You can bake a lot of things, but one of the most satisfying ones is bread made with sourdough. Despite being a simple process, sourdough is an extended one where many things can go wrong, so you might as well have the right tools.
These are the tools I recommend and use…
Sourdough is a natural process and a wonderful “slow food.” I find the baking to be enjoyable and I genuinely believe that sourdough bread is healthier for me and my family than commercially produced quick-rise bread. The reason I believe this is not scientific, but I’ve eaten enough bread to know that I feel better after eating a nice, homemade sourdough than I do after eating just about any other bread.
Moreover, I must confess that I am addicted to this bread’s sour taste!
A particularly exact science, baking, is a science. Professionals may be able to eyeball measurements, but I certainly cannot, so I use a scale for every measurement. To make sure I’m as precise as possible, I even weigh my liquids in grams.
Besides being an excellent food scale, the Jennings CJ-4000 is also an excellent coffee scale. This scale is so appealing to me because it is very reliable, affordable, versatile, and compact (I’ve had mys for a number of years).
In addition, this scale has a high maximum weight, which I often use for baking, so I can use it with a large glass bowl and still add my flour and liquids. Approximately 9 pounds of maximum weight (4000 grams) is sufficient.
CJ-4000 scale by Jennings
When I mix, I use heavy glass bowls and do it all by hand. Therefore, they should have a fairly large, stout build. At least two quarts is the right size bowl for the biggest size. With a set like this one, you’ll have everything you need.
Also from Duralex, I like their glass mixing bowl set. Even though it is more expensive, the set is large and very versatile. Duralex glassware is almost exclusively used in the kitchen, so it’s a good match.
In sourdough, the mixing bowl is used for mixing, but it is also frequently used for storing. You want something heavy enough to protect the bowl from both the fridge and a 500-degree oven. If you are looking for the best mixing bowls for bread making, we have a recommendation for you!
It’s difficult for me to think about kitchen without having towels I like nearby. There needs to be a little texture to them, as well as not being fuzzy. Towels made from flour sacks are my favorite. For more details, please refer to my lengthy article!
Sourdough Starter Storage
As a living organism, sourdough needs to live somewhere. To get warm enough to become active, it needs to be fed and kept outside before it can be used.
There is no better container than the Wicked glass jar.
The First Premium Control Kitchen Knife
You can keep sourdough starter in mason jars. I did this for many years, but the goopy starter inevitably gets on the threads of the jars and things get messy. There may also be a risk of the starter drying near the top of the jar and looking gross. You can also seal the lid so tightly that there is no way for air to escape.
The metal springs don’t appeal to me, but these jars are easy to clean and the right size for me.
Weck Glass Jars 6-jar set
Cast Iron For Baking
In terms of your sourdough hardware purchase, this is the most important decision: do you go enamel or not? This is no small thing.
For baking bread, I use a large Le Creuset cast iron enamel pot. This has been my method for years, and I even replaced the black plastic Le Creuset knob, which has a 450-degreee F temperature rating, with a metal knob. I cooked in a 6.75 quart Le Creuset dutch oven, which has been my cooking companion for years. Because I’ve chipped my Le Creuset in the past, I’m more careful with it now, but it’s still a great item for sourdough baking.
Le Creuset also makes a Round Wide Dutch Oven with Baker Lid, which has a better lid for baking, but is heavier and more expensive. Although it’s smaller, I find it less appealing, even though it’s technically a better fit.
Despite my appreciation for Le Creuset and their lifetime warranty, more and more people are recommending the Lodge 3 Quart Cast Iron Combo Cooker. It is a cast iron combo that sells for about $30 and is indestructible. This is what I would buy if I were going to start over or buy new baking gear because it is so simple and low maintenance.
Lodge Cast Iron Cooker
A good, heavy dough scraper is both fun and deeply satisfying to use. As an added benefit, it can also be used to move the sticky, wet dough around once it’s dried, and to remove the dried dough from the cutting board after the cooking procedure is done.
The kinds of dough scrapers I’ve found fall into two categories: flexible plastic and heavy metal. When using plastic ones, you can reach into bowls and do things you would normally do with your hands. These kinds of things I usually do by hand or with a spatula. The OXO metal scraper is what I prefer.
OXO Dough Scraper
Big Cutting Board
I don’t resort to using my countertop to knead and shape dough, as a lot of people do. Even though I clean my countertops often, I feel like having an additional surface where I prepare food makes sense because I use them for all sorts of things.
I prefer large cutting boards, especially those from Epicurean. My usual choice is to use the large Gourmet block or the Big Block. I admit that I am sort of in love with the latter, even though it’s impractical and heavy.
A type of pressed wood is used by Epicurean to make its large, professional-grade cutting boards that are dishwasher-safe. Their cutting boards are durable and not made from plastic. They are also satisfying to use when cutting.
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