Have you ever decided to bake cupcakes, cakes, or bread, only to abandon the idea because your pantry did not contain even half of the ingredients you'd need for the chosen recipe? Many new bakers find it hard to bake frequently because their pantry does not contain all of the necessary ingredients. If you wish that you baked more often, stock up your pantry with these ingredients and supplies. That way, when you want to bake, you'll have everything you need.
- Supplies and equipment - You'll need several sizes of mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and large mixing spoons. A whisk and an egg beater will also come in handy. You'll also need a range of baking sheets and pans for making cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and pies. Rolling pins, cookie cutters, and paper cupcake liners can also come in handy when baking.
- Dry ingredients - At the very least, keep sugar (white, brown, and powdered) and all-purpose flour on hand. These are the most common ingredients in baked goods. Also stock salt, yeast, baking powder, and baking soda in small quantities; most baked goods require at least one, although you'll rarely need more than a few teaspoons. Other common dry ingredients, depending on the recipes you bake most frequently, may include cocoa powder, bread or cake flour, and cornstarch.
- Wet ingredients - If you bake frequently, you'll need to keep milk, eggs, and butter on hand. If you do not bake a lot, you may want to consider purchasing these ingredients as you need them, since they can go bad. Always keep cooking oil on hand; canola oil is the one most frequently recommended. Other common wet ingredients for baking include honey, molasses, and corn syrup.
- Flavorings - Keep vanilla extract on hand, at the very least. Look for real vanilla over imitation, if you can find it. Most bakers also keep other flavoring extracts on hand, such as almond, coconut, lemon, and orange; your choices can vary according to your tastes and favorite recipes. Some bakers also keep chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit, sprinkles, and other flavoring ingredients on hand, although if you do not bake frequently you may be better off buying them as needed, because they can go bad. Most bakers also keep food coloring on hand, though you may not need it depending on your baking needs.
- Spice rack - For baking, your spice rack should contain cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Buy small containers of each so that they will stay fresh.
One way to determine whether your pantry is well-stocked is to pull out all of your favorite recipes. Do you have the ingredients to make most of them? If so, then you probably have everything you need. That way, when you have some free time or a craving, it will be easy to bake up a batch of muffins, cookies, or other baked goods. Always store your baking ingredients in containers with tight seals, and watch the expiration dates carefully; for best results, always bake using fresh ingredients.