please help me with my kitchen restock
I'm almost finished with a kitchen remodel and haven't bought anything since July. Hence, my cupboards are quite literally bare. Since the holidays are coming up, I want to get the best of everything that I can reasonably afford, especially for baking. Below are my shopping lists. I would greatly appreciate your input on the brands I've chosen, the places I've chosen to get specific items, anything I've left out, etc.
Hain baking powder or Bob's red mill
white lily ap flour
king arthur bread flour
domino sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar
cabot's creamery butter
better than boullion
fleur de sel
pumpkin pie spice (perhaps redundant)
cocoa powder (maybe Trader Joe's instead)
rice, arborio, jasmine, basmati
white chocolate chips and regular chocolate chips
Is all yeast created equal? I'm not much of a bread baker. Mainly will be used for pizza dough and waffles.
espresso powder from somewhere
I have trader joe's tahaitian vanilla and penzey's almond extract, but am not crazy about either, so recommendations would be helpful
plotting order from nutsonline - almonds, dried strawberries, mangoes, etc.
eggs are local
And I'm totally coveting the cookie baker's gift from Lake Champlain chocolates, but I can't justify $50.
Thank you in advance.
I agree with JoanN -- SAF instant yeast is wonderful. And have you tried Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla, and Rumford baking powder? Both very good. Do you have cornstarch?
I recommend unbleached flours whenever possible -- King Arthur unbleached is lovely. Will you be baking cakes? -- then you may want cake flour, as well.
Tomato paste, sauce, whole, crushed
Maple syrup (grade B is the tastiest)
Tins of tuna
Baking chocolate other than chips
Pam oil spray
Peanut butter (Smucker’s chunky!), Gulden’s mustard, Maille Dijon mustard,
Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco or other hot sauces, soy sauce
Spices - carefully go through their catalog or website, because you’re sure to forget something important (voice of experience, that). Oregano, chili powder, cumin -- depends on what cuisines you like to cook. Only whole nutmegs that you grate yourself.
If you're going to Trader Joe's, I like D'Aquino espresso. It's fair trade and organic and makes a good cup of coffee. If you're near a Costco, you can get fresh vanilla beans there. You can make your own vanilla. I've heard good things about Penzey's extra strength vanilla and that's on my list of things to get. As nutmeg goes, don't get the preground one. I'd do w/out pumpkin pie spices, as others have suggested. I have never used it, nor wished I had it.
Powdered sugar I generally don't stock up on but pick it up, as needed. I only use it for frosting. I don't know if you use any whole grain flour, but I like King Arthur's and also use ww pastry flour. I like the heartiness of it. I use cornmeal more often than I think I will, from making corn bread to baking bread/pizza. Parmesan cheese--TJ has parmegiano reggiano. It also has good fresh mozzarella if you make pizza or lasagne.
If you make your own pizza dough, you should seriously consider the Sir Lancelot high gluten hard wheat flour from King Arthur. It’s even higher gluten than their bread flour and IMHO makes a superior pizza.
No, I don’t think all yeast is created equal. And an awful lot of what’s available on supermarket shelves has been sitting there for ages. I prefer Saf Instant, which I keep in the freezer.
I don’t see balsamic vinegar on your list. A must-have for me.
And I’d add grapeseed oil. I much prefer it to canola when I don’t want the flavor of olive oil.
I do think pumpkin pie spice is unnecessary. I much prefer to use fresh spices in the quantities I prefer, not those chosen for me. And nearly all the best recipes specify the quantities of the individual spices anyway.
Agree that pumpkin pie spice is unnecessary, but you may want to get some mace in its stead, as I find that a nice addition to the nutmeg/cinnamon/allspice blend.
and I always have a few boxes of Zatarain's low-sodium red beans & rice on hand for a quick, cheap meal/side dish on those "oops!" nights.
Just a suggestion, but I never buy brown sugar anymore. I mix molasses (and yes, I use Grandma's too) with white sugar. My recipe is about two tablespoons molasses to cup of sugar, which makes a medium dark brown sugar. You can go lighter or darker as recipes require. I just mix it up in my food processor and save a lot of money.
And I bake all my family's bread. We buy yeast in bulk at our local food coop, which also is much less expensive than buying it by the cube or envelope though I have used all the popular brands. I don't notice any difference between them.
I was about to say the same thing with brown sugar. I don't buy it anymore either. I like the control of how dark to make it and it's much less expensive.
As yeast goes, you can buy a huge amount at Costco for about $3 and keep it in the freezer. I've barely made a dent in it and I bake quite a lot. If the OP bakes bread, I'd also suggest vital wheat gluten.