Professional baker or a one recipe wonder, we all know that baking ingredients aren’t easy to store. What we mean is that they don’t have a big shelf life. Storing them well is the only way to salvage all your ingredients so that they are fit to use again. You can’t obviously be buying new ingredients every time you want to bake a cake.
The Basic Ingredients
You may be wanting to bake up a storm, but for a larger reference, let’s just assume it is for a cake. Below are the most common ingredients needed for a cake:
- Sugar and salt
- Baking powder and baking Soda
- Vanilla extract
- Chocolate or cocoa powder
- Sprinklers for decoration
If you’ve been wondering how to store them, checking the packaging is a good step to start with. The packaging of every product will have it labeled on the best way to store them and where. Some will say airtight, some may say store in the dark and the list goes on.
So let’s understand how to gauge what is best for your ingredients.
- Remove it from its packaging.
- Transfer the contents to an airtight container.
- You need to keep it away from moisture and air so that the flour does not become clumpy.
2. Sugar and Salt
- Transfer sugar to a zipper bag and then store it in an airtight container.
- Sugar does not like moisture or air too and neither does it like wet spoons.
- You cannot obviously store sugar in the refrigerator.
- The same methods apply for brown sugar too.
- Also remember not to store salt in metal containers, as it could get contaminated by reacting with the metal.
- Eggs definitely find a spot in the refrigerator.
- If you are using the eggs much later than when you bought them, you may want to move the eggs from the freezer door to the main freezer.
- It’s preferable to always use egg holders and not pile them on top of each other.
- Another good thing to do if you are using the eggs later than when you bought them, is to do the float test to see if they are good enough to be used. An older egg floats in the water, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
4. Baking Powder and Baking Soda
- Many times, baking powders and baking sodas come in metal containers. In that case you do not need to transfer them to safer alternatives.
- But you have to ensure that the lids are closed properly to avoid any moisture or air to get through.
- Refrigerators are not recommended to store baking powders and baking sodas.
- Baking sodas absorb smells, so they are best kept away from spices or strong-smelling ingredients.
- Also, baking powders and baking sodas do not belong in one container. Two separate containers, always.
5. Vanilla Beans And Extract
- Vanilla extract should be stored at room temperature in a dark place, such as the pantry.
- Good quality vanilla extracts often come in darkened glass to protect the vanilla from light.
- Keep your vanilla beans as far away as possible from heat and light sources – put them in a cool and dark cabinet. So it’s a given that they can’t be anywhere near the oven!
- Beans are happiest when the temperature is about 60 degrees F, or 15.5 centigrade.
- Don’t put them in the fridge or freezer, as they are apt to get moldy! Beans will dry out or even rot if you put them in the freezer, and even in the fridge, the condensation can make them hard because the oil seeps out. So stick with a securely fastened container and your vanilla beans will last.
6. Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
- Chocolates definitely need good containers to be stored away so that you are not inviting pests around them, especially the chocolates with added sweeteners.
- Store chocolate bars in refrigerators for a longer shelf life.
- Well, not the same for cocoa powders. Cocoa powders do not belong in a fridge, as they may absorb moisture and expire sooner.
- Airtight containers for storing cocoa will keep them from growing fungus.
- Oils are best stored in a cool dry place in a jar.
- Your kitchen cabinets or pantry are good enough to store the oils.
- Nuts absorb smells too, so keep them away from stronger smelling ingredients and spices.
- Airtight containers are a must for storing nuts as they tend to go softer if they come in contact with air.
- Nuts can be stored for a month and more, if stored well in an airtight container.
- Yeast must be stored properly. If not, it can surely make your cake soggy and flat. So always refrigerate your yeast after purchase.
- By refrigerating fresh yeast, you can extend its shelf life up to a year.
- To check whether your yeast is still usable or not, just mix ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ cup warm water, and a pack of yeast. If it bubbles up substantially after 15 minutes, then it’s ready for baking.
10. Sprinkles For Decoration
- Sprinkles are largely made out of condensed and dried sugar. So it’s normally a sweet item. And nothing screams of pest trouble more than sweets! A simple solution is using airtight containers.
- Their original packaging is usually made airtight, so you won’t have to spend much in that department.
The golden rule to follow when storing baking ingredients is using airtight containers, and allowing no moisture or air. Let’s face it: baking is as much science as it’s art, and if the ingredients aren’t stored well, what you eventually get out of the oven simply won’t have the “Wow!” factor in it.