Baking is a process that requires precise measurement of relevant ingredients to create the best cake, cookie, or bread you have always wanted to for yourself or your loved ones. There are a handful of store cupboard staples that are worth having on hand so you can bake a cake. You can always stock up some of these ingredients regardless of your experience in baking. Here is a list of the 10 basic baking ingredients you should always have in your kitchen cabinet.
Yeast was a popular ingredient in the bread-making process, even in Biblical times. It is made up of thousands of living plant-like microorganisms that keep multiplying in number. Once it is mixed with warm water and sugar or starch, the yeast will ooze out tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. Not only will the gas make the bread or cake to rise, but it will also provide a heavenly aroma and add a light texture to the baked bread. Other ingredients will be added to give rise to a perfect homemade loaf or cake.
2.Flour (plain flour or self-raising flour)
Whether you are baking bread or cake, flour is one of the most important ingredients you should include in your shopping list. Before you buy a specific flour, find out whether you need bread all-purpose or whole wheat flour. Wheat is rich in gluten, a protein that promotes elasticity and strength in dough. As you knead your dough, add a little yeast to it to give a finer stretch to form a network that will trap the carbon dioxide bubbles made by the yeast.
Kneading of flour will require a basic liquid, which is water. Besides dissolving the active yeast, it also mixes with the flour to create a sticky and elastic dough. Always ensure it is luke-warm to get the best results.
4. Milk, butternut, cream, or juice
Cake or bread cannot achieve its flavor and texture if it is not for milk or juice products. That is why you will hear of a vanilla or chocolate cream cake or bread. Always remember to warm the liquids before adding to dry ingredients to enhance the yeast reaction. Ensure that these ingredients do not overheat since this would harm the yeast and avoid the dough from rising. Remember, unsalted butternut is best for baking, which is why it is vital that you regulate the amount of salt in your recipe.
Both bread and cake require sugar, honey, jam or molasses to add flavor and the rich brown color of the crust. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar are ideal for frosting and whipped creams.
In as much as sweeteners are necessary, you will also need salt to complete the baking process since it delays the dough rising time hence allowing the flavor of the baked bread, cake, or cookie.
Eggs are rich in protein food molecules that add value, color, and flavor to the baked product. Moreover, it traps the air in the cake to bind the ingredients together. To make the crumbs finer and tender, you will need eggs.
8. Extracts and flavorings
Depending on your style, extracts and flavorings will help to dress up your cake or bread. It is vital for you always to remember that visual appeal is a crucial determinant in portraying your cooking skills.
You will need butter, margarine, or oil add flavor to tenderize the bread, cake, or cookie. Fat tends to slow the loss of moisture, thus maintaining the freshness of baked products for long. Remember, fat can be heated to produce a liquid when using yeast. Unless the recipe calls for it, you are not supposed to use oil in the place of margarine.
If you do any cooking, you must have at least one spice in your kitchen. It gets even better if you are passionate baker stocking spices such as cinnamon, whole or ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ground ginger, and ground cloves.
Just like cooking, baking is an art. It requires you to use the precise amount of ingredients to transform an idea into a real baked work of art. It is vital to include all of these in your baking recipe to have something worth your time and efforts.