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Bread is an inherently simple product, requiring little more than flour, yeast, salt, and water. But anyone who’s attempted making fresh bread at home knows that it’s so much more than the sum of its parts. For those who have grown to love the art of breadmaking, investing in some additional tools will almost certainly elevate the quality of your final products, and make working with your dough a little easier.
This is a collection of tools that will help you from mixing your dough, through proofing, shaping, and finally baking your favorite loaves.
Best Bread Maker: Oster ExpressBake 2-Pound Bread Maker
Nearly effortless breadmaking
Programmed for a wide variety of breads
Makes generous-sized loaves
Produces a basic loaf without frills
Take the intimidation out of bread-making with this affordable machine by Oster. This model features 12 settings, three crust settings, and can turn out loaves as big as 2 pounds (in under an hour if using the Expressbake feature). It also comes with recipes for a virtually fail-proof bake, so beginners don't need to worry at all. Best of all, it has a pretty compact footprint so it doesn't take up too much valuable counter space—especially important if your kitchen is small.
Ideal for: Homestyle loaves | White and whole wheat bread loaves | Fruit and nut loaves
Best Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Easily handles tough doughs
Impressive variety of attachments
Heavy-duty bowl with handle
Enamel-coated attachments could chip
The iconic KitchenAid stand mixer can do many things, including kneading up to four entire loaves worth of bread in one go. This model has a 5-quart mixing bowl and comes with a standard paddle, whip attachment, and most importantly, a dough hook that will make it easy to work your dough, aiding gluten production for a better rise. We purchased this machine to test out just how well it could handle mixing dough and were very impressed with the results. Our tester made both bread dough and pasta dough, without any difficulty from the mixer. The stainless steel bowl, whisk, and dough hook are all dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. It is available in over 30 colors, so you can color-coordinate your mixer to your kitchen decor.
Ideal for: Mixing almost any kind of dough | A wide variety of pastry and savory mixing
"[T]he mixer did an excellent job kneading bread dough, and it didn’t complain one bit. Lighter-weight tasks, like mixing cookie dough and cake batter were a breeze..." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Mixing Bowl Set: FineDine Premium Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Non-reactive stainless steel for any ingredients
Flat bottoms for stable measuring and mixing
Safe for oven and stovetop use
Doesn't come with lids
A good set of mixing bowls is essential to bread baking. When making fancier bread or the simpler quickbreads, you will often need more than one bowl for mixing the ingredients. This set by FineDine includes six sizes (ranging from .75-quart to 8-quart bowls) made from lightweight stainless steel. The flat bottoms offer great stability when mixing and are easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. The bowls also nest for easy and convenient storage.
Ideal for: Yeasted doughs and doughs that need to rest | Doughs and batters light enough to be mixed by hand | Scaling ingredients.
Best Bread Lame: Breadtopia Bread Lame
Includes replacement blades
Packaged for safe storage
Small learning curve
Ever wonder how bakeries get those beautiful, raised-edge designs baked into their loaves? It's all in the scoring. While you can certainly use a sharp knife to slash your dough's surface—crucial for allowing proper expansion while baking—using a bread lame gives you greater control over the angle, depth, and design of your cuts. This lame by Breadtopia is simple to assemble and has an easy-grip resin handle (shaped like a baguette) for steady control and accurate scoring. It comes with five replacement blades and a storage box for when it's not in use.
Ideal for: Baguettes | Sourdough | Artisan breads
Best Bench Scraper: Norpro Grip EZ Chopper Scraper
Heavy-duty stainless steel scraper
Soft non-slip grip
Measurements may wear off with use
A bench scraper is a must for shaping and moving slightly sticky pieces of dough around on your work surface. This inexpensive model from Norpro is designed to easily scrape or portion out dough, but it can also be used for crushing ingredients or measuring and cutting pasta or cinnamon rolls, thanks to the blade's measuring guide. Made from durable stainless steel, this scraper features a Santoprene handle that helps you grip the blade comfortably for better control. Cleanup is easy—just hand wash with a gentle scrubber and mild dishwashing detergent.
Ideal for: Portioning dough | Handing dough | Chopping herbs | Frosting Cakes | Cleaning countertops
Best Proofing Basket: Bread Bosses Banneton Proofing Basket
Great size for many breads
Includes linen basket liner
Additional bowl scraper is handy
May need to purchase an additional basket for larger projects
If you're trying to create the shiny, chewy crusts that are a favored characteristic of artisanal bread loves, this 9-inch rattan basket is a game-changer for home bakers. Traditional bakeries use this type of proofing basket, known as a banneton, that allows air to pass through and creates a skin on the surface of the dough as it rises and makes it easier to score. The ridges also leave a beautiful spiral pattern on the dough that shows up during the final bake. Also included are a bench scraper—a must-have for shaping—and a cloth liner to use for high-moisture doughs.
Ideal for: Yeasted doughs | Sourdough | Artisinal loaves
Best Pastry Brush: OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush-Small
Doesn't shed bristles like classic pastry brushes
Designed to keep countertops clean
Silicone brush doesn't absorb as much liquid
Some breads, like soft dinner rolls or brioche, require a final coating before baking. For this, you'll need a pastry brush to paint loaves with butter, milk, or an egg wash before the loaf goes into the oven (useful for getting poppy or sesame seeds to stick and to encourage a golden finish). This silicone brush by OXO has heat-resistant, easy-to-clean bristles that won't shed and a comfortable grip handle. The tapered outer bristles allow for brushing more delicate doughs and pastries, and the angled brush head keeps the bristles off the countertop. When you're done, you can just place the entire brush into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Ideal for: Egg washes | Butter basting | Finishing glazes | Dusting off dry flour or crumbs
Best Zester: Microplane Black Classic Stainless Steel Zester and Cheese Grater
Strong stainless steel zests almost anything
Countless pastry and savory uses
Available in 21 colors
Nothing, it's perfect
Lemon poppyseed cake and cranberry orange bread are just two examples of quickbreads that require citrus zest to add a boost of flavor that holds up through the baking process. This classic handheld grater from Microplane makes it easy to finely zest oranges, limes, lemons (and any other citrus), and also works well on hard cheeses like Parmesan to use in homemade breadsticks and gougeres. The ultra-sharp blade is made from surgical-grade stainless steel which resists rust and maintains its sharpness well. You'll also be able to use this for grating nutmeg and cinnamon into your favorite recipes for ultimate freshness.
Ideal for: Zesting anything, from citrus to spices, cheese, chocolate, and even garlic
Best Wooden Spoon: OXO Good Grips Large Wooden Spoon
Solid wooden spoon feels substantial
Several styles and sizes available
Hand wash only
May stain or absorb odors
Wooden spoons are essential for hand mixing bread dough—they're more durable than plastic spatulas and aren't reactive like metal spools. This basic yet sturdy wooden spoon from OXO is made from a solid piece of beechwood with a natural oil finish and features a large handle that fits comfortably in the hand. Use it to gently mix dough, from this basic bread recipe to this vegan challah. To clean, hand wash the spoon and dry completely before storing.
Ideal for: Stirring medium to thick batters
Best Rolling Pin: J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin
More rolling control
Solid wood lasts years
Slight learning curve
Hand rinse only
Whether you're making sticky buns or cinnamon swirls, you’ll need a good quality rolling pin to roll out the dough. This French dowel-style rolling pin from J.K. Adams is made with slightly tapered ends, making it lighter than traditional pins for easier maneuvering. It is made from a slightly textured, sustainably harvested North American hardwood that holds a dusting of flour to prevent dough from sticking. This solid wood rolling pin is incredibly sturdy and will likely last for decades, but it is also backed by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Ideal for: Rolling almost any kind of dough or pastry
"It takes a little getting used to, but once you get accustomed to the curve of a French rolling pin, you have so much more control when rolling out doughs. I use this rolling pin for most doughs, including sugar cookies, pies, cinnamon rolls, and pretzels." — Jenny Kellerhals, Baking Expert for The Spruce Eats
Best Loaf Pan: Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated 1-Pound Loaf Pan
Helps form perfectly-shaped loaves
Sturdy stainless steel lasts for decades
Great size for gifting
Coating may cloud if washed in dishwasher
Loaf pans are wonderful for making homemade sandwich loaves or baking decadent chocolate babka. This heavy-duty loaf pan is made from aluminized steel and features a reinforced rim that helps to prevent warping. This pan measures 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches and can comfortably fit a 1-pound loaf. For easier lift-off, line this pan with parchment paper before use. While the manufacturer says this is dishwasher safe, hand washing will help to extend the life of the pan and you'll be able to use it for years to come.
Ideal for: Loaves or pastries that need to bake in a form
Best Bread Knife: Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife
Long-lasting serrated blade
Not especially attractive
Once that fresh loaf of bread cools, you’re probably going to want to immediately slice into it and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You don’t need to spend big bucks for a reliable bread knife. This 10-inch bread knife from Mercer is both cost-effective and high quality. Used in professional kitchens and culinary schools, Mercer makes this serrated bread knife with a high-carbon stainless steel blade that’s evenly sharpened on both sides so it can easily be used with the left or right hand. The blade extends into the handle for the most stability and longevity, and the handle itself is ergonomically shaped for comfortable handling, even through the thickest sourdough crusts. A combination of texture, Santoprene, and polypropylene makes for a non-slip handle to keep a good grip when cutting through extra oily breads like focaccia. Hand wash this knife to keep it in the best shape.
Ideal for: Slicing through any bread
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a two-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools and interviews field experts for their insight. As an avid baker, she personally owns several of the above products, including the KitchenAid mixer, Bread Bosses banneton proofing basket, and the Breadtopia bread lame.