Useful Baking Ingredients To Always Have In Your Kitchen

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If you've been baking for the past few months, you have a basic idea of the recipes that you like to make and the ingredients you need most of the time.

The major ingredients in baking are flour, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and water. As long as you have these ingredients, you can practically make any baking recipe, including savory recipes such as bread! However, even this list can be missing an important ingredient that will make your recipe taste better, be better, and that's where this list of useful ingredients come in. These may sound like a list of substitutes and some are, but some also come in handy when you run short or want to change the flavor of your basic cake.   

If you have a stock of your favorite basic ingredients already on hand, here are more ingredients to keep in stock so you can still bake something delicious even if it's basic:    

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1 All-Purpose Flour

Always have this kind of flour on hand. It doesn't matter whether you're baking a cake, bread, or cookies, flour is a basic ingredient for baking. For those who have turned to specialty flour, having the basic kind is essential if you bake often. For those times when you need cake or bread flour, you can also turn to all-purpose flour as a great substitute. Bread flour may make your bread chewier and denser, but not all stores carry bread flour. The same can be said for cake flour. 


The trick to substituting flour is knowing the properties of the flour you do normally use. Cake flour aka pastry or soft flour is finer in texture and doesn't develop gluten as easily. Bread flour or hard flour meanwhile is more likely to develop strong gluten structure and is rougher in texture. 

If you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, use 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour less per 1 cup cake flour you are supposed to use. If you use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour, use 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour more per 1 cup bread flour you substitute.       

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2 Baking Powder and Baking Soda

It's not easy to bake without leaveners but keeping stock of these two ingredients is essential in making your baked goods rise. This is especially useful when you run out of pancake mix and you want pancakes in the morning! A pancake mix is a quick baking recipe that is just cooked on the stovetop and is almost as easy to put together as it is to use a boxed mix. You just need baking powder or baking soda. 


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3 Spices and Extracts

The most basic of cakes can be made more delicious! The key is knowing the ingredients that will make it taste better. You can do that if you have a supply of spices and flavoring extracts in your kitchen. Spices such as cinnamon can change a basic vanilla cake into a cinnamon cake that might rival a banana or carrot cake. Transform that vanilla cupcake batter into an ube cupcake or even an orange cupcake by using extracts. You can even use the combination of flavorings and food coloring to change the color so it looks more like the flavor you just added.         

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4 Lemon or calamansi juice

When you don't have yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk on hand, you make it simply by having this acidic ingredient. While you can use vinegar, citrus juices are more flavorful and won't add that sharp tang that you might get from vinegar. 

Not only that, you can transform milk including evaporated milk, into homemade buttermilk! Dilute evaporated milk just like you would normally to make fresh milk but also add the juice. The juice will still react to the milk solids in evaporated milk to create the curds you are looking for. You can even make homemade sour cream by adding citrus juice to all-purpose cream.     

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5 All-Purpose Cream, Condensed Milk, and Evaporated Milk

You can never have too many of these in your kitchen. From leche flan to ref cakes, these are the essential ingredients to make these desserts and more. All-purpose cream can be made into sour cream with the addition of lemon juice while evaporated milk can be swapped for fresh milk at a moment's notice. Condensed milk is necessary for leche flan and fruit salad recipes, but it's also an ingredient you can use to make a basic cake that doesn't need oil or butter. Plus, it's an ingredient to add to Jollibee-style spaghetti and that macaroni salad that you've been craving.  


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!


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