Top 3 Luxury Gifts for Hardcore Bread Bakers

Our top 3 gifts for hardcore bread bakers have something in common: Each takes a luxury previously accessible only to professional bakers, and makes it easy and convenient for home bakers. We love the research and development, prototyping and passion that's gone into each of these products, any one of which would make a cherished "it" gift  for bread-baking family and friends.

1. BreadStorm ($149)

With BreadStorm, develop and manage your bread formulas like a professional, elegantly and affordably, without wasting time fussing with spreadsheets or writing equations. The software does all the math for you, so you can focus on the creative, fun parts of developing formulas and baking them.

Jacqueline and Dado Colussi
of BreadStorm. Photo: Nate Delage.
We love that BreadStorm offers a FREE version, which never expires and lets you try all of the software's features. BreadStorm runs on Mac OS X 10.6+, and an iPhone/iPad version is in beta.

Developed by Dado and Jacqueline Colussi to solve their own bread-baking needs, BreadStorm is rapidly becoming the industry standard for professional and amateurs alike.

The downside: BreadStorm's not for every baker. Who will get their money's worth from the software? Bakers who make frequent use of advanced baking methods such as pre-ferments, soakers, and builds. And bakers who regularly tweak their formulas.

Full disclosure: BreadStorm has been a sponsor of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers for the past 18 months. Many of the bread bakers in our group were beta testers for the software. And the software's creators (Dado and Jacqueline) are the bakers who started Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers 3 years ago. So, we're biased! And we love BreadStorm!

For a similar price, we're excited about the . . .

2. Brød and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer and Yogurt Maker ($148 + free shipping if you order via Amazon.com)

With Brød and Taylor's Folding Bread Proofer, you can now proof your dough at your desired temperature, just like professional bread bakers do.

No more rigging up homemade proofers out of fish aquariums, styrofoam, light bulbs, and makeshift thermostats. No more attempting to proof in a home oven and hoping that the oven light will provide enough warmth to proof your dough, but not so much that it starts killing off the yeast. No more hunting for just the right warm spot in the house, shielded from drafts.

And as its name suggests, the Folding Bread Proofer collapses for easy storage, especially important for those of us who pursue our bread-baking craft in tight spaces.

The downside: Because of the Folding Bread Proofer's size, you can proof only one or two loaves at a time. Also, although you cannot control humidity in the Proofer, you can put water in its water tray to develop humidity in the 60-80% range.

3. Uuni Wood-Fired Pizza Oven ($325 + shipping)

Much like BreadStorm, Uuni is a passion-to-product success story. We first heard about Uuni-creator Kristian Tapaninaho when his oven was in the prototype stage. London-based Kristian wanted a small, affordable wood-fired pizza oven for his family's home and garden use. Not finding one on the market, he set about creating his desire. Doesn't it look great?!

Kristian Tapaninaho,
creator of the Uuni.
Also just like BreadStorm, Uuni came on the market over the summer in 2013, after a couple of years of prototyping and testing. For those among us who think living without wood-fired pizza crusts just isn't living (count the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers in that group), Kristian created the Uuni for you.

An advantage of the Uuni's unique design is that it heats up and is ready for pizza-baking in 3 to 4 minutes. Kristian shows us how in this video.

The downside: The Uuni's shallow profile is designed for pizza and flatbreads and doesn't accommodate boules and other loaves with much height.

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