It’s fall and that means baking season is here!! I bake a TON in the fall and winter seasons, and I love to make bread as well as other yummy treats. These are my 6 favorite bread baking tools, but these tools are super helpful no matter what you are baking. These 6 fantastic baking tools will help you make delicious homemade bread as well as yummy pies, pastries and cookies for the upcoming holiday season.
#1. My most favorite tool for baking is … A KitchenAid Stand Mixer!
This sucker is a game changer my friends! I refuse to use a bread machine (that’s not homemade bread to me for whatever reason) but I ABSOLUTELY will use my KitchenAid! It mixes AND kneads and that is SUCH a game changer when your recipe calls for kneading bread. It kneads more thoroughly and more quickly than kneading entirely by hand, and you just have to do the finishing turns by hand instead of the entire kneading process. This amazing tool with change your bread-making life.
Not only does it make mixing bread dough easier, it’s also a great timesaver when you’re baking desserts or quick breads. While the mixer is mixing or beating the ingredients, you can measure out the next ingredients that need to go in instead of having to do everything one step at a time. I’m pretty sure this machine cut my baking time by at LEAST a 1/3, if not in half!
THIS is the KitchenAid I have, and it’s the only silver one available from Amazon Prime right now. Also, seriously, if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you are living in the dark ages. There was a brief respite from the 2 day delivery guarantee while the entire country was in quarantine lockdown, but Amazon is starting to ramp up their inventory again and we’ve been getting our shipments at the 2 day mark. Actually, we’ve gotten some of our orders next day! Amazon Prime is a total gamechanger and will save you $100s of dollars in shipping fees. Plus, it’s sooooo satisfying to get what you want in just 2 days. Instant gratification anyone?!?
#2. Glass Bowls.
I HIGHLY advocate using glass bowls when you bake. Metal bowls are ok, but sometimes yeast can react negatively to metal bowls. Glass bowls, on the other hand, can be put in the microwave to melt butter just slightly if necessary, as well as working wonderfully with plastic wrap. Ever tried to plastic wrap a plastic bowl? Yeah, not gonna happen!! Glass bowls all the way baby, and THESE BOWLS are my choice from Amazon. They’re great sizes, they’re durable, and I appreciate that little lip on the edge when I’m picking them up with wet hands or trying to cover them with plastic wrap. They’re totally worth it if you want a nice sturdy set of mixing bowls.
#3. Measuring Spoons/Cups.
Ok, to be honest here, my VERY most favorite measuring spoons are from Pampered Chef and aren’t available any more, but THESE Measuring Spoons and Cups are really similar and in fact, this set comes with a leveler too which is super cool. When I had to add to my measuring spoon/cup inventory, I purchased this set but mine set didn’t come with that little leveler and I’m a little bit jealous they added it! I like that the spoons are magnetic and snap together, plus I like the double ends so you can do liquids with one end and dry ingredients on the other without having to have two sets of spoons or having to clean them out so the dry stuff doesn’t stick (that’s such a pet peeve of mine, lol!). I also prefer metal measuring cups since I feel like you get a more precise measurement and knives slide across the top of a cup of flour more smoothly than with plastic measuring cups when you’re measuring out your flour amounts. Maybe I just hate plastic, but definitely go for metal if you have the option.
#4. Tiny whisks
Wait, what? Yeah, I know. No one has ever told you to use a whisk for bread making before, but I’m telling you now – a whisk dissolves yeast into warm water waaaayyyy more efficiently and faster than a spoon, and a whisk also breaks up egg yolks better than the KitchenAid does. Better incorporation = better dough = better bread or baked goods. Trust me on this one and get yourself some adorable mini whisks LIKE THESE. You’ll love them. Because who can resist tiny cute things? No one!
P.S. Kids love to use them, so if you bake with your kiddos, they’ll adore these little gadgets!
#5. Dough Scraper
Did you know you’re not supposed to pull bread apart? Yep. When you pull bread into pieces it breaks the gluten strands unevenly and causes it to rise more unevenly too. That’s why I use a dough scraper to cut my bread dough into pieces, especially if I’m making rolls or breadsticks. This little gadget is great for shaping really sticky dough too – you simply scrape under the dough and fold it over (thus why it’s called a scraper instead of a cutter). It doesn’t seem like it’s all that necessary, I know, but it’s one of those little gadgets that makes your bread magically come out better!
Dough scrapers are also amazing for pie crusts. Sometimes it’s difficult to transfer a pie crust from the counter top to the pan without tearing it since they can stick to the counters. You can use the dough scraper to loosen the crust from the counter and then roll the crust onto a rolling pin to transfer it to the pie pan. Voila – beautiful crust!
#6. An oven.
I did NOT realize how crucial a good oven was until we moved into a new house with an electric wall oven that was temperamental to be putting it nicely. The thing barely cooked at all. I literally cooked 2 loaves of bread the entire first year we lived in the house. Sometimes it produced beautiful browned loaves of bread. But most of the time, it baked undercooked loaves with burned tops. My janky solution – line the top of the oven with foil and make sure there’s plenty of room for air flow around the bread dough by putting the dough all the way at the bottom of the oven. When you’re having to make your own modifications to your oven, it’s time to send an oven to oven heaven!
Back in April as the pandemic hit, we decided it was TIME and we splurged and bought THIS oven. I can’t say enough about how great it is! It’s a combo baking and convection oven so you can choose if you want to regular bake or use convection baking (heats with warm air instead of top heat), and IT HAS A BREAD PROOF BUTTON!!! This is life-changing friends! Proofing is the term for when your bread rises, and this oven warms to the exact perfect temperature for rising bread when you’re in the rise stages of bread baking so your bread proofs smoothly and evenly. It’s seriously amazing and has made my bread baking a great experience.
The convection function of the oven is perfect for cookies and muffins. Convection baking swirls warm air around in the oven so that heat hits all sides of the baking item at the same time. If you’ve ever experienced cookies with burned bottoms – this will fix that! It’s really a lovely way of baking, and having the option for regular or convection baking is really a treat.
Now, a couple extras for those of you who specifically want to take your bread making to the next level! *wink*
Bonus #1: Rising Pans/Baskets.
THESE gorgeous artisan rising baskets from Amazon will give your loaves some pretty detail and help your bread rise up instead of out. I use these with my challah loaves to make sure they are evenly sized and shaped. They’re great, and I’ve used both the round and the oval shaped baskets.
Bonus #2: Parchment Paper and Plastic Wrap.
A few tricks you can implement with your baking – Use parchment paper to line your baking trays instead of flour to avoid that thick flour build up on the outside of your loaves. Do not confuse parchment paper with waxed paper – they aren’t the same at all. Parchment paper has a much higher heat tolerance and won’t cause your oven to start smoking. Go ahead, ask me how I know this.
Also, using plastic wrap to cover your dough on the first rise helps keep the yeast warm and active since air particles aren’t escaping and causing the dough to cool. I like this PARCHMENT PAPER and this PLASTIC WRAP. I prefer plastic wrap to the cling wrap because as dough rises, it will sometime rise above the rim of the bowl. The plastic wrap will stretch, but the cling wrap won’t so your bread gets squished. And no likes squished bread!
So those are all my favorite tools! Do you have any baking tools you simply can’t live without? Let me know all about them in the comments below!