10 Ingredients every home baker should have in their fridge and pantry
Before you can call yourself a home baker, there are a few pantry and fridge staples that you need to have. Here are the 10 items every home baker should have:
As the name suggests, plain all-purpose flour is the ingredient that forms the basis of most sweet and savoury bakes. Without plain flour, you would have very few cakes, bread, pastry, batter or biscuit recipes to choose from. Once you have plain flour as a staple, there are loads of other flours that you can add to your pantry to diversify your repertoire. Add wholewheat or rye flour for nuttier breads or pastries but be sure to adjust your recipe accordingly as each flour behaves differently.
Baking powder is a leavening agent that’s responsible for incorporating air into your doughs and batters during the mixing or heating process. This is one of the ingredients that’s responsible for airy cakes and breads. It also gives your baking plenty of height and lightens the texture.
Bicarbonate of soda
Also known as baking soda, it is not to be confused with baking powder. Although they do the same thing, bicarb needs acid, moisture and heat to activate the aeration process. That is the reason why in baking, it will often be used in conjunction with cream of tartar which is an acid. Other common acids added to bakes with bicarb include; milk and buttermilk.
Milk oh glorious milk is the dairy that gives baking its moisture. It’s also one of the ingredients responsible for activating baking powder and baking soda in your recipe. Milk contributes to a softer crumb structure and helps with colour in your bakes. Milk also improves the texture and mouthfeel of your overall bake, so it’s definitely an excellent ingredient to have on hand.
A generally useful ingredient, eggs are used in baking for two main reasons. They can also be used to trap air into your bakes when they are beaten, and also serves as a binder to bring and hold ingredients together. Eggs are also often an essential ingredient for texture, serving to emulsify, thicken and moisten.
Using margarine in baking serves as fat which improves the overall taste and mouthfeel of your output. It helps with moisture and lightness in cakes and adds a chewy texture to cookies. It can also be used to lubricate pans and cake tins, preventing baking from sticking.
While salt is typically a pantry staple, it’s not necessarily something we associate with delicious baked goods, especially sweets. But the addition of salt can transform your bake, adding contrast to sweet foods.
The standard sugar in most recipes is white granulated sugar, but if it’s not specified, then it’s generally safe to assume the recipe calls for it. White granulated sugar is the standard sweetener in most baking. Additional sugars that are good to keep on hand if you bake fairly frequently include brown, powdered or icing and demerara sugar.
If you’re a chocolate lover, then this one is for you because cocoa is a key ingredient in any chocoholic’s pantry. It’s essentially the chocolate solids that are left behind after cocoa butter is removed from the beans and has a deep, somewhat bitter flavour – cocoa is a necessary addition to most chocolate bakes and confections.
Vanilla extract and vanilla essence add a floral, fragrant and warming addition most typically for used for sweet bakes. It comes in liquids and pastes, and a little generally goes a long way. Add vanilla to flavours such as strawberry or coffee as a delicious combination.
If you consider yourself a little bit of a whizz in the kitchen when it comes to baked treats, then these are 10 basic ingredients you should definitely have in your fridge and pantry. For more tips and baking ideas and Stork baking recipes take a look at I Love Baking SA
If you are looking for bakespiration download and share our Stork Recipe Book it’s loaded with heritage recipes for a range of skill levels and occasions.