Materials and Tools?
I was wondering what materials people would recommend for use when making bread, I've made a fair bit now with help from this site, and recently picked up BBA and LOVED it, I was wondering though about a few things, First off is there a reason to use wood over plastic, metal or other materials? I enjoy wood and find it pleasing to handle and look at, but wasn't sure if it was worth the investment to get a solid wooden board and bowls to knead and proof dough in, Some sites recommend it and I notice every picture in BBA has bread being kneaded or proofed on wood (Or in a couche with wood sides that I'd imagine is sitting on top of wood) and the rustic image of a bakery in my mind imagines wood as being the 'right' way of doing things, but aside from some vague mentions of wood becoming seasoned like cast iron, and adding flavor over time through a build up of fermenting dough in pores (Which I don't think seems too likely or healthy), I can't find any good information one way or the other, I've been proofing dough in metal bowls with a bit of spray oil and it's been working fine, but for larger recipes I'm going to need to get some new bigger bowls soon, Any suggestions there?
The next question is regarding a baking stone, We have a cheap ($13 CAD) circular stone from Walmart, that has actually worked out very well so far, but again with larger loaves or with a few smaller longer loaves (like Baguettes) it's not big enough and will soon need to be replaced, any recommendations there? I need something that can be easily moved out of the oven for other things, preferably is rectangular, and is thick enough to hold heat for my purposes.
Next in regards to tools, I'm looking for a decent Dough Scraper, and Lame for scoring, I've been using an xacto-knife/scalpel which works quite well for some things, but the blade is so thin that even though it cuts the dough well, sometimes it doesn't spread the scores enough and they reseal, I've poked around online but the name is a bit ambiguous to search for on ebay or google, where (Preferably in Canada) can I get a decent lame from? I'd imagine a dough scraper would be easier to find online, I haven't looked yet but if anyone cares to make a recommendation I'd appreciate it.
in Ingredients, I found out I can buy Gluten powder from a few stores in my area, would it be worth it to add this to all purpose flour? Or will I get better results with just getting bread flour, (The difference in price isn't big enough to bother me between the two types of flour, I'm baking more but I still don't bake enough to worry that much about the cost of flour) I'm just looking to get the best results, the only bread flour in my area that I've been able to find is Robin Hood brand, anyone with more than one type in their area able to offer a comparasin?
Thanks for any replies ahead of time, and for this excellent resource of a website, I've learned so much from here and it's really enabled me to enjoy this fun hobby :)