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None of us looks back fondly on the early days of the pandemic, when we hunkered down in our homes, kneading sourdough and venturing rarely to the store for basic ingredients — only to find empty shelves. Thankfully, the days of finding nary a bag of flour or packet of yeast (remember the yeast shortage?) seem to be behind us.
Still, if there’s one thing our house-bound baking and online grocery shopping taught us, it’s that certain dot-com retailers are gold mines of baking finds. These days, though you’ve likely returned to in-person shopping, you might want to keep a good thing going by continuing to patronize online grocers for your baking needs.
Whether you’re looking for some harder-to-find culinary lavender or cassava flour — or just want to shop in your PJs — check out these 7 online options.
This Queens, New York-based supplier managed to keep their inventory of over 5,000 items mostly in stock all through the early stages of quarantine, so you can bet they’ll be a reliable source now and in the future.
Flours? They got ’em. All of them: pastry flour, all-purpose flour, nut flour, and other specialty flours from big name brands and smaller producers alike. BA also has a huge inventory of spices and seeds, sugar and specialty sweeteners, and plenty of pre-made bread, cake, and other mixes to keep things super simple.
Need baking tools? They’ve got a wide selection of those too — mostly made by the brand Winco — including sheet pans, bread pans, measuring cups, and cake decorating equipment. If it’s required for baking, you can bet this comprehensive marketplace has it, save for the oven. Oh wait, they have those too.
Thrive is a membership-based online marketplace, but if specialty ingredients are what you seek, this could be a good place for you to shop. Similar to Trader Joe’s, Thrive Market sells everything under its own label so you save a few bucks on the traditional retail markup.
Thrive has lots of harder-to-find baking ingredients like organic cassava flour, lemon extract, and potato starch, plus the usual suspects you’ll need for everyday cakes, bread, pies, and other baked goods.
Memberships start at $5 per month when you sign up for an entire year, or opt for a $10 month-to-month situation, which you can cancel anytime.
I likely don’t have to introduce you to the King of flour, but you may not have considered buying your baking ingredients directly from the kingdom itself.
King Arthur’s website actually has a fairly comprehensive inventory of baking ingredients. That includes the signature flour, of course, but also spices, yeasts, thickeners, and premade baking mixes. You can even find storage containers to house all that messy flour.
If you’re interested in supporting a smaller operation for quality flour, try Janie’s Mill. The Illinois-based farm and mill uses regenerative and organic practices to make all their many flours, grains, wheat bran & berries, and more. Try the Pantry Pack Sampler with four types of flour for just over $20.
For the very basics, Target has most of what you’ll need to get your baking operation off the ground. Expect to see a lot of what you would in the supermarket, but if shelves ever start to go bare again, you might be glad to see supplies lingering online.
Find staples like Good & Gather organic all-purpose flour, butter, and jars of Fleischmann’s dry yeast, along with an array of baking tools to keep the sourdough production steady. As you might already expect, Target has heaps of bakeware too, like bread & loaf pans, cooling racks, and the like.
This kitchen and cookware retailer might not be your first thought for baking ingredients, but they’ve actually got a healthy supply. For specialty flours, baking mixes, and decorating tools, the California-based chain is a secret weapon when in-store supplies get low.
When all else fails, head to the retailer with everything. Walmart isn’t going to carry the small brands or specialty items of, say, a Baker’s Authority, but when you need flour, yeast, baking soda, or vanilla extract in a pinch, the big-box retailer is likely to have some in stock.
Plus, while you’re there, you can add anything from a beach ball to a fishing rod to your cart.
Step one in your favorite baking recipe might not actually be “preheat oven to 350 degrees” — instead, it might be “pull out your phone and order ingredients online.” Once you’ve been well-provisioned by any of these retailers, let the baking begin!