Years ago, I got some swag from our water company, among which was a flexible plastic scraper (shown above). I laugh every time I use it because of the “Prevent Sewage Backups” tagline. But irrespective of what’s written on the scraper, I use all the time, and not just for bread.
When I started making artisan bread, I was buying what I researched to be the essentials: A digitial scale, a baker’s lame, a few different kinds of loaf pans, etc., etc.. But when it came to a scraper, I put off getting a metal bench scraper because I could do practically everything with my handy-dandy, flexible plastic scraper! It’s SO useful that I’ve even used it to repair drywall!
The fact that it’s flexible is why I love it so. I can bend it to fit pretty much any bowl curvature; something rigid scrapers just can’t do. And though there’s a nifty, small scraper at Bed Bath and Beyond, I’ve seen it, and it just seems a bit too small for my tastes. But whatever, a great plastic scraper is an invaluable tool for working with dough.
As for metal bench scrapers, I have two of them: one 6″ scraper/chopper and a 12″ that I use for tensioning longer loaves (it works great).