Embarking on the journey of sourdough baking is both a craft and a science. To aid you in achieving those perfectly textured and exquisitely flavoured loaves, we think there are three accessories that can elevate your sourdough game (which won't break the bank).
1. Bread Lame
The bread lame, an unassuming tool with a grand impact, stands as our first essential. Don’t be misled by its name – it’s far from dull. In fact, it's the artisan’s brush for your dough canvas. The bread lame's purpose? Scoring – a precise, deliberate act of creating patterns on your dough's surface.
Why does this matter? Scoring isn’t just about aesthetics; it influences the bread's rise during baking, resulting in that characteristic open crumb structure. The intricate designs you score also allow the bread to expand gracefully. So, whether you're tracing a single slash or engineering an elaborate design, the bread lame empowers you to infuse your loaves with artistic flair.
Whilst many bakers use a sharp knife to do this the bread lame is far superior and will be worth the £10-£15 investment.
2. Metal Bench Scraper
Let's now introduce a key player in managing dough – the metal bench scraper. In the realm of stretchy, sticky sourdough dough, this simple tool assumes is key to making sure you don't end up with your hands and entire work surface covered in dough which cannot be lifted.
Folding and scraping whilst kneading, getting dough off the table, diving and finally shaping and adding tension to the surface are all the different way a bench/dough scraper can be used. Outside of sourdough you can use a bench scraper to transfer ingredients from your cutting board.
3. Plastic Bowl Scraper
Whilst you might think you don't need both a metal and plastic scraper, they tend to serve different roles. A plastic bowl scraper has more flex and is less sharp than its metal counter part, allowing you to easily scrape the inside of bowls and get every last bit of dough taken care off.
This is a crucial tool if you prefer to use autolyse methods of dough mixing or don't like getting your hands too messy when working with high hydration doughs.
These three accessories stand as pillars in your sourdough baking process. Whilst you can still bake beautiful loaves without them, they certainly make the process much more enjoyable and enable you to achieve more in your baking.