Gift ideas for bakers at every level

It’s the time for holiday baking, family get-togethers and thoughtful gift giving. I wanted to provide a list of some of my favorite kitchen tools that make great gifts for home bakers of all backgrounds, levels and interests.

Whether the recipient is a beginning baker or someone a bit more advanced, I’ve got a list of ideas to bring joy, inspiration and hopefully ease to the bakers on your list.

Although most of these items can be found on Amazon, I urge you to shop at local shops. The Pastry Depot and the Cook’s Warehouse in Atlanta are two resources for tools for bread baking, pastry and beyond, while A Cappella Books maintains shelves of amazing cooking and baking books.

And finally, I love to send folks to Etsy.com for more tools like bread lames, unique rolling pins, dish towels and other personalized baking fare.

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For the beginner bread baker: Bread baking is much easier when you have the right tools. A bench scraper, a banneton proofing basket, a bread lame and a Lodge Combo Cooker Dutch oven are among my favorite tools. “The Sourdough School” series of baking books by Vanessa Kimball and a one-year membership to her online community sourdough club under the same name also make an amazing gifts.

For the pastry novice: When purchasing for the pastry novice, I like to think of gifts to make their time in the kitchen easier and cleaner, so they can enjoy the thrill of the recipe. Nonstick baking sheet liners, rubber spatulas and offset spatulas of all shapes and sizes make baking easier. I also love gifting locally made rolling pins made of walnut or cherry wood – there are some great ones on Etsy. And finally, my favorite pastry book of 2022 is Claire Saffitz’s fun yet approachable “What’s for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert.”

For the “I’ll try anything once” baker: Tart and pie pans come in plenty of fun, unique shapes and sizes. French-based Emile Henry makes beautiful yet traditional ceramic ovenware and bakeware – I’m in love with its pizza stone. Finally, if your adventurous baker doesn’t own a cast-iron pan, buy them a 9-inch one (Lodge is my brand of choice.) to bake biscuits, cornbread and clafoutis. And among books, I can’t scream “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts” by Stella Parks loudly enough. Versions of Twinkies, Thin Mints and Oatmeal Creme Pies are among the hundred or so traditional American desserts Parks teaches you to make at home. I am obsessed.

Sarah Dodge is an Atlanta-based bread baker, pastry chef and baking instructor. She is the owner of Bread is Good, which offers bread subscriptions to the general public and wholesale baked goods to local markets and restaurants.

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