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Homemade Cooking And Baking Ingredients

Updated on October 17, 2012
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Anyone who does a lot of cooking or baking, either privately or professionally, knows there is nothing better than fresh, homemade food;The smell of homemade bread can be enticing to people who are walking by the restaurant or a bakery.

Many places and chefs pride themselves on fresh, daily made pasta noodles such as lasagna, spaghetti, or macaroni. Mexican restaurants pride themselves on fresh, daily made tortillas Fresh in-house made cheeses are a staple of many, many restaurants--especially Italian and Mexican (Queso Fresca, fresh cheese) ones. It is very importnat to the restaurants that are family owned and ran. Even the restaurants that, even though they might be chains, might want to maintain the “old world” traditions and rustic feel to their menus ensure they have fresh, in-house made ingredients.

There are so many great freshly made foods out there that we, as customers and consumers, go out of our way to eat. We might go and visit a restaurant or the local bakeries that make fresh breads or cheeses to eat and enjoy them on special occasions.

There are a lot of the ingredients to the foods we bake or cook at home that we believe we can only get at the store; we don’t realize that many of those ingredient can easily be made at home.

True, we don’t have to go out of our way to make these ingredients, we can easily get them at the store for virtual nothing (meaning that they are not expensive, or hard to find), but if you find yourself in a pinch, whether it’s because you can’t get to the store on account of the weather or time or what not, or if you don’t see the need to have two separate ingredients lying around (one of which you only use once or twice) you can make these at home.

The following list of ingredients are a few that you can make if you ever decide that make them is better than buying them.

molasses and white sugar can make brown sugar
molasses and white sugar can make brown sugar | Source
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Brown Sugar

You can make your own brown sugar if you ever find yourself too low to make those cookies you want or if you just want to experiment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about making cookies or a cake or brownies only to find out that I didn’t have any brown sugar.

The interesting thing is that you don’t have to worry if you are out of or too low on brown sugar, because you can just make your own.

Brown sugar is simply a combination of molasses and white sugar.

In fact, light brown sugar and dark brown sugar, are just white sugar mixed with a different amount of molasses.

Light brown sugar has less molasses.

Dark brown sugar has more molasses.

If you want to make your own brown sugar, just stir together a cup of white sugar with a ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of molasses until you get a nice consistency to your homemade brown sugar. Use it immediately with any baking recipe.

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Super Fine Sugar

Also known as a Baker’s sugar.

This stuff is not as “grainy” as your normal granulated sugar.

It is used primarily in bakery goods such as cookies, cakes and other confectionaries.

But it can just as simply be used for other things. I really like this stuff on cereal or in coffee.

Where I buy sugar the baker's sugar and regular sugar are the same price. So price is not an issue, but if you don’t want to have two types of sugars around the house, you can make your own baker’s sugar from regular sugar.

Simply pour the desired amount of normal granulated sugar into your food processor and blitz it for 30 seconds or so (longer for a larger amount of sugar) until you have a finly granulated sugar.

If you just want to make a smaller amount, you can use a coffee grinder (make sure it is completely clean or you’ll have “coffee sugar”.

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Cake Flour

Like Baker’s Sugar, Cake Flour is used in bakery goods such as cakes and brownies. I’ve seen the price of this flour vary at the store, but not by too much. But as with the sugar, you might not want to have two types of flour around the house if you are not going to use it on a regular basis.

Also, like the Baker’s Sugar, the Cake Flour is a finer grind of flour. Just do the same thing as with the sugar to make Baker's Sugar: put the flour in the food processor and blitz it for 30 second to a minute until it is more "powdery".

c. This finely ground flour will keep as long as the regular flour.

d. Remember, if you are measuring out an amount of regular flour before blitzing it to make cake flour, the blitz cake flour with actually be less flour by volume, so it is a good idea to blitz before measuring out to get to proper amount a recipe might call for.

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Peanut Butter

Sure, peanut butter is a staple in every pantry and really doesn’t need to be made fresh at home. However, homemade peanut butter can be used to make peanut butter cookies or a nice peanut sauce.

Also, you can measure the amount of salt or sodium in the peanut butter if you make it yourself.

Again, the food processor is your best friend; a simple recipe for peanut butter is as follows:

-1 cup roasted UN-salted peanuts

-¼ cup oil (walnut or peanut oil)

-½ teaspoon of salt (or less)

1. Place in a food processor and blitz until well combined; amount one minute.

2. Taste and re-season as desired.

Store Bought Salad Dressing
Store Bought Salad Dressing | Source
Basic Ingredients for dressing
Basic Ingredients for dressing | Source

Salad Dressing

As with the peanut butter, we tend to have a healthy stock of salad dressings in the refrigerator. But, making it homemade is just tastier.

Also, with the amount of additives and sodium in the store bought dressing can be worrisome.

However, salad dressings like a vinaigrette can be used for more than just a salad; you can use it for a great marinade on fish, chicken or pork.

I’ve already written up two homemade recipes for salad dressing and I’ve include the links below. Enjoy!

Do you find it easier to make your own ingredients?

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    • Edgar Arkham profile image
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      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from Modesto, CA

      Thank you for reading! I was gonna add the vanilla sugar but I forgot until after I published the hub.

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Interesting hub. I usually make salad dressing and most other things myself but wasn't aware of the sugar, flour & peanut butter. Great ideas, if you don't have a shop around the corner. I sometimes make my own vanilla sugar (just add a vanilla pod to a jar of sugar and let it sit for a few days). The sugar will have a delicious vanilla smell and taste.