Simply Baking

9 Comments

Decluttering is not just about throwing out the piles of junk gathering dust in the basement.  Nor is minimalism about having a sparsely furnished apartment with almost no sign of human habitation.  They are words which are open to interpretation but the over-arching concept is to simplify our homes and lives so that we can make time and space for living.

It is important to keep baking and cooking simple.  Creating meals from scratch can easily lead you to acquire all manner of ingredients.  All too often these are used once and then end up relegated to the back of the cupboard.  I have a well-stocked pantry that has the basic ingredients that I use to create the meals we eat.

I also regularly make substitutions to new recipes so that they fit my ingredients.  It is easy to be conned into having many varieties of one ingredient, such as sugar.  There is caster, white, soft brown, raw, Demerara and numerous others.  I use raw sugar for most general use.  I also keep soft brown sugar and caster sugar.  If a recipe demands a specialty sugar that I feel cannot be satisfactorily substituted I discard the recipe.

Flour is another example of many options available – white, wholemeal, organic, stoneground, plain, self-raising.  I prefer to keep both white and wholemeal.  I use white flour for pastry, pasta and making roux for sauces but other than that I tend to use wholemeal or half and half if I want a lighter texture.  I only buy plain flour and add baking powder to make self-raising flour as required.

2012-03-28 01I buy my flour in 5kg bags from  Simply Good.  I also buy my baking powder in bulk from the same store.

2012-03-28 02The baking powder is sold from bulk bins so I fill a recycled paper bag with it and then decant into the large glass jar. which is in my stock cupboard.  I refill the small container in the pantry as required.  Please do not not confuse bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) with baking powder.  Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.

2012-03-28 03With basic ingredients to hand it is easy to bake for your family where you know exactly what is in the food.  I made these muffins this morning with the last of some bottled cherries I had bought a couple of years ago – not sure why?  The recipe was the basic muffin recipe from the book, “Down to Earth” by Rhonda Hetzel.  You can find out more on her blog.

2012-03-28 04I made a zucchini quiche for dinner at the same time.  I always try to cook more than one dish when I have the oven turned on so that the power is used efficiently.

Have you tried to simplify the ingredients in your pantry?

9 thoughts on “Simply Baking

  1. Do you make your own baking powder? If not, to do so, mix 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda with 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. If you wish to store it, add 1 teaspoon corn starch to absorb any moisture from the air. Most commercially made baking powders contain aluminium.

  2. I can’t ‘not’ have SR flour (I find recipes that ask for plain + baking powder, I do as they say, but they often taste a little ‘tart’ or similar…) But then I don’t ever have raw sugar, and I don’t yet have wholemeal (I had it when I was living at home though…) I think I need to review my cupboard/pantry and find recipes for things that aren’t being used much at the moment… like random spices I received at my housewarming in Jan

    • The ‘tart’ flavour can sometimes be if the baking powder is not mixed thoroughly. Sifting it with the flour ensures an even mix. Anyway, we all do what suits our own needs. 🙂

      Edited to add – It may be the aluminium – refer to my new post.

      • Yeah I just saw… Now I’m weighing up the effort equation… I mean I grate soap to making my own washing powder, will I do this with bi carb… I shall see (but first I will use my stash up, only cause I don’t like to waste things. I can pretend I didn’t know this fact til it ran out!)

  3. I always try and bake a couple of things at one time. When my daughter was visiting she talked me into trying quinoa – a new ingredient for me, and also chia, so I think there is a balance required – as sometimes I can get into a rut. I find wholemeal flour gets weevils and bugs in this climate so buy white flour and keep it in the fridge, then add bran and wheatgerm as needed. I do also find a few bay leaves in flour helps to keep the bugs away.

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