The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What tools and pans do you recomend?

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lisak's picture
lisak

What tools and pans do you recomend?

I've been baking bread for the past 25 years and am now wanting to master a good loaf of rustic style bread. I see so many different types of tools and pans that I just don't know where to start. Any help would be great. Thank you!

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> I've been baking bread for the past 25 years

 


I would think would have everything you need except possibly a baking stone.

 

I love gadgets myself, but primarily I use medium and small bowls, large and very large spoons, a digital scale, measuring spoons, dough buckets that are recycled ice cream tubs, and my countertop. A Hearthstone, although there are many cheaper ones on the market. And a cast iron frying pan (for generating steam) that I found at a garage sale for 99 cents.

 

If you are going to get into sourdough some laboratory glassware is helpful [1] but you can use cheap mason-style jars.

 

sPh

 

[1] If you use labware you want to buy it new as you have no idea what it has been used for in the past. I don't buy glass odd glass containers (e.g. used mason jars) at garage sales for the same reason; new ones are quite inexpensive in the US.

GreyStone's picture
GreyStone

Hi lisak,

Since winter is approaching, you might want to think about a proofing box.

There are many ways to build one.  A lot of people just use an ice chest

with a few jars of hot water inside for heat and humidity.

I made mine from wood because I like wooden things.

My heat source is just a hot pad underneath it.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I'm guessing if you've been baking bread for a long time but are new at "rustic" loaves, that the main change will be the wetness of the dough, and the shaping/baking process.

 

For rising loaves, canvas, linen, or just smooth-fabric dish towels are very useful for lining bowls or baskets. Rustic doughs often have a higher percentage of water in them, so they can spread out and lose some of their shape during the final rise. If you rise your final loaves in a bowl with a flour-dusted towel liner, it gives them a litle support, so they rise UP and not OUT. Similarly, a "couche" can help support long loaves while rising. Hard to describe easily but here's a picture of some of my loaves rising:

 

 

The folds of fabric give added support. Now I do have a brotform basket, which is fun, but you can also see I use bowls with cloth in them, which is a lot cheaper :)

 

Besides that, as mentioned earlier a stone in your oven really makes a difference with crust and crumb, and a peel for loading the loaves into the oven goes along with that. I also found using parchment paper to slide loaves off the peel and onto the oven stone was helpful when I was getting started. You can just slide loaves using a little flour or cornmeal, but when I was just getting started with "stickier" rustic breads I had more success using parchment, which helped me gain confidence.

 

Oh, and for scoring (slashing) your loaves before baking, the easiest tool for me to use is a razor blade on a stick. I used a bamboo skewer stick for years, but you can also purchase specially-made handles for this.

 

Good luck!

lisak's picture
lisak

Do you need a special type of canvas? I have an old pizza stone and peel that should work fine. When you used the parchment paper did you use the paper with the stone? Thank you for the thought and the picture, it is very helpful.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

You're welcome. Some day I'll actually hem those cloths, ha ha!

 

I don't think the canvas type matters.  I think the purchased couches are actually linen.   I haven't had a problem with any smoother fabrics.

 

I use parchment paper on top of the stone.  It helped slide the bread from peel to stone without sticking.   

Valerie's picture
Valerie

How do you transfer the bread to the baking stone or pan? Just gently flip out of the toweling?

 Valerie

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

When a loaf is rising upside down (seam-side up) I gently flip it over onto a floured peel (or parchment on the peel).

 

For couches, the loaves are rising right side up (seam down).  I usually just pick them up gently and move them onto the peel.  In a class I took we had a thin, long board that we rolled baguettes onto, and then rolled them back onto the peel.  I'd like to get something similar, but so far have been to cheap and lazy to get one!

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

You can buy a flipping board from:

http://www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html

At last check they were $15 plus shipping. I balked at the cost and found a box that smoked salmon came in. The lid is about 20" long and 8" wide. I split it. Works fine

lisak's picture
lisak

I would LOVE to be able to take a class! When I tried to move a loaf the other day it started to deflate and I had just barely touched it. I'm trying again today, hope my loaves turn out well!

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I haven't bought anything from them in a while. They have good stuff (and not too expensive, though I too balk at $15 for a board!).

 

re: class (from lisak)

 

We're fortunate to have a very good baking and pastry arts program at our local community college. I started out taking a few classes just to get to use the BIG equipment and to see if I wanted to pursue a baking "career". I ended up finishing the program part time and learned so much.

 

Just being able to make 20 pounds of bread dough and shape it all yourself (and bake in a real steam-injected oven!) is a great way to perfect your skills.