This is a guest post written for this blog by Kaitlin Krull
Pantry Essentials: Every Baker’s Must-Have Ingredients
With a pantry like this, who wouldn’t want to bake?
A well stocked pantry is a must for professional and occasional bakers alike. When the baking urge strikes, there is nothing worse than finding your pantry ingredients are out of date or missing altogether. Take a look at this list of every baker’s must have pantry items and keep your pantry well stocked for a successful bake every time.
Most basic baking recipes consist of a combination of flour, dairy, sugar, and eggs. While dairy and eggs should be stored in the refrigerator (but left to room temperature before using in a recipe), the dry ingredients can be kept in a cool, dry, and dark pantry for an extended period of time. Make sure to stock the following items in order to have the basics covered whenever you plan to bake:
Flour – Use all purpose, unbleached flour for traditional bakes but consider stocking wheat, rye, and gluten free flours if your recipes often call for alternatives.
Sugar – Granulated sugar works best in most recipes, but brown sugar gives a sweeter taste and caramel color (and is traditionally used in many cookie recipes). Also stock confectioners’ sugar if you often make your own icing.
Baking powder and baking soda – Recipes with light, airy cakes will almost always call for one or both of these leavening agents, so keep them on hand at all times.
Salt – Any table salt will do for most recipes.
Rolled oats – For the family baker, rolled oats are indispensable for “no bake” tray bakes, cobblers, and porridge.
Sweeteners – Both honey and vanilla extracts sweeten recipes, so keep both on hand. Just make sure to check the use by date regularly.
Chocolate – Keep a bar or two of baking chocolate stocked in your pantry, and use cocoa powder to flavor your doughs.
Yeast – If you’re planning to make your owned leavened bread, keep active dry yeast in your pantry (but some experts suggest that keeping it in the fridge extends its shelf life).
Although sweet spices such as cinnamon, ginger, clover, allspice, and nutmeg are likely to be kept in your kitchen spice rack, they are baking essentials and should be in your baking arsenal. Just make sure they’re checked and restocked regularly, as they can quickly go rancid.
If you consider yourself to be a slightly more experienced baker, or if you are planning to bake with alternative ingredients (gluten free, allergen free, etc.), you might consider adding some of these ingredients to your pantry’s baking shelf:
Coconut oil – Use this as an alternative to butter in many recipes, making sure to check the conversions properly first.
Sugar alternatives – Using alternative sweeteners such as Stevia and molasses can change the composition of your cookies and cakes, so make sure you know what you’re doing with them in any particular recipe.
Evaporated milk – If this was a list of Christmas pantry essentials, evaporated milk would be right there at the top. A must for fudge recipes!
Cornstarch – This is a thickener that helps jellies, jams, and other sweet sauces from becoming too thin and wet.
Corn syrup – If you’re making candy, then this ingredient is a traditional essential.
Other extracts – We all know about using vanilla as a sweetener, but think about using other extracts such as lemon and peppermint for holiday recipes and to boost a traditional sponge or cookie.
Gelatine – Want to experiment with European favorites like flan and panna cotta? Then keep some of this unflavored ingredient to hand.
Nuts and seeds – Almonds, walnuts, and pecans, as well as any edible dried seeds can be stored for a short period of time in the pantry. However, most will stay fresh longer when refrigerated or frozen, so check their individual storage recommendations to get the most out of these ingredients.
Extras (not found in the pantry)
Bakers with even the most well stocked pantries will be at a loss without staples such as milk, eggs, butter or margarine, lemons and cream cheese, so make sure your wet ingredients are all accounted for before embarking on a baking adventure.
Once your pantry (and fridge!) is well stocked and organized, the only thing left to do is bake. For more kitchen and storage tips and tricks, head to Modernize.com!