Thursday, May 5, 2011

Basic Baking Ingredients' Checklist

Warning: This post is for a completely new to baking person. Even a little experienced baker will find it boring.
My friends keep making fun of me about my grocery bill. They are right in a way. I have almost all types of flour in my pantry. Three different kinds of sugar, liquid sweeteners like honey, molasses, all different kinds of baking chips and the list goes on. I know that most of the beginners will probably take the list to the grocery store and buy whatever is required, but if you stock your pantry with some basic ingredients, you can bake almost anything that is basic and not too fancy. Of course, if you want to make strawberry cake, you will need starwberries and you will have to go grocery shopping for that. So, here is a list of the very basic ingredients you will need to bake basic goods.

  • All purpose flour - Go for unbleached one
  • Whole Wheat flour - optional if you are into bread baking with whole wheat flour.
  • Whole wheat pastry flour - you can use this in place of all purpose flour in almost all the bakes except for the yeast breads.
  • Bread flour - only for yeast bread baking projects.
  • Oats - rolled oats is preferable since this is used for most of the recipes.
  • White granulated sugar.
  • Light brown sugar - optional.
  • Dark Brown sugar - optional.
  • Honey
  • Molasses - optional.
  • Maple Syrup - optional.
  • Corn Syrup - optional

Note: Honey, maple syrup and corn syrup can be interchanged in a recipe without a significant effect on the end product. If you have white sugar and molasses, you can substitute for brown sugars.
1 cup of light brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar + 1 TBSP molasses.
1 cup of dark brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar + 2 TBSP molasses.

  • Butter or Margarine.
  • Shortening - optional.
  • Canola oil or vegetable oil.
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Cream of Tartar - optional
  • Yeast - only for yeast bread baking projects and some biscuits too. 
  • Eggs
  • If substituting eggs - refer to Basics page.
  • Ener - G egg replacer
  • Flax meal or milled flax seeds
  • Corn Starch
  • Applesauce
  • Vinegar
  • Milk or buttermilk (You can make buttermilk using milk and vinegar)
  • Coffee 
  • Different kinds of juices
  • Yogurt or sourcream
  • Spice powders like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg etc.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract - optional.
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nuts of various kinds
  • Dried fruits of different kinds
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Baking chocolate squares
If you want to see how things work:

Cake = flour+salt+sugar+fat+leavener+flavoring+binder+optional extra +liquid
Cookie = flour+salt+sugar+fat+leavener+flavoring+binder+extra
Pie crust = flour+salt+shotening or butter
Bread or rolls= flour+salt+sugar+yeast+water+oil+optional extra
Muffin and quickbreads = flour+salt+sugar+liquid+leavener+binder+fat+optional flavorings+optional extra
Biscuits = flour +salt+sugar+baking powder+fat+liquid (buttermilk or yogurt)+ optional extra

Of course, this list does not cover the cheesecakes or other speciality baked good. I have also not included salt in the list or water since every kitchen has it. This list is very basic. When you start baking, ingredients will accumulate depending on what you bake. That is a warning and don't blame me if you run out of space in the pantry or your spouse gets mad at all the packets of stuff in the pantry.

Enjoy. Pin It


  1. This is such a great post, specially the formula you have for each baking thing at the end, love you Champa for putting these together :)

  2. Can honey be heated without effecting it's nutritional profile?

  3. Kalyani,
    No. When you use honey in baking, you are just using as a sugar substitute. Honey will loose its nutritional value when heated above 98 F and we bake cakes at 350 F. Even when it is not heated individually, end product will still register more than 100 F. Hope this helps.

  4. Thanks I am bookmarking this one.

  5. This is such a helpful list for new bakers. So nice of you to share it.

  6. Champa, Lol at the spouse's reaction!..but seriously very useful post..I am sure lot of us will keep coming back to this post..thanks for the efforts.

  7. Great post! Thanks for putting up the "basic formulae" - have not seen this perspective elsewhere!

  8. hey, who says one will feel bore with this post, its a very basic knowledge, sometimes even the perfect baker will forget.
    bookmarked it..(your almost all posts are bookmarked or copied the links in my list :-) )

  9. Very good post! I always admire your scientific approach to baking!

  10. what is bread flour? can we use all purpose flour in its place? Here in India we don't get bread flour or wheat gluten. Kindly reply.

    1. Sita,
      Bread flour has more gluten than all purpose flour and hence they give better texture for the yeast breads. You can use all purpose flour without any problems. No need for vital wheat gluten if you are using all purpose flour and not whole wheat flour.

  11. Dear Champa,
    If I want to make whole wheat bread and vital wheat gluten is not available is there any other option ? Can we mix all purpose flour and whole wheat floor to get a nice texture?pls give your opinion.

    1. Sita, Using 50-50 APF and WWF always gives better results than complete whole wheat flour. No doubt there.


If you have a question and you leave it as a comment, I'll surely answer the question to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for visiting.