Missing ingredients for baking and cooking?

Ingredient substitutions.

Have you ever set aside time to bake,Baking, Mixer only to have an ingredient missing, or “bad?” Don’t fret! Michigan State University Extension states that you can use ingredient substitutions to continue with your recipe. I recently had a call asking how to soften rock-hard brown sugar, and realized there may be other things that others would like to know. Here are a few:

Oil – This is something we usually have on hand, but left unused for too long, oil can turn rancid. Before using older oil in your recipe, smell the oil. If it has that strong, “off” odor, do not use it, dispose of it and use one of these substitutions: If you need it for stove-top cooking, you can use butter or margarine, or even water! If you have a cooking spray, you can use that as well. If you are baking, the substitutions can be applesauce, mashed banana or pumpkin puree. These create a product with less fat as well.

Cake flour – Something I rarely have on hand, but one cup is the same as one cup sifted all-purpose flour, minus two tablespoons with corn starch added. Place two tablespoons of corn starch into a cup measure and fill to the top with the sifted all-purpose flour, and then sift again.

Corn starch – Two tablespoons of all-purpose flour is equal to one tablespoon of corn starch.

Milk – If you have a can of evaporated milk in your pantry, you have the substitution for any kind of milk that you need in cooking.

  • One cup regular milk = 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup evaporated milk.
  • You can also use powdered dry milk in recipes – just follow the directions on the box to reconstitute. If you’re making something like boxed macaroni and cheese or potatoes, just add more water with a tablespoon of dry milk.

Tomato sauce – If you don’t have tomato sauce, use one, six ounce can of tomato paste and one cup water.

Bullion cubes – One tablespoon soy sauce can be substituted for a bouillon cube.

For the brown sugar my caller asked about? Place a piece of bread in the container on top of the brown sugar and seal tightly. Within a day it should be soft again. If you don’t have the time to wait, regular sugar can be substituted in a recipe.

In addition, there are a few basic things to keep in your pantry so you will be able to get out of many situations without having to run to the store for an ingredient that you don’t happen to have. Try to have on hand:

  • Soy sauce
  • All-purpose flour
  • Powdered and evaporated milk
  • Tomato paste
  • Corn starch

More substitutions can be found at http://food.unl.edu/web/fnh/ingredient-substitutions or call your local MSU Extension office.

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