Have a friend or family member who loves to bake bread? Here are 10 gifts for bread bakers. Gifts don't have to be expensive. So, these start as low as five dollars. And yet, they are very valuable for home bakers. These are bound to make the bread baker in your life happy and grateful.
Are you a bread baker? Well, I am. I started with my mom and then had a big gap of no bread baking when I left home. A few years later, I married a man who loves bread. Guess what, since then I've been baking pretty much every week. We still buy bread but not as much as other families do. The truth is, once you get used to baking bread at home, it is hard to eat frozen bread or store-bought bread. It's an addiction.
With a collection of over 50 bread recipes on this blog so far, a few of you ask me questions on tools. The truth is, bread is the simplest thing you can make with nothing more than your bare hands to mix and an oven to bake. And yet, we are all pampered and love to use our tools. I love tools whether it's a simple spatula or a piping bag. If I see it I add it to my wish list.
10 Best gifts for bread bakers (pin)
Have a bread baker in your life? Well, we love tools. The truth is, tools help simplify things and make our life easier. So, here are a few amazing things you can gift anyone who loves to bake.
1. Bread baking books between $20 - $35
Now, the list of good bread baking books is long, and as one who loves books and loves bread, it is really hard to choose just one. But here are three that you will love.
- The first one is the bread bible (free worldwide shipping here) - perfect for anyone who is just getting into bread baking. It has recipes and lots of progress pictures. It aims not just to give you the recipe but to teach you to bake. It's ideal for anyone who loves baking bread.
- The second is Flour water and yeast (free worldwide shipping here) - this book really goes deep into how the author got into baking, which is very interesting and explains each and every concept and ingredient in detail. It's for those who want to deep dive into baking bread more seriously.
- The third is The Bread Bakers Apprentice (free worldwide shipping here). The best feature I like about this book is that
itgives you variations of the same recipe. Which means you have one recipe with so many options. Great for those who want to take bread making to the next level.
2. Stand mixer - Start at $150 and above
This is one of those things that you will never EVER regret buying. My husband got me my Kendwood stand-mixer when I just started baking. So, yes, it's probably something you may not give a friend, perhaps a family member.
A good Stand Mixer is my best companion when making bread. Why? Good bread needs a bit of love and care in the form of kneading. While there are those of us that take pride and joy in the old school process of kneading the dough by hand, let's face it, there are times when we just don't have the time, patience or energy. That's when having a stand mixer is the next best thing to kneading the dough by hand.
A stand mixer is not something you buy often, so take a moment, review the mixers and buy the one that best suits your budget. I shared my recommendations and what you should look at when buying a stand mixer in this post here - Best Stand Mixer for a home baker.
3. Digital kitchen scale - about $20 and above
You know how I feel about measuring ingredients and I'm always encouraging you to bake by weight rather than volume. One cup is supposed to be 128 grams of flour but a cup can hold anywhere from 110 to 150 grams, depending on how you fill your cup. So, always measure by weight.
A scale is the most important thing to have on hand when baking bread or cakes. Weighing your ingredients using a kitchen scale will make you a much better baker, and you will be able to create the same results every single time.
4. Pizza stone - around $15 mine was ( $35 but very good!)
Do you know a baker that does not like to make pizza? Well, it's one of the things we pride ourselves on. Mastering the perfect pizza dough. No matter how many breads you will bake, if you ruin a pizza dough it bothers us. I try not to take it personally, and yet, it gets to me every single time. My pizza dough has to be perfect or else. Let's just say I'm in a bad mood.
You may have a good pizza dough but if you don't bake it well over a pizza stone there is something missing. That lovely bottom crust we love. That comes from a good pizza stone. These days there are so many choices that they have become a lot more inexpensive. The best part? if you take care of it well, it will last you a lifetime. I've gone through a couple of ovens but my pizza stone is still the same.
5. Dough scraper / Bread scraper - around $5 (really)
A must-have for anyone who bakes bread. Bread dough is sticky, so a baker needs to have this handy every single time she needs to bake. These aren't expensive as well. I have both a metal bread scraper and a plastic dough scraper. The metal is great to divide the dough into sections as well as help when kneading. The plastic works great to scrape the dough out of a bowl as it bends. Works well to scrape everything out.
6. Loaf pan or pain de mie / Pullman bread pan - around $20
Who doesn't love sandwiches? Right? Every home needs a good loaf pan but the Pullman loaf pan makes the best square-shaped slices for your sandwiches. And it makes a deliciously soft, rich bread with a tender crumb. Whether you make sandwiches or French toast these will give you those perfect presentable slices.
Buying a good loaf pan is important. Why? the pan needs the lid to slide open and close easily despite that cooking process. The last thing you want is for the lid to stop working after a few bakes. You can find my recipe to make the Pullman Sandwich Bread and Brioche Loaf Bread here.
7. Baguette pan - starts at $20
We all love baguette, and yet often we don't make it at home because it needs special equipment. A baguette pan really comes in handy for more than just making a baguette. You can also make small sausage rolls as well as a mini sandwich loaf with other bread recipes in this. So it's quite a versatile pan and very helpful to have on hand.
8. Benneton - starts at $20
This is a bread rising basket also know as banneton or brotform. It gives bread with high moisture the support they need to prove gently and slowly. It's a great basket to have on hand if you bake often. It also gives your bread the shape and beautiful pattern. The most common is round but I do like the oval and long as well.
9. Bread Scoring tool - around $15
For years, I have used the regular knife and it works great for some bread like the rustic loaves. But if you make bread often, or if you make artisan bread like the baguettes, then scoring the bread correctly is an important step just as making the bread itself. Again, not a very expensive tool but worth the investment if you love to bake bread often.
10. Bread knife - around $20
I do like tearing my bread and I'm known to do that even with the prettiest of bread. But then again, there
Well, a good baker absolutely MUST-HAVE a good bread knife. After all, you must showcase your hard work well. A serrated bread knife cuts bread well. This does not mean you have to buy an expensive bread knife. Just make sure you have a good bread knife. One that's not so blunt and does a great job of cutting wonderful bread slices.
Tips and tools
- Use a small mixing bowl or measuring cup to activate the yeast. I prefer to use glass over metal. If the metal is cold, it can lower the temperature of the liquid ingredients.
- I like mixing bread dough by hand. It's quite therapeutic. But, bread dough can be difficult to handle. Not just because it needs more kneading, but also because it's often a soft, sticky mess. So, I highly recommend using a stand mixer such as Kenwood, or kitchen-aid. (recommended read - which stand-mixer is good for home bakers)
- Baking bread is a science. So, measuring ingredients correctly is important. Also, do not wing the measurements. Use a measuring cup for liquid ingredients and measuring spoons for dry ingredients.
- And, a good baking tray is as important to bread baking as it is to other baking. Therefore, buy a good quality baking tray that's not too thin. The thick ones will prevent the bread from burning on the bottom. Sometimes you can even add a second tray on the bottom to prevent it from getting burnt.
- Every oven works differently. So, the baking times are just guidelines. In the case of bread, a hollow sound on the bottom of the bread is a great indication. If the bread bakes too quick or too slow, compared to the time given, it might be a good idea to check if your oven needs calibration.
- Also, an oven thermometer is a great little gadget to help keep the oven temperature in check. All you need to do is adjust the temperature accordingly.
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