Last spring, at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, a variety of items flew off store shelves. In addition to hand sanitizer, certain groceries were increasingly difficult to find. In just one week in March 2020, yeast sales grew 647%, according to Baltimore Magazine. Flour also disappeared from the shelves, with some companies seeing their sales rise as much as 2,000%.
This was due to the rising popularity of baking bread at home. The trend made a lot of sense. Not only is bread a pantry staple, but the process of making it allows one to escape from their screens and create something with their hands.
“At a time when nothing is under our control, there’s something incredibly satisfying about doing something so elemental and creative from scratch,” journalist Jennifer Mendelsohn told Baltimore Magazine about baking bread.
In addition to a much-needed break from copious Zoom calls, baking has been shown to improve one’s mood. In fact, a study of 600 people in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that those who performed daily creative projects such as baking were often happier than ones who didn’t.
Ready to give it a try? To help you get started, we created a list of some of the best baking tools to have on hand for a successful loaf. All you need is to choose a recipe.
Escali Primo Scale
When baking, recipes often call for ingredients by weight rather than in cups or tablespoons. So, take out the guesswork (and potential mishaps) by having a trusty scale on hand.
The Escali Primo only has two buttons and a large digital display, making it easy to use. The tare button allows you to easily subtract the container’s weight while the measurement button allows you to shift between ounces, pounds and grams. The display is sealed, so you don’t need to worry about any ingredients getting in between the cracks.
The Escali is available in many different colors, too, making it an adorable accessory to any kitchen.
Spring Chef Bench Scraper
This tool allows you to easily knead sticky dough without getting any on your hands. The Spring Chef also comes in handy for cleaning, as the stainless-steel blade makes scraping off left-behind dough a breeze. According to the company, its blade allows you to cut up chilled pastry dough along with soft fruits, vegetables and more. It even has a six-inch ruler on the blade to help with measurements.
As a bonus, the company also includes a smaller scraper, which has a curved shape ideal for scraping out residue from bowls.
According to Kitchn, if you want avoid baking mishaps like a loaf with a gooey center, a thermometer is a must.
Different breads will be fully baked at different temperatures, and having a thermometer takes all the guesswork out of deciding whether your loaf needs more time in the oven.
The Habor thermometer has a long probe that’s not only perfect for getting to the center of bread, but can also be used to take the temperature of roast chicken, boiling water and just about anything else you might be cooking up in your kitchen.
Another handy feature? The thermometer automatically shuts off after 10 minutes to save the battery, in case you get completely caught up in breadmaking and forget about it.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
KitchenAid has been making kitchen products for over a century, and its standing mixer is iconic. This particular model has 10 different speed settings and includes a dough hook, six-wire whip and a flat-beater.
According to the company, the mixer’s five-quart bowl is big enough to accommodate dough for several loaves of bread in one go. And, when you’re done, the mixing bowl and dough hook can be tossed in the dishwasher for an easy cleanup.
You can also use your KitchenAid to make pastry dough, pasta and much more. With over 20 different colors available, you’re sure to find one that looks great in your kitchen.
Danish Dough Whisk
If you prefer to mix up dough the old-fashioned way, then you need a Danish dough whisk. According to Epicurious, the wires help cut through the dough easily to get rid of flour pockets, which can alter the flavor and texture of your finished loaf. And its circular metal coils are easier to clean than other mixing utensils.
Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Loaf Pan
Loaf pans ensure that your bread bakes evenly. And this kitchen workhorse is worth the investment as they are also perfect for baking meat loaf and many other dishes.
This sturdy option from Le Creuset heats evenly and can be used in the oven, freezer and microwave. And its enamel glaze is easy to clean.
You can also check out Farberware’s nonstick set-of-two.
Set of 6 Mixing Bowls
Ranging from three cups to eight quarts, these bowls can handle any sized baking endeavor. All are stain-resistant and can be used in the freezer or tossed in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
They’re perfect for storing your dough as it rises, too. So, you might want to also pick up a set of six reusable bowl covers here to keep the moisture in while the yeast gets to work.
The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World
Located in New York City, the Hot Bread Kitchen supports women, immigrants and people of color in the food industry. You can bring their recipes into your kitchen with The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook.
Inside the beautifully photographed book, you’ll find staple bread recipes from India, Morocco and beyond.