Whether you’re a beginner baker or an expert, this list of sourdough baking tools will help you equip your kitchen. From bread whisks to bench scrapers, each item will make sourdough baking a breeze. Start with the basics for a budget-friendly approach, working you way down the list as you learn more.
When I first began my sourdough journey, I remember being overwhelmed by the entire process. I stalled for months before whipping up a starter. That’s why I’m creating free resources like this blog post to help you reduce the overwhelm and dive right in. I regret waiting and wish someone had helped me learn the basics I’m sharing with you. Sourdough baking really doesn’t have to be hard; you’ll be surprised once you begin!
Before We Get Started…
The list of 13 sourdough baking supplies below starts with the most important to the least important (for beginner bakers). You’ll need items one through four for sure. Five and six are extremely helpful, and the rest are optional but will make sourdough baking a breeze. I highly recommend adding them to your kitchen when you get the chance.
One more thing, before beginning your sourdough journey, it is essential to know that sourdough baking is an art with guidelines, not rules. Don’t focus on perfection; embrace the imperfections, and don’t be afraid to try new things
1. Sourdough Starter
Having a sourdough starter is the most important item you will need for sourdough baking. You can use Plum Branch Home’s How to Make a Sourdough Starter (Guide for Beginners) to make your own at home. The instructions are super simple and answer all the questions you may have.
2. Unbleached Flour
When baking with your sourdough starter, it is crucial to use unbleached flour every single time. Whether you’re feeding it or making a bread loaf, the bleach in regular flour can harm the good bacteria in your starter. Fortunately, unbleached flour is just as affordable as regular flour, making it a budget-friendly option. Look for the title ‘unbleached all-purpose flour‘ at the grocery store. For an extra tip, using organic unbleached all-purpose flour is the absolute best option. It’s the only flour I use, and my starter is healthy as can be.
My favorite clean, healthy flour brands are:
- King Arthur’s Flour (Walmart + Kroger)
- Simple Truth Flour (Kroger)
- Arrowhead Mills (Walmart)
- Trader Joe’s Flour (Trader Joe’s)
- Great River Organic Milling (Costco and online)
3. Large Glass Mixing Bowl (best with lid)
When baking bread loaves, you’ll need a bowl large enough to accommodate the bulk fermentation and allow the dough to double in size. My favorite choice is Pyrex’s 4-quart mixing bowl made of glass. It’s simple, nontoxic, and perfectly suited for bulk fermentation. If you can find one with a lid, that’ll be your best option for added convenience. However, if you can’t find one with a lid, no worries, the bowl alone will do the job just fine
4. Glass Loaf Pan
The best beginner’s baking vessel is a plain and simple Pyrex glass loaf pan. If you’re on a budget and can’t invest in a Dutch oven or bread cloche (mentioned later on this list), opt for this option. Avoid using a metal version; instead, choose glass for nontoxic baking. Keep in mind that achieving the iconic sourdough crust might be challenging without a Dutch oven or bread cloche, but rest assured, your bread will still be delicious
5. Cooling Rack
Cooling racks are the perfect way to properly cool loaves or other sourdough treats. You can find affordable options on Amazon, Walmart, or even local second-hand stores (thrift shops). I always look for stainless steel cooling racks with kick stand legs.
6. Bread Knife
After baking your loaves you’ll need to slice them for sandwiches and toast. The best way to do this is with a bread knife. My favorite is a 10 inch stainless steel bread knife. With a long blade you’re able to cut each slice evenly.
7. Banneton Proofing Basket
Banneton proofing baskets are essential during the second rise of bread dough. After the initial bulk fermentation in the glass bowl, transferring the dough to a banneton with a liner allows for a second rise and helps shape your loaf beautifully. While not strictly necessary, I highly recommend having both a round and an oblong banneton for variety. However, if you’re on a budget, there’s no need to worry; you can simply use a smaller round bowl as a substitute for the banneton.
8. Bread Whisk
Bread whisks are used when mixing dough to efficiently incorporate the ingredients. It makes mixing fast and simple. This does not replace kneading or the stretch and pull technique but is used when first creating your dough.
9. Bench Scraper
If there was one sourdough baking supply I love most, it’s my bench scraper. This versatile tool serves multiple purposes in the kitchen. From moving dough to slicing it, creating tension on loaves, and even cleaning countertops, the bench scraper is an invaluable companion for every baker.
10. Tea Towels
When your dough is bulk fermenting and undergoing its second rise, you’ll want to drape a kitchen towel over the top for freshness. My favorite choice for this is a tea towel. Tea towels typically have less fuzz and don’t stick into the dough like some other options, making them ideal for keeping your dough in perfect condition.
11. Dutch Oven or Bread Cloche
If there is one item you should splurge on, let it be a Dutch oven or bread cloche. These two baking vessels are the secret to achieving that iconic sourdough crust with a perfect crumb. I invested in a French bread cloche, and to this day, it’s my prized possession! Swapping your glass loaf pan for one of these adds an artisan touch to your bread. Both vessels work great, but the cloche is more specific to sourdough baking, while the Dutch oven serves multiple purposes, such as making soup when not baking bread.
12. Bread Lame
A bread lame is essentially a razor blade on a stick, designed for scoring bread loaves before baking to create beautiful designs. While you can use a knife or razor blade as an alternative, investing in an inexpensive bread lame will not only keep your hands safe but also ensure you achieve stunning patterns on your loaves effortlessly.
13. Sourdough Cookbooks and Resources
- The Sourdough Whisperer Cookbook
- Sourdough Every Day Cookbook
- The Sweeet Side of Sourdough Cookbook
- Plum Branch Home Sourdough Recipes
Other Helpful But Not Required Supplies
- Unbleached Parchment Paper: Helps bread from sticking without harmful chemicals
- High-heat Oven Mitts/Hot Pads: Helpful for extra hot bread pans
- Baking Scale: Allows you to create perfect artisan loaves by measuring ingredients by weight
- Bread Box (for storage): Prolongs the life of your bread and prevents from molding as quickly
Try These PBH Sourdough Recipes
- How to Make a Sourdough Starter (Guide for Beginners)
- Easiest No Knead Sourdough Bread (Great for Beginners)
- Sourdough Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Better Than Red Lobsters)
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