If you dream of an organized baking pantry with long-living baking ingredients then this is the place to start! Learn how to build a baking ingredients pantry from scratch and how to keep things fresh and organized so you can start baking anytime you want! Plus Free Checklist!
There you are! You feel like baking and want to start right away. But you didn’t plan it and you don’t want to stick to 3-Ingredient-Shortbread. You want to treat yourself to homemade goodies whenever you need some sweetness in your life – without running errands first.
All you need is a clever and lasting baking stock. You can store baking ingredients in your pantry without refrigeration. (Or learn how to freeze and defrost baking stocks in the upcoming baking hack post.) Clever baking supplies is baking hack #2!
Baking hack #1: You learned how to substitute baking ingredients so you can bake even if something is missing in your stock. But wouldn’t it be nice to bake anything you want and have everything you need on hand? An organized baking pantry is what you need!
How do you get started with building a baking pantry from scratch? Which baking ingredients should go in your baking pantry? How do they keep fresh?
Finally, let’s find out how to maintain your baking pantry and keep things fresh and organized.
Baking Ingredients for your no-refrigeration baking pantry
We will go through the baking essentials that are ideal long-living baking stocks one by one.
Keep all-purpose flour in your baking stock and you have laid the foundation to bake anytime. If you also have cornstarch at home you can make cake flour. Put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into a measuring cup and fill it up with AP flour. Sift the mixture several times and you end up with cake flour.
To make self-rising flour mix one cup of AP flour with 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Eggs are mandatory for many recipes. In the post about clever baking substitutions, you learned how to replace them. Also, in recipes with lots of eggs, you can leave out some. But you still want eggs in other recipes that won’t turn out as fine without eggs. If you don’t want to go without eggs, it is best to freeze some. You can freeze whole eggs, egg whites or yolk. (Learn how in the upcoming backing hack #3)
Another alternative to fresh eggs are powdered or dried whole eggs or egg whites. You can find dried egg powder in large supermarkets or in online stores. Use them according to the directions on the package.
Fat for baking
Another basic ingredient you will need is some kind of fat. Oil is in my house anyway and you can use it for most batters. Use a versatile oil like sunflower oil that suits just about everything. I always have olive oil in my storage, too, which can be used for pizza dough and other hearty recipes. Check oils for being rancid before using!
I also store some margarine because it keeps fresh longer than butter. This is also true for shortening which has actually no taste.
Butter, however, freezes well! When living in Morocco I had butter in my freezer all the time because it would not always be in store. Put some in your freezer but remember it needs some time to unfreeze.
Sugar and sweet stuff
Plain sugar keeps fresh forever. Keep it dry, though. If you need confectioners sugar you can process normal sugar in a kitchen machine. But, it won’t turn out as fine as store bought ones.
Honey tends to crystallize over time. It is still good. You can put the package into a bowl of warm water and the crystals will melt. If you have no honey take some sugar and melt it. See my post on making caramel sauce to learn how to melt sugar to syrup. An even simpler honey replacement would be simple sugar syrup. You can make it in a few minutes with just water and sugar.
Most rising agents are clever stables, too, because they stay fresh and active a long time. Make sure baking soda, baking powder, and dry yeast are in your baking stock.
But, once opened baking powder loses its power gradually. Test it by putting it into warm water. It should bubble up vividly. Dry yeast can replace fresh yeast without problems and is great to store. To test the strength of dry yeast put a sample of it into a small amount of water with a pinch of sugar in it. After 5 minutes it should become foamy. Yay, yeast is still alive! These tests are recommended by no other than Julia Child.
Baking spices and flavors
Spices and flavors are essential for many recipes. Unfortunately, many spices lose their aroma quickly. Light and air wear them out, so keep them in dark airtight containers or in the cupboards. Store whole spices such as cinnamon sticks and grind them just before using. Another alternative are powdered or liquid baking flavors and extracts that come in small portions. They keep fresh and tasty longer. For example, I love using single sachets of lemon peel.
Nuts contain much fat which makes them vulnerable to becoming rancid, especially when stored in a warm place. Once rancid you have to throw them out. They will taste bitter and are unhealthy to eat. You don’t need hundreds of nut species in your stables. You can replace one nut with the same amount of some other. Buy rather small amounts. Keep some whole almonds in your stables. You can chop them, skin them, grind them, or use them as decor. Keep them in the freezer where they will stay fresh a long time.
Consider using nut flavor if you just want the taste of nuts.
Ah, dairy products. One thing I learned in Morocco where the choice is very limited is that I love and miss them. Thank God for UHT milk and whipping cream. Both are always in my pantry. Or, you can replace milk in batter recipes with mineral water or coconut milk. The latter will leave a taste of coconut, though. But a can of coconut milk makes a good long-term staple.
Using UHT milk and vinegar you can even make your own buttermilk. Mix one cup of milk with a tablespoon of vinegar, stir, and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. After that, it is ready to use.
Aldi (in Germany) even has UHT cream cheese and UHT Sourcream. Great staples to make NY style cheesecake or cream cheese frosting. Also, you can keep wrapped cheese slices at home for a spontaneous pizza night. (I know it’s actually no real cheese … still better than no cheese at all.)
Dairy with a lot of fat freezes well. (More on freezing baking ingredients in the upcoming post with baking hack #3).
Sometimes it’s got to be something juicy and fruity. No problem! You can freeze fresh fruits or juice and use them for cake. This goes for frozen fruit from the store, too, of course. You can also make pie filling and preserve it. Learn how to make canned apple pie filling for your pantry on Allrecipes.com.
You find a lot of canned fruits, applesauce (aka egg substituent!) or jam in the store. They are perfect baking stables because they keep fresh for years. I once used cherry jam to fill a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) and it was just fine!
Keep a can of peeled tomatoes, too, for easy homemade pizza!
Keep dry fruits in a cool, dark and dry place. Otherwise, they can mold. Candied fruits, however, rarely get spoiled because the high sugar content preserves them well.
Chocolate and Cocoa
Chocolate should be a nutrient group of its own if you ask me. There got to be chocolate somewhere in the house. Keep it in a cool and dark place and it keeps fresh for years, no matter what the use-by date says. When chocolate gets warm a whitish covering may appear. That is cocoa fat. It doesn’t look nice but it’s not an issue. You can still use this chocolate.
The worst thing that can happen is that chocolate loses its full flavor or takes on flavors from the environment. So keep it in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. I asked a chocolatier about that. He says he even freezes chocolate in airtight Ziploc bags. That way chocolate is also safe from pest infestation. (Maggots!..eew!)
Make chocolate chunks, sauce, or chocolate icing from your stored chocolate. Tracy of Baking Mischief shares an easy recipe for homemade chocolate sauce you can fix in 30 seconds using chocolate and cream.
Cocoa powder for baking keeps fresh for years if you use deoiled ones.
Ok, you do not need to decorate baking goods. But maybe you want to. Easy, because sprinkles keep good for ages. Also, you can always make sugar icing. Use some ingredients like chopped nuts, candied fruits or chocolate for sprinkles.
If you start building a baking ingredient stock from scratch you will find the free baking ingredient checklist helpful! Hop over to the free printables section and download a handy checklist for building your baking pantry!
With the free baking pantry list, you have equipped your pantry with long-living baking ingredients. They will allow you to bake anything anytime! You have chosen clever baking supplies that keep fresh without refrigeration. The maintenance of your baking pantry is easy and won’t take much time.
- To keep things fresh make sure to place opened baking ingredients in airtight containers and in a dark place if possible. You can use recycled clean jars to hold baking ingredients. Write the expiration and opening date on the container. Keep in mind that some ingredients like dairy need refrigeration as soon as you opened them!
- An inventory list of the baking ingredients in your pantry can be a very helpful tool, especially if you have a large stock! Download a free pantry inventory list at CarrieElle.com (no signing up required). Hint: If you have a large pantry you can organize your inventory list by shelves.
- Add a quick check of your baking pantry to your monthly task list to check for rotten food or pests, especially in a warm climate.
- Air permeable sachets with unboiled rice or cat litter keep your baking pantry extra dry.
- To keep your baking pantry well-stocked use this clever and super easy stock-piling hack. You will have everything you need for baking on hand all the time!
So, that was a lot, wasn’t it? I could use some hot coffee right now. And a sweet treat after all that talking about baking.