Most recently, I learned another hobby: baking. It's so much fun to mix all the ingredients and to see the cake come out nice. It's so rewarding when the cake comes out great and tastes great.Yani Tseng
There are so many ingredients when it comes to baking. However, there are some essential must-haves. As you gain more baking experience, you'll start to refine what's essential for you. For whichever recipe you want to make, you will certainly need the right ingredients to achieve it.
You should have the right ingredients in your kitchen or pantry so so that you never need to make an emergency trip to the grocery store mid-recipe. Once a baking ingredient is almost finished, it is advised you add it to your next grocery list, so you never run out. The good thing about this time and age is that you can shop for your bakery ingredients online and get them delivered to you. A lot of people in Nigeria are into online selling, check for one and get your ingredients delivered o your doorstep. There are also lots of physical markets in Nigeria you can shop for your baking ingredients. In short, your nearest market probably has someone selling some of the ingredients you will need to start baking.
If learning how to bake is what you what to start doing, then start. The earlier you start, the earlier you become more creative.
Let us take a look below to learn how to choose the right ingredient.
Getting Started: Selecting The Right Ingredients
We are sure that most people who intend to bake will understand that you need the right ingredients to successfully make a recipe.
The question now is how to choose the right flour, sweeteners, dairy and fats?
Flour is what holds ingredients together in baking. This is the number one and most common of ingredients for all bakers. Whether you are making light and fluffy cookies, or dense, heavy pound cakes, meat pies, doughnuts you'll need to have flour at your disposal. Always use the specified flour required for a recipe to ensure the best possible outcome. Most flour is categorized by the type of grind or the fineness of the flour and the various types used for baking are:
- Whole wheat flour retains the wheat germ and is often used to replace a portion of all-purpose flour in a recipe to boost the nutritional profile.
- Whole grain flour also retains the entire kernel of grains such as wheat, oats, rye, millet, quinoa, barley, or a combination of grains.
- Bread flour has a higher protein content and produces wonderfully chewy yeast bread
- Cake flour has a lower protein content which creates a fine and tender crumb for light and soft cakes and cupcakes
- Pastry flour is a medium-protein flour that's ideal for tender pie crusts.
- Self-rising flour has baking powder and salt already mixed in.
- Alternative non-wheat flours are milled from other grains, nuts, and seeds eg Almond, oats flour
- Cornmeal is for cornbread, crunchy waffles, pancakes, etc.
- Cornstarch is finely ground corn flour used for thickening sauces and pie fillings.
Sugars or Sweeteners
How To select the right sugar?
Bakers use a variety of different sugar types to sweeten baked goods and add delectable flavour. The most commoners types are granulated sugar (default ingredient when you see sugar in a recipe), Brown sugar which is simply white sugar with molasses added and powdered sugar which is also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar which is a ground granulated sugar made in a powdered state.
Other natural sugars and sweeteners are date sugar, coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, cane syrup, corn syrup
In most cases, you’ll need a lot of butter. Generally, butter with at least 82% fat is recommended so forget about light butter and spreads. The basic fats usually used are vegetable oil that has a neutral flavour (used for recipes and oiling baking pans) and butter which is usually sealed or unsalted. Unsalted butter is usually the default choice for baking.
Many bakers also use a spray as it saves time when greasing a pan or cake tin. They can also help when removing your food from the tin.
Dairy classifications used in baking are eggs, milk (evaporated, powdered or condensed milk), cream cheese, Butters, sour cream.
The protein in milk softens, contributes moisture, and adds colour and flavour to baked goods. Eggs are a binder meaning they keep the finished product together. It is also used for glazing pastries to give it a shiny finished look.
Alternative milk such as soy, rice, coconut or nuts is also used. People who are lactose intolerant can use this alternative milk in their baking.
Essential Ingredients for Bakers
Here goes a list of ingredients that bakers should have at their disposal. Some of the listed above ones included. Of course, depending on your choice of alternatives, some people only use some types of ingredients due to an allergic reaction, health or choice of lifestyle. Whatever your reasons are there are baking essentials bakers should have.
- Salt: what you'll use in everyday baking. Use table salt when you're measuring salt for a recipe. Though it seems salt is out of place in sweet recipes, if you skip it, your product will taste very bland, as it also enhances the flavour.
- Whole flour
- Corn starch or potato starch
- Brown sugar
- Glucose syrup (or honey)
- Powdered milk
- Evaporated Milk
- Condensed milk
- Baking soda
- Baking Powder
- White sugar
- Maple syrup
- Heavy Cream
- Spray butter
- Soar Cream
- White vinegar
- Cocoa powder
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Coffee extract
- Food colouring
You can also improve your dishes while baking with these:
- Almond powder
- Almond butter
- Sprinkles for decorating all your sweet things
- Hazelnut powder
- Apple puree
- Raspberry purée
- Chia seeds
- Shredded or flaked coconuts
- Cashew nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Rolled oats
Dried fruits such as raisins and cranberries are common add-ins used for accentuating baking recipes.
Strawberries, chocolates, sesame and bananas are great with most desserts.
You can always add some powdered sugar to your creations or sprinkle some crushed nuts or coconuts onto your brownies or cookies.
Other Ingredients to Have in Your Kitchen
“In the South, I think, food mirrors our lives. When I was growing up, no matter what you were grieving or celebrating, my mama would be at the door with a cake or a pie.” — Kimberly Schlapman
There is a list of other ingredients you should have in the kitchen. These ingredients can come in handy as an alternative when you run out of some of the essential ingredients.
To avoid running out of ingredients, these are some of the things you should always have in your cupboards and fridge:
- Milk chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- White chocolate
- White flour
- Vanilla pods
- Skimmed milk
- Maple syrup
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Gelatine sheets
- Cream cheese
- Egg powder
- Olive, sunflower or canola oil
- Vanilla bean
- Nuts such as groundnuts, cashew, almonds
- Peanut or almond butter
- Lemon juice or extract
- Coconut oil
- Espresso powder
- Bicarbonate soda
- Agave syrup
- Corn starch
- Peanut butter
- Cocoa powder
- Salted caramel
- Chocolate chips
- Round grain rice
The list should of course be adapted to what you usually make or are currently learning or making. The right tools will make your baking process easy. Some of these tools are the hand mixer, rolling pin, cake pans, wooden spoons, knives, spatula, whisk, digital kitchen scales, measuring cups and spoons, sieves, blenders, food processors etc.
Simple Dessert Recipes
The internet is a place where you can find several simple delicious recipes to suit your tastebud and cravings.
Here are some simple dessert recipes you can get started with.
Chocolate cake is one dessert that almost everybody loves. It is one yummy cake that is mostly in the dessert menus in a restaurant. Whether it’s with milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate, everyone loves a bit of chocolate cake. This recipe is great for beginners and pro bakers.
You’ll need a few ingredients:
- 250 grams of butter.
- 250 grams of dark chocolate.
- 200 grams of sugar.
- 70 grams of flour.
- 4 eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan. After you’ve melted the chocolate and butter, beat the eggs and sugar into a white foam. Mix the two. Put the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes, until the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Vanilla Mousse With Chocolate Chips
This is a very easy recipe to make. This mousse gets its stability from the cream cheese. You can decide to try it with a different extract like chocolate ( if you want to make chocolate mousse ) and add a few drops of food colour to get a mousse with fruity or minty flavours.
- 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese,
- 1/2 cup sugar,
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla
- 50g chocolate chips
Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat heavy cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Add 1/2 of the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture; stir until well blended. Gently stir in the remaining whipped cream mixture and cover.
Add your chocolate chips on top, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Frozen tropical fruit yoghurt
- 480g frozen tropical fruit mix
- 170g Greek yoghurt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 200g diced tropical fruit and passion fruit seeds, to serve
Put everything except the fresh fruit in a food processor and blend. Scoop straight into bowls, or tip into a container and freeze if you want to serve it later. Serve with the fresh tropical fruit and spoon over the passion fruit seeds.
You just have to give these recipes a try.
If you would like to learn how to bake or improve your baking skills, you can get in touch with one of the many talented and experienced private baking tutors on Superprof Nigeria.
The platform that connects tutors and students