At its core, bread is simply flour, water and a little bit of salt. There really is no need for fancy equipment, with just these simple ingredients, a mixing bowl, and a heat source you can make some damn delicious bread.
In this post, I'll be going over some of my recommendations for tools that would be useful in your sourdough and bread making journey. Aside from the items I mentioned previously, you really don't need much, but I've included other items here that are great to have if you'd like to take your baking experiments to the next level. The items on this list are ones I personally use.
Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. This in no way impacts my recommendations.
For your starter:
I never thought I'd have a favorite spatula...but here we are. Long handle for reaching to the bottom of a container, and a blade that's the perfect mix of stiffness and flexibility for mixing and scraping your sticky starter
Measuring by weight is more accurate and will lead to more consistent results when you're following a recipe, measuring out baker's percentages or calculating hydration levels. This scale is cheap but dependable. I might invest in a fancier one down the road, but my Ozeri is a work horse in my kitchen and hasn't failed me yet.
A hot oven is essential to bread baking. Many ovens (like mine) don't have an accurate built-in thermometer. Having one of these helps ensure you're baking at the right temperature. This one is recommended by America's Test Kitchen.
Lodge makes great quality products. This Dutch oven traps in steam during baking and provides a super-heated environment that result in nice tall loaves
You may not always need it, but I think when you're dealing with dough that you've spent hours working on, it's better safe than sorry. Parchment is the best at preventing breads and other baked goods from sticking to cake pans, baking trays or Dutch Oven, so I always use it.
Allows air to circulate under bread after baking and prevents the bottom from getting soggy from condensation.
Mixing and bulking:
Versatile set, perfect for most jobs in the kitchen. The large-sized bowl is perfect for hand mixing dough. Pro-tip: write out the weight of each bowl with a sharpie for when you forget to TARE your scale.
Great to have for scraping sticky dough from your bowl or your fingers.
I always dust my dough with rice flour to prevent it from getting stuck during my final proof. Because it doesn't brown as much as wheat flour, it makes scoring patterns stand out and look great in contrast to thick brown crusts.
Using a mini lazy Susan like this one makes turning your loaf while scoring super easy.
Quickly becoming one of my favorite tools in my kitchen. I almost always use at least 30% freshly-milled grains whenever I bake. My mill is super easy to operate and produces really fine flour. Highly recommend investing in one if you want to make healthier bread and are ready to take your bread making to the next level.
For a great source of organic grains, try Azure Standard. They offer an amazing selection of wheat, ancient and gluten-free grains, with a really great shipping program!
I went an entire year using a mixing bowl and a tea towel to proof my dough, so it's not a necessity. That being said, I loved my banneton the moment I got it and have never looked back. Bannetons support and wick away moisture from your dough, and are particularly great for high hydration sourdough recipes, like most of the ones on my blog.
When I use freshly-milled flour, I often sift the bran and soak it separately before adding it back into my dough mix. I think this helps with achieving a fluffier crumb
You'll need a good bread knife to slice into your nice crusty loaves. Victornox makes a great one, and if well cared for will last you for a good while.