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What Tools Do I Need to Start Baking Sourdough Bread?

Imagine yourself in a warm kitchen, surrounded by the tantalizing aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven. The thought of homemade sourdough bread brings a sense of comfort and belonging, doesn’t it?

Well, if you’re ready to embark on this delicious journey, you’ll need a few essential tools to get started. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!

To create that perfect crust and airy crumb, you’ll need a digital scale to measure your ingredients precisely. A Dutch oven will ensure a crispy crust and even heat distribution. A proofing basket, bench scraper, and banneton will help shape and support your dough as it rises. A kitchen thermometer will ensure your bread is cooked to perfection. And lastly, a dough whisk and bread lame will become your trusty companions in the art of sourdough bread making.

Now, to be perfectly honest you don’t really need anything fancy to start making sourdough bread but these tools can make things a little easier at times. So roll up your sleeves, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of baking sourdough bread!

Key Takeaways

  • Digital scales are important for accurate measurements in sourdough baking and provide precise measurements in grams or ounces.
  • Kitchen thermometers are crucial for accurate temperature control in sourdough bread making, as yeast thrives in specific temperature ranges.
  • Dutch ovens are essential tools for baking sourdough bread, as they help create a perfect crust and maintain consistent temperature for even baking.
  • Proofing baskets and bench scrapers are essential tools for supporting and shaping dough during the final rise, ensuring proper airflow and fermentation, and allowing for clean and precise cuts.

Digital Scale

You will need a digital scale to accurately measure the ingredients for your sourdough bread. Let’s dive into the importance of measuring accurately in sourdough baking and explore the different types of digital scales and their features for sourdough bread making.

When it comes to baking sourdough bread, precision is key. Each ingredient plays a crucial role in the final product, and even the slightest variation in measurements can throw off the entire recipe. That’s where a digital scale comes in handy. Unlike measuring cups, which can be inconsistent, a digital scale provides precise measurements in grams or ounces, ensuring your dough turns out just right every time.

Now, let’s talk about the different types of digital scales available. There are compact scales, perfect for small kitchens or those on the go. These scales are lightweight and easy to store, making them a great choice for beginners. On the other hand, if you’re serious about your sourdough baking, you might opt for a larger scale with a higher weight capacity. These scales often come with additional features like a built-in timer or a tare function, allowing you to reset the weight to zero after adding each ingredient.

Dutch Oven

One essential tool for baking sourdough bread is a Dutch oven. Not only does it help create that perfect crust, but it also allows for even heat distribution, resulting in a beautifully baked loaf.

But did you know that a Dutch oven can be used for more than just bread? It’s a versatile kitchen tool that can be used to make a variety of delicious dishes.

One of the benefits of using a Dutch oven for sourdough baking is its ability to trap steam. The tight-fitting lid creates a steamy environment inside the pot, which is crucial for achieving a crispy crust. The Dutch oven also helps to maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring that your bread bakes evenly.

But what about using a Dutch oven for non-bread recipes? Well, you’re in luck! This versatile pot can be used to make soups, stews, roasts, and even desserts. Its durable construction and heat retention properties make it perfect for slow cooking and braising.

Whether you’re making a hearty beef stew or a tender pot roast, the Dutch oven will deliver delicious results every time.

Proofing Basket

To continue your sourdough baking journey, another essential tool you’ll need is a proofing basket. Also known as a banneton or brotform, a proofing basket is used to support the dough during the final rise before baking.

Using a proofing basket offers several benefits for your sourdough bread. First, the basket’s shape and structure help the dough maintain its shape as it rises. This results in a loaf with a beautiful, evenly distributed rise and an appealing spiral pattern on the crust.

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Second, the natural material of the basket, usually made of cane or rattan, allows for proper airflow, which creates a favorable environment for fermentation. This helps develop the complex flavors and airy texture that are characteristic of sourdough bread.

There are different types of proofing baskets available, each serving a specific purpose in baking. Round baskets are great for boules (round loaves), while oval baskets are ideal for batards (oval-shaped loaves). Additionally, there are deep baskets for high-hydration doughs and shallow baskets for low-hydration doughs. It’s important to choose the right basket size and shape to ensure your dough has enough space to rise properly.

Investing in a proofing basket won’t only enhance the appearance and flavor of your sourdough bread, but it will also make the baking process more enjoyable. So go ahead, grab a proofing basket and let it support you on your journey to baking the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.

Bench Scraper

Continuing with your sourdough baking journey, it’s time to explore the essential tool of a bench scraper. A bench scraper is like a trusty sidekick that will help you in every step of your bread-making process.

One of the key benefits of using a bench scraper in bread making is its versatility. It can be used for a variety of tasks, such as dividing and shaping dough, cutting through sticky dough, and even cleaning up your work surface. Its sharp edge allows you to effortlessly cut through the dough, giving you clean and precise cuts.

When it comes to techniques, a bench scraper can be your best friend. To effectively use it in sourdough bread baking, start by using it to scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl during the initial mixing stage. This helps incorporate any dry flour and ensures a more even hydration.

During the folding and shaping process, a bench scraper helps you handle the sticky dough without adding excessive flour. It allows you to lift and fold the dough without getting your hands covered in sticky mess.

Lastly, when transferring the dough to the baking vessel or scoring the dough’s surface, a bench scraper comes in handy. Its flat edge helps you safely move the dough while maintaining its shape.


You’ll need a banneton to enhance the shape and texture of your sourdough bread. Using a banneton for sourdough bread shaping is a game-changer. This traditional bread-making tool is made of natural materials like cane or rattan, allowing the dough to breathe while it rises. The banneton’s spiral design leaves a beautiful pattern on the bread and helps create a crispy crust.

Now, you might be wondering, ‘What’s the difference between a banneton and a proofing basket?’ Well, the terms are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle distinctions. A banneton usually refers to a round or oval-shaped basket, while a proofing basket can come in various shapes. However, both serve the same purpose of supporting the dough during fermentation.

When it comes to choosing between a banneton and a proofing basket, it ultimately depends on your personal preference. Some bakers find that the banneton’s spiral pattern gives their bread a unique and rustic look. Others prefer the versatility of a proofing basket, as it comes in different shapes and sizes.

Whichever option you choose, using a banneton or a proofing basket will elevate your sourdough bread-making experience. So, go ahead and invest in this essential tool to achieve those perfectly shaped, professional-looking loaves. Happy baking!


One essential tool you’ll need when baking sourdough bread is a sharp, serrated blade called a lame. The lame is used for scoring the bread, creating those beautiful patterns on the crust that aren’t only visually appealing but also serve a purpose. Scoring the bread allows it to expand properly while baking, giving you that desired airy and light texture.

There are different types of lames available, each with its own unique features. Some lames have a fixed blade, while others have interchangeable blades. Some blades are curved, while others are straight. It’s important to choose a lame that feels comfortable in your hand and allows you to score the bread with precision.

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To use a bread lame properly, hold it at a slight angle, with the blade facing away from you. Gently and confidently make swift cuts across the surface of the dough, allowing the blade to penetrate about a quarter of an inch deep. The angle and depth of the cuts will depend on the recipe and the desired outcome.

Remember to keep your lame clean and dry after each use, as this will help maintain its sharpness. With practice and the right technique, you’ll soon be creating stunning designs on your homemade sourdough loaves. So go ahead, grab your lame and start scoring!

Kitchen Thermometer

To ensure the perfect temperature for your sourdough bread, an essential tool to have in your baking arsenal is a kitchen thermometer.

Accurate temperature control is crucial in sourdough bread making because it directly affects the fermentation process. Yeast, the magical ingredient responsible for making your bread rise, thrives in specific temperature ranges. Too hot, and it becomes too active, leading to a quick rise and a less flavorful bread. Too cold, and the yeast becomes sluggish, resulting in a dense and underdeveloped loaf.

To find the right temperature range for optimal sourdough fermentation, you’ll need a reliable kitchen thermometer. This nifty gadget allows you to measure the temperature of your dough, ensuring that it stays within the ideal range. Most sourdough recipes call for a fermentation temperature of around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius). By closely monitoring the temperature, you can make adjustments as needed, giving your bread the best chance to develop its complex flavors and perfect texture.

Investing in a kitchen thermometer is a small step that can make a big difference in your sourdough bread baking journey. It empowers you to take control of the fermentation process, ensuring consistent and delicious results every time.

Mixing Bowls

To achieve successful results when baking sourdough bread, an essential item to have in your kitchen is a set of high-quality mixing bowls. These bowls come in various types and sizes, each serving a specific purpose in the bread-making process. Here are three types of mixing bowls that you should consider adding to your collection:

  1. Glass Mixing Bowls: These bowls are heat-resistant, which means you can use them for proofing your sourdough starter or letting your dough rise. The transparency of the glass bowls also allows you to easily monitor the fermentation process and check for any signs of activity.
  2. Ceramic Mixing Bowls: These bowls retain heat well, providing a consistent temperature for the dough during fermentation. They also add a touch of aesthetic appeal to your kitchen, making the bread-making experience even more enjoyable.

When it comes to mixing the dough in a mixing bowl, there are a few proper techniques to keep in mind. First, make sure to properly measure and weigh your ingredients to ensure accurate ratios. Next, use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together until a shaggy dough forms.

Then, perform the ‘stretch and fold’ technique, where you gently stretch the dough and fold it over itself to develop gluten. Finally, continue to knead the dough until it becomes smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.

Investing in high-quality mixing bowls and mastering the proper techniques for mixing dough will greatly contribute to your success in baking delicious sourdough bread. So go ahead and gather your ingredients, pick your favorite mixing bowl, and start creating mouthwatering loaves that will make you the envy of all your friends and family.

Dough Whisk

You’ll need a versatile tool – a dough whisk – for mixing your sourdough bread dough to perfection.

A dough whisk is a must-have tool for any aspiring sourdough baker. It has a unique design that allows for efficient and effective mixing of dough without overworking it.

The benefits of using a dough whisk are numerous. Firstly, its wire loops are perfect for incorporating ingredients evenly, ensuring that all the flour is fully hydrated and eliminating any pockets of dry flour. This results in a more consistent and well-developed dough.

Secondly, the dough whisk’s shape allows for better control and maneuverability, making it easier to mix dense and sticky sourdough dough. It also helps to minimize the mess and reduce the amount of dough sticking to your hands.

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When choosing a dough whisk for sourdough bread baking, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Look for a whisk with sturdy wire loops that can withstand the rigors of mixing dense dough. Additionally, make sure the handle is comfortable to hold and provides a good grip. Some dough whisks come with a wooden handle, which adds a touch of rustic charm to your baking experience.

Bread Lame

Once you have your dough whisk ready, the next essential tool you’ll need to start baking sourdough bread is a bread lame. A bread lame is a small tool used to score the dough before baking. It helps create those beautiful patterns on the surface of the bread and allows the dough to expand properly in the oven.

Here are three important things you need to know about bread lames:

  1. Bread Lame Alternatives: If you don’t have a bread lame, don’t worry! There are a few alternatives you can use. A sharp knife or razor blade can work just as well. Some bakers even use dental floss to make clean cuts on the dough. The key is to have a tool that can easily and cleanly slice through the dough without deflating it.
  2. How to Use a Bread Lame Correctly: To use a bread lame, hold it at a slight angle and gently score the surface of the dough. The depth of the cuts will depend on the recipe, but they should be deep enough to allow the bread to expand during baking. Experiment with different patterns and designs to give your bread a unique look.
  3. Safety Precautions: When handling a bread lame or any sharp tool, it’s important to be cautious. Always keep your fingers away from the blade and make sure to store it safely when not in use. Be mindful of your movements to avoid any accidents.

With a bread lame in your baking arsenal, you’ll be able to create stunning artisanal bread that not only tastes amazing but also looks incredibly professional. So go ahead and get yourself a bread lame or find a suitable alternative, and let your creativity shine through your bread scoring!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Proof Sourdough Bread?

When it comes to proofing sourdough bread, the time can vary. It depends on factors like temperature and the strength of your starter. If you’re troubleshooting proofing, adjusting these factors can help.

Can I Use a Regular Baking Pan Instead of a Dutch Oven?

You can definitely use a regular baking pan instead of a Dutch oven, but using a baking stone instead can give you better results. The benefits of a Dutch oven for baking sourdough bread are a crispy crust and a moist interior.

What Is the Purpose of a Bench Scraper in Sourdough Bread Baking?

The purpose of a bench scraper in sourdough bread baking is to help you easily divide and shape the dough. It’s a versatile tool, but if you don’t have one, you can use a sharp knife or your hands instead.

Do I Need a Specific Type of Mixing Bowl for Making Sourdough Bread?

You’ll want a specific type of mixing bowl for sourdough bread. It should be large enough to hold the dough as it rises. A stainless steel or glass bowl with a lid works best for trapping heat and moisture.

How Do I Know if My Sourdough Bread Is Fully Baked?

To achieve the perfect crust on your sourdough bread, you need to know when it’s fully baked. One way to check is by tapping the bottom of the loaf – if it sounds hollow, it’s done! Troubleshooting common baking mistakes will help you master the art of sourdough.


So there you have it, the essential tools you need to start baking your delicious sourdough bread.

From the trusty digital scale that ensures precise measurements to the versatile Dutch oven that creates the perfect crust, these tools will set you up for success. Don’t forget the proofing basket, bench scraper, and bread lame for those professional finishing touches.

With these tools in your arsenal, you’ll soon be impressing friends and family with your homemade sourdough creations.

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