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PIZZA

I highly suggest purchasing a pizza stone if you will be making pizza regularly.  The difference is quite astonishing.  The superheated stone retains heat for a long time, so when you slide the pizza onto the hot stone, it puffs up the crust in a manner of minutes for a soft, airy crust with a crisp bottom.

If you use a pizza stone, then you will need a pizza peel.  The pizza peel allows you to slide the pizza onto the superheated pizza stone. I prefer metal because of the thinness of the blade.  I find it easier to slide under the baked pizza to remove it from the oven.  That said, I also like the aesthetic of the wood pizza peels, so I use both. 

If you prefer to use pizza pans, I like the pans with the holes in them for even crust baking.

I use a pizza steel from Atlas Steel Co., a Manitoba owned and operated business producing high quality pizza steels.  The one I use is called The Pro, and it is a a very sound investment if you will be baking bread and pizzas.  Use code: WINNIPEGBREAD10 for 10% off your purchase.

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Atrisan Bread

Using a Dutch/French oven takes your bread to the next level.  The Dutch/French oven is preheated in your oven and the bread is placed inside to bake.  With the lid on, it creates its own baking environment inside, replicating bakery ovens with steam.  The steam released from the bread as it is baking is trapped inside, allowing the surface of the bread to stretch out and expand longer before achieving its final structure.  This lets the inside of the loaf, the crumb, to be open and airy.  Using this method gives the crust a carmelized and shiny look and a crackly texture.

 

If you use a dutch oven, a bread banneton is very traditional way to keep the bread's shape as it rises before the bake. When the bread is ready to bake, the dough is gently flipped out of the banneton and placed in the preheated dutch oven. 

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Miscellaneous

I love my dough scraper.  I use it everyday in the kitchen, and it is absolutely invaluable for handling dough.  I prefer plastic for its flexibility, I like that you can use plastic scrapers to scrape out mixing bowls. 

 

A pastry mat is also a handy thing to have for rolling and cutting cinnamon buns on, for example.

 

Some banneton packages come with a lame - a razor with a handle used to score, or cut, the bread's surface before baking.  I would recommend a lame, especially if you are interested in scoring patterns on your bread.

I use a kitchen scale for almost all of my bread recipes.  It is standard in bakeries to weigh ingredients.  It is a much more accurate and reliable way of measuring most ingredients.  I highly recommend.  

I have also included a couple of my favourite bread books.

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