Above is the end of a loaf of Anadama bread I made. It uses cornmeal, giving it a bit of a crunchy texture and that pretty yellow hue.
This is the followup from Breadmaking 101. If you didn’t catch it, please see my Introduction to Bread here!
Breadmaking 102: Here we go!
I’m sure you’ve searched the internet for how to get started breadmaking.
I’m sure you’ve been blown away by the amount of stuff you seem to need to buy to get it done.
Don’t worry! You can make bread at home using just the stuff you have at home. It is a little more difficult and it does take a bit more time, but is a heck of a lot better than spending all your life savings buying a new KitchenAid just to do the kneading.
Well, maybe not. You know you wanted a KitchenAid anyway.
I’ve compiled a list of things that you need to have just to get the job done, as well as a list of things you
might will want to buy in a couple months. I told you this bread thing is addicting!
You’ll need a large bowl. Not because the ingredients take up all that room, but it is sometimes very helpful to mix all the ingredients with your hands. A whisk will be too wimpy and a spoon too cumbersome. Get ready to get messy!
PAM or some other type of spray oil. This stuff is invaluable when dealing with sticky bread dough.
Measuring cups for both dry and wet ingredients.
A loaf pan or cookie sheet or pizza stone. Basically, just something to bake your bread in/on.
An oven thermometer. You would be shocked to see how far your oven’s actual temperature deviates from what it says it is. You can get a cheap (like $7 cheap) oven thermometer from the grocery store.
A cooling rack. Bread will get soggy if left to cool in the loaf pan. Setting it on a cutting board is better, but isn’t great. It doesn’t need to be fancy – these will do.
Your ingredients. Make sure you have everything on hand!
And of course, your Ovenmitts!
Beyond the Basics
A scale. This is really the only way you can get accurate measurements. A cup of flour is truly 4.5 oz, but can range anywhere from 3-7 oz! That’s a huge margin or error, and can greatly change the results of your bread. An ounce of flour is always an ounce of flour, no matter how hard you pack it. I use the Salter Maxview Scale and I love it. The first one I bought (a Sharper Image one) stopped working an hour after I took it out of the box. I recommend spending around $50 retail for a decent one.
A clear rising bucket. These are awesome to really be able to tell when your dough has doubled.
A Danish Dough Whisk is really handy to have around. They are just about the only tool besides your hands or a mixer that will effectively mix dough.
A dough scraper. This one from KAF is super cheap and makes life a whole lot easier.
A mixer. It makes the mixing and kneading part of breadmaking MUCH easier. My boyfriend bought a KitchenAid Pro 600 for me for our anniversary. Let’s just say he gets to stick around for a while :) Anyway, it is good to get used to working the dough with your hands first so you get a good feel for what kneading actually does and how it transforms the dough. After you’ve gotten good at that, move on up to the mixer!
An instant-read thermometer. I still haven’t bought myself one of these, but it’s definitely on my wish list (wink wink!). I’m using a meat thermometer that takes quite a while to read and isn’t nearly as accurate, but helps avoid under-baked bread nonetheless.
A high-quality baking stone. As you get more into baking bread, it will become apparent that you need a good baking stone. Many loaves cannot be made in loaf pans, and a cookie sheet isn’t the best. I got mine here, and it is amazing. You can order different sizes, shapes, and depths so it will fit perfectly in your oven. I have never once burned the bottom of my dough since I got this thing. Plus, pizza always comes out perfect and crisp!
Now let’s get baking! Soon to come will be the third installment of my Breadmaking series. We will discuss the process of breadmaking and how to get started on your first loaf!
Is there a specific type of loaf you would like me to post about? There is a good place to start (ie, not with a whole-wheat sourdough), but if you want me to start off with something you’ve been wanting to make then let me know!