Product Reviews

10 Essential Gifts for Bread Bakers

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Looking for the perfect gift for the baker in your life?  I’ve put together a collection of my top 10 essential gifts (all $20 or less) for bread bakers in this gift guide.  Your baker friend or family member will love using these amazing, practical gifts for years to come!

various kitchen tools such as scale, bench scraper, and thermometer

Have you ever wondered what to get someone who bakes bread?  Wonder no longer!  All 10 of these items are low-cost gifts that they’ll use and appreciate.  I’ve extensively used and loved all of these items, and I couldn’t make a great loaf of bread without them!

digital kitchen scale

1. Farberware Digital Kitchen Scale ($16.47)

  • Rating on Amazon: 4 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 3+ years
  • How to Use: Turn on scale and weigh ingredients.  To tare the scale, place bowl on top, turn on scale, add ingredients to weigh. 
  • How to Clean: handwash and dry glass top; do not submerge in water
  • Batteries Needed: 2 AAA batteries included with scale
  • Possible Uses: measuring ingredients for cooking and baking, controlling portion sizes

When you measure flour in cups, it’s easy to pack too much flour into the cup.  The extra flour will make the cake dry and tough.  Red velvet cake, for example, will turn out so much better when you use a kitchen scale.

bowl of flour on a scale

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Measuring ingredients on a scale not only ensures an accurate measurement, but it’s also faster and saves dishes.  In fact, bakers in Europe and Australia weigh almost all of their ingredients; they don’t even know what measuring cups are!

The depicted model that I own is made by Starfrit, a Canadian company, and was given to me by my Canadian grandpa.  Farberware sells a nearly identical scale, so I’ve linked to that one.

digital thermometer

2. ThermoPro Digital Thermometer ($18.01)

  • Rating on Amazon: 4.5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 1 month
  • How to Clean: handwash and dry metal probe after each use; do not submerge handle in water
  • Batteries Needed: 2 AAA batteries included with thermometer
  • Possible Uses: measuring the temperature of meats, bread, candy, and liquids

Why a Digital Thermometer Is So Fantastic

Digital thermometers read the temperature faster than the traditional ones with a needle gauge, and are easier to read.  I’ve been really pleased with how this ThermoPro is simple to use, accurate, and quick to read the temperature of bread, meat, liquids, and even the air!

Another thing: have you ever wondered when a loaf of bread was done baking?  It always was a puzzle to me, until I discovered that you could use a thermometer to see if it was cooked.  Just poke the thermometer into the bread to see it’s internal temperature.  Breads made with a lot of butter, eggs, and sugar will be done cooking at 190 F, while crusty, rustic loaves can be baked up to 200 F.  It’s an easy, foolproof way to check your bread!

This ThermoPro was a great tool for checking the internal temperature of my overnight pumpernickel bread.  This loaf came out perfectly!

checking the temperature of a baked loaf

How to Use the ThermoPro Thermometer

Press the large round button to release the probe from the handle, then open it all the way to snap it in place.  Hold down the power button to turn on the thermometer and to get a reading.  The thermometer will automatically shut off after 3 minutes.

You can also toggle effortlessly between Celsius and Fahrenheit, which is great if you use both.  You can also “lock” the current displayed temperature by pressing the lock button, but this isn’t a feature that I use.

Bonus!

When I opened my ThermoPro, I was surprised to see that a coupon for 10% off my next Amazon order was enclosed.  Another paper said that if you posted a review of your new thermometer on Instagram and hashtagged it #ThermoPro, you just needed to DM ThermoPro your shipping address, and they would mail you a brand-new thermometer.  How cool is that?

cake lifter

3. Nordicware 10-Inch Cake Lifter ($16.46)

  • Amazon Rating: 5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 2 years
  • How to Clean: handwash only
  • Possible Uses: moving bread, cakes, or pies
  • Made in the USA!

Why Every Baker Needs a Cake Lifter

A sturdy cake lifter is a lifesaver for bakers!  You won’t believe how easy it is to move big cakes, hot loaves of bread, and pizzas with a cake lifter.  It’s SO much easier–and safer–than trying to use two or three smaller spatulas for the same thing.

loaf of bread on top of a cake lifter

What I Love about the Nordicware One

This Nordicware cake lifter has a 10-inch diameter and a durable construction–it won’t bend under the weight of a heavy layer cake!  The handle has a thick grip on it to prevent your hand from slipping, and the metal part is non-stick, which makes cleanup a breeze.  The slim edge can slip under cakes, breads, and tarts and effortlessly lift them.  You won’t regret buying this cake lifter!

I love using my cake lifter to move big bread loaves like this Mardi Gras king cake.

lame with extra blades

4. Mure & Peyrot Lame with 10 Replacement Blades ($17.95)

  • Amazon Rating: 4 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 1.5 years
  • How to Clean: handwash only
  • Possible Uses: scoring bread loaves
  • Made in France

Want Gorgeous Loaves?  You Need a Lame!

Every serious bread baker needs a quality lame (pronounced LAHM) fitted with a sharp razor blade.  Lames are used for cutting the decorative patterns on top of bread before it bakes.  They’re much sharper than a traditional kitchen knife, and their small size makes it much easier to create detailed patterns on your loaf.

scoring a loaf with a lame

I’ve had great results with this Mure & Peyrot lame.  The lame holds the razor blade in a curved position, which makes it perfect for slashing baguettes.  The white plastic cover keeps anyone from getting cut on the lame blade when it isn’t in use.

Look at the fancy design on this loaf of white mountain bread to see what a lame can do.

Changing the Blade Is Easy!

The Mure & Peyrot replacement razor blades come in packs of 10.  Each blade is wrapped in brown paper and placed inside a miniature envelope.  You can use all four corners of the blade before replacing it.  In addition, this lame makes it easy and safe to change the blade; just pinch and lift the plastic part on top of the blade, replace the blade, then snap the part back on top.

side view of a glass measuring cup

5. Anchor 4-Cup Glass Measuring Cup ($15.99)

  • Amazon Rating: 4 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 5+ years
  • How to Clean: dishwasher or handwash
  • Possible Uses: measuring liquids, serving drinks, storing food

A Practical Tool You’ll Use Over and Over

A sturdy glass measuring cup with a pouring spout is a must for every baker.  It’s great for storing and pouring liquids.  It has imperial and metric measurements, which is great if you use both.

glass measuring cup

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The thick glass is safe for the microwave, dishwasher, fridge, and freezer, and is easy to hand wash too.  It’s definitely a kitchen workhorse you’ll be using and enjoying for years to come!

This measuring cup comes in handy for bread recipes like this Cuban bread.  It’s easy to see how much liquid you have, plus you can pour it accurately with the spout!

side view of a banneton with linen liner

6. Adore Amore Round Banneton with Linen Liner ($11.99)

  • Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It:  1.5 years
  • How to Clean: scrub with soap and water before first use, air dry
  • Possible Uses: proving bread dough

A Cane Basket Makes Better Bread?

Want to make artisan bread at home?  This cane basket, called a banneton, is used during the bread’s second proving right before baking.  The lines of the cane basket create a distinctive pattern of concentric circles on the loaf, which is so pretty!

A banneton isn’t just used for aesthetics; the basket supports the loaf as it proves, encouraging it to rise upwards instead of sinking down.  The canes used to make the basket create an extra-humid environment for the loaf, which promotes a good crust when the loaf bakes.

Check out this whole wheat molasses bread recipe to see a banneton in action.

top view of a banneton

Caring for Your Banneton

Bannetons are easy to care for.  Wash your new banneton with soap and hot water, scrubbing it with a stiff bristle brush to make sure it’s clean.  Let it air dry completely before using.  Right before the first use, spritz it with water from a spray bottle and dust generously with flour, making sure to get in all the cracks.

Storing Your Banneton

To store the banneton, wrap it in a plastic shopping bag and freeze for long term storage.  The flour in bannetons will go moldy if it’s stored at room temperature for long periods of time.  It’s best not to clean the banneton after each use; the goal is to build up a coating of flour on the banneton.  Professional bakeries only clean their bannetons every year or so!

bench scraper

7. OXO Good Grips Bench Scraper ($9.99)

  • Amazon Rating: 5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 2+ years
  • How to Clean: dishwasher or handwash
  • Possible Uses: kneading bread dough, moving baked goods, chopping dough, scraping food off of countertops

Cutting, Scraping, and Measuring

A bench scraper is an invaluable tool for making bread and pastry, dividing portions of dough, portioning and moving chopped vegetables, and even scraping off dirty countertops and cutting boards.  Its edge is sharp enough to slice soft cheeses, too!

kneading dough on a cutting board

The ruler on the edge of this scraper is another handy feature.  It’s perfect for when you’re rolling out pastry to a specific thickness, or trying to measure the diameter of cookie cutters.  See this scraper in action in my hot cross bun recipe.

wire cooling rack

8. Tebery Wire Cooling Racks, Set of 4 ($14.99)

  • Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 5+ years
  • How to Clean: handwash only
  • Possible Uses: cooling baked goods, displaying baked goods

Prevent Your Baking from Going Soggy

A cooling rack is one of the most essential tools for baking.  It’s important for most baked goods to cool on a wire rack.  The holes in the rack allow the air to circulate under the baked item, keeping it crisp and helping it to cool off more quickly.  If you don’t have a cooling rack, you need to get one.

I love my wire cooling racks, and often photograph my bread recipes on them.  Check out this crusty English bloomer bread to see more photos.

loaf of bread on a wire cooling rack

How to Clean Wire Cooling Racks

It’s easy to clean wire cooling racks.  Wash them by hand with a dishcloth or scrubber in hot, soapy water and rinse.  They can air dry or towel dry, whichever you prefer.  Scrub off any stubborn food particles with a scrub brush or scouring pad.

An important note: don’t let cooling racks sit in a wet environment for long periods of time, or they can rust.  Not cool!

baking sheet

9. Wilton 11×17-Inch Cookie Sheets, Set of 2 ($20.00 for two)

  • Amazon Rating: 4 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 2+ years
  • How to Clean: handwash only
  • Possible Uses: baking and cooking, flash freezing food

The Only Baking Sheet You’ll Ever Need

Are you on the lookout for durable, non-stick baking sheets that don’t warp easily?  These Wilton ones are the answer!  The rimmed edges catch any drips, and the little handles on the ends make it easy to grab the tray while it’s in the oven.

loaf of bread on a cookie sheet

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My favorite size is the 11.5 by 17.25-inch tray, which is perfect for cookies and breads.  This size fits in my fridge, too, which is great for chilling cookies and doughs before they head into the oven.  It’s big enough to fit long loaves diagonally, like this giardiniera and cheese stuffed bread.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets

I’d recommend washing these baking sheets by hand.  They can air dry or be towel dried, whichever is easier for you.  However, don’t use a scouring pad, metal utensils, or a stiff brush on these trays; it will ruin the non-stick coating.  Get rid of stubborn, stuck-on food by soaking the pans for an hour in really hot water, then cleaning in soap and water.

two pastry brushes

10. Redecker Pastry Brushes with Natural Bristles, Set of 2 ($9.99)

  • Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars
  • How Long I’ve Owned It: 2 years
  • How to Clean: handwash only and air dry
  • Possible Uses: brushing egg wash, butter, milk, water, and other non-staining liquids
  • Made in Germany

Forget those Loose Bristles and the Silicone Brushes!

I’ve used natural-bristle pastry brushes for years, but was always plagued by bristles falling out of the brushes.  It’s never a pleasant task to pick brush hairs off of a greased pan!  Silicone brushes weren’t an option for me; they simply cannot apply a thin, even layer of butter or egg wash like real bristles do.

After researching for the best natural-bristle pastry brushes on Amazon, I decided to try this affordable set of two Redecker boar bristle brushes with untreated beechwood handles.  Many Amazon reviewers said that the bristles of these brushes held together very well.  In the two years that I’ve owned them, I’ve used these brushes about once a week, and have lost only two or three bristle hairs during that time.  That feature alone is wonderful!

I used both the 1 1/2 inch brush and the 3/4 inch brush for these Swedish cardamom buns, called kardemumabullar.  They worked fabulously for spreading butter and a glaze on the dough!

buttering a bowl with a pastry brush

How to Clean Natural-Bristle Pastry Brushes

Squirt some dish soap into the palm of your hand.  Dampen the bristles of the pastry brush with hot water, then swirl the brush vigorously in the palm of your hand to work up a lather.  Rinse thoroughly in hot water, stand the brush bristle end up in a jar or across the top of a glass, and let it air dry.

Just like with paintbrushes, be sure to store the brushes laying flat in a drawer or standing bristle end up in a jar to keep the bristles from bending.  Always let them air dry completely before storing them to prevent mold, and keep the brushes out of standing water to avoid a rusty metal band.

Guess What My Favorite Kitchen Gadget Is!

Want to know which kitchen gadget from this gift guide is my personal favorite?  I’d definitely say the kitchen scale.  I use it almost every day, whether it’s for baking, cooking, or even for weighing coffee beans for my morning cup.

Excited to start making bread?

Since August 2017, we have published 32 savory bread recipes and 16 sweet bread recipes on our blog, Savor the Flavour.  Over half of them have step by step beautiful  photos with detailed clearly written instructions.  It’s just what you need to give you the confidence to try a new bread recipe.  If you’ve never made one of our bread recipes, you’ll be in for a real treat.

Making yeast bread is easier than you think!  These popular recipes have detailed photo tutorials and lots of tips to help you be successful.

A loaf of challah bread being torn apart loaf of kanellangd on a wire cooling rack

breaking one of the Hokkaido milk bread rolls in half holding half of one of the Cornish saffron buns

holding a loaf of muffaletta bread slices of Cuban bread with loaf on a cooling rack

Which kitchen gadget from this list would you like to get?  Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Let’s discover something delicious, and enjoy using these essential products!

Emma

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