Basic Baking Checklist: Ingredients For a Well-Stocked Dessert Cupboard

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Use this list as a guideline for items and for information as you shop for some basic ingredients to your home dessert kitchen.

Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!

  1. Flour – bread or all-purpose
  2. Starches (cornstarch, waxy maize, instant starches – arrowroot)
  3. Sugars
  • Invert sugar – heated with acid – a much sweeter sugar. Honey is one source.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Fondant/Dehydrated Fondant (optional) – fun to experiment with for cake and cupcake designs
  • Brown Sugar – for caramel, molasses flavors and to boost leavening when combined with baking soda. Demara – dry, granulated brown sugar.
  1. Syrups (molasses, corn syrup, glucose, honey or malt extracts used in yeast breads.)
  2. Fats – keep well wrapped and stored in cool, dry and dark to avoid early spoilage.
  • Shortening – regular (tough and waxy) or soft (creamy, smooth and fine)
  • Butter – salted or unsalted (sweeter)
  • Margarine – shortening plus moisture plus flavor using animal and/or vegetable fat.
  • Oils – liquid fat
  • Lard – rendered fat of hogs. Not used often today though still used for some biscuit and pie crust recipes.
  1. Water – bottled or tap should be clean and clear of additives such as chlorine, fluoride, etc.,
  2. Milk and Milk Products
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Fermented Milk Product (buttermilk, yogurt and sour cream)
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Condensed Milk
  • Dried Milk
  • Cheese (Baker’s cheese and Cream Cheese)
  1. Eggs
  2. Leavening Agents – yeast, baking soda, and baking powder
  3. Jelling Agents – gelatin and pectin
  4. Fruits, Nuts and Nut Products
  5. Chocolates and Cocoa
  6. Salt, Spices and Flavorings
  • Vanilla
  • Extracts (flavors dissolved in alcohol)
  • Alcohols, Liqueurs, etc,.

Purchase only those items that you will definitely use and purchase all items in portions that will be used within a month, two months at the most. Like dried spices, most dried baking products such as flour, baking powder, cornstarch, yeast, etc., all have limited shelf lives and will show a distinct lack of effectiveness in recipes when used too long past their prime. Freezing these items in tight packaging that discourages moisture, will extend their life use. Your pantry does not have to contain ALL of the items above, just a modest selection of several of the items and spices, fruits, chocolates, etc., that meet your favorite flavor profile. Enjoy baking your recipe and creating in a well-stocked kitchen.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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