Last week we discussed pantry essentials but that left our baking area untouched. For those of us that like to bake, however frequently that may be, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a few essential and “key” ingredients.
- Flour: I usually bake with All-Purpose unbleached flour but sometimes I need cake and bread flour. All three of these are always on standby with an extra bag of AP flour as I use it the fastest. My favorite brand is King Arthur.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Always have one of each as recipes are very specific to which one to use and cannot be used interchangeably. Replace your baking soda and powder once a year, maybe on your birthday so you always remember.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is my go-to but having a small bag of Sugar in the Raw and Turbinado or Demerara sugar on hand is a great solution when finishing sugar is needed.
- Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar is a constant in my pantry as that’s what most recipes call for. I usually have a bag of dark brown sugar on hand because every once in a while a recipe may specifically ask for dark brown sugar which has a deeper and more intense molasses flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: Always use pure vanilla extract as it is hands down much more superior than imitation. Yes, you will pay a few dollars more for it, but those few dollars are well worth it! I recommend looking into vanilla bean paste which includes the vanilla been seeds making everything from crème anglaise to whipping cream absolutely beautiful with the little specks. Vanilla bean paste can be found at most cooking stores, like Sur La Table, and can be used part for part with vanilla extract. In other words, 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste = 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. My favorite brand is Nielsen-Massey.
- Other Extracts: Depending on how often you use them, almond, orange and peppermint (especially around the holidays) are great to have on hand. Coffee is nice too. Nielsen-Massey carries a variety of flavors to pick from.
Depending on what you find yourself gravitating to when it comes to baking, feel free to subtract or add-to this list accordingly. They say an organized kitchen is an organized mind. I say, a well-stocked kitchen is a stress-free and efficient kitchen allowing more time to gather around the table together with family and friends.
Cheers to starting a new tradition around the table together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!