The key to success when it comes to baking sourdough is ensuring you have the necessary tools for sourdough. It’s a skill that requires some practice but comes with great reward. Sourdough comes loaded with health benefits that aren’t seen in typical baked bread. It’s also one of the most affordable ways to keep your home stocked with a variety of baked goods. You can use your starter discard to make more than just a loaf of bread, so the time invested into caring for a sourdough starter will pay you back in tenfold.
* This post may include affiliate links. This means that products purchased from certain links will generate a small commission (At no extra cost to you). As always, I will only recommend brands that have passed my seal of approval and that I truly love. Thank you for supporting this little holistic space on the internet. *
Sourdough Prepping & Proofing Set
If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to grab a Sourdough Prepping & Proofing Set. It comes with two banneton baskets and their covers, a metal dough scraper, a scoring lame and extra blades for that lame. You will get your best bang for your buck by purchasing these items bundled together like this. I also love the traditional wood look of this particular set of which I own myself. If you purchase a set like this one, you’ll only have to grab a few more items to get yourself started on your sourdough journey. I’ve included options for those who may already have some of these items and prefer to buy them individually below. I’ve also included a bit more of a description of why you need each item in below so you can better understand their function in the making of sourdough bread.
Banneton Baskets with Covers
When it comes to sourdough, you typically see beautiful full and well shaped loaves coming out of peoples ovens. These particular baskets help circulate air to the bread as the dough is being proofed. You could use a glass bowl with a dish towel as well but it will not allow the ideal amount of air to the dough which does compromise it slightly. I find these baskets are affordable and one of my personal must haves when it comes to baking sourdough.
Typically people like to start with round loaves while others like to shape their dough into longer thinner shapes so they can use it as sandwich bread. It is completely preference based but I do find round loaves easier to start with. I’ve included the same type of round banneton baskets (in a set of 2) which can be seen in the set above, as well as a longer rectangular option. These baskets will help make the prep stages run smoothly.
Metal Dough Scraper
Working with the dough can be a little “sticky” and as you’re preparing and shaping your dough it is much easier to use a metal scraper. I use this to ensure I get every little bit of dough from the counter and it can cut the dough when I’m preparing more than one loaf. These scrapers are incredibly useful to have in the kitchen in general. They are perfect for scraping doughs from the inside of a bowl when baking any type of baked good. They are very inexpensive yet so helpful. If you haven’t already grabbed the proofing set above that comes with its own metal scraper, I really love this Metal Scraper from Oxo. A must have in every kitchen!
Scoring Lame with Blades
One thing that attracts people to the art of baking Sourdough (besides the health benefits) is the beautiful picture perfect loaves you see others posting online. Fresh bread coming out of the oven with beautiful crust that some add beautiful designs into like hearts or leaves. Those designs come from using a scoring lame. Scoring your bread is not a step you can skip and it isn’t just about beautiful designs. When you bake sourdough bread in the oven, it will break apart by itself to allow heat and steam out. If you don’t score the bread and give that steam a pathway, it will make its own and it may end up breaking out of the bottom or sides of the loaf.
Scoring is a simple step that happens after your last proofing and right before the dough goes into the oven. You can make it simple with straight lines or you can get a little artsy and try your hand at some simple designs. Because of the consistency of the dough, you’ll need a sharp blade. That is why most recommend grabbing a scoring lame with extra blades. They are inexpensive and I recommend grabbing the Saint Germaine Scoring Lame with extra Blades.
Danish Dough Whisk
If you purchased one of the Prepping and Proofing sets above then you’ll already have one of these amazing whisks. If not, I really love the Coson Home Danish Dough Whisks for mixing up the perfect dough. Dough whisks are specifically designed for bread recipes in particular. They make the process so much easier and help incorporate all ingredients before proofing.
When it comes to baking, measurements are everything. Being precise can be the key to baking great bread. I am not one to follow recipes when it comes to cooking, but when you’re baking you will be sorry if you skip precise measurements and weighing. Sourdough requires a kitchen scale when you’re discarding and feeding your sourdough. It can also be helpful in the prepping for proofing stage. I love the Escali Digital Kitchen Scale for my sourdough baking needs.
Glass Weck Jars for your Starter
You’ve undoubtedly seen beautiful yet simple glass starter jars when watching others sourdough process online. I find giving your starter a happy home helps it grow well and sets you up for fermenting success. My very favourite jars for my starters are these 1l. Weck Wide Mouth Tulip Glass Jars. Not only are they beautiful, but they are the perfect size and opening for feeding and discarding your starter. You would not use the glass top with your starter as it requires oxygen but I just swap that out with a dish cloth or piece of parchment secured with an elastic band.
Good Quality Certified Organic Dish Towels
You’ll find yourself using dish towels for a number of steps. Proofing, Feeding, and even Baking. A good quality, thicker, dish towel set will last longer and make every step a little easier. This includes the clean up! I like to grab organic dish towels to keep chemicals at a minimum in my kitchen and because these towels will be touching the food we eat. This 6 Pack of Organic Dish Towels from Honest Weave are some of my favourites to keep on hand.
All Purpose Flour (Organic, Unbleached, Option for Gluten free)
Your flour is an integral part of your sourdough baking. It’s such a simple yet impactful ingredient and the quality certainly matters. I always look for an organic unbleached option as I like to keep my baking as healthy as possible for my family. It is well known that wheat can be highly contaminate with the toxic pesticide glyphosate, so opting organic is important. I cycle through a few different all purpose flours but I always find myself coming back to Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached Organic All Purpose Flour. It is such good quality and seems to turn out my best loaves of bread!
If you’re opting for trying your hand at gluten free sourdough baking, I personally love using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 All Purpose Baking Flour.
This may be an item that you hadn’t thought of but it makes things a little bit easier. Not absolutely necessary but considering they are affordable and useful during the process you may want to consider grabbing one. The shakers help keep the flour consistent and even over the counter space when you’re working with your dough. They also keep the flour sprinkled evenly on your dough before scoring. I really love these affordable Stainless Steel Dusters/Shakers from Amazon, don’t let the name fool you, these shakers are versatile and not just for powdered sugar.
Good Pure High Quality Salt
In addition to your flour, you’ll need a good quality salt to ensure the health of your bread. I typically use good quality sea salt in my kitchen but when baking sourdough I tend to reach for Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This salt has been used in top culinary chef’s kitchens all over the world. It works especially well with the chemistry of sourdough bread and I always find I get the best loaves using it. It isn’t iodized or overly processed like many salts you’ll find in the grocery store. As you can see on the ingredient label, it’s just purely: Salt.
Filtered Water Pitcher
Sourdough Starter does NOT like chlorine and most tape waters will contain hefty levels of this. If you don’t already have a water filter system in your home, I recommend grabbing the MINA Alkaline Filtering Water Pitcher from Santevia. It will ensure that your starter doesn’t perish or have issues before the baking stages. Keeping a happy healthy starter is the heart of sourdough baking. The pitcher option is more affordable than outfitting your home for a full system (although there’s nothing wrong with this if you can afford to do it). It also tucks nicely into the fridge for both drinking and feeding your starter each day.
Dutch Oven for Baking
This item can be an investment, but it is one of the most important parts of sourdough baking: A good Dutch Oven. Not all of them cost an arm and a leg. I’ve included an affordable option in this post so you can get started without breaking the bank. I do believe that a good dutch oven is important in every kitchen as they are so versatile and produce the most BEAUTIFUL loaves of bread. The key to a dutch oven is the even heat it conducts, allowing a dough to rise and crust perfectly inside. If you don’t already own one, I really love the Non-enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven from Lodge.
The Perfect Bread Knife
Lastly, you’ll want a sharp toothed bread knife to cut up delicious slices of fresh sourdough. Using any old knife may result in smooshing your bread down and a messy cut. Most people already have a knife like this handy but if not, I really love this Bowed Bread Knife to enjoy the results of all the hard work I put in making delicious bread for everyone.
Don’t forget that when you’re just starting out, you’ll need a few practice runs to get the hang of it. Sourdough is a traditional art that has become popular again in our modern times. With the rising cost of food and the lack of nutrients found in store bought bread, it’s a blessing to spend the time learning how to nourish your family with the most nutritious bread on the planet. Once you’ve gotten your hands on all the tools you need to start making Sourdough, all you’ll need is to keep grabbing high quality flour and salt to keep the process going.
To save you from clicking back and forth, I’ve created an Amazon section with all of these tools in one place. Head to The Holistic Vanity Amazon Storefront Collection of Sourdough Essentials.
Enjoy getting to know your new found love for the art of sourdough baking.
** PIN this image to save for later **