Here’s some stuff to get in your arsenal if you love bread and are ready to start tackling the next level. Take a look at the recipes and techniques elsewhere on the site for some advice and ideas on new bread frontiers. Man, I love bread.
Bench scraper: This was on the basic equipment list, but if you didn’t get one then, it’s a big help to get it now. Besides cleanup, it’s super useful for dividing dough into portions, and especially for handling large or messy batches of dough as you knead and work with it. Nothing fancy, mine was $3 or something, but it’s good to have one.
More giant bowls: If you’re getting into bread baking seriously, you’ll start to forget what life was like without your giant bowl. I have four large steel bowls that I use constantly… sometimes it’s handy to have a few rotating around for your various projects and their stages.
Scale: A half-decent digital scale may be a big help at this point as you venture into the land of bread experimentation. As you look at hardcore bread books and recipes, you’ll notice that a lot of them start to talk a lot more about weights and percents rather than cups and teaspoons. That’s because bread can be a kind of art form where variations in gluten levels in flour, type and amount of yeast, percentage of hydration, and time and temperature can have exciting and intriguing effects on your final bread. Having the ability to measure what you’re doing more precisely can really help you as a baker in the long run.
Baking stone: Baking stones or pizza stones are a great tool for the intermediate baker. They open up a new dimension of baking and are not at all the gimmick they may seem to be if you haven’t used one. If you can find a cheap one to start, that would be my recommendation.
Parchment paper: This is paper coated with silicon, which isn’t affected by heat under about 450°F. This makes it really useful for baking, especially in conjunction with baking stones that have to be heating in the oven while your dough is rising elsewhere.
Pizza peel: These are those giant wooden spatula things you think only sweaty Italian guys in pizzerias use. Wrong. Now you use them too. They will make your life easier and your friends more impressed.
There’s your list! Look for some ideas elsewhere in the arsenal to get you started on some more advanced bread baking!