Know someone who is just getting into bread baking? Set them up in style! This guide has everything a beginning baker could dream of, from sourdough starters and proofing baskets to three cookbooks that are a baking education in themselves.
1 King Arthur Flour Bread Flour, $5 from King Arthur Flour: This flour makes loaves that rise beautifully and develop a fantastic chewy crumb.
2 Sourdough Starter, $13 from Cultures for Health: One of these cultures will get you set up to make loaf after sourdough loaf.
3 Baking Stone, $50 from Williams Sonoma: This clay stone rests on the oven shelf and provides even heat to breads and pizzas being baked on top.
4 Proofing Baskets, $20 from Breadtopia: These are used for the final rising of shaped artisan loaves to help support the dough as it rises.
5 Chicago Metallic Commercial Loaf Pans, $13-$15 from Sur la Table: These are the best loaf pans I've ever found. They're sturdy, easy to clean, and give breads a nice crisp crust.
6 Wooden Baker's Peel, $10 from Target: Useful for shuffling loaves into the hot over and scooping them out again once baked.
7 Combo Cooker, $56 from Lodge Cast Iron Cookware: The round of dough is set in the bottom skillet with the deeper pot inverted over top. This traps steam and creates a super-hot baking environment for baking artisan loaves.
8 The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, $21 from Amazon: This is a classic cookbook from one of the best baking instructors in the country. It's perfect for beginners.
9 Local Breads by Daniel Leader, $23 from Amazon: Page after page of sourdough recipes from every corner of the globe. This cookbook is definitely must-have for anyone interested in sourdough baking.
10 Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson, $22 from Amazon: One of my favorite new cookbooks on bread baking with recipes based on the no-knead bread technique. The book includes everything from the basic artisan loaf to crazy-delicious yeasted croissants.
2011 Kitchen Gift Guides
(Images: King Arthur Flour, Williams Sonoma, Breadtopia, Sur la Table, Target, Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, Amazon)