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A baking starter kit?

LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited September 15 in Parent Cafe
D has discovered a passion for baking. It’s relaxing and therapeutic for her. Her bf’s dorm has a full kitchen, and I know she’d love to bake while at school, so for her upcoming bday, I thought I’d give her a baking starter kit.

I have ideas for some basic supplies she will need, but I am worried about just how many staple ingredients are needed for basic baking.

I’d love to hear any bakers’ thoughts on what a baker who doesn’t live at home would need to successfully bake something when the mood strikes. She has access to a car and could always go to a grocery store for some extra ingredients, but my thought was that she should have enough staples to avoid doing that.


Supplies:

Oven mitt
Baking tray
Silicon baking mat
Spatula
Bowl
Mixing spoon and a fork (not doing a hand blender. I rarely ever need one myself.)
Cooling rack
Maybe silicon cake pan? (I suspect cookies are baked good of choice, and many things can be made on a baking tray.)

Ingredients:

Flour
Sugar
Vanilla
Baking powder
Crisco instead of butter?
Salt

What other items are staples in a bakers cupboard? What am I missing?


If this idea is totally impractical, please don’t be shy in saying so.
edited September 15
62 replies
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Replies to: A baking starter kit?

  • doschicosdoschicos 21147 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Silicon baking mat isn't a necessity. I personally use parchment paper and would add that to the list.

    Baking soda

    Brown sugar

    No to Crisco!

    Quality measuring cups and spoons

    Personally, I think a mixer is needed.

    Other pans - cake pans, 8x8, 9x12, loaf pan

    Cocoa powder

    Cinnamon

    Assorted kinds of chocolate chips will get good use

    A microplane for zesting

    Containers for storing flour, sugar, etc.
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  • runnersmomrunnersmom 2198 replies36 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 15
    I find I use baking soda as well, and definitely cocoa. Most recipes I make require eggs, so if she's going to the store anyway, I'd suggest she use butter for most recipes instead of shortening (the exception being my favorite molasses cookies.) Instead of a cake pan I might get a 24 cup mini-cupcake pan....I wouldn't worry about silicon but I would get her a selection of cute mini-cupcake liners. Or a 9"square pan for brownies!

    Better question is, does she have room to store all of this? Maybe give it to her in a small plastic tub that can be stored in a closet or under the bed.
    edited September 15
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8940 replies334 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I love the idea. My daughter is also a baker and we did something like that for her. There's a quick refrigerator cookie that can be made with just oatmeal, sugar, chocolate, butter, and vanilla that is really good. And kids seem to like chocolate chip cookies, so I'd add ingredients for those:

    Hershey's Cocoa Powder
    Oatmeal
    Natural Peanut Butter
    Chocolate Chips
    Brown Sugar
    Maybe raisins or nuts

    She should be able to make plenty of things with those ingredients and maybe butter and an egg or two.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7287 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Chocolate chips

    I also think a mixer is essential. All it will take is trying to hand mix once and that will be the end of that.

    She will need eggs, milk, and butter for many recipes so another vote to skip the shortening.
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  • greenbuttongreenbutton 2676 replies120 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I assume space is an issue, so I'd live without the cooling rack. You need measuring cups and measuring spoons. Crisco is not a substitute for butter. Silicon pans seem awesome until you try to clean them. Staple ingredients need to be stored and kept from insects.

    But she'll always need eggs and milk to cook about anything, so she's going to the store. I would lean towards a good cookbook (America's Test Kitchen has many), a great spoon/bowl, and a grocery store giftcard rather than a big collection of things to take care of.

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  • LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks @doschicos . That’s a lot more equipment than I was planning, and I’m wondering if it will all just be too bulky for her to store everything in her dorm room. I guess she could just leave it all in the kitchen and hope people don’t help themselves to it.

    I will add:

    Cinnamon
    Cocoa powder
    Brown sugar
    Baking soda
    Assorted choc chips

    Measuring cups and spoons
    Parchment paper, no silicone mat.

    I got by without a hand mixer for 15 years just using a fork, and I guess I’m thinking that she can bake basic stuff, so I won’t get her a mixer.


    Anyone have feedback on kids baking in dorms? I’m worried that it could just be a giant hassle and she will do it once and never again.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 15
    Just saw other responses. Thanks!

    Adding:
    Grocery store gift card
    Cupcake liners
    Oatmeal
    Peanut butter
    Large ziploc bags to put dry goods in.
    Storage bin for baking supplies.

    Won’t get:
    Crisco
    Silicone baking sheet
    edited September 15
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8940 replies334 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Crisco is good for pie crusts. A good knife and a cutting board might come in handy if she wants to try her hand at pies. But then she'd also need a rolling pin. Those might be items for a Christmas list if the initial set is well received.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21147 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member

    If she has room under her dorm bed, I'd get one of those flattish boxes/bins to put everything in and she can store her baking kit there.

    I would not leave it in a communal kitchen. Things will disappear or get mistreated.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3409 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter satisfied her baking desire when she was in a dorm where she didn't have a kitchen of her own, by making mug cakes (she had a microfridge in her room). I got her some boxed ones (Dr. Oetker makes good ones) where you just add milk. She also made some from scratch - lots of recipes on the internet - her favorite is pumpkin pie mug cake.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7287 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My D does microwave mug cakes too, usually from mixes because she doesn't have enough room to store ingredients.

    She said baking in the communal kitchen at her school is a PIA. I would also not leave anything in communal space that you are intending to see again.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6221 replies112 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The first question I’d ask is what kind of baking she’s doing and where. If it’s just cookies or simple baked goods like muffins or basic cakes In a shared dorm kitchen I’d skip the mixer but make sure she has a cooling rack or at least a cutting board to transfer things to. She will not want to leave cookies cooling on the counter. For one thing dorm kitchens are usually gross, but in any event anything left unattended is likely to be filched. A cutting board would also give her a clean space to work on if she wants to make pie crusts or rolled cookies. She won’t need a rolling pin-some wax paper and a wine bottle or water bottle will do the trick.

    If she’s making more complicated thing like meringues she’ll want a mixer but otherwise I’d get her a whisk. That can do double duty for pancakes or scrambled eggs without all the space and cleanup required for a mixer.

    I’d go simple on the ingredients. I rarely use cocoa powder but I use a lot of things not on any of the lists so far. How about a gift certificate to the local grocery store or just cash earmarked for baking supplies? That way if her version of baking turns out to be Betty Crocker cupcakes or the same old Tolllhouse cookies every Sunday afternoon you won’t have wasted money on oatmeal she’ll never use. (Not dissing oatmeal, it’s just not everyone’s thing)

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  • LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks again for the responses. You’ve all given me plenty of ideas.

    My D likes to bake everything. Knowing her, and understanding that she will be limited, I am sure that any baking she does at college will probably be whatever she can bake on a tray. She’s made plenty of cookies and bread loaves, hand-shaped.

    @momofsenior1 the kitchen she would use is modern and spacious, though I’m sure it’s still going to be a pain.

    @Sue22 good idea re whisk. I’ll prob add that, because it can also be used to mix cake batter, should she want to do cupcakes.

    I think I’ll give her the supplies and a grocery store gift card so that she can get her own ingredients.

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  • milee30milee30 2101 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she makes bread - yeast. We like the jars of yeast rather than the packets because you can measure out what's needed but the packets are good because they'd take up little space and are sealed.
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  • garlandgarland 16008 replies198 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I also think a mixer is essential. All it will take is trying to hand mix once and that will be the end of that.

    I have hand mixed chocolate chip cookies my entire life, and firmly believe that's one reason they're everyone's "best ever." (My mom before me and my daughter now also do them that way).
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  • CIEE83CIEE83 701 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Think about a kitchen scale. A lot of people in Europe don’t own measuring cups or spoons— they just weigh their ingredients. The scales are compact and can measure in English or metric systems. You put your mixing bowl on the scale, zero it out, and add the amount of ingredient that you need. Yes, you have to convert from volume to weight, which is a quick Google, but that’s faster than washing measuring cups and spoons. It’s also more compact to store, and more accurate.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74819 replies3279 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My DD is an avid baker. She hates hates hates those silicon anythings...pans, cupcake things...any of them. She says they really are terrible to use and an old fashioned regular muffin tin or pans os just fine.

    Get air tight containers for storage. Keeps little creatures out and the like.

    If it were me, I would send her a baking kit for one item that includes everything she needs for that. Something like a favorite cookie. Then you can send her additional recipes and items to used in the new items as needed. You know...she might find out that doing this in a dorm kitchen doesn’t work well.

    Plus, I have a fully stocked baking pantry for DD and me, and it takes up a lot of space in my full kitchen (and my kitchen isn’t tiny).

    In terms of storage, if this is at her BFs dorm, really storing there would be easier than schlepping from her place to his each time she wants to bake.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21147 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    thumper1 wrote: »
    My DD is an avid baker. She hates hates hates those silicon anythings...pans, cupcake things...any of them. She says they really are terrible to use and an old fashioned regular muffin tin or pans os just fine.

    I agree with your daughter.

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  • LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 15
    @thumper1 , that's a good idea. Maybe just get a few things and she can add to it. TBH, now that both kids are at college, I have already been thinking about how I can get rid of some of the stuff I have. She can probably take my stuff, but it's fun to have your own things.

    Re her boyfriend, yes, he's in that dorm, but it would be super awkward if they split up for her to have to get her baking supplies from him. They are virtually next door to each other though, so I thought it wouldn't be too much of a hassle to take stuff back to her dorm.

    @doschicos , am I the only one who likes silicone stuff, haha! I have a silicone baking sheet and cake "pan" that are both fantastic. Nothing ever sticks to them, and I've used both items many many many times. Though I've used some cheapy silicone stuff that is rubbish.
    edited September 15
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5524 replies337 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I second the idea of a scale, they don't take up much space.

    A good baking cookbook like https://www.amazon.com/Im-Just-Here-More-Food/dp/B004KAB31G

    I'd also add a cheap rubber spatula for getting the batter out of the bowl and a cheap 'offset' spatula that can be used for icing or lifting.
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