Baking bread feels a lot like algebra to us non-mathletes. It’s an incredibly precise and methodical form of cooking that, ironically enough, predates algebra. But contrary to how intense the measuring, proofing, and intricacies (oof) may seem, baking bread is something anyone can do — and the results are incredibly gratifying! Chances are if you’re here, then you’re ready to get your own bread-making journey started, too. So, without further ado, we’ve gone ahead and gathered the five products you need to make amazing bread at home to make it even easier for you.
This first item is the best item, simply because a proofing bowl can be any bowl. Known as bannetons to pro-bakers, our ancestors began making bread with bannetons in basket form – but everything from a glass to metal to plastic bowl will work for us modern humans. A good rule of thumb for your bowl is: think of how large you want your bread to be, and use a bowl that’s as big or larger than (a typical loaf) to do your proofing and mixing in. This is typically a 9-inch bowl or larger. You’ve probably got several mixing bowls in your kitchen already that will do the trick!
King Arthur Flour
While we’re mostly focusing on products here and not ingredients, King Arthur Flour is the exception to the rule simply because you cannot go wrong with this classic brand and the flours they produce. You’ll need flour on hand to bake 90% of breads out there, too. If you’re confused on which kind of flour to use for your baking, King Arthur’s website is also an absolute treasure trove of lovely, easy-to-digest bread-baking tips and tricks.
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Baking isn’t very forgiving. Flour, water, salt, and yeast recipes might look simple, but there’s way more thought behind the mysterious magnificence of a good bread. And it has less to do with the ingredients themselves, but the way you measure them. Thankfully, you can rely on multiple life-saving tools to bake a flawless loaf, and they come in the form of cups and spoons. Measuring tools are practical, easy to use and rarely wrong, making them a must-have if you truly want to make recipes less intimidating.
A simple rectangular blade it’s all that’s needed to make your life as a baker easier. It’s common to see amateur chefs underestimate the usefulness of a bench knife, but give it a try and you’ll soon be asking yourself why you didn’t get one before. Portioning dough, pre-shaping loaves, cutting gluten strands, scraping leftovers off your table… these are only one of the multiple tasks you can trust your bench knife to do. It’s a tool that, without a doubt, deserves a place in every home kitchen out there.
Sure, a lot of recipes will give you strategies to guess the doneness of your loaf, but they just won’t do the job most of the time. In the methodic art of baking, where precision is key to ensure a perfect bread, a thermometer will be your best friend. You don’t even need to buy an expensive one; any cheap cooking thermometer from the grocery store will work. Keeping track of the temperature of your bread throughout the entire baking process will help you reach the texture sweet spot that other cooks can only dream of.
Now you have a reason to head to the kitchen with your best apron and start making art. With these tools at your disposal, dedication is the only ingredient left to make you a great baker, so what are you waiting for? Happy cooking!