How to Build a Baking Pantry, Part I: Ingredients (Beginner)


Welcome to my pantry! The above shelving unit is essentially my baking “pantry”. As you can see, I keep a lot of supplies, ingredients, cookbooks, and tools here. This is actually one of two areas where I keep baking supplies – the other houses all of my baking pans and other tools/utensils (you’ll get to see that area shortly).

I receive a good number of emails from readers asking what some of the best ingredients, equipment and tools are to keep on hand in order to have a well-stocked baking pantry. Since there seems to be widespread interest in this subject, I decided to do a four-part series on it, focusing on the basic ingredients and equipment that will get you started baking, as well as some of the more “nice to have” and advanced ingredients and equipment that more “serious” bakers keep on hand.

Okay, so you want to get started baking but aren’t sure which ingredients you should keep on hand? I hope that this guide will serve as a good starting point for you. The next post in this series will go a step further and delve into ingredients that go beyond the basics, and that are great to have if you are planning on moving beyond cookies and quick breads and into more advanced desserts and yeast breads. For now though, we’re going to focus on the basics. Let’s get started!

In the Refrigerator:

♦  Unsalted butter. If you only have regular, salted butter available, you can use that but omit any salt called for in the recipe.

♦  Whole milk.

♦  Eggs. If you plan on doing a lot of baking, buying them in bulk from somewhere like Sam’s Club or Costco is helpful. I get 3 dozen large eggs from Sam’s Club for about $3.

♦  Sour cream

♦  Cream cheese

In the Pantry

♦  Non-stick spray with flour

♦  All-purpose flour. Do not buy self-rising flour.

♦  Cake flour

♦  Granulated (regular white) sugar

♦  Light brown sugar

♦  Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

♦  Baking powder

♦  Baking soda

♦  Table salt

♦  Cocoa powder, unsweetened (a regular can of Hershey’s will work!)

♦  Cornstarch

♦  Cornmeal

♦  Vegetable (or canola) oil

♦  Vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco)

♦  Corn syrup

♦  Honey

♦  Maple syrup (the real deal, not Log Cabin)

♦  Peanut butter

♦  Graham crackers

♦  Vanilla extract

♦  Almond extract

♦  Cream of tartar

♦  Ground cinnamon

♦  Ground ginger

♦  Ground cloves

♦  Ground nutmeg

♦  Chocolate chips

♦  Unsweetened chocolate

♦  Old-fashioned rolled oats

♦  Assorted nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans are used most often)

♦  Shredded coconut

♦  Raisins and other dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, figs, etc.)

♦  Food coloring (liquid and gel paste) for coloring icing or cookies

♦  Sprinkles, nonpareils, and candies for decorating cookies and cupcakes

Did I miss any ingredients?
Are there any basics you keep on hand and use often that I haven’t listed here? Share them below!

Stay tuned for the remaining posts in the series:

Part II: How to Build a Baking Pantry, Ingredients (Advanced)
Part III: How to Build a Baking Pantry, Equipment (Beginner)
Part IV: How to Build a Baking Pantry, Equipment (Advanced)

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