Sourdough Equipment

Sourdough bread isn’t complicated to make, but part of what makes it easy is having the right tools and supplies for the job. Many of the things in this list are are things that you may already have. There is no need to buy another kitchen scale, for example, if you already have one that you like. Some things in the list are required, but have alternatives that you may already own. I’m going to try to put these in the order you will use them in a typical sourdough bread process.

  • Sourdough Starter – In case you don’t have sourdough starter already. Keep in mind that with any starter that isn’t already established you probably have about a week of bulking it up and feeding it over and over before it is worth using.
  • Kitchen Scale – When making sourdough, I highly recommend that you forget all about cups and tablespoons and switch entirely to grams or ounces. All of the sourdough posts here will exclusively use grams for everything in every recipe. Make sure it is digital and has a tare function to make your life easier.
    • Ozeri Touch Scale – This is the scale I use. It’s pretty accurate and has a very high maximum weight limit for a kitchen scale. That is handy because you will almost always be measuring things with some sort of container on the scale while you are doing it.
  • Starter Jar – This is the jar your starter lives in. I highly recommend buying two identical (or very similar) jars for storing your starter.
    • Bormioli Rocco Jars – These are the ones I use. They are good quality glass, have easily removable lid seals, and conveniently come in a 2-pack.
  • Stirring Tool – You will regularly need to stir your starter. There are many ways to do this, but I’ve found my favorite now. I’ve used butter knives, spatulas, spoons, forks, and chopsticks (in both wood and fiberglass). I like fiberglass chopsticks the best, but you can use any sort of silverware you want.
    • Hiware Fiberglass Chopsticks – These are the fiberglass chopsticks that I use. Being made out of fiberglass they are both strong and easy to clean. They are also nearly infinitely reusable.
  • Mixing Bowls – As with almost any baked good, you will need to combine ingredients when making sourdough recipes. I’ve heard people swear that metal is bad for sourdough, but I’ve never seen a negative reaction while mixing or rising in these.
    • OXO Good Grips Bowls – I use these Oxo Good Grips bowls for everything. They have a stainless steel interior and a silicone outer layer. That makes them nearly indestructible and they don’t slide around on the counter while you are mixing things because the silicone is extra grippy.
  • Bowl Scraper – Wet dough is very sticky and without something like this you’ll end up with half your dough stuck in your wedding ring or knuckle hair. Even a scraper can get some dough stuck to it, but it will be way better than what will stick to your hands.
    • Ateco Bowl Scraper – This one is cheap and simple and plastic. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.
  • Rising Container – Bread dough needs a place to get big and puffy while the yeast does its thing. Sourdough is the same as normal bread in this regard, except it will generally take way longer.
    • OXO Good Grips Bowls – Did I mention that I use these Oxo Good Grips bowls for everything? I use the largest bowl in the linked set for rising too.
    • Rubbermaid Food Storage – If you want to use a proper rising bucket, I recommend using one that is see through and that has measurement lines on it. That will make it easy to see when your dough has risen enough. These are available in bunches of sizes so you can pick the ones that suit your needs.
  • Wire Strainer – Flour spreading is important to keep wet dough from sticking to everything you own.
    • OXO Good Grips Strainer – A wire strainer can be used as a flour spreader. Just scoop up some flour and shake the strainer over the surface you want covered in flour.
    • Best Manufacturers Flour Duster – There is also a device just for this purpose, but I recommend a strainer because you can also use it for other things.
  • Silicone Mat – When you form the loaves, you will want a large floured surface. You can use your counter for this of course, but after doing that a few times, I started using a large silicone mat on my counter instead. I bet it’s not hard to imagine why. Simply put the clean up is about 100 times faster.
    • Silicone Mat – Large, grippy, and easy to clean and store. Saves time on clean up after all that flour dusting.
  • Proofing Baskets – When dealing with wet dough, having banneton baskets to proof your loaves in will prove to make your life considerably easier. I recommend real banneton baskets made of rattan (one of several types of reed) and that you get them with linen liners. Most of the recipes on this site will use two baskets.
    • Doyolla Banneton Baskets – These baskets are the ones I use. They come in a 2-pack, they have nice liners, they aren’t expensive, and they have worked out very well for me.
  • Lame (pronounced: lah-may) – This is basically just a fancy name for a razor blade tool. The step in bread baking that requires scoring the loaves is highly recommended but using a lame is optional. I’ve used kitchen scissors and knives as alternatives.
    • Z&C Bakery Lame – This is the lame I use. It’s not likely the best choice for decorative scoring of the loaves, but for the basic scores I do it works perfectly.
  • Baking Vessels – Baking sourdough (or probably almost any wet dough) in a closed container like a Dutch Oven is beneficial for holding moisture in while it bakes. This will give you an amazing crust and will help to make sure the bread is cooked all the way through. Using Dutch Ovens is optional but very highly recommended.
    • Heiss Aluminum Dutch Oven – 2.5 quart – I use two of these every time I make sourdough bread. They are aluminum which makes them very light weight and they also heat quickly. Since they are smaller, the loaves tend to be a little taller which makes for great sandwich bread or toast. They are also a very reasonable price and are available in a ton of colors in case you don’t like the gray ones I got.
    • Heiss Aluminum Dutch Oven – 4.5 quart – I also have one of these for those situations where I want to make one large loaf instead of two smaller ones.
    • Fat Daddio Sheet Pan – I have also baked sourdough multiple times on an inverted cookie sheet. It is not ideal in my opinion but it definitely works. I always like Fat Daddio pans for their sturdy construction and low prices.
  • Cooling Racks – These are optional but I find that they keep baked goods from steaming up the bottom crust. Your goal is just to keep the loaves from getting sweaty on the bottom while they cool. Without these, in the case of sourdough bread, it’s not going to do much more than adjust the texture of the bottom crust to be a bit tougher, but I figure that if it’s so easy to avoid it’s better to just keep it from happening.
    • Hamilton Housewares Cooling Rack – Heavy duty wire rack. These are a bit expensive but they also last forever. You can use them for other things like cooking bacon in the oven too.
    • Mrs. Anderson’s Cooling Rack – These are a less expensive option. They are a little smaller and less ruggedly built, but should also last forever.
  • Cutting Board – When you cut things like bread it’s best to do so on some surface that won’t destroy your knives.
    • BlauKe Cutting Boards – I use these cutting boards. They come in a set with three different sizes, they are lightweight, and they have a convenient finger hole to make them easy to get out of a cabinet. Remember to move the loaf back to a cooling rack if you are cutting a slice while it is still warm.
  • Bread Knife – Sourdough bread tends to be a beefy loaf that can prove to be more than a wimpy or dull knife can handle. I’ve made bread that I brought to other people’s houses that I actually had to resort to tearing chunks off instead of slicing due to bad knives. The solution is a proper bread knife.
    • Mercer Culinary Bread Knife – A proper bread knife is long enough that you can slice across the whole loaf all at once, is broad enough that it helps you make straight slices, has an edge that is both sharp and isn’t straight. It does not however have to be expensive. This is the knife I use for all of my bread cutting and I absolutely love it.
  • Plastic Bags – I use zip top bags for several parts of the sourdough process.
    • Hefty Slider Bags – 2.5 gallon – I use these for storing my proofing bags and my banneton baskets when I’m not using them. This is totally optional, of course, but it keeps them together and keeps the dust off of everything.
    • Ziploc Bags – 2 gallon – These are a good size for proofing loaves in the banneton baskets I use. Be aware that different sized baskets may require different sized bags.
    • Glad Bags – 1 gallon – This size works very well for holding the loaf that you are currently eating or for storing extra loaves in the freezer.

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