Here's Everything You Need to Make Sourdough Bread at Home
Make bakery-level bread in your own kitchen with these baking tools that upgrade basic boulés.
There's a reason why sourdough bread is having a moment: "You really only need flour, water and time," says HGTV social media editor Laura Susong, a recent bread-baking convert. "And magic!"
Since I have more of one of those components — time at home — than ever before, I've decided to use some of that to try sourdough baking. In my culinary school days, I learned all about the ratios of bread to water to yeast, kneading, rising and shaping, but baking yeast-free is a new adventure that's part skill and part luck and yes, part magic.
To create sourdough magic in your kitchen, you really only need a good recipe, some flour and a lot of patience, but here are a few of the almost-essential tools that helped me get started (and up my bread game.)
Sure, you can start your own or ask a bread-baking friend for a bit of their ever-expanding starter, but you can also purchase one online to get straight to baking.
Glass Jar or Bin
Making your own starter from scratch? Your levain will grow more than you think it will. Use a glass jar or plastic bin to keep it contained.
Whether adding to your starter or mixing up dough, things can get sticky. This Danish-style whisk's three-loop design makes it easier to blend and fold clumpy dough.
A bench scraper will be your new best friend in the bread game: Use it to divide up your dough, easily scrape up sticky leftover bits of dough and shape the perfect loaf. I guarantee you'll find tons of other uses for it in the kitchen, too.
With so few ingredients, precision measuring is important. Measuring cups can vary widely, so an inexpensive scale ensures that you're adding the same ratios every time. It's really a gamechanger.
Ever wondered how bakers get even, circular patterns on their sourdough loaves? That comes from using a proofing basket, also known as a banneton. This set comes with dough scrapers and bowl covers, too.
Cotton Bowl Covers
Cover up your proofing bread with these adorable reusable cotton bowl covers, which will help keep warm air around the dough and prevent a skin from forming on top.
It might sound lame, but if you want to create Instagram-worthy designs on your bread, you'll need a scoring knife, also known as a bread lame. This tool makes it easy to try intricate patterns that are sure to impress your family and give your bread a professional baker vibe.
Want that crispy, chewy crust on your sourdough? In a home oven, the best bet to get that effect is to use a dutch oven, which seals in the moisture.
If you venture into the world of sourdough pizza or free-form loaves (and you should!) a ceramic baking stone helps ensure a crisp crust. Hello, Neapolitan-style pizza at home.
Thick, high-quality loaf pans will ensure your sandwich-slicer bread cooks evenly. Bonus: These are perfect for banana bread, too.
You've done the work — now give your loaf the presentation it deserves. This round board can do triple-duty as a proofing zone, pizza peel and serving spot.
A sharp, serrated knife is crucial to get thick, chewy slices perfect for toasting and slathering in butter. If it's missing from your kitchen toolkit, now's the time to add a serrated knife.
The Ultimate Cookbook
Once you've graduated from the basics, this book from acclaimed Portland baker Ken Forkish will help you perfect the classic rustic boule, make better pizza and get more consistent results.