Baking sourdough bread may seem quite daunting, especially when it requires equipment that you’ve never really heard about, like a lame or a Dutch oven, but baking sourdough bread doesn’t need to be expensive. Let me tell you how you can substitute expensive or uncommon sourdough bread baking equipment.
Before we get started, there’s one thing you absolutely need, besides the ingredients. This is your oven. We cannot substitute that with anything, so if you want to make sourdough bread, the thing you definitely need, is an oven.
Sourdough Bread Baking Equipment #1: Mixer
The first piece of sourdough bread baking equipment that you can easily replace with a much cheaper version, is your mixer. A lot of people use a mixer to mix their ingredients, but if you don’t own one, a very easy replacement is just big mixing bowl and a big spoon. Put all your ingredients into a big mixing bowl and just mix it all together with your big spoon. It might take some getting used to, but if you get the hang of it you will be able to mix the dough quite uniformly with just a mixing bowl and a big spoon. You can use your hands, but that may make your dough stickier and harder to handle, so mixing with a spoon is recommended.
Baking Equipment #2: Banetton Basket
The next piece of sourdough bread baking equipment that most sourdough bread bakers usually have, is the Benetton basket with a linen cloth. This is used to proof the bread and give it its final shape. If you don’t have this, we have a much easier, more available and cheaper option, which is a small bowl. The shape of your bowl depends on what kind of shape you want your bread to be. If you use a round bowl, your loaf, when baked, will be round. To replace the linen cloth, you can just use any tea towel to line your bowl before you lightly dusted it with flour for proofing.
Baking Equipment #3: Shower Cap
The next piece of sourdough bread baking equipment that might not be ready assessable to is a shower cap that we usually use cover our Benetton to prevent the bread from drying out. There are much more convenient options that you can use such as a Ziploc bag which achieves the same goal, but you’ll need to actually put your bowl or Benetton inside the Ziploc and seal it in. But if you don’t have Ziploc bags, you can actually use just a regular plastic bag. Put your bowl or Benetton in and tie it up securely so that the dough doesn’t get exposed to the air.
Baking Equipment #4: Bread Lame
Our next piece of sourdough bread baking equipment is used to score your bread to let air easily escape it when it’s being baked. This is the lame. This is not a very common appliance so you can replace this with just a simple razor blade that is sharp enough to cut through the dough. It does almost as good a job as a lame.
Baking Equipment #5: Dutch Oven
The next piece of sourdough bread baking equipment is a very expensive one, which is the Dutch oven. A lot of sourdough bakers use this to help their bread achieve a very good rise because a Dutch oven is able to effectively retain steam. If you don’t own a Dutch oven, you can create a similar effect with a spray bottle. If you spray generously into your oven before your dough starts baking, that actually creates enough steam to slow down the bread crust from hardening so that the bread can rise as much as possible.
Alright, that was a quick article on alternative sourdough bread baking equipment you can get on the cheap and easy. Sourdough bread baking shouldn’t be fussy. If you have a regular oven, you can bake sourdough bread.
If you’d like a step by step break down on how to bake your very own sourdough bread, here’s a link to the thorough article.
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See you in our next article! Thanks for reading, and happy baking!