Sourdough Bread Baking Gear

I am providing a list of equipment I use, or have tried to use, for making sourdough bread.  Not all of the items work for me, but I thought others could learn from my mistakes and save money.  I have provided Amazon links.  I am providing these links so that you can read the reviews posted by other users and, if you want, actually purchase them.  Note that if you do purchase from one of these links, I receive a small commission.  My goal is not to become overly commercial--I am actually trying to avoid this--but I would like to cover my costs of developing and maintaining this site.  Please don't feel obligated to buy anything I provide the link for, but if you do I do appreciate it.

Staub 2.75 Quart Dutch Oven
This is actually my favorite piece of equipment.  I actually have two of these and I like them a lot because they fit nicely in my oven.  Also, the boules from my 8.5 inch bannetons fit in them really well.  In my opinion, they are a bit pricey, however, and there are probably other Dutch ovens that will work as well for a lot less cost.

Lodge Combo Cooker
I actually like this quite a lot and I think it's a great value.  It works great.  The only reason I don't use it is that I have my Staubs that fit in the oven better.  The Staubs are a little bit smaller and I like that because I put two in the oven at the same time.

Sassafras Clay Cloche
This is another nice alternative to the Staub Dutch oven--or any Dutch oven for that matter.  The only problem I have with this is that, like the Lodge Combo cooker, it is larger than the Staub Dutch ovens and don't fit in the oven as well.

Over the years I have purchased many bannetons.  I like these 8.5 inch ones the best because of the size.  I have some 9 inch, but I find them to be a little bit too big for the size of boules I make (which are generally about 830 grams).  I haven't used the linen liner.  I just use a lot of flour to keep the dough from sticking.

Kitchenaid Pro Line Stand Mixer
I love this mixer, but it is completely unnecessary for making sourdough bread.  You can easily mix sourdough bread by hand and produce very nice bread.  However, I use this every time I make bread.  The reason is that I have a routine that involves mixing the dough while I'm preparing dinner.  I put the flour, starter, and water into the mixer bowl and let it run while I'm working on cooking something else.  After its mixed, I turn off the mixer and let the dough autolyze in the mixer bowl and then add the additional water and salt after about 40 minutes.  I use turn the mixer back on for a few minutes.  The dough is then ready for the bulk proof and dinner is ready.

I have a nice lame similar to this one, but the one I have is no longer sold.  I'm not convinced that you need a "hand crafted" wooden lame, but I like it.  Cheaper ones would probably work as well.

Oxo 5 Pound Digital Scales
In my opinion, every one should be measuring their ingredients by weight and therefore should own a nice set of scales.  I actually like these scales quite a lot.  The only problem is that they are only the five pound capacity isn't enough for making larger batches of dough.  I usually mix about 2500 grams of dough at once, which is too much of these scales (remember, it includes the weight of bowl, too).  I do use these almost every day for feeding my starter.

Oxo 11 Pound Digital Scales
I bought these because the Oxo 5 Pound Scales were too small.  My only criticism is that, unlike the 5 pound version, the tare button is separate from the on/off button.  I keep hitting the wrong button.  Other than that, these are great.

Escali Digital Kitchen Scales
I bought these because my Oxo 5 Pound Scales were too small and this Escali set looked really cool.  They work OK, but the control buttons are located on the top and I kept accidently zeroing out the scales when I didn't want to.  Plus, the battery doesn't last very long.  I still have them, but they are in a drawer.