An essential checklist guiding you through exactly what's in my baking pantry. Stock up on these essentials, and you’ll be able to whip together a sweet treat without leaving your home. With all these staples at your fingertips, you'll be able to create a delicious treat whenever you want.
With all the craziness around us in the world regarding the Coronavirus, we’re all going to be spending A LOT more time at home. And whilst home-bound, many of you will turn to bake. Why? Baking and cooking, in general, bring with it routine but also a sense of comfort. Sharing that scone, a slice of cake or a square of brownie is sure to bring us together in our household. Plus, the kids can get involved, and we all know how much they love doing that!
It's also an act of creativity, and with many hours up our collective sleeves, what better way to fill that time than baking up some sweet treats to nourish the soul?
What’s In my Baking Pantry?
With reduced supplies in the supermarkets (how crazy is this panic baking mania!), you’re going to need to pull from your pantry. If you have any gaps from my list below, then bring your shopping list every time you head to the supermarket, slowly you’ll fill in those gaps. For non-refrigerated goods, another option is to look online.
I’ve broken down my checklist into ten separate categories so that you can see the logic of how I stock my pantry with these essential staples.
Flours, Sugars, Natural Sweeteners, Leaveners, Flavourings, Chocolate and Dried Fruit & Nuts are technically the main categories that you need to work on stocking up.
However, Refrigerated Goods and Fresh Fruit are extra items that will definitely help you along if you have them on hand. But not being stored in a pantry, they can’t technically be classed as pantry items! But hey, who’s looking into these specifics? I’m all about providing you with the essentials, and this is part of them.
First off, we'll get into the different types of flours I have in my pantry. The following are the basic flours that I always have available. I rarely bake gluten-free, so in the majority of my desserts, I use some type of flour.
- White / All Purpose
- Self-Raising Flour (You can make your own with plain flour and baking powder. Checkout how to do that here.)
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Cornstarch / Corn Flour
Since I started my Sourdough Bread making the journey, I keep these extra flours readily available. But these aren’t essential to my baking of sweet treats.
- Rye Flour
- Bread Flour
- Rice Flour
Not being a health food baker, I do add sugars into my baking. Baking is part magic but, most importantly, part science. And the sugars are there for a reason. They obviously add sweetness but also aid in the tender texture preventing your baked goods from becoming chewy. And beating sugars with butter, a common first step of your baking method, helps aerate the batter and creates air pockets which expand when baking, giving that light soft texture. My advice- if the recipe calls for sugar, add it in; it's there for a reason.
- Granulated White Sugar
- Caster Sugar
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Light Brown Sugar
- Icing Sugar / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar
I use honey and maple syrup both in my baking or on the finished goods. Whether it’s in a homemade praline or fancy eclairs, these two ingredients are extremely versatile. Golden Syrup and Molasses aren’t essential to your pantry staples but I love them, especially in autumn and winter seasonal baking, where their flavour profiles work beautifully, like in a ginger roulade.
- Maple Syrup
- Golden Syrup
The majority of baked goods require a leavening agent. During the mixing, and heating process, baking powder releases carbon dioxide bubbles which in turn causes your baked goods to rise. Baking Soda is that same type of leveaner but requires it to be teamed with some type of acid to activate, like citrus, vinegar, cocoa powder, buttermilk or yoghurt. Whether it’s a large sheet cake or a layer cake, a soft, light sponge is imperative!
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
Admittedly I don’t use yeast daily, but I am exploring more and more sweet yeasted doughs such as babka, so it’s important for me to have it on hand. I’ll be creating more recipes for the blog soon- in the meantime, I have trusty taste testers to make the dough for!
These are my most important flavourings when it comes to baking. Without doubt, you have to have Vanilla bean paste and/or extract. They will elevate your sweet treats by adding another layer of flavour. I always keep the other extracts stocked as you never know when you want an almond cupcake .
As for Earl Grey Tea leaves and Espresso Powder/Coffee Granules, I adore imparting this bergamot flavour into my desserts, as you can see here . And coffee used in a sponge or glaze can be seriously delicious. And it goes without saying that cocoa powder is a must-have in any baker's pantry. How else will you get the rich, decadent chocolate taste in your brownies?!
Salt? What... in baking?! Um Absolutely! I practically always add salt to my desserts as it cuts the sweetness and adds balance beautifully. Add it to your caramel sauce, and OMG, it’s transformative!
- Vanilla Bean Paste and/or Extract
- Almond Extract
- Orange Extract
- Peppermint Extract
- Orange Blossom Water
- Earl Grey Tea Leaves
- Ground Espresso/Coffee Granules
- Cocoa Powder
- Flaked Sea Salt and/or Table Salt
Now I bake a lot of chocolate, whether it’s for the blog or to fill my girl's stomachs and satisfy their sweet tooth. So I always have a range of chocolate on hand in form of bars or buttons or chocolate chips.
- White Chocolate Bar/ buttons /chips
- Milk Chocolate Bar / buttons / chips
- Dark Chocolate Bar / buttons /chipps
If I had to choose one, then I would buy chocolate bars as they are the most versatile to use in your chocolate ganache, frosting, and cakes and can be chopped up for your cookie or scone recipe.
DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS
I regard this section as the flavour addins that will help you create a distinctively flavoured dessert or sweet treat. Having jars of these filled up is so versatile if I’m throwing together a quick batch of shortbread cookies, I can add some nuts and dried fruit on a whim and know that it’ll taste amazing. My hubby eats granola and yogurt most mornings and without fail sprinkles some nuts, fruit and coconut on the top.
- Almonds - whole, flaked and ground
- Hazelnuts - whole and ground
- Dried Cranberries
- Dried Cherries
- Coconut - flakes and desiccated
My What’s In my Baking Pantry Checklist shouldn't really include refrigerated goods as technically, they aren’t your staples stored in your pantry. But I want to add these products here as, really, most of the time, if you don't have one or a combination of the below, you’ll be taking a quick dash to the shops.
- Butter - unsalted
- Greek Yogurt
- Double Cream
Another extra little section for you. Again some of these fruits wouldn’t be stored in your pantry, but with three kids, I always have these fruits on hand. When berries are out of season in the winter months, I’ll keep a couple of bags of frozen berries available so that I can throw a couple into my bar or brownie when I feel like it. You can even whip out a jar of jam if you have frozen fruits available.
Oranges, lemons or limes are amazing to zest into your cake batter and squeeze some tangy juice out of. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t say no to a last-minute Lemon and Blueberry Bundt Cake!
- Berries - raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
Thanks so much for finding out What’s In my Baking Pantry. My aim is for you to feel fully equipped with the basic pantry staples that are essential for baking magic in your kitchen.
NOTE: My DSLR is currently in the repair shop, and I desperately wanted to get this blog post up for you. So all my photography is from my hubby’s iPhone. The images will be updated in due course!