My Baking Tools

the perfect loaf my baking toolsBelow is a list of my baking tools organized in sections broken down by their use, and some that are “nice to have” but not essential. I’ve spent many years buying & trying tools one at a time to make things more efficient and baking easier. The list below is the accumulation of all those tools which I still use regularly and nothing else. I keep this page updated frequently with anything I’ve found to be better than the tool used before it.

If you’re new to baking, start with the tools listed below in Sourdough Starter Creation & Management and The Beginning Baker. These two sections will get you all the essentials you’ll need to create your wild yeast starter and the tools to get your first loaves in and out of the oven.

Once you get more serious head to the Nice to Haves section and explore these tools. They will elevate your baking to the next level and help you make your loaves more consistent and precise, or in some cases, just plain make things easier (thank you Thermapen, probably my favorite baking tool I’ve purchased to date).

Sourdough Starter Creation & Management

These tools are essential when starting your first sourdough starter and keeping it alive an healthy. You want to use weights instead of volumes, a good stirrer and glass container, and of course, rye flour to get things going.

Store your natural sourdough starter in this Weck jar

3/4 liter weck jars

I keep my starter in these all the time and use them for pickling & many other things

baker’s scale

the best scale at this price point. a scale is 100% necessary

oxo spatula

oxo silicone spatula

this one-piece Oxo spatula is the best thing to maintain your starter, no nooks and crannies and easy to clean

Create a starter with reliable consistency using whole grain rye flour

dark rye flour

I love Bob’s quality and rye flour is the key to creating a lively starter

The Beginning Baker

A list of tools that are almost all necessary to bake at home. You could get away with not having a few of them (bench knife, ambient thermometer, white rice flour, bulk container and fine sea salt) but I’d highly recommend picking up all of these items if you’re really going to start baking. Trust me.

Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven Combo Cooker

lodge combo cooker

cast iron, you cannot go wrong. this helps trap steam to get that high rise

Dough Bench Knife

bench knife

a must-have, used to cut, lift & move your dough

Plastic Dough Scraper

plastic scraper

easily remove sticky dough from containers, the bench, and off your fingers

Ambient thermometer

ambient thermometer

monitoring ambient temperatures is incredibly important in baking

White Rice Flour for dusting proofing baskets

rice flour

rice flour has a higher burning point and thus is perfect for lining your proofing baskets

Oxo Oven Mit protects hands and forearm from high heat when baking

oxo oven mit

able to protect your hands from a 500ºF heated cast iron pan: worth it

Wide mixing bowl to mix flour, water, etc.

wide mixing bowl

a wide bowl makes mixing without spilling that much easier

Cambro plastic bulk container

bulk container

these are not amazing, but work well. clear sides let you see fermentation first-hand

CDN Digital Thermometer

digital thermometer

monitoring dough temperature is very important and should not be overlooked!

Fine sea salt

sea salt

any good quality fine sea salt will work, this is my current favorite

Lame for scoring dough pre-bake


a pack of razors and a coffee stirrer constructed as you see. used to score your bread before baking

Nice to Haves

These are tools that are by no means essential, but will help to raise your baking game to the next level and/or will make things much, much easier. Only pick these up if you’re very serious about baking or have been baking a while.

Thermapen thermometer


an absolutely amazing device, reads temperatures accurately in 1 second

Banneton for boules

10″ banneton (boule)

naturally porous, used to hold proofing dough

Banneton for batard

banneton (batard)

on the small side, these will still let you load dough in the lodge combo cooker

Plastic flour scoop

dough proofer

I keep my starter, levain and dough at the perfect temperature at all times using this proofer

Stainless spray bottle

stainless spray bottle

I use this to spritz the dough a bit just after placing into the oven, helps create those wonderful crust blisters

Flour sifter

flour sifter

some recipes here call for “high extraction flour”, this helps sift out some bran/germ to get this


baking steel

this steel replaces any need for baking stones and gets incredibly hot with no risk of cracking. also bakes pizza incredibly well

baking stones

baking stones

a cheaper alternative to a baking steel, these extra thick stones hold heat very well

Plastic flour scoop

flour scoop

I keep these in my flour canisters, they make transferring and measuring super easy

Razor sharp bread knife

bread knife

the most cost effective and best bread knife I have yet to use


proofing liners

cut these to fit your proofing baskets for easy dough removal

Plastic bowl covers CoverMate Stretch-to-fit

plastic bowl covers

several bowl-sized plastic covers, used at all times when dough is resting. eliminate waste as these are reusable

Bread box

bread box

keep your bread fresh for up to a week in this box

Bread box

large bulk tub

the perfect rectangular tub for 4kg+ batches of dough

Seeds, Salts & Grains

Various salts, seeds and grains I use when baking. Some grains (like oats) are only used as “toppers” or cooked into a porridge for incorporation during bulk fermentation.

Fine Himalayan sea salt

sea salt

any fine sea salt will work here, but this is my current favorite

Sesame Seeds

sesame seeds

used to coat and bake-in some of my seeded bread recipes

Regular rolled oats for porridge

regular rolled oats

when making oat porridge bread, you want regular non-thick oats, these are my favorite

Flax seeds for baking


extremely healthy, and tasty. used to coat and bake-in some of my seeded breads


Ideally you’d want locally milled flour for freshness and to support local farmers & millers, but sometimes that is not an option or perhaps you just want to try something new. Central Milling and Guisto’s both provide flour that I’ve found to be excellent, with perhaps a slight lead to Giusto’s at the moment.

Central Milling Artisan Bakers Craft Plus Organic Flour

central milling artisan baker’s craft plus

CM has some incredible flour, this is a workhorse flour for any bread

Giusto's Artisan Bread Flour

giusto’s artisan malted bread

I love this flour, it’s my current top choice


These are the best pans for baking sandwich loaves, rye bread and a variety of other breads.

USA Pan Pullman Pan

USA Pan Pullman 9×4 inch

This pan is perfect for rye bread and smaller sandwich loaves. Incredibly strong, silicone lined and makes a beautiful loaf


The containers listed below are the best I’ve found to store flour, grains and just about anything else in the kitchen.

Large Cambro Storage Container

cambro storage 18 quart

These, with lid, are quite large and perfect for storing 25 lbs. of dry grain or flour

XO Good Grips POP Container Big Square (4.0 Qt)

OXO good grips 4 quart

I store all my 5 lb. sacks of flour in these. They are airtight, light and very strong — simply the best

Are there any other tools you’ve found so useful you couldn’t bake without? Shoot me an email so I can try them out!

  • Thanks, Brendan! I should add that to the list above, will work on it. For now I use these Oxo containers to store smaller amounts of flour (they perfectly fit 5 lb. bags and are airtight).

    For large quantities of raw wheat berries, or larger sacks of flour I use these cambro containers, they are very nice. You can get various sizes as well.

    Hope that helps!

  • Becky

    Hello, Thank you for your blog, it’s really helpful! I was wondering is the lodge combo cooker like a Dutch oven? Can I use a Dutch oven? Also, I’m at sea level, lived in Denver for five years and Telluride for ten years though, I miss Colorado but I’m on Cape Cod now, so literally sea level. Do you have any general adjustments you’d make with temperature from the temps you’re using at altitude? Thank you!!

    • You’re welcome, thanks for the comments! Yes, the Lodge combo cooker is very similar to a Dutch oven, actually it’s pretty much the same thing it just has handles on both sides of the pot so you can cook in the shallow or deep end. You can use a Dutch oven just the same, no need to get a new pot.

      Ah, I love Colorado 🙂 I’ve only really ever baked here at high altitude, but I honestly don’t think there will be many adjustments to make. You might need to adjust cook times at sea level, your bread might cook a little faster than the times I have listed here, but there are no hard guidelines I can give on that. Just use my times as a guideline and then at the last 10-15 mins keep an eye on your bread and pull it out when it looks good and a slight knock on the bottom sounds hollow. I’ve also read that at lower altitude you might need to increase the amount of levain in your mix, but I haven’t had any emails from others indicating this.

      I hope that helps!

  • Mathew Thomas Scott

    First visit via Debra Wink on TFL Sourdough. Really nice site. I think the small notes (…) are unique and informative. My question concerns care and maintenance of bannetons. I know that rice flour is generally used.? Is the residue left there or washed out. If left should they be cleaned at a later time and how?

    • Thanks, Mathew! Yes, I use rice flour (white or brown) almost exclusively. Sometimes I’ll use a bit of sifted out bran when I’m milling my own flour, if I wan’t to also give the loaf a bit of crunch when baked. The residue should be left there, but I *lightly* brush, or tap out, any excess flour. I will do an intensive cleaning here every month or so where I scrape out any really hard flour and do a really thorough brush down (with stiff bristles).

      A banneton develops a sort of patina on the cane from the flour used and helps make it more non-stick, of course you’ll always need a light dusting, but it seems they get better the longer they are used.

      My climate here in New Mexico is extremely dry so I don’t ever have to worry about excessive moisture building up in the banneton and mold is very rare here. If you’re in a more wet climate you might have to do a more thorough cleaning at a more frequent interval. I’ve read that some pro bakers will wash them lightly and then let them dry in the sun, I can’t comment on that because I haven’t really had to do it!

      I hope that helps!

  • bonnie rekers

    What about great wall ovens? I wore out my Dacor after 16 years and today need to pull the trigger on a new one. Any advice out there? Looked at the Dacor, Viking, and Wolf, Bosch and GE. WOLF has the proof setting that reaches lowest temp, 80 degrees.

    • Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of recommendations here. I have a Thermador double oven at home that I really like so far, the controls are a bit counterintuitive but I find that to be the case for most home electronics for some reason. It does have a proof setting, but only goes down to 100ºF so that is pretty much useless. 80ºF would be perfect.

      I wanted to get a Wolf for my home, but the cost was too much for me to justify. I’m really glad I didn’t opt for their steam oven, it’s so small I’d probably only be able to fit one loaf in there at a time.

      As far as brands, I’m a fan of Wolf and Bosch — both very respectable. Viking used to be, but I’ve heard lots of issues lately. I’m not familiar with Dacor…

      I hope that helps! Oh, and if you’re looking at a dedicated baking oven, check out Rofco. One can dream.

      • bonnie rekers

        Thanks for your time! Heading towards the Wolf, the proof cycle won the day. I think the temp is 85 at the lowest….still is high to what’s called out in recipes…but will that work?

        • 85 is a bit high, but some bakers pref it at that temperature. Definitely the best proof setting I’ve seen! It just means the dough will ferment a bit faster, but you can adjust.

    • Mark Taintor

      I recently bought a Miele induction range. It has the ability to proof as low as 75 degrees. It also has a water line that can inject steam during the baking through a plumbed line. It’s a fantastic oven! Pricey, but worth it for me.

      • Wow I didn’t know Miele made an oven like that, I would love a water line! I looked briefly at Miele when I was purchasing my oven and was turned off by the price, but I know they have a great reputation and I would have bought that in a heartbeat. Thanks, Mark!

  • Bec

    Hi Maurizio,
    I was wondering what size banneton you recommend buying? I just bought a 5 quart dutch oven which is 25cm wide so I’m wondering if I should just go for the biggest basket so that I have the option to make a 1kg loaf or a half loaf. Does that sound like the right thing to do?

    I’ve been having some trouble with my dough collapsing and I think it may be due to using a large bowl which doesn’t have a nice curve to it so thought I should get a banneton to see if that helps.

    • The size of your bannetons/baskets should be relative to the weight of the loaf you wish to bake. I typically like to bake 800g batards and use 9″ x 4″ bannetons. This gives them plenty of room to expand and rise overnight. You could comfortably fit 800-1000g loaves in these baskets. I would say if you’re using a round banneton, for a 1kg loaf you could get those that are around 8-9″ in diameter at the top and be fine.

      I’ve purchased many bannetons over the years and I’d recommend buying just a single one, trying it out, and if you like it then return back to the store and get a few more. Sometimes the size is a bit off, the materials don’t suit you, or the quality of construction. I hope that helps!

      • Bec

        Thanks for your advice. I purchased a 23cm/9″ rising basket which is for 1kg loaves. I’m not sure how to work out the final bread weight? I made a loaf with the following ingredients and I may have over proofed the dough slightly but it rose over the edges of the basket. I think I may have to buy a larger basket if I want to make bigger loaves.
        135g stiff starter
        400g flour
        310g water
        8g salt
        Thanks again!

        • Those sound perfect. It’s certainly fine if the dough rises above the edges, you just don’t wait the dough to spill over too far. I like to have plenty of room in my baskets to let the dough fully expand without popping up over the edge. You can either reduce the quantity of each of these (but leave the percentages the same) to fit your banneton, or even get a larger banneton. My preference here is to reduce the quantities to fit a single banneton, and then bake two loaves if you’d like more bread. I find it easier to work with smaller dough amounts rather than larger — but this is up to you!

  • ryan

    I am confused to your jar sizes for starter. I have found weck jars and you say that you use a 580ml weck jar for the starter in the 7 steps to making a starter. On your baking tools section you link to a 3/4 L weck jar. 580 ml is the same as I assume the 1/2L 742 model, but on your baking tools you are linking to the 3/4 743 model. Can you confirm what jar I need for the starter please and thanks

    • Ryan,
      You can use either. If you’re going to buy just one set I’d recommend the 3/4 liter jars as they are a bit taller and are a little more useful throughout the kitchen. I’ll update my 7 steps post to point to those jars, I’ve made a progression to using those more and more these days just because they have a little more wiggle room if your starter grows a little unexpectedly 🙂
      Thanks for pointing this out!

      • ryan

        thanks for the quick response. I assume that you use to use the 1/2 L jar and upgraded to the 3/4L jars. I have to buy a pack of 6 so I want to get what will be best for the starter. They are the perfect container.
        I really think that the starter step by step is well written. I have been following the Josey Baker method and find that it is too wet and I am struggling with every other day feedings (causing hooch). I am 10 days in and I do not believe that this method is going to work for me.
        Lastly, will ww flour be ok instead of a rye/white flour that you use in your setup. Rye is hard to find locally and I have a ton of ww bread flour that I would like to use up.

        • Thanks! Yes, those jars really are perfect. I also use them for pickling, storage and tons of other things in the kitchen.

          I highly recommend rye, but if you cannot find it then ww will work better than apw. If you’re having issues getting things going after a week or so with ww, try to grab a small sack of rye and see if it helps.

          Happy baking!

  • Silvia

    HI Maurizio!! First of all I would like to pay you my compliments for your absolutely amazing website and incredible bread!! I have a question, recently I bought a Dutch oven and when I cooked, for the first time, my bread with this new pot it sticked to the bottom. I didn’t preheat the Dutch oven and I didn’t use parchment paper, olive oil or flour on the bottom. What do you advise me to do in future to avoid the sticking? I would like to use parchment paper but I am afraid it will catch fire. This Dutch Oven is like a le creuset model so not a cast iron type. Thank you Silvia

    • Silvia — thanks for the comments! I use a combo cooker from time to time and when I do I always use a piece of parchment paper below the dough, it’s never caught fire… I’d recommend that OR you could lightly dust the bottom of your dough with white rice flour before you turn it out into the Dutch oven, that should help keep it from sticking. Other possible things you could use are wheat germ and cornmeal.

      I hope that helps and thanks again — happy baking!

      • Silvia

        And what about preheating the Dutch oven? Thank you again!!

        • Yes, I definitely preheat the Dutch oven. Place it inside your oven with the shallow side face up and the larger side face down, open.

          • Silvia

            Thank you!!!! As I thought… I’ll do it the next time!!

  • Hi Maurizio! I’m contemplating if I NEED a banneton and looking at the benefits of having it apart from the aesthetics it would bring to the bread. I know you just put it in the “nice to have” category. Appreciate the help

    • Hi, Didi! You definitely do not need a banneton, any properly sized kitchen bowl will work really well. A banneton is nice for the looks but aside from that, and the convenience of a nice shape, they are no 100% mandatory by any means. Hope that helps — happy baking!

  • Quinny

    Hi Maurizio. I have s questions regarding the banneton. I wanted to make oval loaf but I am not sure of how to go about it. You stated that the 9″ batard banneton can fit into the combo cooker, but do I need to scale down the recipe? Currently, I’m making 2 loaves from 1kg of flour. I understand that there is another way to go about it. It is using baking stone with some sort of cover or something to create the steam. But what can I use to cover an oval loaf? Or is the steam method good enough? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • It’s possible to bake in the Dutch oven using the 9″ banneton, but if your dough spreads out any little bit it will be a tight fit. I’d say if you’re baking larger loaves then shape them as boules for the Dutch oven or you can use an alternate steaming method.

      I have a post that explains how I steam my oven for baking.

      Another approach is to use a stainless steel bowl that will be large enough to cover your batard. Get some baking stones (I have some listed in my Tools page) and when you’re ready to bake slide the batard onto the stones and cover it with the inverted bowl for the first part of the bake (when I say to bake with steam). This way the bowl traps the moisture escaping from the dough and will provide a moist environment for the dough to rise.

      Hope that helps — happy baking!

      • Quinny

        Thank you for the link for the steaming method. I’ll try that first. Have a great day, Maurizio!

  • daniel hadida

    Been baking for a while now and recently got access to a neighbours wood oven. Been working on stepping up my game and this blog had been amazing! Trying out this recipe now as I love a very large tender crumb. Cant wait to see how it comes out! Thank you Maurizio for sharing all of your trial and error

    • Very jealous, I’d love to use a wood fired oven! One day I hope to get one. Hope the bread turns out great — happy baking!

  • Mouna Hegde

    Morning I decided to bake my starter today so prepared the leaven but did not realise I need wholewheat flour so used rye instead? Would that work? Also I don’t have any of your must equipment so should I carry on or abandon until I get my equipment this week first. As I understand you can create the steam by placing water in a tray and put that in the oven at the same time you bake the bread?

    • I’m not sure what recipe you’re following, but you can sub in some rye flour if you’d like. It will result in a different flavor profile, and the loaf may not rise as high due to the lower gluten levels in rye. It’ll taste great though, I’m sure.

      Have a look at my Beginner’s Sourdough post, I list out the tools I find are most necessary! If you don’t have all of these it’s fine, but a scale is super important. You can definitely create steam in your home oven with a tray of water in the bottom, or use something similar to my steaming method.

      Happy baking!

  • Sven

    Hi Maurizo. Love your blog. I was just checking your links when realizing that the one for the banneton (batard) is not working anymore. Since you say that this one would still fit in the combo cooker I would really like to know the measurements for those.

    • Sven — thanks I appreciate that! Sorry about the link, they don’t carry them anymore. I couldn’t find the exact ones I use but these bannetons should work well.

      • Sven

        How much dough would you put in those small batards?

        • You should be safe with 700-900g. Start at 700 and see how it feels.

  • Alan Sawyer

    Hi, great blog site with perfect instructions. Do you have any videos of the techniques like pinching and stretch and fold? Also what kind of peel are you using? Thanks

  • Frogman812

    Hi Maurizio, I love your blog and found it just as I was beginning my journey into sourdough baking. I’m fortunate to live a few short miles from Central Milling, so I’m able to drive right up to the door where an employee loads the flour into my car. I never realized what a gem was in my own back yard!

    If you are a Lobos football fan, you could follow them to Logan this November and return to Albuquerque with a trunk full of Central Milling artisan flour. If you make it to Logan, hit me up and I’ll show you around. Thanks again for all the effort you put into this blog. I’ll be baking another of your recipes this weekend.

    • Wow I’m seriously jealous of your location… I’d probably be there every couple weeks 🙂 Unfortunately I have to order my CM flour in bulk, but that saves some on shipping at least. And I use a lot of it!

      Thanks so much for the offer to show me around Logan! I’ve heard really awesome things about that area actually, I know someone who just moved up near there and love the outdoors. Sadly I’m not that big of a Lobos fan but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t head out there! I’d definitely send you a message.

      You’re welcome and I hope the baking goes well, nothing quite like making your own sourdough from home!

  • Lucia

    Hi Maurizio, so I just came back from a baking workshop in North Carolina (Smoke Signals Bakery) where we used fresh milled local flour and I’m officially hooked! I live in Florida so there aren’t many options as far as local flour goes. I’m considering trying out Central Milling’s flour, mainly because it’s the most affordable one I could find. Seeing as you use this flour often, how much do you usually buy? If you go for the 50 lb option, how do you store that?

    At the workshop, we used a combination of Type 85 hard red winter wheat and Type 85 pastry flour made from soft red winter wheat. Have you baked with Central Milling’s Type 85 wheat flour or their Type 70 pastry flour?

    As always, thanks for sharing your baking adventures through your wonderful blog! It’s become a great resource for me.


    • That’s very cool you went to Smoke Signals, I follow them on Instagram and love their posts. I would love to try one of their pies 🙂

      When I order from CM I do order in 50 lb. bags, it’s cheaper and I use quite a bit of flour here. I store this flour in my pantry which is dark and a little on the cool side. Since I use the flour rather speedily I don’t really need to refrigerate it, but if you don’t plan to use it for a while you could always take some out and put it in the freezer or fridge to help it last longer (mainly talking about whole wheat here as white flour has a much longer shelf life).

      I do use CM’s Type 85, if you look through several of my latest posts you’ll notice it showing up in my formulae. I LOVE this flour, it’s fantastic. I haven’t had a chance to use their T70 pastry flour (yet).

      You might want to also check out some other local flour in your area, I believe Carolina Ground should be nearby.

      You’re welcome, thanks for the message and I’m really glad you’re following along! Happy baking 🙂

  • Allison Louise Bush

    Hi Maurizio! I am considering buying an oval le creuset. They are on offer 🙂 they have 2 ovals, a 4.3 quart, and a 6.6 quart. Quite a big difference in price. I think the 4.3 quart would be large enough to hold a loaf of up to 1000 grams, would appreciate your thoughts 🙂

    • Hey, Allison! I’ve never used an oval Le Creuset, but my round Loge Cast iron Dutch oven is only 3.2 quarts and it can probably fit up to 800-900g. I think those should work… The issue might be the actual footprint of the pot versus the height. I know they can sometimes be rather deep, which means you’d be able to fit less (dough will want to spread and not rise immediately). I hope that makes sense.

      I would probably go with the 6.6 qt version, that’s a large pot, though! You can always use them for other things in the kitchen, too. If your dough doesn’t fit then you can scale down the recipe!

      • Allison Louise Bush

        Thank you for the reply! Yes all of the ones I have looked are smaller at the bottom. By chance I found a 5 quart oval at Ikea for $60. An affordable price to be able to experiment with. I want to compare methods vs your steam method with lava rocks. And I love batards 🙂

        • Perfect! Let me know how it works out, I’d love a Le Cruset at some point 🙂

  • maccompatible

    I don’t see your fresh milling suggestions on here. Where do you prefer to get your wheat berries?

    • I definitely will be updating this page soon with more flour and raw berry sources.

      I get my berries from Hayden Flour Mills (White Sonora), (Hard White Wheat), and Montana Flour and Grain (spelt, hard red wheat). There are many sources I’ll be trying out soon and will have all of these posted here!

      Hope that helps — happy baking!

  • Abby

    Can I ask what rags you use? I’ve been trying to find a bunch of cheap but good quality rags, and your’s are such a nice linen!

    • Hi, Abby! I use a few different things in my kitchen. The white rags you’ll see in older posts are cotton tea towels from Amazon (those are listed above under “Proofing Liners”). I also have a few sets of linen towels from Fog Linen that are really great quality and use these mostly just for day to day stuff around the kitchen (I don’t use them in bread baskets).

  • Jim Challenger

    Hi Maurizio … How well does the Bread Box work? I normally keep my loaves cut side down on a cutting board and covered with a linen cloth. Do you wrap your bread? Store it cut side down just in the Bread Box. Thanks! I really appreciate your thoughts, and you site is beyond awesome!!

    • I like the bread box, it keeps in a little more moisture and here in my extremely dry climate that’s an important thing. I find the bread stays a little longer in the box, but that’s what works for me here. I don’t wrap my loaves in anything, I just keep it cut side down in the box. If I have too much bread to fit in the box I’ll put as much as I can in there and then place the rest on my cutting board in the same fashion (but I use this bread first before slicing whats in the box).

      Thank for the kind words and happy baking!

  • Stanley Dorst

    I’m trying to get going with sourdough bread baking, and your site is the best reference I have found on the subject. Thanks so much for all the work you put into it!

    I have a question about the Lodge combo cooker you recommend. The way you use it — putting the dough in the shallow pan and covering with the deep one — seems very similar to using a La Cloche. I bought a La Cloche several years ago, but didn’t know enough about bread to make good use of it. I’m wondering if I would get similar results with it, or whether I should buy a combo cooker. Do you have any recommendations about that?

    Thanks for your time,

    • Thanks for the kind words, really appreciate that!

      I’ve never used a La Cloche but yeah, I would just use that and hold off on buying a combo cooker — they are very similar vessels and as long as it traps steam well enough will work out just fine. No need to buy anything new right now!

      Happy baking and good luck!

  • Zehava Katz

    I just got hooked on your site and after i finally got my starter to where i want it im going to try one of your recipes this week. I wanted to ask you about the temperature specifications- Ive seen the comments before about monitoring the bread temp in the oven but piercing the breads crust always scared me a little. Do you simply poke a hole in the crust with your thermometer? Where on the bread should i do this and how deep in to the loaf should i go? Thanks!

    • Hey there! Really glad you’re enjoying my website, super happy to hear that.

      Yes, if you want to take temperature of your baked loaf just poke a hole with your thermometer. I hardly ever do this (never, actually) anymore but you could poke just below where the ear opens up on top of the bread, this should be a soft spot and most likely won’t be noticeable. Once you get a feel for how the bread looks when fully cooked you won’t need to take temp anymore.

      Hope that helps, sorry for the late reply!

  • opicurious

    Hi Maurizio,
    I have a question about the flours you are using. I use King Arthur’s organic bread flour.
    Can I use CM artisan bakers craft flour and Guisto artisan malted bread flour in place of King Arthur’s bread flour?
    Thank you.

    • Hi! King Arthur’s Organic Bread Flour is great flour, but yes you could sub in CM ABC or Giusto’s Artisan BF for it. KA BF has a higher protein percentage than the other two, but they perform similarly. You might notice a little less of a rise with the CM or Giusto’s but nothing super significant.

      Hope that helps!

  • Tom Furtaw

    Hi Maurizio,
    Just discovered your site yesterday and am truly inspired to begin my sourdough journey. Since I haven’t used anything like the Lodge Combo Cooker was wondering if there is any benefit to buying a larger size. Lodge also has a 5 qt double dutch oven with a lid that can be used like a skillet. Sounds like it would function in the same way but I don’t know if there is an advantage or disadvantage to buying the larger one. Haven’t purchased either yet. Thanks!

    • Tobias Deckard

      I have been using the lodge combo cooker with good results. The larger size will just be easier to get a larger loaf in there.

    • Hey, Tom! As @tobiasdeckard:disqus mentioned below the larger one will just make it a bit easier to load the dough. I really like the 3.2 qt version, though, and have yet to really desire the larger one. The smaller one is great around the kitchen for tons of things as well (egg hash, French toast, roasted chicken, etc).

      Up to you! Happy baking, Tom.

  • Tom Furtaw

    Maurizio and Tobias,
    Thanks for your response on the cooker options. Based on your successes I’ll get a Combo Cooker on order. Really great to have this discussion site available for novices like me!

  • KF in VT

    Hi Maurizio, I’m wondering if you use a grain mill, and if so, which kind you recommend. Thanks! Kim

    • Hi there! I do use a grain mill (I will be adding it to this tools page soon), I have the GrainMaker 116 hand crank mill — it’s fantastic. It does take quite a bit of time to mill a lot of grain, but for smaller bakes it’s a marvelous piece of machinery. Happy baking!

      • KF in VT

        Great – thanks! And thank you for this whole blog. It is so full of information, especially what other sources lack. Your experience and willingness to share your knowledge is really wonderful. -Kim

  • Stanley Dorst


    I love the shape of your loaves, and want to try making batards rather than boules. One question: are you still using the oval bannetons you list as one of your baking tools? I ask because it looks to me like the baskets in your pictures are a bit longer and thinner, but it’s hard to tell for sure from the pictures.



    • Hey, Stanley — thanks! I use a variety of baskets, but yes I still use the ones listed here sometimes. When you see loaves on my site that might be a little longer I’m using 12″-14″ long bannetons. Lately I’ve started shaping my dough a little tighter and then using longer bannetons so they can fully relax out and have plenty of space before hitting the top and bottom.

      I’ll update this page with the various bannetons I use and it might be a great idea for me to list the tools I use in each post. I’ll start doing that soon!

  • Tom Furtaw

    Hi Maurizio, Thanks for all of your guidance posted regarding proper tools and sources. After two months, I’ve gathered all of the tools needed to make some awesome bread! Have also read Tartine and your information..

    Attempted my first batch of Basic Country Bread yesterday. I made the leaven the night before and proceeded to do all of the remaining steps yesterday. A long day with one major issue. The dough was very wet. This problem was first noted after rest of water, dough and leaven and carried through for the rest of the process, resulting in 1 1/2 inch tall very dense bread. It was apparent that the flour couldn’t hardly absorb all of the water. Used the Tartine Basic Country Bread ingredient recipe (75% hydration) and was careful to add the exact quantity of ingredients. One exception: Rather than use the Tartine recipe for starter I used your 7 day process starter. I thought the starter process worked very well. The night before baking, I took 1 tlb of the mature starter and mixed with 200g water and 200g of 50/50 mix (AP and whole grain rye) for the leaven. Did this 11pm the night before. Starter passed the float test the next morning. Per Tartane recipe I added 200g of leaven. Actually put in 207g. I now realize that your Beginner’s Sourdough recipe calls for 184g.

    Ready to try baking again but I don’t yet know what to change to avoid the problem described above. Is it possible that the leaven quantity could have inflluenced the level of dough hydration? I used KA brand flour. Also, what is the advantage of adding the leaven after the rest? Thanks!

    • Tom — you’re welcome, glad I could help! Yes, the discrepancy between leaven amounts (23g) is quite a bit, but really only about half of that is water. I would try reducing the overall hydration of the recipe you’re using, perhaps by 10%, and see if your flour is able to handle that. Once you’re comfortable at that point then you can slowly move up as things become more and more comfortable for you. I use KA flour occasionally and I push hydration into the mid-70’s so I’m somewhat confident it should be able to handle it. However, my environment is also very dry and that does play into it. Give that a shot and see if the dough is more manageable for you!

      The “autolyse” period, as it’s called, is when just flour and water are combined (no leaven, no salt) at the beginning of the whole process. During this time enzymes begin to work with the protein in flour to start conditioning and realigning gluten bonds. An autolyse is also purported to help ease mixing but it’s biggest impact on the dough, in my opinion, is to increase extensibility (the ability for the dough to stretch out before offering resistance). You want the dough to be able to stretch out sufficiently so it can rise high in the oven. However, a balance is needed there as you also want enough strength and elasticity in the dough to hold its shape and not spread too much in the oven.

      Hope that helps, let me know how the next bake goes!

  • Tom Furtaw

    Maurizio, thanks for your comments on my wet dough incident. I will reduce the hydration level as you suggest and see what happens. Aside from my hydration incident, thought I’d mention that I constructed a proofing “oven” that was holding the ambient temp to around 79 F during the first rise, rest, and proofing before bake. The oven is fairly tight and doesn’t allow much evaporation. Any comment on whether this environment is a benefit or disadvantage for the bread making process? Tom

    • That’s great! Definitely an advantage to having a nice, stable environment like that. The more we can do to keep the dough as stable as possible the better. Large fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause issues and make it very hard to diagnose problems should they occur.

      Happy baking, Tom!

  • What type of oven do you use? I specifically like the rack design that I see in your ‘steaming’ post. I’ve never been a huge fan of putting a lot of weight on racks that slide onto pressure formed rails.

    • I’m using a standard home electric oven made by Thermador. It’s a double oven and I use the bottom oven since it does not have convection (no fan hole where steam can escape). The rails in my oven are incredibly strong and never show signs of bending or warping. When I roast a whole turkey or the like the pot and food is pretty heavy as well, never been an issue!

  • Laura vela

    Hi Maurizio.
    I was wondering wich tipe of table do you use for made your breads, and where can i buy one?

    • Hi! I prefer to use wood but some bakers equally like stainless steel (and some granite). I’m not sure why I like wood, there’s something about the way the dough moves on it, or perhaps the way my bench knife interacts with it. I have a large piece of Boos Block maple that I picked up online, you can find many outlets for this. I highly recommend you purchase maple over other wood types as it has a very tight grain and is almost nonstick (when properly cared for).

      Hope this helps!

  • Jay Vaswani

    Hi Maurizio,

    Jay from Hong Kong agin. I have been looking at baking steels on Amazon. Unfortunately the postage will be as much as the price but I’d really love to get one anyway. Does it really make a difference to your loaves? And could I also use it to bake pan loaves. You don’t mention using the steel in your Sandwich Loaf recipe but I would imagine you probably just leave it in your oven. Thank you for your great website. I have learned a lot about sourdough baking from you.

    • I really like the Baking Steel, I think it not only does a great job for bread but also it’s fantastic for pizza. If you already have a set of baking stones it might not be necessary for you but again, since I’ve picked it up I use it constantly (even for pan loaves) and now prefer it. I do just leave it in my oven! Another side benefit from it is that it is much shorter compared to the thick stones I used (which gives me more room for bread and maneuverability) and there is no fear of it cracking.

      Happy to hear you’re enjoying my site, thanks so much and happy baking!

  • Bret Leversha

    If I was to make a simple white loaf using 500g plain flour, how much starter is best to use?

    • Really hard to answer that question… It depends on a lot of factors and what you’re after. I find a good benchmark to start with, though is 20% levain in your formula. Adjust up/down from there as needed (usually down for me).

      • Bret Leversha

        I’m struggling to get my head around how to make levin using my sourdough starter. So 20% is 20% of the 500g flour i use or the total weight of all other ingredients?

        • Yes, so 20% levain in the final dough mix would be 20% of all the flour used in your dough mix. For example, if your mix had 1000g of flour in total you would mix in 200g levain (20%).

          • Bret Leversha

            How long does levain last at room temperature? Is there a way of telling it’s past its use-by date?

  • Colleen Scatena

    Where is a good place to buy most of these tools.

    • Colleen, almost all of the tools above have links to them for where you can purchase. Most of them, thankfully, are pretty easy to get on Amazon! Hope that helps, happy baking!

    • Jeff

      Another good option is to see if you have a restaurant supply store in your town. Prices are often better/on par with Amazon and you can see the options in person, allowing you to take spacial considerations into account.

  • Jackie Peters

    I really want to make those cinnamon buns but I don’t have a mixer. Can I do it all by hand? And what mixer do you use?

    • You can certainly make the cinnamon buns without a stand mixer! The dough might be a bit challenging as you’ll have to mix for more time than I list here but keep at it until it comes together, incorporates all the butter, and looks like I have in my pictures on the post. I’ve had reports from other readers who have made these successfully without a mixer.

      I have this KitchenAid mixer and love it!

  • Matt Wyatt

    I just have to say that the small spatula changed my life.

    • It’s crazy, right? That one simple thing makes such a huge difference!

  • KyeliT

    My oven only allows maximum temp of 446 degree Fahrenheit (230 degree Celsius), will it affect the baking time for a loaf of the same weight?

    • I like to bake pretty hot but this temperature might be totally fine for your bread. Make sure you preheat your oven 1 to 1.5 hours to ensure your baking stones, baking steel, or Dutch oven is super hot and ready to go. Then, extend the baking time as necessary to ensure your loaves are fully baked (around 210ºF interior temp an nice coloring on the outside). Hope that helps!

      • KyeliT

        Thanks for tips! I’ll try baking with a baking steel this weekend. Have a good day ü

  • Rebekah Carson

    Wow… what an amazing blog! I’ve recently started my adventures in sourdough bread, and it seems to be quickly turning into an obsession. I am a *big* fan of old school cast iron, especially the legit collector quality Griswold stuff. I have an old Griswold #8 dutch oven, which I stripped and seasoned with 8 coats of flax oil, and I’ve been pining over a #9 (6 quart) tight top for awhile now. That said, now I’m actually considering getting a Lodge combo cooker or double dutch just for baking my sourdough loaves, since I could invert the whole thing as you do. Do you think it’s worth it to get (what I would consider to be) an inferior cast iron piece just to have the inverted oven option for baking bread? Do you like the long skillet style handles and shorter depth of the combo cooker, or would the Lodge double dutch (with it’s increased depth) make more sense? Thanks so much for all the great info you have here… I have a feeling I’ll be pouring over it all for many hours in the coming weeks and months!

    • Thanks so much! Ahh, I envy your Griswold dutch oven, some really fine iron there! One day I’ll snag a few pieces.

      I think for baking bread the Lodge combo cooker is the best. The shallow end makes it easy to load the dough into while the tall side gives it plenty of room to expand upward. It’s a good piece of equipment for this and can take quite a beating (assuming the usual maintenance is performed).

      One day I’ll have a Griswold myself but until then the Lodge combo works perfectly! Glad to have you along 🙂

  • will

    hi maurizio, thanks as always for the blog. i am looking to switch from a dutch oven setup to a baking stone/steel set up so that i can bake more than 2 loaves at a time. does the baking steel feel large enough that you could do 3 loaves on it at once? also, other folks on the internet have suggested that the baking steel can burn the bottom of bread because it is so hot- have you had this issue at all? thanks!

    • The Baking Steel is a bit narrow, I don’t think you’ll be able to squeeze 3 loaves at a time on it. I can comfortably fit two of my large (1kg) batards no problem. The Steel can get very hot, I don’t have a problem, though. I preheat my oven for about 1 hour at 525ºF and my crust is just fine. I love the steel I have linked above, it makes awesome pizza, too! Hope that helps 🙂

  • Jesse Rankins

    I clicked the link you provided to order the Weck jars and Amazon suggested everything else (I’m buying it all!) I think that says something about the trust your readers have placed in your advice. I’m really happy I’ve found your blog. I’ve baked for a while using the “Bread in 5” method, and although I think it’s a great place to start considering the time investment advantage I’m so excited to build off of your efforts (and Chad’s too) and develop the loaves that my senses long for. I’m going to be keeping a journal along the way, and I only hope to maintain the excitement I have today. I guess what I’m saying is thank you!

    • Jesse, thanks so much I really appreciate that! I find with baking acquiring a few key tools to get started makes the entire process so much easier and removes a lot of guesswork. Consistency can be hard in baking! I’m confident you’ll stick with it, you already know how satisfying it is to make bread at home and it will only get better from here on out. Keep me posted on how it’s going and let me know if you have any questions — happy baking!

  • Femalien

    Hi Maurizio, I began a starter according to your instructions a little over two weeks ago, and after some initial doubts and despair about its viability, i am so excited because it’s finally ready to go! So, thank you for encouraging patience and perseverance. Anyway, I’ve been gathering some equipment in preparation for the first bake, and I don’t want to go too crazy with buying stuff, but I was wondering if you had any opinions about the danish dough whisks, or the clay bread bakers (like the kind on breadtopia’s website under your bannetons.) I’m so glad I found your page – cheers!

    • Ahh so glad to hear that! Usually it just takes a little perseverance and eventually your starter will get going, glad it worked out. I’ve never used a dough whisk (just my hands and trusty plastic scraper) but I’ve heard great things about those clay bread bakers (cloche I believe). If you don’t have a Dutch oven you could go with that baker instead, up to you! I do find the Lodge DO nice because I use it for many other things in the kitchen as well as baking brea.

      Happy baking!

  • Steve Sargent

    Hi Maurizio. I baked today with a eight day old starter with awesome results. Didn’t have any rye flour but used organic plain and wholemeal flours. I have used other starter methods before but the results weren’t anywhere near as good. I was surprised how quickly the starter developed. I would like a little more sourness but I guess that will develop with time. The starter is currently in the fridge as I will not bake for a while. How long do you recommend to restart the starter to get the best results?

    • Really glad to hear that Steve! I like to refresh my starter 3 times before using it from the fridge (over the course of 1.5 days essentially). If you haven’t had a chance check out my newest post outlining a sample Weekend Baking Schedule — this answers your exactly question (I hope!). Happy baking!

  • Gina Wallace

    Anyone have a bread box they’d recommend? My loaves go stale after about 4 days…although are still very good toasted. But, I’d like to keep them longer if I can. Assuming they aren’t eaten within 4 days!

  • kato

    Hi Maurizio, I just made your Beginner’s Sourdough and got beautiful results. It’s a very easy recipe to follow and a super dough to handle. I used a couple of Pizza stones as the baking surface, and a cloche I made out of a 10.5″ diameter terracotta pot with an eyebolt in the hole to act as a handle. I’ll be working my way through your site and trying out all the recipes. Thanks for the great resource!

    • Fantastic, really glad to hear that, Kato! I love the inventive use of the terracotta pot 🙂 Happy baking!

  • OgitheYogi

    How do you store 50 pounds of Artisan Baker’s Craft Plus?

    • For the 50lb. bags I just keep the flour in the bags in my pantry. I cut the top off and then roll it up tightly and clip it shut. The bags are a little too large to transfer to another container. I then have a large scoop where I scoop 5lb amounts out into the Oxo storage containers I have listed above for easy day-to-day access.

  • Hugh Beaumont

    A truly fantastic blog!!! Thank You!!! I was doing some flour research and found out that Giusto’s Flour company was sold a few years ago. Unfortunately I’ve recently learned that they do not mill ANY of their unbleached flours (only whole wheat flours). They actually buy their unbleached flours from different mills and put it into Giusto bags. Also during my research I found out that the original 3rd and 4th generation Giusto family members (Keith, Nicky, and Matt) are no longer associated with Giusto’s Flour and are actually owners and or part of Central Milling Flour Company and Keith Giusto Bakery Supply. I had some issues with the Giusto brand flour and called them to obtain customer/technical support or speak with an actual Giusto family member for some expert advice and got the run around. As of the past year or so I’ve been using the Central Milling flours and have been very satisfied. Technical support from Nicky and Matt has been awesome!! and I feel really good knowing that Central Milling personally sources all of their grain direct from farmers and mills all of their flours in house at their Utah milling facilities (No toll milling from other mills). The biggest plus for me and many of my artisan baking friends is that we’re now getting the best artisan flour available coming from the original Giusto family along with their many years of expert artisan baking knowledge.

    • Thanks Hugh, I appreciate that! I’ve used Giusto’s and Central Milling for quite a while now. I didn’t know about the departure from Giusto’s but that’s interesting information, thanks for sharing!

  • Greg Kasbohm

    Maurizio, I was wondering if you’re able to fit one of the 6 qt Cambro containers inside of the dough proofer? I just purchased the containers and have been using them for my bulk fermentation and have been considering getting that Brod and Taylor proofer. I measured the container at 8 inches tall and that’s what the measurements say for the inside of the proofer.

    Love the site and thanks for your time

    • Hey there! I just tested it for you: the 6qt Cambro does fit inside the B&T proofer. It reaches just about to the top lid, but it fits just fine.

      Thanks for the kind words and I hope that helps!

  • Garrett Shih

    Maurizio, do you still use your baking steel for bread or primarily just for pizza? Are there noticeable differences in the outcome of the bread when you use the steel versus your normal baking stone and steam method? Thanks for this great source of information for the home baker!

    • Garrett, I use my Baking Steel for both bread and pizza — it does a great job with both. When using the steel it can actually get too hot so you might need to reduce the preheat temp/time when using it for bread. Otherwise I really think it’s a better surface than traditional stones.

      Thank you and happy baking!

  • Ryan Lowe

    Hi Maurizio,

    Thanks to your blog my bread is FINALLY coming out of the oven beautifully risen, delicate and airy – presenting a new challenge: how to cut it into thin slices without totally squishing and tearing it apart! Thankfully your Baking Tools section provides a suggestion for a knife upgrade. Being from Canada and wanting to avoid fees at the border, I bought a Kai Wasabi bread knife through instead of using your link. Although you appear to be set up to receive affiliate commission on these items with, you missed out on the commission you deserved for my purchase. Perhaps you registering as an affiliate with (and serving affiliate links when the user’s geolocation is Canadian) is worth looking into. I did a cursory search and it appears to be something that can be accomplished with some custom Javascript. Not sure what kind of Canadian traffic you get, but if it’s significant you should make sure you’re sending us to and getting paid to do so! If you need any help with the code let me know, it would be the least I could do after you’ve generously shared your sourdough process with all of us amateur bakers out there.

    • Ryan — wow, what an awesome bake you got there! Seriously nice, love that crust and crumb. No worries about the affiliation links! I make just enough to help cover the costs of this website and keep things going, that’s all that matters 🙂

      Thanks so much for the offer, though! And keep up that baking, really impressive.

      • Ryan Lowe

        For sure! Thanks Maurizio!

  • MaKenna DeVore

    Hi there! I have a question… I’ve had an inexpensive stone for about a year and a half, and I have loved using it, but today it broke while making pizza 😨 So, I was checking out your links (I was thinking about upgrading to a steel), and I had a thought. Is it possible to use a cast iron griddle to cook pizza and bread? I’ve been wanting one for a while, but didn’t know if I’d get use out of it – but I’d use it plenty of I could bake on it!

    • Hey! Yes, while I’ve never used a griddle to cook pizza you certainly could. Anything that gets super hot and is flat should work really well. You’re right, lots of other uses for this in the kitchen as well! If you try it out, let me know how it ends up working for you. Have fun!

  • Ramiro Murillo

    Hi friend. Your site is just amazing, so generous an act of yours to share all important information! I write from Brazil. I have a question: I’m selling sourdough bread in a small scale and I want to buy a bigger stone oven to sell to more people. The professional steam stone ovens here in Brazil are very expensive for me. I’d like to begin by buying a stone oven without steam, that is much cheaper, and create steam manually. Should it be interesting to use the lava stone method in this oven? ocuppyng a space of one loaf with the lava stones in a recipient? Or it would be better to buy a steamer machine to jet steam in the begginning of the baking process? This oven that I wnat to buy is the same as a modern stone electric bread oven but without steamer. Thanks a lot and I wish you the best!

    • Thanks Ramiro, I appreciate that! I know several professional bakers who have an oven that doesn’t have any steam injection, they use a handheld garden sprayer to spray down the inside of the oven and on the bread after loading the dough. These pump activated garden sprayers seem to work really well and I plan to follow the same course of action when I (eventually) get an oven like this.

      I hope that helps!

      • Ramiro Murillo

        Thanks a lot!

  • Lisa Pola

    Hi Maurizio…building my starter using your method. Looks very promising despite how cold it is here in Central Victoria, Australia. I plan to cook two bread rounds simultaenously. I will have to place one cast iron pot high on shelf and the other low on oven shelf. I am hoping this isnt a problem given that the action happens inside the heated pots. Thanks from Australia.

    • Hey, Lisa! Glad things are moving along despite the cold temps. I’ve not tried this myself but, like you said, I think it should be fine given the pot will totally enclose each loaf. I know some bakers have even more than this (5+ pots) going in larger ovens without steam and their bread turns out great.

      Happy baking!

  • david minter

    Hi Maurizio – the mixing bowls pictured in a number of your articles don’t seem to be listed on this page. Which ones do you use typically or recommend?

    Love the site – it’s been a really helpful resource.


    • Hi there! I use a large, stainless steel mixing bowl to mix my doughs. Hope that helps and thanks, I’m happy to hear my website has helped!

      • david minter

        In a lot of the pictures, there’s an reddish-orange, ceramic looking mixing bowl (or it may be the one you use for bulk fermentation). I was wondering what type or brand that bowl was.



        • David — that bowl is the Large Serving Bowl from Heath Ceramics in San Francisco. I use it for bulk fermentation when my dough mass is 2kg or less. Hope that helps!

  • Rich

    HI Maurizio –

    First off – thank you for all the time and effort you put into this site. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly helpful it’s been on my bread making learning journey.

    I had a question for you regarding your preferred work surface? I’m currently using wooden cutting boards but they aren’t very big so I’m stuck having to use two of them when splitting up dough. I have a marble countertop, but not sure how I feel about scraping the top of that with the bench knife. I’ve seen some larger “proofing boards” on Amazon, but not many reviews. Any suggestions?


    • You’re very welcome, Rich! Glad you’re enjoying my site.

      I like to work on wood (maple in particular). A stainless steel surface works, too, but there’s something about wood and the way it interacts with the bench knife I can’t get over. I purchased a large maple Boos block from and it’s fantastic. I can’t seem to find the exact dimensions but they have them of all sizes — I’d say get the biggest you can easily move and place on your counter. Mine is large enough to fit my entire kitchen island width, this gives me plenty of room to do large batches of dough.

      Hope that helps!

  • David Lewis

    Hi: I have a Komo grain mill, so I bake with whole grain only. As I learn more about baking I’m curious to try separating out bran from the flour (as described in Reinhart’s book and many other places) to soak separately. Have you ever used any sieves? I don’t see them mentioned on your site, and I can’t find any advice as to what size openings (holes per inch seems to be how they are described by manufacturers) are appropriate. Reinhart seems to have written mostly for professionals, and in his rye recipes he is clear about not using whole grain flour as it comes out of the mill because the sharp husk particles will tear up gluten. Thanks for the site, btw!

    • Hi, David! I do have a set of sifting sieves for when I mill my own flour but I don’t use them all that often nowadays as I typically just like to mill very fine and use the entire result. However, sifting is a great way to get varying extraction percentages from your fresh milled flour, as I’m sure you know.

      I picked up my sieve set from — if you look around the website you’ll find them at varying sifting levels. If the percent extraction is not clear in their description you could always calculate this yourself each time you mill flour. Just mill a given quantity and weigh the result (which will be 100%). Then, using one of the screens, sift the flour and the part left in the screen place in another bowl. Weigh the flour in the bowl that fell through the screen and divide that by the total weight for your extraction percentage. From there you should know approximately what each screen will give you when you sift.

      Hope that helps and happy baking!

  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    Hi, I do not have a dutch oven yet, but I want to bake a sourdough bread. I will buy in some time, but I cannot now, Is it okay if I bake it in a normal loaf pan

    • Yes, absolutely. A pan loaf will work very well. You could lightly mist the top of the dough when you place your pan in the oven with a handheld spray bottle to help keep it a little moist and encourage maximal rise. Even that isn’t 100% necessary, though.

      Happy baking!

      • Renu Agrawal Dongre

        Thank you Maurizio……

  • Jihye

    hello , Maurizo ! Always admire your wonderful breads also thank you for your wonderful baking tips !!

    I have some questions about flour 🙂
    I’ve been used “great river white bread flour & central milling ARTisan craft flour. (not malted)

    Today when I try buy again central milling flours , there are few options about bread flours.

    For example , ARTisan flour or malted ARTisan flour or type 85 and the others

    Do you prefer to germ and bran removed flour ?(I mean just white flour) Or contain few germ and bran flour ?

    Do you used malted flour ?

    I’m usually put whole wheat flour 15~20% to my sourdough.

    Very confused now 🙁 please help me thank you so much !!

    • You’re very welcome, thank you! My flour selection depends on the bread I’m looking to make. If I’m after a mostly white loaf of bread then I’ll choose a flour that is lower extraction, meaning there’s not as much bran/germ left in the flour. I usually like to do a blend, though, and base my bread on some portion of white flour and some portion of whole grain. However, if I’m looking to do a more heartier loaf with a large percentage of whole grain I might just used whole wheat flour at 100%.

      I will almost always choose the malted version if the option exists — malt helps add color to the crust, sometimes increases fermentation activity, and also helps with long rising dough (as is the case almost always here).

      I hope that helps!

  • Jerry Nesamony

    Hi Maurizio, Is it necessary to have a mixer like the kitchenaid mixer? Best, Jerry

    • Jerry — nope, not necessary at all. I usually only use my KitchenAid mixer when making brioche dough, but even then it is possible to do it all by hand!

  • Jimmy_DeBlasio

    Hey Maurizio, thanks for running such a great resource. The shipping economics seem to make more sense on CM flours. At times you mention T70 as your go to, at other times it looks like Bakers Craft Plus. This is my first big order (going for the 50 lber) of flour, which of the two would you recommend to try first? I’ve been sticking to variations of your sourdough recipes.

    • You bet! Lately I’ve stopped ordering the T70 — it’s great flour but I’ve been working in a different direction. I’m currently using their Artisan Baker’s Craft Plus (ABC) and it’s great flour, kind of a staple bread flour if you will. I also really, really like their T85 which has more bran/germ in it and it’s somewhere in the middle between white flour and whole wheat. Either of those are solid choices but to start, I’d say go with a bag of ABC.

      Happy baking, Jimmy!

  • khaled attia

    So I currently have an easy supply of KAF and I was wondering if you recommend using their bread flour or their AP flour. So farm I have made all of the straight and preferment doughs by FWSY with AP flour since that’s what he called for. I now switched over to practicing levain doughs and I find a mixture of people asking for bread flour vs. AP flour. Which is recommended and why do you seem to use bread flour and not AP flour.

    • Hey! I tend to use less “bread” flour than traditional AP, especially with KAF. Their flour is quite strong in my experience and usually will either blend the two (80% AP to 20% BF, or similar) or just go straight AP. This all depends on what type of bread you’re making, of course! Hope that helps.

  • barb

    what with all the abbreviations people ? what is KAF and FWSY, BF & CM ( AP ? all purpose – I do try ! )

  • Zach Owen

    Haha! In my work I’m almost literally drowning in acronyms. Yeah, best to avoid them when you’re working with a diverse audience 🙂 I was just looking at a document with three pages of acronym descriptions at the beginning. Not sure that saves any space in the end…

    Hey, I have a question on kitchen scales. My scale has an issue, and looking around online, others seem to have the same issue. It works great, EXCEPT it will often shut off while I’m adding weight. So 95% of the time, if I just set something on it, it weighs it just fine. But set a cup on there then pour water in? It will shut off, most of the time, while I’m pouring. Adding flour while it sits on the scale very very rarely has this effect. But it will sometimes happen. Is this just a cheap scale, or have you found a way to avoid it?

    I think some people assume the scale is “timing out” and shutting off, but it seems to me it’s the addition of liquid (and sometimes solid), while the container is sitting on the scale, that causes it to shut off. Somehow water pouring in is different than adding a solid like flour. I don’t want to take the cup off, add some water, check the weight, take it back off etc. But you can imagine, if you’re slowly pouring water into your starter, and the scale shuts off halfway through…pretty annoying.

    Have you run into this?

    • That’s interesting. I use the MyWeigh scale I have listed up there every time I bake and I haven’t run into this issue. That scale will turn itself off after some period of time (which is incredibly annoying) but it usually doesn’t happen to me. I measure things rather quickly and typically get things off the scale before it turns off. I’ve heard of this happening to other people as well but it just hasn’t been an issue for me!

      I have not noticed it happening more with liquid than solids — I’m not sure why it would make a difference. I always measure my liquids on top of the scale and pour in small amounts to get to my desired amount.

      I’d say your issue is definitely more annoying than mine, though! Sorry I don’t have any suggestions except perhaps a new scale… Ugh!

      Happy baking, Zach!

  • Matthew Wong

    Hey Maurizio!

    I had a question about where you got your pizza dough proofing box or which one you use. They seem oddly expensive for what they are and was just curious what you use!

    • Hey, Matthew! I use the plastic pizza dough trays from — not sure if those are the ones you’ve seen but they’re the ones I have and I really like them!

  • Mark Makovec

    Hello Maurizio. I’m a big fan of your site. Nice work. I’m switching from terra cotta to a stone of some sort to try and get a better bake on my bread. Would you get a steel or a stone if you had to choose, understanding that I would probably use a stone above either during the bake? Baking steel has a 1/2″, 32 lb steel.

    • Thanks, Mark! I’m a huge fan of the Baking Steel (for pizza, also!). Here’s the Baking Steel I have and it’s still a workhorse here in my kitchen.

      Happy baking!

  • Joe

    Hey Maurizio, just found your site. What a wealth of information. Thank you for doing what you do to help all us bake better bread. I’m new to bread baking and have been using KAF bread flour to make my boule. My current bake is 900g KAF bread flour and 100g Wild hive hard red spring wheat. Would you recommend using KAF AP or a mix of AP and the bread flour?

    • You’re welcome, thanks for stopping by! I do like to mix Bread Flour and AP — I find 100% BF to be a little strong for most of my baking and I like to cut the higher gluten flour down to yield a less “gummy” result (in my experience). I try not to use over 50% high gluten flour, and rarely even this much, but it depends on the application at hand. Really the end percentage is up to you, but I usually start around 20% – 30% bread flour and then work down.

      Hope that helps!

      • Joe

        it helps a lot. Thank you Maurizio. I’m currently working on country boule style that is 100% bread flour (900 g) and 100g of the hard red spring wheat. I think I will try to mix the BF with AP as you have suggested so that my 900g of white is more a combination of BF (300 g) and AF (600 g). What would you think about adding Einkorn AP to the mix, maybe as 300 g of the total 600 g AP?

        • Adding Einkorn would bring a lot of flavor but it can be challenging to work with as it doesn’t have the same gluten properties modern wheat has. That said, it’s a wonderful grain and I love it, you just have to work with it a little to get the feel for its effect on a dough.

          • Joe

            Thank you again Maurizio. I will share pictures from the bake. Best, Joe

  • Kristin

    Hey Maurizio, so happy to have found your blog! I’ve been following your sourdough starter guide and I’m approaching day 8. Going to let it get even a bit stronger, to bake this weekend on day 9/10. I’m new to all of this and still do not own baking stones, a dutch oven or baking steel (due to a temporary budget constraint). So my question is: would it be ok to use a baking pan (good quality and a bit thicker than usual) and still create the steam set-up you also described? Any tips to reduce the risk of overbaking the bottom too quickly? Would appreciate any thoughts you might have…excited to get going! 🙂

    • Hey, Kristin! Sure, a baking pan would work well enough. I haven’t tried this personally but I don’t see why it would be an issue. You won’t have quite as much heat retention with the pan, so you might have to adjust the bake times and temps to suit your oven — this is something we all have to do, though! Keep me posted on how it goes and happy baking 🙂

      • Kristin

        Thank you and will do! I’ll be sure to keep those factors in mind!

  • Joe

    Do you have a flour mill that you would recommend?

    • If you’re looking for an electric one, it’s hard to beat the Mockmill 100 in terms of price and flour output. I also really like the KoMo line of mills and if you’re into milling by hand, the GrainMaker 116 is fantastic.

      • Joe

        Thank you Maurizio. Great recommendations!