By Carolina Gillam
Whether you’re craving sugar, feeling creative or needing to bake something for a friend, baking in dorm kitchens can be daunting. Some of us wish we could bake more of our own food but feel unequipped to do so or unsure where to start. For this reason, I have compiled a list of the most basic supplies you need to start your own cooking and baking adventures in your dorm kitchen. This information comes from both internet sources and my personal baking experience.
First off, the kitchens usually have limited utensils and dishes – if they have any at all. A simple 8×8 or 9×9 pan is sufficient if you plan on baking brownies the most, but if you like cakes as well you’ll probably want a 9×13 pan. A simple 9×9 nonstick pan can be anywhere from $8 to $20, depending on how fancy you want it to be. Or if you hate washing dishes, aluminum foil baking pans would also work. A normal nonstick baking sheet (make sure it will fit in your kitchen’s oven) can also be anywhere from $8 to $20. Additionally, most baking pans can come in sets, so if you plan on doing a lot of baking, a set might be worth investing in. Ross is a great place to check for low-priced baking pans, but you can also order them off of Amazon or find them elsewhere.
Other supplies you will need are measuring spoons and cups, a spatula, a medium/large mixing bowl, oven mitts and potholders. A liquid measuring cup also wouldn’t be a bad thing, but if you’re short on money your dry measuring cups will work. Again, most of this stuff you can either steal from your house or buy at stores like Ross, Amazon or Bed Bath and Beyond.
As for the ingredients, almost all cookie, cake and brownie mixes call for eggs, water and vegetable oil. Buying box mixes is the simplest way to bake because it won’t require you to buy a bunch of small items such as flour, baking soda and powder, salt, sugar, etc. It also means you won’t have to store many things in your dorm room – the eggs are the hardest part, but they do last for 3-5 weeks in a fridge. Plus, if you have a frying pan, you can make egg dishes for breakfast too. If eggs are still a problem for you, there are plenty of egg alternatives like applesauce or Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. Just be warned that egg replacers might not always be compatible with the box mixes you are using and may effect taste or texture. In regards to the oil, either vegetable or canola will work, and you can get quite a lot of it for not very much money.
The last thing you need for baking success are the box mixes themselves. You can find a box mix for anything from brownies, to cookies, to muffins and more. According to internet reviews, Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Triple Fudge Premium Brownie Mix is one of the best brownie mixes. For cake and cookie mixes, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury have a wide variety of delicious flavors for you to try. If you’re against using a store-bought mix and there are many great recipes for homemade cake/cookie mixes you can find online, make at home, store in a jar or container, and then bring back to campus with you. Furthermore, if the hassle of baking scares you, Betty Crocker (and other brands) have mug cake mixes you can buy – only water/milk, a mug and a microwave required!
In summary, here are all the supplies listed above that you need to try dorm-baking today!
- A 9×9 nonstick baking pan (for brownies)
- A Spatula
- A 9×13 nonstick baking pan (for cakes/brownies)
- A mixing bowl
- A nonstick cookie sheet
- Potholders and Oven Mitts
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Potentially a liquid measurer
*It also might be worthwhile to buy an oil baking spray like Pam if you don’t trust your nonstick pans/sheets.
- Assorted box mixes
- Vegetable oil
- Eggs or egg substitute