Kitchen Basics: How to Stock Your Pantry For Baking

by moderndomestic on April 28, 2010

If you’re an avid baker, then chances are that you already have a well-stocked pantry that can produce a range of baked goods at at moment’s notice. But for those of you who are just getting into baking, you may be annoyed that you’re constantly running out for new ingredients. So, rather than having to be on the run to the store all the time, it’s time to stock your pantry for baking.

My Pantry

I don't have a pantry. But I do have a shelf. And lots of plastic freezer bags.

I mentally break down my pantry into different baking components: flours, sweeteners, fats, leaveners, chocolate, thickeners, spices and flavorings, mix-ins, and tools. I find it easier to assess what I’m out of if I think of things in categories – I get overwhelmed if I think of everything at once. I generally try to have all my basic, non-perishable ingredients on hand that I’ll need for any basic recipe, and then only have to run to the store for supplemental items such as fruits, special kinds of chocolate, or perishable items like heavy cream. The only perishable items I always have on hand are eggs and butter, both of which will keep for weeks. In fact, since I’m always running out of them, I don’t even think of them as perishable.

As I was writing this post, I kind of realized that the way I stock my baking pantry may seem excessive, but everything here is actually pretty standard as far as ingredients go. For instance, it may seem crazy to keep both bleached and unbleached flour on hand, but if you’re making things from The Cake Bible then believe me – you’ll need both of them. Same with red food coloring – it seems crazy to stock, but if you ever have to color frosting or make Red Velvet Cake, it’s extremely useful to have around.

Here’s my list of basic pantry items I always try to have on hand. Want a copy you can take to your grocery store or use to assess your pantry? Download my handy baking pantry checklist (PDF file).

Any things I left off that you always have on hand?

Basic Baking Ingredients to Stock

Flours:
Almond flour (store in freezer)
Bleached all purpose flour
Bread flour
Cake flour
Unbleached all purpose flour
Whole wheat flour

Sweeteners:
Brown sugar (either light or dark)
Corn Syrup
Honey
Maple syrup
Molasses
Powdered sugar
Sugar

Fats:
Butter
Canola Oil
Eggs
Solid shortening

Chocolate:
Bittersweet chocolate (bar)
Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Natural cocoa powder
Semi sweet chocolate chips
Unsweetened chocolate (bar)

Leaveners:
Active Dry Yeast
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Rapid Rise Yeast

Thickeners and stabilizers:
Cornstarch
Cream of Tarter
Gelatin

Spices and flavorings:
Allspice
Almond extract
Apple cider vinegar
Cinnamon
Cloves
Ginger (ground)
Nutmeg (whole nut)
Peppermint extract
Red food coloring
Vanilla beans (store in the fridge)
Vanilla extract (store in the fridge)

Mix-ins
Almonds – whole, raw (store in the freezer)
Oatmeal
Raisins
Walnuts – whole, raw (store in the fridge)

Tools
Foil
Parchment paper
Piping bags
Plastic wrap
Plastic freezer bags (for storage)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca April 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

This is so helpful! I think I’m just going to print it off and head out to the store. I would add peanut butter to the list however. But maybe that’s ess of a pantry staple and just my own personal addiction. -ummm chocolate peanut butter bars and peanut butter cookies. Ohhh now I really do need to bake something!

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K April 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

Thank you for this list! I try to keep most of this stuff on-hand but it’s nice to have a complete list handy!

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Kenneth Moore April 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

Oh, I’m woefully inadequate. I have all the stabilizers; half of the flours, sweeteners, and spices; and most fo the tools, but little of the rest.

AWESOME pdf! I must stock up. Making only cinnamon buns is getting tiresome…

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Brooke April 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

Great post! Very handy! :)

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W. Mark Felt April 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

Great reference. Also nice to know that my pantry is generally well-stocked, but I learned a few things too – did not realize that vanilla extract needs to be in the fridge. Also, why not ask the expert – is cake flour the same as pastry flour? I made this assumption when I was buying last time, but I’m not sure. Again, loved the post.

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Annie April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

What about the filberts! Did anyone think of the filberts?

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bed frames April 30, 2010 at 4:03 am

I am going to print this one! This is going to be very helpful. I am so disgusted with what my pantry looks like.

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Rebecca May 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

Vanilla extract needs to be in the fridge? Uh oh.

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Mochene May 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Good list! I can’t even remember what all I keep on hand. If you don’t mind a few extra tips, I have a few that I use.

Personally I only use unbleached flour for all of my baking. I need to read my copy of the Bible to see why you’d need both. Also, I use vanilla paste, so that eliminates the need for both the beans and the extract. I believe (my paste is in my kitchen in Chicago, I’m visiting my mom in TX) that it’s 1 tsp to replace 1 vanilla bean. The best plastic wrap is the larger ones that we use in the professional kitchens. You can buy them at Sam;s Club and Costco. You can wrap half-sheet pans and larger items much easier and the rolls last longer!

For fragile cookies, like tuiles, keep those dessicant and sicila packs you get in packages that say ‘do not eat’. They’ll keep the cookies dry and crisp if you put one or two into the airtight container.

Buy butter in bulk on sale, write the date on it, wrap it in plastic, and freeze. Otherwise, when you want to bake something and butter is $5 a pound, it can get expensive.

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