Creative Freezer Cooking and Fun Play for Little Ones

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Baking

Here's some great baking information from Mary Hunt at Everyday Cheapskates. She gives you the shelf life of all these items and the best ways to store them.


All-purpose flour: As its name implies, this is your basic flour and can be used in most baked goods. It's best to store flour tightly sealed in a canister. Flour has a shelf life of about eight months in the cupboard, about one year refrigerated and several years in the freezer. Always use up all the flour in the canister before adding more.Self-rising flour: This is all-purpose flour to which baking powder and salt have been added. Don't substitute it for other flours because the added ingredients might affect your recipe outcome. Only use self-rising flour if the recipe calls for it. It's best to keep this in the original container, tightly wrapped, and keep in mind the shelf-life is only about six months.Whole wheat flour: Store whole wheat flour in the freezer. It contains fat from the wheat germ and can become rancid at room temperature. Whole wheat flour is good for about six months in the freezer, and only a couple of months if stored at room temperature.


Granulated sugar
: This is refined from sugar cane or beets and is used in most baked goods. When stored properly in a tightly covered canister, it will last for years.

Confectioners' sugar: Also called 10X sugar or powdered sugar, this is granulated sugar that has been ground into a powder. Confectioners' sugar is commonly used in cake and cookie icings and is often dusted on desserts. It's best to store it in the original box.

Brown sugar, light or dark: This soft textured and hearty-tasting sugar is white sugar flavored with molasses. Light and dark are interchangeable; it is a matter of taste. Keep it well wrapped in the original packaging. It's best to use it within six months of purchase for maximum flavor. Don't store brown sugar in the refrigerator. However, if you are in a very dry area or are going to keep it for a long time, freeze it.

Molasses: This dark, thick syrup is the liquid that is left behind from the process of refining sugar. It can be stored in the pantry. Make sure you wipe the bottle well after using to prevent stickiness and pests.

Honey: For baking purposes, select a light colored honey for a more delicate flavor. Store tightly sealed in a cool dry place for up to one year or indefinitely in the freezer. If the honey crystallizes, microwave it for about 30 seconds or melt it in the jar in a pan of hot water over low heat.

Maple Syrup: Make sure you buy pure maple syrup, not pancake or table syrup. Once opened, store maple syrup in the refrigerator.


Baking soda: Also known as bicarbonate of soda, baking soda is used as a leavener to make dough and batter rise. Once opened, baking soda has a shelf life of only six months.

Baking powder: This leavener is composed of baking soda, an acid (usually cream of tarter and a moisture absorber, like cornstarch. Once you open it, it will be effective for about six months when stored on the pantry shelf. Stored in the freezer, it will remain good indefinitely. You can check to see if your baking powder is still active by stirring one teaspoon into 1/3 cup of warm water. If it still fizzes, it's okay.

Yeast: Generally, yeast comes in three forms: fresh active compressed "cakes," (which will be in the store's refrigerator section), active dry and rapid rise granules. Rapid rise yeast reduces rising time by as much as 50 percent, which allows you to eliminate the first rise. Rapid rise is the same as "instant" or "bread machine yeast." Store unopened yeast in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or refrigerator. Use within three to four months. Freezing yeast is not recommended.

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