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The Basic Equipment

You can get started baking bread with just a few tools.

If you’ve spent any time at all perusing other blogs, you’ll find a whole host of tools those bakers use to bake simple bread. When I first started, I’d read the list of recommended tools and become overwhelmed. What’s a banneton? How about a baking steel? And a lame? I’ll tell you what they are…unnecessary expenses for new bakers.

Here’s the list of essential things you’ll need (many you probably already have):

  • Two or three quart-sized wide-mouthed jars or plastic storage containers
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Two medium sized bowls (about 2.5 liter/3 quarts)
  • Digital kitchen scale (If you don’t have one, they’re about $11.00 on Amazon.)
  • Two tea towels or flour sack towels (anything that doesn’t get linty)
  • Turkey roasting bags (really)
  • A sharp knife or pointed scissors
  • Parchment paper
  • 3-quart cast iron pot, or any covered that can withstand 500 degree ovens (I use a Lodge Combo Cooker) OR a heavy baking sheet and stainless steel bowl
  • Two wire cooling racks
  • A serrated bread knife

Once you bake a few loaves, you may decide to invest in some additional tools. None are required, but they are nice to have.

  • Lame (pronounced LAHM), which is used to score dough before baking.
  • Bench knife, which is just a flat piece of steel that you can use to scrape or pick up dough.
  • Banneton, a basket some people put their dough in to rise. (I’ve never seen the need for a banneton; it’s just something else I’d have to store in the kitchen.)

That’s it. Your kitchen is likely different, but when I started the only equipment I needed to purchase was the scale, parchment paper, and turkey bags–less than twenty dollars investment in equipment. Your biggest investment is likely to be in a dutch oven or pot that can withstand high heat. Once you have the basics, you’re ready to get started.


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