Here are a couple of tools that have helped me to make better looking bread, or just make the whole process easier. One of the first things you’ll want to do when you’re making bread is to make patterns like the professionals make on the tops of your bread loaves. A quick scan through Pinterest you’ll find thousands of images of amazing looking bread, with equally amazing patterns. A ‘Lame’ is what is used to make these patterns work. The one above is fitted with a razor blade that easily creates patterns in a way that a sharp knife cannot match. You can be far more accurate and do intricate patterns like leaves, spirals, etc
Believe it or not, this whisk makes it much easier to combine all the ingredients when you’re mixing by hand. I read about this whisk on a couple of blogs, and all talked about how much easier it is to mix the flour, starter and water together, easier than a spoon, etc. Then, while looking for a new lame, I came across a bundle deal that offered both the Lame and the Danish Whisk, so I bought it on Amazon. I wouldn’t be without either. The whisk is so much easier to use to combine everything, and the lame is great because it has a wooden handle and came with about 5 razor blades. I imagine that I will be able to get many years of use from both.
The pizza stone by Hans Grill, makes all the difference. I use it with shop bought pizzas and the crust is transformed. Now we don’t have soggy pizzas anymore! The pizza stone is wide enough to have 2 x loaves side by side. I’d like to get another so I can do 2 x trays of 2 x loaves. The stone itself is high quality and has been easy to use. Make sure that you put it into a cold oven and then warm it up, if you’ve forgotten to put it in the oven, you’ll need to cool the oven off and then start over. If you put it into a hot oven, you run the risk of cracking it. This is the same advice if you were using a cast iron round, the same will apply.
Note that my pizza stone is now not as clean as it was when I first bought it, but that just adds to the character. You can’t wash them or scrub clean, the material that the pizza stone is made from will ruin if you try.
All these tools make it much easier & tastier to bake bread at home, and all the links above point to Amazon.