Mel's Top 8 Products for Baking Sourdough

Mel's Top 8 Products for Baking Sourdough

'As more and more people take up artisanal sourdough bread making at home, the higher the demand for tools and sources of baking information. If you are one of those people who are wondering what the fuss is all about and looking to dive deep into world of sourdough bread baking, here are the top 10 products you’ll need to bake your very own beautiful sourdough bread with minimal effort.'

Scrumptious Eats - Mel, has curated a list of products for baking sourdough, something we all eventually delve into at some point in our lives, because sourdough is...? essential. From online retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis and eBay, you can easily purchase a few things that will help your sourdough reach its full potential, and even perfect the payoff when you finally get to cut into it. 

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Mel Watt
Food Blogger
  • Chad Robertson
    Tartine Bread

    Mel Watt

    If you're new to sourdough baking and want to wander down the path of this seemingly difficult but trendy artisan bread baking technique, then you'll need a good sourdough baking source of information to take you from your first steps and turn you into a well-versed sourdough expert. This book is loved by all, from the beginner sourdough baker, right down to the seasoned sourdough artisan.

    This was my first guide to creating a simple and robust starter, and I created my very first sourdough bread from this book. As always in baking, I would recommend you dibble and dabble in other baking sources, to use alongside this book for a better grasp of this technique.

    This book is a classic and contains step-by-step processes that are well explained, with beautiful illustrations. This is one book you will be using over and over again.
  • Le Creuset
    Signature Enamelled Cast Iron Round Casserole Dish With Lid

    Mel Watt

    This is one of the most used Dutch ovens sourdough bakers recommend! While this brand will set you back a pretty penny, it is important to note the importance of a good cast iron Dutch oven. A Dutch oven is one of the most important tools you will need in sourdough baking. 

    It mimics the high temperatures a professional oven creates to give you well-baked sourdough bread. This cast-iron Dutch oven is highly durable and can withstand very high temperatures.

    It has an enamelled interior, which means it’s non-porous, anti-rust and can be washed easily. At very high temperatures it can stain over time, however, a gentle wash with a scouring pad can remove them. While non-enamelled cast iron can be placed in high temperatures without gradual warming, an enamelled cast iron, like this one, will need to be warmed up slowly to avoid cracking. 

    However, it won’t need frequent seasoning to keep it rust-free as non-enamelled cast iron does. Myself and my family have been using Le Creuset for years, and we love the quality and durability of their products. In the family, we still have pots that were bought in the ’90s that still look good as new!

    This is the size I use; however, the range comes in a variety of different sizes, shapes and colours.
  • Salter
    Arc Digital Kitchen Scales

    Mel Watt

    Unless you have been baking bread for years and have got a knack for measuring ingredients precisely without the use of a scale, then this is one tool you will most definitely need. Not only is a scale imperative when it comes to baking, if you want to become a good sourdough bread baker, consistently baking good bread, this is the tool you cannot go without. 

    While baking sourdough bread can be done without the use of a scale, you will need to be armed with plenty of knowledge and skills on bread baking to do that. Having a scale can make your life easier.

    I have been using Salter scales since I started baking in my youth. I love the quality of their scales and have used both manual and digital Salter scales. I had a Salter manual scale that recently broke after misuse. I had a good 10 years of usage out of that, which goes to show the quality of their scales can stand the test of kitchen abuse!

    For bread baking, I would recommend a digital scale like this digital Salter scale for accurate measurements. As well as being accurate, it is easy to clean and has a slim design.
  • Eddingtons
    Banneton Round Bread Proofing Basket

    Mel Watt

    Banneton baskets are made out of natural cane material, that is specifically used for sourdough to help control the moisture of the dough. Banneton baskets are not only great for making those ring marks but they serve as functional containers for proving the dough and holding its shape and structure.

    Those renowned flour rings you see on the tops of sourdough bread are the results of the use of a banneton basket. The size of this basket is the shape and size I use, which I recommend for those who are starting out. If you are looking to expand on the bread shapes and sizes, there are plenty available on the John Lewis or Amazon websites.
  • John Lewis & Partners
    Copper Wire Clip Top Airtight Glass Storage Jar

    Mel Watt

    Your sourdough starter will be your baby that you'll need to tend to on a daily basis at first, then slowly dwindle down on. 

    There are some requirements for choosing the right container for your starter to live in: 1) the container needs to be see-through, 2) the container needs to be 3-4 times the sourdough starter's height, 3) you will need a lid that doesn't need to be tight-fitting, and 4) you need a wide-mouthed container to easily get your hand in there to clean. 

    This glass jar meets all the requirements. Its material, size and shape allow me to see the starter's progress, has plenty of room for adequate growth for and the opening is large enough for me to clean easily. John Lewis also stocks smaller and larger ones than this, but this is the size I use, as it's just the right size for the amount of starter I use and my fridge.
  • Qooner
    Bread Bakers Cutter

    Mel Watt

    When your sourdough has proofed, you will need to score your dough before baking. Scoring will release tension created through the proofing process. In doing so, the scores allow the bread to further expand on baking. 

    The perfect tool for this step is a bread lame, which is a hand-held tool with a razor-sharp blade at the end. Some sourdough bakers use bare razor blades. However, if you are new to bread baking or just want to avoid the risk of unwanted cuts, like me, then this tool is perfect for you! It also comes with multiple blades and a leather pouch for storing the blade safely.

    Other types of lames and grignettes out there exist, where some I find can cause drag marks, if not held at the correct angle. This is one of my favourite designs as it exposes both sides of the blade to avoid drag marks. It is also great for deeper cuts.

    I would recommend this to someone who is just starting out on their sourdough baking journey or if you are on a budget.
  • Lakeland
    Magic Reusable Non-Stick Baking Tray

    Mel Watt

    With your Dutch oven, you will need some parchment paper on hand for ease of transferring your dough, to and from your Dutch oven. It will also prevent an over-baked and darkened bottom. I recommend a good quality reusable liner that can withstand high temperatures.

    This baking liner sheet is great for baking sourdough bread, as it can withstand temperatures up to 260° C and, the most important part for me is that they are reusable, which makes them environmentally friendly.

    For bread, a quick brushing to get rid of crumbs is all it needs, and you can quickly wash away products that require a more thorough clean.
  • Sabatier
    Professional Serrated Bread Knife

    Mel Watt

    It is a well-known fact that sourdough bread bakers love to show off their bread crumb, which means the knife used to slice the bread needs to be a well-balanced, scalloped knife, that will not tear the bread and ruin the big crumb reveal. 

    After all, sourdough baking can take weeks from making the sourdough starter to the final baking. Why ruin all the time and effort spent with a bad knife?

    This knife will not let you down. It is perfectly weighted and has a scalloped edge that reduces sharpening frequency. And because of the scalloped edge, it can cut through bread without much sawing motion, meaning it cuts through like butter.

    It is made with Chrome Molybdenum-Vanadium stainless steel, stainless steel that is stronger and more durable than regular stainless-steel knives.

    Whether you are handwashing or using a dishwasher to clean this knife, I would recommend you make sure to dry it soon after to keep it from tarnishing. Whilst on the expensive side, I personally love Sabatier knives for their durability and quality.

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