including the ability to calculate baker’s percentages.
If you’d like to read more about the benefits of weighing your sourdough ingredients, you’ll find in depth information here.
Silicone Dough Scraper
A silicone dough scraper is super handy in your sourdough kitchen. It can be used for your initial mix, scraping the sides of the bowl for stretches and folds, getting the dough out of the bowl for shaping, dividing the dough … want me to go on? Seriously, if you don’t have one, you need to get one! You will not regret it! This dough scraper is my favorite – it also comes with a straight sided scraper which is great for shaping high hydration doughs and cleaning down benches from flour residue.
A lame is basically a very sharp razor blade mounted onto a handle. Some of the lames on the market are simply beautiful, as well as functional. Now, you can of course just use a razor blade (or even a very sharp kitchen knife), but a lame makes sourdough scoring so easy! If you get a curved blade, it even makes scoring for the perfect ear a breeze. If you are looking for aesthetics as well as function – this is the lame for you. If you are just after an entry level lame, this one would be better suited.
A Dutch Oven makes sourdough baking so much easier! It is the easiest way to imitate a commercial baker’s oven in your own home. It traps steam inside the vessel and holds it close to your sourdough – allowing it to expand as much as possible before developing a crust. You can read more about the reasons to invest in a Dutch Oven here, as well as the best size to buy for your needs.
This is the perfect Dutch Oven to bake a basic sourdough boule.
A Good Bread Knife
Now this isn’t actually part of the baking process – but there’s no point baking delicious sourdough bread if you can’t slice it properly. A good quality bread knife is essential the the sourdough experience. This bread knife is great quality and a great price. It pairs perfectly with this bread slicing guide.
The Perfect Recipe!
What makes sourdough super easy? The perfect recipe – one that can be tailored to suit your lifestyle! You’ll find my Beginner’s Guide to Baking Simple Sourdough here.
Check out my Gift Guide for Sourdough Bakers with everything under $50!