EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR BREAD BAKING
If you look through baking catalogues, cookware web sites, gourmet kitchen shops, and cookbooks, you may get the idea that, in order to bake a couple of simple loaves of bread, you will need a fortune in $$ to buy everything they tell you you absolutely need.
What I present here is what is absolutely necessary; then what is nice to have. I'll also try to describe for you substitutes wherever there are some that are usable (they're not for everyone, though).
You will note that I do not discuss Bread Machines. I guess I'm from the "old school" where doing it by hand it always the best.
- A large mixing bowl, preferably non-metallic, that will hold a fully-risen dough ball about the size of a basketball. Stoneware, glass or acrylic is fine.
- A Medium bowl and a small bowl, again preferably non-metallic, for preparing mixtures to add to the final dough.
- A large long-handled spoon, preferably wood or metal, for mixing; it should be about 12-14 inches long. Plastic has a tendancy to snap when mixing higher gluten flours.
- Measuring cups: At least one for liquid ingredient measurments up to 2 cups; One complete metal or plastic set for dry ingredient measurments of 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup.
- Measuring spoons: One complete metal or plastic set for measurements of 1/8 tsp., 1/4 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1 tsp., and 1 tbsp.
- Plastic bowl scraper to effectively scoop a large risen ball of dough out of the mixing bowl. This is particularly effective when making artisan breads that should not be deflated too much. Hey, they're really cheap!
- A stainless steel bench knife to divide risen dough evenly into loaves, buns or rolls, etc.
- Plastic wrap to cover the bowl when fermenting your dough. Hey, buy cheap! I use Stretch-Tite---500 feet for around $6.
- Baking Pans:
- At least two for 1-pound loaves - 8-1/2" x 4-1/2".
- At least two for 1-1/2 pound loaves - 9" x 5".
- At least one baking pan (jelly roll pan) 15" x 10".
- Spray oil or PAM, either olive oil or vegetable oil, to oil the bowl you ferment your dough in, and sometimes to spray plastic wrap to cover proofing loaves.
- Potholders: At least 2 heavy insulated potholders and/or mitts.
- Kitchen towels: At least 2, preferably made from flour-sacking.
- Single-edge razor or very sharp small knife for slashing artisan-type loaves.
- Good-quality heavy serrated knife for slicing finished loaves. (Wusthof or Henckels is best and worth the $$.)
- Large cannister for storage of at least five pounds of flour. (I use ClickClacks.)
NICE TO HAVE
- Bread Board (Tavolini) at least 16" x 20", preferably with front and back ledges to keep the board from slipping.
- Baking stone or baking tiles good up to 550º F. especially for artisan breads and pizzas.
- Large electric stand mixer, especially for working with high-gluten flours.
- Sil-Pat or parchment Paper to line large baking sheets.
- Two- or three-part perforated non-stick baking pans for Italian bread or French baguettes.
- Lame for slashing tops of artisan-type loaves
- Heavy linen couche for proofing baguettes and other "wet" doughs.
- Proofing bucket
- Proof cover (I bought a plastic storage box at Wal-Mart for $6!)
- Kitchen scale for accurate measurements, especially of flour and water.
- Stainless steel air-tight container to yeast storage