I’ve Mastered Making No-Fail Bread With These Tools, and They’re All Under $25


When I made my first loaf of bread in middle school, it actually wasn’t a loaf — it more closely resembled the look and feel of a rock. Years went by before I ever thought about exploring bread baking again. I’d always known that making cakes and confections took a lot of precision, but in truth, after working my way through every class at The Culinary Institute of America, bread seemed to be the most scientific. 

Just water, yeast, salt, and flour can come together to make a loaf of bread, and you need even less ingredients if you make your own starter. With such a short ingredient list, it makes your method and technique make all the difference. And since  it’s so time-intensive, you really want to do everything you can to prevent disappointing results.  I can proudly say that I have been making my own crusty, fluffy loaves for years. These are the three tools I really couldn’t confidently explore my bread recipes without, and I believe they’re essential if you want to explore baking bread yourself. Best of all, these are low-stakes purchases at $25 and under.   

No-Fail Bread Tools Under $25

Escali Primo Digital Food Scale

Amazon


Not every recipe is going to require precise temperatures or scoring (more on this below) but every good bread recipe will ask that you use a kitchen scale. Any little shift in ratio to each core ingredient will give you something different. So, following a recipe to the precise weight is key for getting the intended results. Most recipe developers will tailor the moisture and leavening content to the flour using percentages, and it’s imperative that you’re precise with your measurements because of that. This is my favorite kitchen scale to have because it measures what you need, including grams, ounces, and pounds. It’s accurate, it’s fairly priced, it has a clear display, and it’s not too big for storing. No more measuring cups or getting flour everywhere with this $25 scale.   

ThermoPro TP510 Waterproof Digital Candy Thermometer

Amazon


Most of the recipes I tend to make require temperature gauging. Not only might you need to get your water to the right temperature prior to mixing recipes, but you also might need to check your bread dough. This often ensures that the rising and dough development process is on track, which will in turn make it easier for you to know whether or not you’re in a good place with the recipe. I love and own this ThermoPro option because it’s accurate, it’s easy to read, and it’s nice and long, which means I can easily probe into large containers for temperature testing the bread dough. It’s also lightweight, so I can just grab it and use it to check water or milk temperatures too. If you end up frying your dough (like for doughnuts) this’ll help you gauge your oil, as well as aid with other baking projects, too. 

Saint Germain Premium Hand Crafted Bread Lame

Amazon


Many bread recipes, especially if you’re experimenting with different types, will call for scoring. While a bread bakes, it will open up on its own to help it rise and release moisture. It can crack anywhere, including the side, or even burst. Cutting into the bread yourself lets you control where it cracks, giving you the best rise and the best visual appearance. You want to score it deep enough and at the right angle for the bread to spread and create an ear, which is a ridge that appears on the edge of your cuts that can get extra crusty and delicious. With all of that in mind, a bread lame has been my preferred way to score bread. It’s essentially a razor blade attached to a handle. You can use a knife, but I have found that it’s not always effective because of its size and thickness. This specific lame is amazing for me because it’s body is lightweight, so I have maximum control, making it easy to angle the razor for the cut I’m looking for. Because the blade is so thin and sharp, it cuts into the dough seamlessly. I also appreciate that it comes with a protective leather cover (some don’t come with anything), and a few backup razors to swap when I’m ready.



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