Baking Basics : Ingredients

baking-ingredients

101 guide to all the basic baking staples one need to stalk before getting started. 

Butter

One of the key ingredients for baking, should be at room temperature before you start. Mostly one should use unsalted butter / cooking butter for baking, unless specified.

Eggs

Another staple ingredient, should be stored and used at room temperature, if you keep them in the fridge, keep them out several hours before starting, or if you forgot, keep it in lukewarm water for 10-15 mins before you start using it.

Flours

Mostly all-purpose flour is used for baking, one would come across various terms like, self raising flour, 00 flour, cake flour, look up, either use exactly what’s suggested or little alterations to all purpose flour, gives you the kind of flour required. Other flours like whole wheat or rye and likes are used for different textures and varies in the gluten proportions.

Sugars

Most common form of sweetener in baking, you will hear multiple terms, caster sugar, granulated sugar, confectioners sugar, icing sugar(has some corn flour in it and is finer), dark brown sugar. Granulated sugar is the best to be used for the creaming method.

Milk

Some recipes need milk as is, some specifically need whole milk, follow and source accordingly.

Baking Powder

A raising agent, basically, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an acid that activates the soda.

Bicarbonate of Soda

It is used in recipes which has an acidic element like tartar or milk to activate it. It has a strong flavor so care must be taken while using it.

Cocoa

A key ingredient for chocolate cake recipes, gives a strong chocolate flavor. The benefit of using cocoa instead of real chocolate is the stability, and need not be melted. It is also used in place of a couple of spoons of flour with melted chocolate to get more depth. Its also used in buttercream and fillings.

Chocolate

There’s real chocolate, and then there’s chocolate compound. Compound chocolate is made out of vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter. The flavor is not as good, but is easier to work with. There’s dark chocolate, milk chocolate and then white chocolate. What we get off the shelves is milk chocolate, but for more indulgent flavors, dark chocolate is recommended in baking.

Spices

Spices like pizza seasoning, thyme, rosemary, etc are used in making savory baked items or breads.

Extracts and essences.

Vanilla essence, the most important flavoring agent in baking and many other essences are used to flavor your bake.

Yeast

Rising agent used in making breads. There are 3 kinds of yeasts used, fresh yeast, active dry yeast, instant yeast. The difference between these types of dry yeast is simple: active dry yeast has a larger granule and needs to be dissolved in water before using, while instant yeast has a more fine texture and can be mixed right into dry ingredients.

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