Baking Ingredients

Flour on a table with slices of butter, two baking ingredients

As a Pastry Chef and baker, ingredients are the foundation for every sweet creation and a well-stocked pantry proofs to be the baker’s best friend. Below are some pantry fundamentals for your baking kitchen of commonly used baking ingredients and the differences between them.

Baking Ingredient Categories:

  • Flours
  • Sugars
  • Fats
  • Chocolate
  • Milk

Commonly Used Baking Ingredients

Flour:

tower of flour a great baking ingredient
Flour is power!

Flour is pivotal in baking ingredients to have well stocked as it provides structure for cookies, cakes, and muffins. My three favorite flours are:

  1. King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Flour (it’s fantastic and non GMO)
  2. King Arthur Bread Flour
  3. Trader Joes Organic All-Purpose Flour

All purpose:
Blend of hard and soft flours for “all purpose” use and contains 10.5 % protein.

Self rising flour: All purpose flour with salt and baking powder added.

Cake Flour:
Ground fine flour and bleached to get its white color and contains 7.5% protein.  Great at making baked goods tender.

Bread Flour:  Has  12.5% protein and used for breads for structure.

Whole Wheat:
Contains 13.3% protein where the whole wheat grain is ground, however, it has a short shelf life.

Sugar:

Sugar provides spread, caramelization, and sweetness; and one of my favorite baking ingredients.

Granulated Sugar:
Sucrose is the chemical name for refined sugar we mostly use in baking.

Brown Sugar:
Granulated sugar with molasses added.  Light brown sugar contains 3.5% molasses and dark brown sugar has 6.5% molasses.

Powdered Sugar:
Commonly called 10x and is ground to a fine powder with 3% cornstarch added, which helps with lumping.

Fats:

Fats bring flavor, tenderness, and tenderizing to baked items and super important to have a variety in your baking ingredient pantry.

Grass Fed Butter from Costco in a box, great baking ingredient
My favorite butter to use

My recent find in the butter department is located at Costco, this amazing grass-fed butter is delicious and brings a bright yellow color and richness to everything!

Butter:
Primary fat used by bakers for its flavor and richness. Saturated fat made of fat, water, and milk solids.  Unsalted is the best way to go in baking so you are able to control the amount of salt in the recipe.

Shortening:
Made from animal fats mostly flavorless, its a great and inexpensive product for tenderizing baked goods.

Chocolate:

three different versions of ganache in glass bowls
Chocolate Ganache

Unsweet:
Chocolate without any sugar added, does not contain any milk solids, usually termed chocolate liquor.

Bittersweet/Semisweet: Chocolate with sugar and vanilla added.

Milk Chocolate: 
Chocolate with sugar, vanilla, and milk solids making its appearance lighter.

White Chocolate:
Not really technically chocolate since it contains no chocolate solids.  It consist of sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, milk solids, and lecithin.  This generally can burn easier than other chocolate and should use low heat when melting.

Cocoa Powder: 
Pulverized chocolate liquor.   Dutch process: darker than regular cocoa powder and is treated with alkali to make the flavor milder and darker, has a higher pH.

Milk:

Cream: 38-40% fat

Half and Half: 22% fat, consists of half cream and half milk.

Evaporated Milk: 60% of water removed from the milk.

Sweetened Condensed Milk:
50% of the moisture is removed from milk and 45% sugar is added.

Powdered Milk: Moisture is removed from milk.

Pasteurized:
Milk that is heated to kill any bacteria.

Regular pasteurized: Heated for 160 degrees for 15 second.
Ultra pasteurized:  Heated to 275 degrees for 2 seconds.

Homogenized: The fat is equally distributed and will not separate.

Eggs:

bowl of eggs on a placemat
The Incredible edible egg

Whites:
High in moisture and contains albumin (protein), consist of 67% of the egg.
33 grams roughly equals one large egg white by weight.

Yolks:
Contains high fat and cholesterol and gives richness to baked products.  Is considered an emulsifier (thickener), and consist of 33% of the egg.
19 grams roughly equals one large egg yolk by weight.

Want to learn more about baking and pastry? Check out these other fun links!

Mixing Methods- 3 Basics for Baking

The Art of Pie Dough

Eggs-Some Basics

Flour Power- Flour IQ

 

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