Five Essential Baking Ingredients
To bake any dessert your heart desires, you need a handful of pantry staples that your kitchen should always have. Yes, if you go to the grocery store, you will find a variety of different flours and sugars, but let’s stick to the essential ingredients which are necessary for an easy cupcake or cookie recipe. So here are my five essential ingredients and pantry staples for baking:
- Flour – All-purpose flour is a must-have building block for most desserts, bread, and some cooking. It certainly goes in all my cakes (except the gluten-free ones, of course). Some recipes may call for whole-wheat or cake flour, which is nice-to-have ingredients but not the staples like all-purpose flour.
- Caster sugar – If you bake a lot, it’s worthwhile to have caster sugar which is a finer grain of white sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar. Caster sugar is made by grinding sugar granules to create a softer and more fine texture to dissolve quickly. That is why caster sugar is better in your baked goods.
- Eggs – They come in different sizes, but most baking recipes call for large eggs. And when in doubt, stick to large. In my country, large eggs weigh around 55 – 60 grams. Eggs play an important role in everything from cakes and cookies to meringues. The yolks contain fat that gives baked goods extra-rich flavor and a velvety texture. Whipping egg whites means incorporating air, creating a stable foam that we can use to make everything from a soufflé to meringue. Whole eggs make baked goods more tender, creating light textures, soft bread, and delicate crumbs.
- Leaveners – Baking soda, baking powder, and yeast are all leaveners that allow your cakes and bread to rise. You must buy them in small quantities and refresh them every six months to ensure they work. You can read another blog post called Ingredients Shelf Life to know more about this topic.
- Fat – can be unsalted butter or vegetable oil, so I suggest you have both in your pantry. Oils and butter add richness, flavor, and moisture to baked goods and interfere with the activity of flour and eggs (without getting into the details of science).
These are my top five, but there are other vital ingredients in baking, like salt, vanilla, milk, or other forms of dairy products. You can check out some of my favorite recipes where I use these ingredients on the blog.