Essential Ingredients Every Baker Needs
The number of baking supplies you keep in your refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets is only constrained by space. However, it’s good to know that you may reduce the list to only nine items if you’re new to baking or setting up your first kitchen. And with these items, you’ll have everything you need to make pancakes, cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, and muffins. After that, everything else is just icing on the cake.
Since it can be used to make everything from cookies to pancakes to muffins, all-purpose flour, like Spelt flour, is a jack of all trades. The light and fluffy texture of the product, which is made from a combination of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat, is the result of milling the grain to remove the wheat germ and bran completely.
You can also add specialized flours to your basic pantry depending on the type of baking you enjoy. When possible, buy in small quantities from bulk bins to avoid having to keep perishable goods in storage.
Chemical processes induced by leaveners fill mixes and dough with the little gas bubbles that give baked foods their rising aspect. Baking soda and baking powder are some examples of chemical leaveners, while Yeast is a biological leavener.
Sugar is one of the essential ingredients for baking. Here you have many choices, including brown sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, superfine sugar, etc.
You cannot achieve that perfect baking recipe without salt. With salt, you also have choices, including granulated table salt and sea salt.
For the rich texture and flavor that makes your baked goods irresistible, you’ll use butter in batters, pastry dough, cookie dough, frostings, and icings. Large eggs can be used to bind components. You should always have a quart of milk on hand for pancakes and waffles, and other alternatives include buttermilk and cream cheese.
You can use neutral-tasting vegetable oil for cooking and for greasing baking pans. Some cooks use shortening, a solid vegetable fat, in place of or combined with butter to create delicate baked items like pie crusts.
Basic extracts and flavorings
There is a vast universe of pure extracts and flavorings to discover, including almond, lemon, mint, rum, and brandy. But don’t go out and buy them all at once, and continue to grow your collection as you broaden your baking horizons.
Although it is handy to use ground spices, you might consider using a mortar and pestle, a coffee grinder, or a grater to grind your whole spices for the most flavorful results. Toast the spices slightly before grinding to intensify the flavor even more.
Your typical baker’s pantry gets pretty intimate at this point. Enjoy chocolate? Want to start using matcha powder in your baking? Stock it all up. Common add-ins include chocolate in all varieties- cookies, frostings, glazes, chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, and Dutch-process cocoa powder. Others include:
- Dried fruits like cranberries and raisins.
- Added rolled oats to batters and cookie doughs to increase nutrition.
- Fruit preserves, jams, and jellies for cookies and cakes.
- Almond or peanut butter for pies and cookies, etc.