Have you scrolled on Instagram lately only to be accosted with photos of beautiful loaves of bread? Home cooks from all over the world have taken to using their spare time during this pandemic to bake bread. This caused flour and yeast shortages across much of the US.
Growing up, my mother baked Challah almost every week from scratch. As we girls got older, she taught us how to make it and we carried on her tradition. Freshly baked Challah on Fridays. Our breadmaking was simple. A large metal bowl, sheet trays, and clean hands. We mixed, kneaded, and braided the dough - and the smell, while it baked, was incomparable.
Did you want to try your hand at baking your own bread? We can all find the expert-recommended products but those often cost a fortune. Here I’ve included tried and true items that home cooks agree are affordable and of good quality.
“The Lodge LCC3 and 8CC Combo Cookers are inexpensive, widely available, and require virtually no maintenance when used for baking bread. I don’t even bother washing it, since bread dough will not stick to hot cast iron. I just brush out any crumbs once its cool, and give it a light coat of raw food-grade flaxseed oil (with no added antioxidants) about once a year to maintain the seasoning. The 3 quart size is about perfect for a 700 g batch of dough (400 g flour, 300 g water). The long handles make the pot and lid easy to maneuver when heated to 450-500°F.” -
Gemma Seymour, New York City
Glass mixing bowls aren’t too expensive and have many uses besides just making bread. Multi-use and affordable is where it’s at folks.
“No need for fancy prep bowls or proofing bowls. A glass or metal bowl would be fine,” Sarah Jenny, New York City
“I followed a bread recipe a couple of times that suggested using a pizza peel and a baking stone...I had neither. Thought I was doing well with improvising, but wrestling the dough from the cutting board onto a baking sheet was not easy, and was re-shaping it from my desired shape. Next trip to the hardware store I bought the only Pizza Peel they had - a “Kamado Joe” Pizza Peel. Dough just slides right off and keeps it’s form I LOVE IT.” -
Gwyn Waters, San Francisco
“Plastic bench [scrapers] are amazing. They are great for working with dough and keeping your work area nice and clean. I also use them for cooking to scrap off food debris from my workspace. - Elizabeth Keanu R. Chavez, San Francisco
“I never appreciated my Kitchen Aid mixer until the last few weeks. A gift I got over 10 years ago for my bridal shower, it’s been sitting on the top of my fridge for years ... until recently. My toddler and I have been baking bread, honey cake, cookies, muffins—everything! It’s not sitting center on my main countertop and I appreciate how amazing this kitchen utensil is. Everyone needs to invest in one.” - Nicole Purcell-Phillips, Los Angeles
“For a serrated knife I’d go for a Victorinox or a Japanese model. Victorinox and the Japanese brands always deliver on quality without the Henkel/Wusthof/global price tags. If you want something that will last forever, get a Victorinox with a composite handle. I have found that the Victorinox wood handles don’t hold up well. I mostly use mine for slicing homemade sourdough.” - Lucy Wallitsch, Knoxville
“It doesn’t really matter what baking sheets you buy, as long as they are sturdy enough not to already be warped in the store. There’s a difference between baking sheets (rimmed sides, sturdy, cheap as chips from online restaurant supply in standard sizes) and cookie sheets (still need to be sturdy, maybe even nonstick, but there’s no difference between IKEA and Wilton in my opinion. I buy these and line them with parchment or heavy duty foil for dinners, rolls/buns, and freeform tarts and yeasted baked goods.” -
Jeannelle D’Isa, North Bethesda
“I use the OXO kitchen scale and love it. It gives me the option of weighing in metric or standard, the screen lights up, and the batteries last forever. It’s survived a moved to Central America and back again, and despite the fact that it’s sometimes coated in flour, it always works perfectly.” - Nancy Brier, Southern California