The Bread-Making Tools Every Home Baker Should Have
Looking to challenge yourself by baking a loaf from scratch? You'll want to know about these bread-making tools that make baking simple.
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Baking bread is a uniquely challenging and satisfying task. Sure, there’s a bit of fuss when it comes to proofing yeast and getting picture-perfect plaits, but the smell of a freshly baked loaf is worth it. The only thing you need—besides your favorite bread recipe—are a few bread baking essentials to get you started. And don’t miss the rest of the baking supplies our Test Kitchen team can’t live without. Be sure to check out our bread baking guide for even more tips and tricks!
Whether you prefer quick breads or yeasted breads, you’ll definitely want to invest in a few loaf pans for your favorite homemade bread recipes. There are plenty of options out there, but you can never go wrong with a great nonstick pan, like this one from our new line of bakeware. Your bread will pop right of the pan with ease.
While we adore our stand mixers, sometimes you need to mix up the dough the old-fashioned way. Instead of slogging through sticky bread dough with a wooden spoon, opt for a dough whisk. This tool helps incorporate ingredients quickly and easily.
When you make bread with yeast, it’s absolutely crucial that the water you add to the dough or use to proof the yeast is precisely the right temperature. Too chilly and that yeast won’t grow. Too hot and the yeast dies. Skip the guesswork and invest in a quick-read thermometer. It will tell you in a few seconds if your water is at the right temperature—ideally around 110ºF.
Flexible Bowl Scraper
Let’s face it: Bread dough can be pretty sticky. To make sure you get every bit of bread dough out of your mixing bowl, skip the spatula and go for a flexible silicone bowl scraper. You’ll find yourself using this handy tool for all your breads, plus plenty of other bakes.
Reusable Bowl Covers
Ditch the single-use plastic wrap! Instead, cover your rising dough with reusable bowl covers. These cotton covers fit snugly around bowls, keeping moisture in for the perfect proof.
Yeasted bread recipes will suggest you proof the dough until it doubles in size. If you’re using a regular bowl, this can be a bit difficult to judge. But if you use a flat-bottomed proofing bucket, you’ll be able to tell exactly when your dough has reached the right volume.
Mini Loaf Pan
Quick bread recipes are easy to convert into mini loaves. Instead of buying (and finding a place for!) heaps of small loaf pans, try a pan like this one from Sur la Table. You can bake up to eight mini loaves all at once.
Countertop Dough Proofer
As much as we love making homemade bread, getting the right environment for proofing can be difficult, especially when you live in cooler climates. Ensure you get consistent rising results every time with a countertop proofer. It’s a bit of an investment, but worth every penny if you’re an avid bread maker.
To get a good slice of perfectly crusty homemade bread, you’ll need a good bread knife. Serrated is a must to cut through the loaf without crushing the texture inside while preserving the crust outside. Our Test Kitchen loves this one from Wüsthof.
You can cut out some of the labor of bread-making with a good bread machine. Our Test Kitchen loves this Cuisinart bread maker, especially for newer bread bakers (check out our other favorite bread machines). Bread makers can help you mix up the dough, knead and even bake the bread for you.
Here are some bread machine recipes to get you started.
Once you’re fully immersed in the world of bread baking, odds are you’ll be experimenting in your kitchen whenever you have the chance. One of the most satisfying ways to up your bread game is to try out new types of flour. A great place to start is with a bag of King Arthur rye flour. Use it to make a loaf of this stunning marble rye.
Wonder how bakeries get those gorgeous designs on the top of their breads? It’s all thanks to a deft hand and a lame (pronounced lahm). These tools are essentially razors designed for baking. Slice into your bread before baking it and you can create neat cuts and designs.
There are lots of lames to be found out there, but we don’t think it hurts to have an extra pretty one, like this black walnut lame, to inspire your designs.
Getting dough to rise can be tricky business. Yeasted bread dough likes a warm, humid environment—around 75º with 60 to 80 percent humidity—to get the right lift. Make sure your house is warm and humid enough with an indoor thermometer.
And if it’s a little too cool, here are ways to proof bread if the conditions aren’t just right.
Bread boxes do work! Keep your homemade bread fresher for longer by storing it in a countertop bread box. This one has some vintage flair and is big enough to store a whole loaf, plus some extra buns.
Yeast Measuring Spoon
The days of measuring out 2-1/4 teaspoons of yeast are gone. Let this handy measuring spoon do the work for you! This is a must for serious bread bakers.
Baking stones aren’t just for pizza. Ceramic stones are great at soaking up extra moisture from the exterior of the bread to help develop a crunchy, crispy crust. Use a stone to bake sheet breads that typically call for a baking sheet—and don’t forget to use baking stones for homemade pizza and sourdough bread.
Avid bread bakers swear by these woven proofing baskets called bannetons. They give your bread an attractive shape while rising, plus they really make you feel like an expert baker.
Artisan Bread Topping
Want to dress up that sourdough boule or loaf of white bread a bit without a lot of fuss? All you have to do is sprinkle on a bit of this bread topping from King Arthur Baking. It’s a mix of sesame, flax, sunflower and other seeds that give even a basic homemade bread a little extra texture and flavor.