We all probably have the tools we need to start baking sourdough bread around our kitchen. A bowl, measuring cups or a scale, a towel, a knife/razor blade and something to bake your bread on, like a cookie sheet/roaster/dutch oven/bread pan. Additionally, we all need a container to keep our starter.
While baking perfectly tasty sourdough bread doesn’t require many tools, if a baker you love is hooked on sourdough, there are definitely some tools that will improve their bread and make their baking-life easier.
Here is a list of perfect gifts, taken from the buying guide in our Sourhouse Community Cookbook, for the sourdough baker in your life this holiday season.
- Kitchen Scale: A digital kitchen scale is essential to measure the ingredients accurately by weight. It's important to get a good quality scale that can measure in grams or ounces. If you don’t have one, this is the first thing to buy.
- Dough Scraper: This tool is helpful for scraping the dough off the bowl and surface when kneading and shaping the dough. You can get a plastic scraper for a few dollars.
Parchment Paper: Parchment paper is used to transfer the shaped dough to the baking sheet without sticking. You can buy a roll of parchment paper for a few dollars. In the meantime, you can dust your baking sheet with cornmeal or flour.
When you hit a plateau and are ready to upgrade your kit further, the next purchase would be either a thermometer, dutch oven/roaster or a Goldie.
- Probe Thermometer: Understanding temperature is key to making great loaves consistently. You can use a probe thermometer to help judge when your bread is finished baking, to understand the temperature of your room, starter and dough.
- Dutch Oven or Enamel Roaster: A Dutch oven, or roaster is used to bake your bread and to create a humid environment during the first stages of baking. This will give you more oven spring.
Goldie by Sourhouse: When you are ready to keep your starter on a schedule and to keep it most active, Goldie provides a warm, safe home for your starter.
- Starter Jar: Any jar will hold a starter, but some are better than others. Using a jar designed for sourdough starter will make feeding, rise tracking and clean-up easier.
- Banneton or Proofing Basket: A banneton or proofing basket is used to hold the dough as it proofs and helps shape the dough into a round or oblong shape. You can use a colander or a bowl lined with a floured towel as a makeshift proofing basket.
- Razor Blades (and maybe a lame for holding a blade): is the easiest way to score your bread. A sharp knife will work in the meantime.
- Robust Oven Mitts: Once you start handling 500ºF dutch oven lids regularly you might want something more robust than the typical pot holder.
- Grain Mill: Milling your own grains unlocks a world of flavor possibilities and new challenges.