The Bread-Making Tools Every Home Baker Needs
Looking to challenge yourself by baking a loaf from scratch? You'll want to know about these bread-making tools that make baking simple.
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Baking bread is a uniquely challenging and satisfying task. Sure, there’s a bit of fuss when it comes to proofing yeast and getting picture-perfect plaits, but the smell of a freshly baked loaf is worth it. The only thing you need—besides your favorite bread recipe—are a few bread baking essentials to get you started. And don’t miss the rest of the baking supplies our Test Kitchen team can’t live without. Be sure to check out our bread baking guide for even more tips and tricks!
Taste of Home
If you invest in one bread-baking tool, let it be a Taste of Home bench scraper. This Test Kitchen-approved tool is great at manipulating bread dough on your bench and dividing it into sections for braids and rolls. It also comes in very handy during cleanup after all the kneading is done.
Challenger Bread Pan
Serious bread makers know that the secret to a crisp-on-the-outside and fluffy-on-the-inside loaf comes down to the baking environment. The Challenger bread pan creates an ideal amount of steam, while the cast iron material promotes even heat distribution. This beautiful pan is a splurge, but it’s well worth it for bread artists perfecting their craft.
Make your ingredient measurements as precise as possible with the help of Ooni’s digital scale. This handy kitchen gadget has two platforms, so you can measure yeast and flour (or any other combination) at the same time. The scale measures to a tenth of a gram, and the sleek design makes it a countertop staple. Speaking of Ooni, have you tried their pizza oven?
Whether you prefer quick breads or yeasted breads, you’ll definitely want to invest in a few loaf pans for your favorite homemade bread recipes. There are plenty of options out there, but you can never go wrong with great nonstick pans, like this loaf pan set from our new line of Taste of Home bakeware. Your bread will pop right of the pan with ease thanks to the embossed design.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Your KitchenAid stand mixer is invaluable when it comes to making bread. It’s a kitchen powerhouse that does most of the heavy lifting—like mixing ingredients and kneading dough—for you. Be sure to keep the mixer’s included dough hook attachment at the ready when you start a new bread recipe. It’s so handy, especially for stickier doughs like this one for twisted babka. Psst! Do you know the most popular KitchenAid color in your state?
When you make bread with yeast, it’s absolutely crucial that the water you add to the dough or use to proof the yeast is precisely the right temperature. Too chilly and that yeast won’t grow. Too hot and the yeast dies. Skip the guesswork and invest in a quick-read thermometer. It will tell you in a few seconds if your water is at the right temperature—ideally around 110ºF.
Flexible Bowl Scraper
Let’s face it: Bread dough can be pretty sticky. To make sure you get every bit of bread dough out of your mixing bowl, skip the spatula and go for a flexible silicone bowl scraper. You’ll find yourself using this handy tool for all your breads, plus plenty of other bakes.
Mini Loaf Pan
Quick bread recipes are easy to convert into mini loaves. Instead of buying (and finding a place for!) heaps of small loaf pans, try a pan like this mini loaf pan from Sur la Table. You can bake up to eight mini loaves all at once.
Countertop Dough Proofer
As much as we love making homemade bread, getting the right environment for proofing can be difficult, especially when you live in cooler climates. Ensure you get consistent rising results every time with a countertop proofer. It’s a bit of an investment, but worth every penny if you’re an avid bread maker.
KitchenAid Bread Bowl Attachment
Arguably the worst part of baking bread? A sink full of dirty bowls to clean while your loaf bakes. Luckily, KitchenAid has solved that sticky problem with their bread bowl attachment. This genius gadget is designed for mixing, kneading, proofing and baking—all in the same vessel. One of our editors tried the bread bowl attachment and loved it. It’s one of our favorite KitchenAid attachments!
To get a good slice of perfectly crusty homemade bread, you’ll need a good bread knife. Serrated is a must to cut through the loaf without crushing the texture inside while preserving the crust outside. Our Test Kitchen loves this bread knife from Wüsthof.
You can cut out some of the labor of bread-making with a good bread machine. Our Test Kitchen loves this Cuisinart bread maker, especially for newer bread bakers (check out our other favorite bread machines). Bread makers can help you mix up the dough, knead and even bake the bread for you. Here are some bread machine recipes to get you started.
While we adore our stand mixers, sometimes you need to mix up the dough the old-fashioned way. Instead of slogging through sticky bread dough with a wooden spoon, opt for a dough whisk. This tool helps incorporate ingredients quickly and easily. Learn more about why you’ll want a dough whisk in your utensil crock. Plus, it makes a unique gift—especially when paired with a baking subscription box!
Once you’re fully immersed in the world of bread baking, odds are you’ll be experimenting in your kitchen whenever you have the chance. One of the most satisfying ways to up your bread game is to try out new types of flour. A great place to start is with a bag of King Arthur rye flour. Use it to make a loaf of this stunning marble rye. Then, discover more gourmet baking ingredients.
Wonder how bakeries get those gorgeous designs on the top of their breads? It’s all thanks to a deft hand and a bread lame (pronounced lahm). These tools are essentially razors designed for baking. Slice into your bread before baking it and you can create neat cuts and designs.
Bring the New York bagel experience to your kitchen with this bagel-making kit. This set of silicone molds makes it easy to shape, boil and bake a batch of homemade bagels for the best breakfast ever. Plus, each cone is dishwasher-, oven- and microwave-safe.
In small kitchens, every tool must serve multiple purposes. And a Dutch oven, like this one from Lodge, is a staple. Not only does it yield crispy, crackly Dutch oven bread, but you can also use it to make soups, stews, dinners, desserts and more. Talk about a kitchen workhorse!
Getting dough to rise can be tricky business. Yeasted bread dough likes a warm, humid environment—around 75º with 60 to 80 percent humidity—to get the right lift. Make sure your house is warm and humid enough with an indoor thermometer. And if it’s a little too cool, here are ways to proof bread if the conditions aren’t just right.
Decorative Loaf Pan
Take your quick breads to the next level by baking them in a wow-worthy pan. This Nordic Ware anniversary loaf pan turns a standard loaf of pumpkin or banana bread into a work of art.
Bread boxes do work! Keep your homemade bread fresher for longer by storing it in a countertop bread box. This one has some vintage flair and is big enough to store a whole loaf, plus some extra buns.
Yeast Measuring Spoon
The days of measuring out 2-1/4 teaspoons of yeast are gone. Let this handy measuring spoon do the work for you! This is a must for serious bread bakers.
Baking stones aren’t just for pizza. Ceramic stones are great at soaking up extra moisture from the exterior of the bread to help develop a crunchy, crispy crust. Use a stone to bake sheet breads that typically call for a baking sheet—and don’t forget to use baking stones for homemade pizza and sourdough bread.
Avid bread bakers swear by these woven proofing baskets called bannetons. They give your bread an attractive shape while rising, plus they really make you feel like an expert baker.