ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT & INGREDIENTS
Find links to our favorite bread baking equipment and ingredients below. If you have specific questions about anything on this page, send us an email or hop into our Facebook group and ask away! We’re always happy to help you build your own perfect kitchen collection.
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You don’t need a lot of equipment to bake great bread – but these essential pieces make it a whole lot easier!
If you invest in nothing else for bread baking, invest in a kitchen scale. They're relatively inexpensive and easy to store - and they'll make your bread MUCH more consistent! This is a popular model, but any scale works as long as it measures in grams!
We recommend mixing your first loaves by hand to quickly learn how dough looks and behaves with certain adjustments. We love glass bowls: watch pockets develop as the bread rises! Use a large bowl to mix your bowl and a small one to let it do its final rise.
Use a piece of parchment to lift bread in and out of your Dutch oven. We like these non-bleached, compostable parchment sheets - they come pre-cut to make things nice and easy! Throw them in the compost when you're done or save clean pieces for reuse.
We’ve tested a dozen different methods to bake great, crusty bread at home – and a lot of them work just fine! – but a Dutch oven is far and away our favorite method. Here are the brands we’ve tested, used, and liked. These Dutch ovens will all do a great job with your bread – our best advice is to choose the pot whose style and price you like the most!
5 ½-quart Round French (Dutch) Oven. Enameled surface is easy to clean and comes in a TON of color choices - check the Le Creuset website directly for the most complete list of current colors! Comes with a plastic knob (heat-safe to 500 degrees F, though some people prefer to buy a metal replacement knob for about $20).
6-quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Conducts heat evenly and the enamel makes it easy to clean. Metal knob rather than plastic. They also make non-enameled versions. A little large for a single loaf of bread, but good if you'll use it for large soups, stews, etc. A budget-friendly option that holds its own with the more expensive Le Creuset!
5 ½-quart Cast Iron Round Cocotte. Another great, heavy Dutch oven with enameled surfaces. Conducts heat evenly, easy to clean, and looks slick on a kitchen counter or stovetop. Color choices can be limited on Amazon, but other colors are usually available at different retailers like Food52, Williams Sonoma, and others.
6-quarts. Budget-friendly, and we love the bright white enamel inside. A little big for a single loaf, but good if you also plan to use for big soups, stews, etc. Doesn't conduct heat quite as well as some of the pricier options (not a dealbreaker though) and needs a bit more elbow grease to get the enamel clean.
There are a LOT of fun toys that come with baking homemade bread – and while they’re by no means dealbreakers for great homemade bread, they can streamline your baking process (and make it a lot more fun!)
Ovens are notoriously unreliable - we've had ovens that are off by as much as 30 degrees in one direction! Use an oven thermometer to double-check the accuracy of your oven and, if it's off, adjust accordingly.
It's tempting to rip into your bread right away, but letting it cool properly will preserve the crumb so it looks and tastes better. Put just-baked bread on a wire cooling rack to speed the cooling process!
Use a lame (pronounced "LAHM") to slice beautiful slashes, or scores, into your bread! We use and like this one - it's, comfortable to hold and comes with a protective sleeve and a slick storage box, as well as extra blades.
We often line proofing baskets with a clean linen napkin - it holds and distributes the flour more evenly and makes cleanup easier! We like linen because it's smooth and doesn't leave any fuzz on your bread.
Store flour in an airtight container to keep it fresher, longer (and to keep any pests out!) We like these pop-top acrylic canisters, but you can also use glass or stainless steel! This one comfortably holds a 5lb. bag of flour.
When we start using long rise times, it's especially important to have an airtight seal over your dough to prevent air from sneaking in and drying it out. These silicone bowl covers are a great alternative to plastic wrap.
If you don't have a Dutch oven or want to bake multiple loaves at once, a baking steel (our personal favorite) or pizza stone are great options! If you have any issues with the bottom of your bread burning, a steel or stone on the bottom rack can help regulate the heat.
These stackable, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe deli containers are a staple in food service - and for good reason! They're flexible so you can pour from them, see-through so you know what's inside, and lightweight! We use these containers to measure ingredients, store poolishes our sourdough starters, and more.
When it comes to mixing a poolish or a sourdough starter, this long, skinny spatula is a LIFESAVER. It reaches all the nooks and crannies of your jar or deli container to help you mix thoroughly. We know a spatula might seem like a small thing, but this one is THE ACTUAL BEST.
These washable, reusable beeswax wraps are another great alternative to plastic wrap! Use the heat of your hands to seal this wrap over the bowl while your dough rises. They're also great for storing baked bread, cheeses, or veggies. See one in action in our "All Day Weekend Bread" video!
INGREDIENTS MATTER. Below are some of our favorite ingredients for great bread.
King Arthur is obsessive about quality - their flour has a consistent 11.7% protein: a high protein content that makes for excellent bread. They're also an employee-owned company and a founding B Corp member.
Bob's Red Mill is another favorite of ours - and they won the most rounds of our official Flour Taste Test! This flour has a rich, very slightly nutty flavor and a 10-12% protein content that makes for great, elastic dough.
Our favorite kosher salt for daily cooking and baking. This is the "least salty salt," so it's very forgiving and easy to layer in recipes. Easy to pinch and dissolves quickly into dough for even seasoning!