Keep a stocked pantry!
Having a stocked pantry definitely helps me when I feel inspired to bake something. There's nothing worse than wanting to cook or bake something, and having to go to the store to buy the ingredients!
Most baking recipes are a variation of a few simple ingredients--milk, flour, eggs, butter, salt and sugar. The important leavening ingredients (what makes stuff rise) is yeast, baking powder and baking soda (in quick breads), and eggs. I looked in my refrigerator and pantry, and realized that I have so many types of flour, milk, sugar and oil.
SO, here's what's my pantry!
4 Types of Flour: all-purpose flour (needed for pretty much EVERY baking recipe), wheat flour, corn flour, and Wondra flour. Most "wheat bread" recipes call for a combination of all-purpose flour and wheat flour. Corn flour can be used to make tortillas, and is used in combination with cornmeal to make cornbread. Wondra "quick-mixing" flour is used to thicken sauces. One type of flour that I don't have is semolina flour (used to make pasta). I'll be getting some soon since one of my tart crust recipes calls for it.
4 Types of Milk: skim milk, sour milk, heavy cream, and whipped cream in a can. The skim milk is for my cereal and oatmeal. The sour milk is left over skim milk I didn't get to. Many muffin recipes call for sour milk or buttermilk. If you don't have sour milk OR buttermilk, you can make buttermilk by adding 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of milk, and let it sit for few minutes until the milk curdles. This all sounds weird, but the sour milk gives muffins a really nice flavor, and the the high oven temperature kills the bad bacteria. I can make whipped cream out of the heavy cream by adding a little powder sugar and vanilla to it, and beating it. I'm not sure why I have the whipped cream in a can.. I prefer to make my own by beating the heavy whipped cream.
4 Types of Oil: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, and Unsalted Butter. Different oils burn at different temperatures, so pay attention to what recipes call for. I mostly bake with vegetable oil or butter. I don't have any vegetable shortening, but it's something I need to make pie and tart crusts.
So, those are a few important ingredients needed in all of the baking recipes I've done. Since buying food can be so expensive, I don't buy anything unil I've planned making a specific dish.
Have uncommon types of flour, oil, or milk in your pantry? Post it under the Comments!
**Note: I updated the peanut butter hummus recipe. Add ground cumin, ground corriander, and paprika to really bring out the flavors. And don't forget that adding the right amount of salt is what brings all of the flavors together!