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April 8, 2008

13 pantry items every baker absolutely, positively, has to have

When the number of items in The Perfect Pantry's cupboards, spice rack, refrigerator and freezer hit 225, I started to think about what I really need, use, love, crave... and maybe, just maybe, what I could do without, if I had to. The Things We Can't Live Without Week, Day Two.

Essentials1

If I were stranded on a desert island and for some reason got the urge to bake -- though this never ever happens at home -- I would absolutely, positively, be able to make do with this baker's dozen items from my pantry:

  1. All-purpose flour
  2. Whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  3. Granulated white sugar
  4. Brown sugar
  5. Yeast
  6. Table salt
  7. Baking powder
  8. Baking soda
  9. Vanilla extract
  10. Eggs
  11. Unsalted butter*
  12. Frozen puff pastry
  13. Chocolate (chips or bars)

(*Update: Thanks, readers -- how could I forget butter? I substituted for refrigerated pie crust, so don't expect to find any pie on my island!)

What else would be on your must-have-for-baking pantry list?

Previously: 23 pantry items you absolutely, positively, have to have.

Next: Readers' Top 10 pantry items, and surprising results from our poll.

 

Comments

Dang, what are you baking without butter, yo?

LOL!! I immediately thought the same thing! Butter! I must have it!

I only have item 4, 10 and 13! Not for the sake of baking! That explains it :P

With those ingredients, we could make a nice batch of chocolate mini-bundt cakes. Just make sure to bring your pans to the desert island!

These days, I am using whole-wheat pastry flour in place of AP flour in most of my baked goods. I also love my buttermilk powder :)

well, with those ingredients you could make your own pie crust! so I wouldn't worry about a pieless island! nice list, Im struggling to think of anything I would add...chocolate is always essential!

I couldn't agree with your more, Lydia. I go crazy when any of those is missing in my pantry!

The only item I might add is molasses. Um, and maybe oatmeal. I use both these items a lot when I bake. Plus molasses does nice things to chili and baked beans. And pancakes, in a pinch. :-)

Phew, only missing one thing from the list - #2. :)

Sounds good to me, although I could entirely do without #2--I'd substitute it with dairy (milk, cream, buttermilk).

ummm...how about those Crisco bars? I use them fairly often.

Jessica, Sher: thank you -- you were so right! I had to update the list.

Tigerfish, what are you making with eggs, sugar and chocolate? Sounds intriguing...

TW, I'll be there with bundt pans in tow!

Nupur, I haven't yet tried whole wheat pastry flour. Is that a supermarket item or something from the specialty store? And buttermilk powder -- yep, I always have that in the pantry.

Ginny, that's what I figured, too. The fun of making this list was thinking about the bare essentials -- what could I truly live without.

Patricia, you are such a wonderful baker that I'm sure you could make anything with just these ingredients!

Ann, I keep molasses in the pantry but seldom use it. Will check your blog for some new recipe ideas.

Cate, I'm becoming quite fond of white whole wheat flour. I really recommend it.

Mike, good additions to the list. Thanks.

Catherine, vegetable shortening is great for pie crusts, I think. And I use it in cookies sometimes.

So as a Daring baker I do positively have all this in my pantry. Maybe a while back I would have scored miserably here but now I make the 13! Now I think I have a lot more than what you mentioned here - nuts for example!

I also use whole wheat pastry flour for most of my quick breads, pancakes, cookies etc...anything with baking powder or baking soda. It has lower gluten so works well without yeast...and I buy it at the grocery store.

These lists are great! Thanks Lydia!

I would want nuts, or honey I could probably live without the whole wheat flour even though I do enjoy honey wheat bread, or the puff pastry (if I'm on a deserted island I should have enough time and patience to make the puff pastry from the butter flour and yeast, right?).

LOL...mine is far more full than that. :)

Yes, we could bake up a storm with those ingredients!

If I had to go with a baker's dozen, I'm choosing yours. But if it were a baker's dozen and a half, I'm adding: flaked coconut, whole vanilla beans, buttermilk powder, pecans, dried fruit (cranberries, cherries and blueberries) and confectioner's sugar.

I now have a sudden urge to go bake cookies.

I don't know if I hit 225...the reason is I don't know...I don't count anymore. It sure has grown and keeps growing with each package I get from other bloggers!! Thanks for letting us peek through your list!

Meeta, I'd probably want some walnuts -- for brownies!

Leslie, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I will definitely look for whole wheat pastry flour.

Hillary, thanks.

Courtney, I thought about the puff pastry, but then realized that even if I had the time, I'd probably never make it. Inspired by watching an old Julia Child show, I did make it once -- and then realized that, like pie crust, the storebought version was pretty good.

Peabody, Veron: you'd both be most welcome on my island!

Sandie, I'd add buttermilk powder and dried fruit -- oh, and confectioners sugar to make Royal Icing!

Tartelette, it's fun (and a bit scary) to count your pantry. And my 225 doesn't include the one-off things, gifts from friends, homemade jam, travel souvenirs, etc. Try it, and let me know if you hit 225.

225? shall I be surpised, it is our Lydia?!!!

The only one of those items I could live without would be the frozen puff pastry. But then again, if I had all the other ingredients (especially lots of butter), I could make it myself. (And that goes for the pie crust as well!) Other than that, I've got all of them. Whew! Good to know I'm prepared! ;-)

Gattina, gosh, it does sound like a lot, doesn't it?!

Toni, if you're willing to make puff pastry, you'd be welcome on my island!

I could probably easily do without white sugar since we have brown on the list. Might like to have butter milk. So glad there is butter, that would be must have. I'll make pie crust with the rest!

So...what are the 225 items in the perfect pantry? Is there a list?

MyKitchen, a few people have mentioned buttermilk. I'm very into the buttermilk powder these days, because it keeps forever in the pantry. Might we bring that to the island?

Jenn, there is a "list" -- it's this blog! I've written about every one of the 225 items here on The Perfect Pantry.

I've been a lurker but had to comment since I'm also a baker.

Your list is almost perfect but there are a few things I'd add to mine. Someone else mentioned nuts and I have to agree. Also my citrus oils though they need refrigeration. Oh, they'll be fine on the island since we'll have all the essential appliances.

I have everything on this list except for puff pastry (maybe it's somewhere in the back of the freezer but has been crushed by the million pounds of Indian food we keep there) I'm having a hard time thinking of what I would make with it though, any ideas?

Deepti, why not start with samosas?

oh I definitely should try that, I LOVE samosas! thank you :)

Is it odd that I have everything on that list? Makes me feel like a real baker. :P

Lets not for get the Cream of Tartar! It always crops up in a recipe if you don't have it ready!!!!

Lemons are always a must in my kitchen.

you have to remember, it's the pantry, not fridge

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