It's been a long time coming, but finally after many years of bread baking and trying different bread baking equipment, I've put together the minimum you need to get started baking bread at home.
Over the years, I have been asked what's my favourite piece of bread making equipment and what I could not be without. So, here is my take on the Bread Baking Starter Kit:
If I had to choose just one piece of equipment, it would have to be a serated bread knife that you use to slash the top of the bread before it goes into the oven. It's difficult to replace or get the same effect with anything else, so that one is a definite must for me!
To get the authentic rustic look you do need a good bread proving basket. I have tried different types - some made out of plastic or plastic and paper pulp, but I always come back to the traditional cane bread proving basket. Why? Well, it's a natural material for a start and it gives the bread great imprint whilst forming a slightly thicker skin on top of the bread to give a great crust. I have not been able to achieve this with other types of bread proving baskets.
The next on my list is of course good quality flour. I use mainly Bacheldre Mill flour for my bread baking courses and also Doves Farm Flour. If you are just starting out any strong bread flour will do. But when you get bit more into the swing of things, it's so nice to try different flours to add texture to your bread. The best thing is that you can use the same recipe and just change the flour and you get a slightly different tasting bread everytime. One of my favourite flours is Smoked Wholemeal flour and I will include the link to where to buy it at the end of this post for you.
Life is much easier when you have a Bread Dough Scraper. This is one of the cheapest bread making equipment tools, but quite essential. It's perfect for taking your bread dough out of a bowl, dividing dough into rolls, marking your soda bread and also cleaning your work area at the end.
And of course, we can't forget the yeast and good quality salt, because without these your bread would not only be tasteless, but also wouldn't rise much. You can buy the normal type of yeast (quick yeast) in any supermarket, but if you fancy something different I've resourced for you real yeast which is supplied in small packs. Follow your normal recipe (for quick yeast) and double the amount when using fresh yeast.
Recently I started to use Pink Himalayan salt in my bread baking because it's a bit healthier than normal salt. The pink colour comes from magnesium and iron and the salt also includes potassium and other minerals. If you get salt that's more coarse than table salt, let the salt dissolve in hot water first before you use it in your bread.
So, now you have the basic bread making equipment and ingredients, the only thing missing is the recipe. You are welcome to download your free basic bread recipe just here.
Or if you would like to venture into sourdough, speciality or sweet bread baking, you can find my new e-book just here. I've included a whole chapter about bread baking equipment and also how to look after your tools, because I've noticed that sometimes manufacturers don't include equipment instructions when you buy them.
P.S. Here are more bread baking blogs you might like to read...