Nobody is ever mad at a freshly baked loaf of bread. And there are lots of recipes out there that let you skip many of the annoying or finicky parts of the process; the famous “no knead” loaf from the New York Times basically requires no effort at all. But there are still some dedicated tools that can make baking your own bread that much easier. With these, you’ll be on your way to mastering the baguette, the boule, focaccia and any other bread you want.
Weigh Your Options
Weighing flour isn’t finicky at all with this scale. GreaterGoods
One of the trickiest things about baking is that our standard measurements don’t really cut it. A cup of flour might vary by an awful lot, depending on its temperature and how tightly it’s packed. A far more reliable way to measure out your flour—and your water, salt and yeast—is by weight. That’s easy to do with a kitchen scale like this wildly popular one from GreaterGoods. Simply stick your big mixing bowl on top and add your ingredients, hitting the “tare” button after each one to take the scale’s number back to zero.
Scrape Your Dough Away
A “bench” scraper will quickly become your secret weapon. Co Bowl Scraper
Even the easiest of doughs to make can be a little messy: sticky, shaggy, drying into impossible-to-clean nubs of flour and water. Every great baker’s secret weapon is what’s known as a bench scraper: basically a thin piece of plastic, used for scraping stuff out of bowls or off of cutting boards. This scraper will make getting your bread dough out of the bowl a breeze—and you’ll be surprised how much you use it for other stuff once you have it on hand. (It’s also ideal for getting chopped stuff, like onion and garlic, from the cutting board to the pan.)
Become a Black Metal Baker
A non-enameled Dutch oven like this Lodge is perfect for baking bread. Lodge
In truth, you can bake bread in pretty much anything. But the best vessels for many loaves, like that no-knead loaf, sourdough, or country bread, is cast iron. You can use a fancy enameled cast iron, but baking dough tends to burn black spots all over the enamel. It doesn’t affect a pot’s utility, but it doesn’t look so nice. Enter the non-enameled cast iron Dutch oven, a classic cowboy pot. It’s basically indestructible, will carry heat evenly, and can give you that perfect crusty loaf of bread.