This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

Welcome to my kitchen… for the next few weeks, I will be repeating my updated kitchen storecupboard basics…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard(or it’s out of date) or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…think Jim jams and have our curlers in our hair…

We all need a well-stocked store cupboard...one containing things we use and maybe just a few we don’t use so often but keep and store well…remember that if the shelf life is short maybe freeze or look for an alternative especially if it is expensive.

It takes time (and) money to build up a good store cupboard therefore I am breaking it down into easy stages…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Don’t they always though…haha

TIP OF THE WEEK.

You are reading a recipe and come across something you have never heard of or know is ridiculously expensive and doesn’t store well…It is well worth taking the time to learn what you can substitute for an ingredient and often it doesn’t alter the taste at all …But always do your research and don’t let one ingredient put you off making a recipe…

Store cupboard staples range from flour, sugar, canned goods, oils, rice, pasta, dried herbs, stock cubes(bouillon)...

Today I am starting with flours and sugars…

Flours:

store cupboard flour

Photo credit: kev_walsh on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

A kitchen essential which is used in both sweet and savoury dishes…from baking cakes and pastries, pasta making, thickening gravy and making sauces…

The flour milling industry is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in the world…But with the changes and additions to flour and bread-making, some of it is akin to eating tasteless cardboard. Because of Covid …Home baking is on the rise again…Whoopee!

Before I list the different flours and sugars I will add that I use unbleached flours and also check the origin of the flours I buy but for the purpose of a list of food basics, I am just mentioning uses not origins etc…The post would be too long and that isn’t the purpose of this post…

Cornflour/Cornstarch…Is a very fine white flour used to thicken sauces/gravies and also used to stabilise egg-based mixtures to stop curdling.

Wheat Flours…Most recipes call for plain( all-purpose) flour. For recipes which call for a raising agent… self-raising flour has added raising agents. Wholemeal flour is available as both plain and self-raising. Flour labelled as a strong bread flour has more gluten and is suitable for making bread.

Gluten-free flours…For those with a diagnosed allergy to gluten which is found in wheat and other grains …Gluten-free flour is available from most supermarkets and health food stores.

Rice Flour…Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.

Rice flour is used a lot here plus it makes the lightest of sponges which are also gluten-free…it is also what I use as a thickening agent instead of cornflour.

Raising Agents…Baking powder can be added to plain flour to give a lighter texture to cakes and biscuits( cookies). The powder works as it reacts to the liquids and heat during the cooking process which produces carbon dioxide bubbles which in turn makes the mixture rise.

Baking Soda is also a leavening agent BUT they are used for different purposes…The differences

Sugar…

Sugars…Refined and raw sugars are used to sweeten and flavour many different dishes…cakes, bakes, pastries, cookies, desserts and even savoury just a little sugar brings out the sweetness of the tomato.

Brown sugar…Dark, unrefined sugars have a rich caramel flavour. There are quite a few different types of brown sugar…Light and dark muscovado (brown) sugar and dark molasses sugar. The rule of thumb is the darker the sugar the more intense the flavour. Palm sugar is my sugar of choice here and quite recently I came across banana flower sugar.

Castor sugar/superfine sugar…Is a fine-grained white sugar which is used in baking cakes and biscuits( cookies)

Demerara/raw sugar… A large crystallized sugar with a rich, slightly honeyish flavour. It is great for adding texture to cookies( biscuits) and coffee.

Granulated sugar…This refined white sugar has large crystals. It is used for sweetening drinks and everyday cooking, it can also be used as a crunchy cookie or cake topping…lovely mixed with lemon or orange juice and poured on top of a warm cake…It gives a lovely citrus crunch. It can also be used in a crumble topping for extra texture.

Icing/Confectioners sugar…The finest of all refined sugars this sugar has a powdery texture and is ideal for dusting cakes, confectionery, desserts and cookies(biscuits) such a sim0le effective decoration especially if feathered or a stencil is used. It is also used for making icing for caked or sweetening flavoured creams…

If you are setting up your store cupboard from scratch I would first decide on a suitable dry, dark cupboard and make sure you have adequate containers..glass is good I save all my glass containers I soak the labels off and indeed I have so many now I could start a shop…lol…seriously though glass can be cleaned sterilised and used over and over again plus it can be used in the fridge and freezer as well as your store cupboard.

Before you go shopping for flour and sugar…Source some favourite recipes and write your list…Plus before you go and buy that great deal on flour or sugar check the shelf life there is no good buying cheap money saving packets by the kilo if you don’t bake cakes often …

Start small and monitor how it goes…what do you use the most? we all use more of certain food staples than others so don’t get stuck with something you hardly ever use…

For example, I use more rice flour and raw sugar than I do icing sugar…SO I buy small quantities also because it is so humid here it goes hard and lumpy.

It takes me a while to get into the right frame of mind and have a recce of my store cupboard but it’s such a lovely feeling when it’s done …Now you have completed sorting your flour and sugar it’s now time to get your favourite tipple and a book and put those feet up…

Part 1 is finished...Flour and Sugar are all neat and shipshape…Next Thursday it’s Part 2  where we sort those packets of pasta and noodles until then stay safe, be well and as always… I look forward to your comments xx

28 thoughts on “This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 8th -14th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Glass” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Maddie Cochere

    Hi Carol! Early 2020, the start of the pandemic, I went to the store for groceries and was shocked to find nothing on the shelves. No meat, no milk, no eggs … so little food. Once I realized the world was not ending, I started right then and there to stock a pantry. You are so smart to advise this to your readers. I bought a good amount of flour at the time, put most of it in air-tight containers and put them in my freezer. Flour will last up to two years in the freezer. (Some sites say indefinitely.) Thanks for the information!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Hi Maddie…a good move as yes you can freeze flour I also think a well-stocked store cupboard aids you to cook and plan better and does save you money….plus you get to eat more flavourful food…Thank you for dropping by and leaving a valuable comment 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  3. Pingback: This week in my kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 1…Flours and Sugars… – MobsterTiger

  4. beetleypete

    I do all the shopping, and the majority of the cooking too. But I am guilty of often rrunning out of things in my (disorganised) store cupboard. Recent examples include preparing a Chicken Curry to discover I had no rice left, then starting to make a Pesto Chicken Pasta and finding out I had run out of Pine Nuts. Luckily, the big Tesco is only about 4 miles away, and open until midnight. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Maybe it would save you running about if it was a little more organised…but on the plus well done for doing shopping and cooking, Pete my other half would not know where to start unless it was something with mashed potatoes and no gravy..he has been spoilt! x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. lievelee

    Hmmm… Just on my way back to Vietnam and I am wondering what my store cupboard there will consist of. Much more basic than the list you have compiled here. I have taken your advice on board though and filled my suitcase with at least some spices plus other food items to allow some variation: bulghur wheat and giant couscous, red lentils, puy lentils… Rice and noodles become a tad tedious after a while. Luckily, there is no lack of variation on the green vegetable side…

    Lieve

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  6. Pingback: CarolCooks2…My weekly roundup…Fuss Free flavours, Travel and recipes | Retired? No one told me!

  7. rosered1952

    Good advice Carol, I always try to keep my pantry filled. I was wondering if your products are organic. The packaging looks like it came from an organic store. I tried to buy organic a few years ago but became too expensive.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I do weigh up the cost, Rose…Sometimes I buy organic but if it is very expensive and I don’t use it too often then I buy norma but I do always buy unbleached flour which isn’t always that much more expensive..I think anything in moderation can’t do too much harm it is when we eat it day in day out and in large amounts it can be problematic 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. Norah

    You’ve got a good list of basics there, Carol. I must admit that I don’t do a lot of baking any more, so don’t have much in my pantry. I’m also shocked at the very old use-by dates on items in my pantry and fridge each time I do a cleanout. I think I do it evey year or so, but when some things date back to last century (not really) it’s hard to believe I do. 🙂
    Thoroughly enjoyed the video. I’m inclined to agree.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I loved the video she is not someone I watch it just came up on my timeline and it made me laugh…I loved the tsp and tbsp…I know that feeling Norah but I am getting better especially now I make much more I use my herbs and spices quite quickly which is good…Have a great weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

Make my day leave a comment I love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.