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It’s Time to Stock Up on Baking Essentials

We’re getting close to that time of year again… you know what I’m talking about. The holidays are (gasp!) just around the corner, and it’s time to think about baking those wonderful family treats. Stocking up on some of the staples now can ease your budget. Baking essentials like flour and sugar will be a little cheaper now, and you may even be able to find some on sale. A grocery store by me has been selling 5 pound bags of unbleached flour for less than a dollar lately! The best way to store flour so that it doesn’t get buggy is to place the flour in a plastic bag and then freeze it. If you are making any yeast-based baked goods, remember to bring the flour to room temperature before starting the recipe, or the cold flour will kill the yeast.

White sugar will store indefinitely as long as it is kept dry. Brown sugar, however, only lasts a few months before it starts to solidify. If you have some brown sugar that is too hard to work with, heat it in a 250 degree oven to soften it, then use it immediately.

Leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda lose their effectiveness over time. If they’ve been sitting on your shelf since last holiday season, it might be a good idea to replace them. Instead of tossing the baking soda, open the box and put it in your refrigerator to absorb odors. Baking powder has an expiration date. I suggest you use aluminum-free baking powder.

Dried fruit will keep for a few months, especially if you don’t open the package until you are ready to use it.

The only thing I would hold off on purchasing for now is butter, unless you find a great sale at the grocery store. As temperatures cool, demand for dairy products decreases, as does the price. Using real butter will not only improve the taste of your baked goods, but it’s better for you. Be sure to check out TheMomsResource for some wonderful baking recipes.

Happy baking!

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