Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bread-Making Equipment (with occasional remarks on technique)

Compared to photography, or opera, or boating, bread-making is a pretty inexpensive hobby. Nevertheless, there is a somewhat dizzying array of implements available to help (and sometimes hinder) you, all available in a vast range of prices.  Many of the implements have fancy French names, and come to think of it, if you figure it on a per-fancy-French-name basis, bread-making must be about the cheapest hobby there is.

This post describes the equipment I have settled on at the moment as most helpful for me, with some comments. In the spirit of full disclosure, the products below have links to Amazon. If you use those links I will get a modest rake-off. If it's just as easy to use them that's great, but please don't feel obligated or pressured.  King Arthur Flour also sells a lot of equipment and is very much worth supporting.

I have divided the post into sections: "can't live without it," "use it but could live without it," and "own it but don't use it."

Can't Live Without It

Top of the list for "can't live without it" is a digital kitchen scale, as I have previously noted at length. If I were going to buy one today, I would get a Jennings CJ4000, as recommended by thesweethome.com, about $26 on Amazon as of this writing.  You can get a good scale for cheaper, but this one claims to go down to half-gram accuracy, which is helpful if you want to measure yeast or spices by weight.

You need to mix your dough and let it rise ("bulk fermentation"). If you do both in the same container there is less to clean up, always a plus in my book! I use a Cambro 6-quart round translucent polypropylene bucket (or "food storage container" as they call it). For any Europeans who might be reading, you can see that a quart is slightly less than a liter.

 Cambro 6-quart round translucent polypropylene
Every word of that description is significant