This list of basic sourdough bread making equipment will help you to get your sourdough starter bread making journey off to a good start!
Whether you are new to sourdough bread making or rekindling a desire to bake sourdough bread for your family, having the right equipment can elevate your bread making! And help you to be a better baker!
You see, when I first started baking sourdough bread some 30 years ago, I didn’t have the best equipment or even the right equipment to make my sourdough bread making as successful and rewarding as it could be. And I want you to be a successful sourdough bread maker and to love baking with your sourdough starter as much as I do.
It truly is quite rewarding to nurture and care for your sourdough starter. It’s a living thing that brings such great satisfaction – not to mention a wonderful aroma!
First, we’ll take a look at the essentials tools and equipment to make your sourdough starter. Then we’ll look at the additional tools and equipment you might want to have on hand for actual sourdough bread making. And, finally, I’ll share some of my favorite sourdough bread books. These books are written by experts in the field of sourdough bread making. They share recipes, tips and knowledge that’s sure to help you be a better sourdough bread baker.
Sourdough Bread Tools & Equipment
A list of essential and help tools, equipment and resources that will help you have a rewarding sourdough bread baking experience. The following list in broken down into two categories: one, sourdough starter and second, sourdough bread. I've provided links to the products I recommend for your convenience.
I seldom use a kitchen scale for baking, but when I'm making sourdough bread or feeding and maintaining my starter, I find it absolutely necessary. If you are new to weighing ingredients for recipes, it may seem difficult at first, but once you get used to it, it will become second nature and you'll soon wonder how you ever baked bread without your kitchen food scale.
You will want to have two or three glass jars or containers to store your sourdough starter. 32 oz jars should give you plenty of room for feeding and growing your starter. You do not want to have containers with an airtight seal. If you use the Mason jar lids, just place them on the jar with the rubber strip side up and then loosely attach the ring.
A couple of other options are these 32 oz La Parfait jars. If you use these jars for your starter, just omit the rubber seal. Another favorite jar of mine are these Weck Jars. Again, if you use the Weck jars, just omit the rubber seal.
Like I said, you'll want one jar for your starter, one for your discard and one to transfer your starter to when the existing jar gets a little cruddy.
Although you can simply use a spoon, having a narrow rubber spatula with a sturdy handle is the perfect tool to mix your sourdough starter. It does a great job mixing and scraping the sides of the jar.
Sourdough Bread Making Equipment
The above three items are my list of essential sourdough starter tools and equipment. Following are my list of essential sourdough bread making equipment, tools and resources.
A banneton basket is actually an optional piece of equipment. It is a wicker basket that is used to proof bread in. The shape of the basket helps to define the shape of your sourdough bread. You can simply use a glass bowl to proof your bread in, but a banneton basket is a great piece of bread baking equipment.
In fact, you can purchase kits on Amazon that include round and oval baskets, as well as a Linen Liner, Dough Scraper, Scoring Lame, Blades & Organic Cotton Bag.
A bread lame is basically a razor blade attached to a handle. Because the razor blade is very sharp, it helps to ensure you get crisp clean cuts in your dough when you are scoring it. You can, however, simply use a sharp knife. A lame is simply a better option.
Just like the bowl scraper, the bench scraper really is a handy and versatile tool. You can use a bench scraper to help shape your bread dough, maneuver the dough, cut the dough and scrape dough off your work surface and hands.
Sourdough Bread Making Books
Some of my favorite sourdough bread making books from trusted sources and expert bread makers.
This book by Ken Forkish is one of my favorite sourdough bread recipe books ever. "Whether you’re a total beginner or a serious baker, Flour Water Salt Yeast has a recipe that suits your skill level and time constraints: Start with a straight dough and have fresh bread ready by supper time, or explore pre-ferments with a bread that uses biga or poolish. If you’re ready to take your baking to the next level, follow Forkish’s step-by-step guide to making a levain starter with only flour and water, and be amazed by the delicious complexity of your naturally leavened bread. Pizza lovers can experiment with a variety of doughs and sauces to create the perfect pie using either a pizza stone or a cast-iron skillet."
"The bread at San Francisco's legendary Tartine Bakery sells out within an hour almost every day. At 5 P.M., these rugged, magnificent loaves are drawn from the oven. The first cut yields steam and room-filling aroma, exposing an open and tender interior underneath the burnished, substantial crust. This distinctive bread was developed by renowned baker Chad Robertson over a decade of working with one of the finest artisan bakers in the United States and France, followed by another decade baking solo in a small wood-fired oven on the coast of Northern California. The following for this singular bread far exceeds the bakery's limited daily production."
This is not an exhaustive list of sourdough starter and bread tools and equipment. It is simply meant to help you be prepared so that you have the best experience on your sourdough starter and bread making journey. If you have questions about any of these recommended tools and/or equipment, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you have further recommendations – please share in the comments below.
Sourdough Starter Resources
You’ll find a lot of resources online that will help you in your sourdough starter journey. What I hope to do here on The Birch Cottage blog is to break down this process into simple and easy to understand steps. I truly want you to be successful.
As you read and learn more about (or maybe already have discovered this truth) sourdough bread making, you’ll quickly discover that everyone seems to have different ratios and methods. This can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. Don’t be frustrated. And please let me help you. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll be glad to answer them.
Like I said, there are a lot of resources online. Some of the best resources that you’ll find are on YouTube. Here are a few of my favorites: