Basic Equipment

To have success in bread and baked goods, the right equipment and techniques come before all else- without a mixing bowl, kneading machine, scale, and oven, nothing will work. A basic kit with the most important utensils is an absolute must. Then by following the recipes, nothing else stands in the way of success. 

The right equipment and utensils make the baking process easier and help ensure success with breads and baked goods. 

  • Stand Mixer
  • Grain mill
  • Baking oven
  • Wine Fridge
  • Baking stone for the oven, baking pans, cooling racks
  • Baking peel and oven mitts
  • Mixing bowls, measuring cups
  • Scale, Spoon scale, Timer
  • Thermometer, Oven thermometer
  • Dough knife, dough cards (metal and plastic),…
  • Razor blades, Bread knife, Palette,…
  • Lidded pot, Römertopf, Backing forms,…
  • Bread cloth, Linen towel,…
  • Baking paper, Cling wrap
  • Pastry brush, spray bottle

Food Processor/Stand Mixer

If you often bake bread, it is advisable to purchase a powerful stand mixer with a large mixing bowl. It has the advantage that it requires less force when mixing and saves time. There are stand mixers in different sizes and features. When buying, you should think carefully about the purposes and needs for which it is used at home and what size fits your household.

The accessories of the stand mixer includes dough hooks and whisks, often also a mixer or even a grain grinder attachment, which is especially indispensable in healthy wholefood baking.

Grain mill

Freestanding grain mills are now very popular. With this device you have the possibility of always having freshly ground flour at your disposal, which contains more nutrients and aromas than the ready-ground flour. Electric mills are recommended, as grinding the grain into fine flour by hand requires a lot of force. Before purchasing you should consider how often you will need the mill and whether there is enough space in the kitchen for it. Grain mills with stone grinders and steel grinders are offered. A particularly fine flour can be achieved with a stone grinder. With steel grinders, on the other hand, you can grind oilseeds, which is only possible with stone grinders when mixed with grain. 

Baking oven

The baking process differs depending on the oven, especially with regard to the required baking temperature. Conventional electric ovens are heated by top and bottom heat, whereas in ovens with hot air (convection) the heat is distributed and circulated throughout the oven by a fan. Modern ovens can also offer integrated steaming.

Any temperature information on the blog relates to average values ​​and may vary depending on the stove performance. Therefore, the temperature information in all recipes is only a guide!

“To guarantee success in baking, it is necessary to preheat the oven long enough”.

Wine Cooler

As I was developing the blog, it occurred to me that many Hobby bakers have problems with the temperatures for overnight rising. Also it was difficult to maintain the correct temperature for pre-doughs. Temperatures from 4 to 25 °C are required and not always easy to achieve. The refrigerator is often the only alternative for long term dough rising, but everyone knows how often the refrigerator is opened and closed in a day. Temperature variations were part of the process and you might end up with un-ripe pre-doughs or overproofed bread. I thought about it a while a came upon the idea of wine coolers. Wine coolers are available in different sizes types. You can easily set the temperature from 5°C to 25°C and thus ensure a long and cool rise. Large wine coolers even have separate temperature ranges (red wine and white wine) and so, for example, the upper area can be used warmer (eg. 20° C) and the lower area colder (e.g. 5 ° C)!

Anyone who is a fan of long dough ripening should be fascinated by this idea, and wine coolers are available from 150 euros. The nicest thing about this investment is that after the baking day you can convert the cooler to cooling beverages again. 

Baking Stone

Traditionally, breads are moved onto the heated baking stone with a wooden baking peel so that it starts to bake immediately on the underside. The oven spring is of no comparison to those breads baked on a baking pan!

Keep in mind that the stone requires proper preheating to get good results and this requires time. The stone should be heated in the oven for 40-50 minutes at the highest level before the dough is placed on the stone. The stone is best kept in the lower third of the oven. When baking the oven temperature should be reduced to 200°C after approx. 10 minutes. For the blog recipes I use a baking stone made of glazed cordierite. 

Baking Peel 

A baking peel is a useful tool for placing bread dough into the oven. However, if you don’t want to make the investment, you can make one yourself out of a piece of plywood. Alternatively, you can use the back of a sheet pan to slide the bread in the oven. 

Kitchen Scale, Spoon Scale

In order to achieve success in baking, it is important to weigh the ingredients exactly. A scale is more reliable than measuring cups, which is why I also weigh liquids such as water, eggs, olive oil. A spoon scale is an advantageous tool since the amounts used for household baking can often be fairly small. 

Thermometer, Timer

The temperature is just as important as the overall recipe. With sourdough it is important to keep the temperature exact because the sourdough produces more acetic acid at cooler temperatures and more lactic acid at warmer temperatures. The temperature also affects the rise, appearance, and taste. I prefer to use digital “clinical thermometers” because they are accurate, waterproof, and are available at the drugstore for 2 euros. 

A timer is needed to keep track of rise and baking times. There is nothing worse than spending a morning carefully preparing a bread only to burn it in the oven because you lost track of the time. 

Razor Blades and Bread Knife

Razor blades are used to score bread and baked goods. You can also use a sharp knife but a razor blade slotted to a pencil is a baker’s toy. 

Breads are often scored on top in order to control the oven spring. When the gases escape at the cuts, the crust cracks open. If you are baking your own bread, you should treat it with respect. So treat yourself to a sharp knife to cut your bread. The knife I use is from the brand “KASUMI”. The blade is made of high-quality stainless steel, which is specially made for these knives. The blades are ice-hardened to Rockwell C 59-60. This means the knives maintain their sharp edges longer than other knives. 

Wicker Baskets, Linen Cloth

Wicker baskets are well suited to bread because they give them the right shape. You don’t have to have them since you can always use a cloth in a mixing bowl. There are no limits to the shapes and materials available. Linen cloth is made from natural fibers and can be used to place the dough on to rise. The fabric is stiff enough to fold so that baguettes and other dough types stay separate. If you don’t have linen cloths you can also use kitchen towels.