Dede Wilson Blog

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Taking Ingredients for Granted

February 23, 2012 - Posted By Dede Wilson

I came across an article at on baking powder as “the invisible ingredient”. So says Linda Civitello whose dissertation at UCLA is on the history of this common white powder that is in every one of our pantries. It got me thinking…how many times have I reached for my trusty can of baking powder – it is usually David or Rumford in my kitchen – and I couldn’t even fathom the number. Hundreds and hundreds for sure. Thousands? Probably. I remember when I had my bakery we bought this huge industrial size can. It looked just like the cans you buy in any supermarket but it stood about 2 feet tall and about 10 to 12-inches across. I have tried to find a picture on-line to no avail. Of course, I was going through it fast enough that it warranted the sizable purchase. I wish I still had that can as it would have made a lovely repurposed vase. If you want storage, purchase and usage information, check out my Bakepedia entry on BAKING POWDER. I love the current Davis can. It was an airtight snap-on lid (as opposed to the old metal ones that you needed to pry open) and they also have this nice ridge inside the top where you can level off your measuring spoon (seen below). But I digress. There really are so many ingredients that we take for granted. Salt, baking soda, sugar, flour….the basics are just “there”. So easy to find, relatively inexpensive and yet, we cannot bake without them. I would love to hear about what “extras” you keep around. For instance, I always try to have a supply of honey and molasses. Not “first string” ingredients but maybe 1.5. How about you? I have to say that since I do not drink milk at all (I use soymilk in my cereal) I often have to buy it specially for baking. Heavy cream, on the other hand, is almost always in my frig. There is a lot of ganache making going on over here. Tell me about your basics and your basics plus.