31 Days to Hospitality::Day 22 How to set up a baking center

This is day 22 in a 31 day series on hospitality. Start from the beginning here.

I’ve never quite had a baking center like this but it was a priority when we rebuilt our house.   I’ve had various versions of one for a long time and here’s the truth of the matter—-if your supplies are easily accessible and organized, you’ll bake more.

The flour and sugar that are sitting on my counter are practically begging me to bake something.   AND, I never run out of stuff because I always know when I need it.

So, it’s worth the effort to think through your spaces and see where you could incorporate and organize your supplies.  Here’s my advice on how to set up a baking center:

1.  Put your highly used items in pretty containers.

I love these glass jars from Walmart and I used the champignon font at 200 pt to print off the labels onto plain white paper and then I use packing tape (wide) to tape the labels onto the jars.  It’s so simple and though I keep thinking I’ll order real labels someday, these work perfect until then.  I store flour, sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar like this.

2.  Store them on the counter if you can.

I have open shelving for a reason.  Life is too short to repeatedly get things out of the cabinet.  Can I get an amen?  Open and closing doors  a hundred times makes me crazy.  So I eliminate that step so that there are no barriers to cooking for me.  I never think to myself,  ”Should I drag all that stuff out to make homemade bread?”   It’s all ready to be used.  It’s as if I’m making my kitchen stand at attention and be on the ready to work.  I love spaces that are pretty but work hard.  You’re not just another pretty face, Queen Kitchen.  You’ve gotta earn your keep around here.  And my family benefits because there’s lots of homemade food.

3.  Keep all your baking utensils handy and organized.

The top drawer below my mixer holds all the measuring items, scoopers, disks for my cookie press, shakers filled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, a few frequently used flavorings and extra yeast. I cook and bake all the time so I frequently put the measuring cup right back in there if I’ve just scooped out some flour or sugar. This habit drives my sister crazy, who will come to my house and say, “Why are these measuring cups dirty but still in the drawer?” I just figure I’m probably gonna use it again in 30 seconds so why wash it every single time? It’s just flour. But every time I do it, I think of her and chuckle. I know. I’m a old granny.  (It just occurs to me as I look at this photo that my corn skewers are in here.  Are you scratching your head wondering how I incorporate those into my baking ritual?  Don’t worry.  I don’t.)

The clear/acrylic organizers I use in here are from Target and Walmart.

The pull out drawer beside that one has cake/cupcake decorating supplies along with cupcake liners and picks, twine and ribbon, clear plastic bags (for packing up treats to share) and toothpicks.

In the second drawer down, I store all the rest of my supplies, including liquid measuring cups, salt, baking powder, cocoa, baking soda, corn starch, vanilla, cinnamon, corn syrup, etc.

4.  Bake with  others in mind

It’s so easy, while you’re baking, to put a few items in a bag for someone else or to bake an extra loaf of bread to give away.  I keep different sizes of clear bag on hand, lots of plastic containers, along with aluminum loaf pans, so that I can easily give part of what I make  away.   I never really understood how much it blesses others to cook for them until our house fire.  I got so emotional when people brought food to us.  Just the thoughtfulness and soul nourishment of it. Not to mention the fact that it fulfills such a basic need.  I love that about my Southern heritage.  We cook for each other.  It’s just what we do.  My sister is ALWAYS bringing food to people.  She’s always making twice the amount of food so she can give some away and I want to teach my girls to be the same way.  To cook with others in mind.   You don’t realize how special it is until someone does it for you.

And finally, here’s my list of what I stock:

All purpose flour

Whole wheat flour

Cake flour

Wheat bran and germ

Flaxseed meal

White sugar

Brown sugar

Powdered sugar



Baking powder

Baking soda

Cream of Tartar

Corn Starch

Corn syrup

Flavorings (real not imitation, if I can get them)

Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger powder

Baking chips of all kinds (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, dark chocolate, chocolate chunk, you get the idea)



Evaporated milk, condensed milk

Marshmallow cream

Pumpkin puree

Local honey

Dried fruits


Bark chocolate (I love Trader Joe’s brand)

Have you ever set up a baking center? Don’t you think you use it much more when it’s accessible?  Even if you can’t have a whole space dedicated to baking, rethink your system and see if you can make it easier to use.

Okay, toodle-loo.  Off to bake some honey wheat bread.  (Don’t worry, the recipe is coming soon!)

And THANK YOU for all your sweet comments and emails during this series.  They’ve kept me going when I was sure I couldn’t write another post.  Mwahhhhhh!

And happy baking!

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  • Kelly says:

    I can’t even tell you how much I am loving this series. I can already tell it is going to be something I come back to frequently, for inspiration and encouragement… plus, it is always fun to peek into other’s pantries and drawers:-) I have those same glass jars from Walmart and love them! Think I need a couple more after seeing yours with labels!
    Seriously, thank you so much for taking the time to share about hospitality, the spiritual aspect as well as the practical. Just last night as I tried a new recipe out for my family, on a night jam packed and ideal for take out (but aren’t they all?!), I thought of your post on feeding our families, and the time worth spent nurturing them this way and was just blessed. Made a harried evening a little more peaceful in my own heart, and for that I am so grateful to you.

  • nita says:

    This was great inspiration this morning. I do have a baking center, but yours made me realize I am not utilizing it very well. I have an island with 6 drawers, and large cupboard, my mixer sits on top. Heres the thing I just realized, I run to a different cupboard for my chocolate chips and yet another cupboard for my baking soda, powder, salt & vanilla. I need to rethink this and get my drawer that is full of ripped out recipes cleaned out and put those other things in there.
    I can’t wait! I think I will stop by the dollar store and look for drawer organizers today!
    Thanks for this wonderful series!

  • allison says:

    I LOVE your kitchen:) I have a galley kitchen and while I would one day love a huge open space, it actually is super easy to whip things up when inspired since everything is is within arms reach.

  • rebekah says:

    I have Edie envy. I love your kind heart! (And your baking center!) You are such an inspiration. Your willingness to share yourself and life with the world is such a blessing! Continue your journey through life with us tagging along! You’re doing a great job! Thank you blessed one! :+)

  • Southern Gal says:

    I NEED a baking center. Thanks for motivating me to rethink how I store my supplies. I don’t have a modern kitchen by a long shot, but I can make do with organizers and rethinking my space. Love this.

    And Amen to the Southern heritage of cooking for each other. It’s something I always have on my calendar for when someone is grieving, celebrating or recuperating. It makes such a huge impact. It’s love in a dish!

  • Jessica says:

    Edie, this post made me drool…seriously! We’re renting our townhouse now, and I definitely don’t have the space for this, but you have inspired me to make this a priority when looking for our next house. I love to bake and do it all the time; this just makes good plain sense:) Thanks for sharing!

  • Hannah says:

    This series has been amazing! What a blessing to be reminded of how important just simple hospitality is to our hearts. I’ve also realized that hospitality is not just for guests in our home but also us! My family deserves this little place of peace to come home to after long days at school and work. This is their oasis; their home.

  • Glenda says:

    Edie, nice inspiration today and all month. Thank you for sharing your life here. I look forward to your post and pictures. Any suggestions on how to organize and plan meals that I can throw together quickly when I get home from work each day? I feel overwhelmed at 5:30-6:00 pm when trying to cook supper. When I do — we eat so late.

    • we’ll talk a little about meal planning but i think knowing what you’re gonna do ahead of time and doing as much as possible in the mornings or the night before help. the crock pot is your friend! i’ve used emealz and that helps if you’re fresh out of ideas:)))

  • Beautiful!! Your colors remind me so much of my Momma’s Fiesta-ware collection. Really nice looking against that gray paint.
    OKAY I too have a little baking center, though not as removed from the rest of the kitchen as yours big, and it is basically the same as just my kitchen. LOL But I agree! Having the stuff out and “ready” is awesome. I use mismatched clear containers and scoop em out with these little painted tea cups another blogger gave me at an Oklahoma event last year.
    Such a great post, looking forward to that bread recipe!

  • Ruth says:

    You have inspired me once again. I do not have a baking center but in our small galley kitchen I can create something similar. I do use glass canisters like yours for flour and sugar. They sit right on my counter. I need to do a bit of orgazing in our pull out pantry and get all the supplies I need together. Then it will be so much easier.
    Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into teaching us to create an atmosphere of hospitality in our homes and hearts.

  • Ashley Johns says:

    LOVE LOVE as always. I took a trip down memory lane back to the old kitchens too. Sigh… I love them all. You’re fabulous. Wish I could bottle you up and sit you on my kitchen counter. :) I love how you refer to yourself as a “Granny” too. It captures the very essence of MY granny how I remember. Makes me laugh every time you say that!
    Question- what is that at the bottom of the cabinet base in the last picture??? Curious George here must know! Thanks for the wonderful posts. Keep ‘em coming!

  • Christie says:

    I love your series! As I was reading this post, I was remembering back to your first week of “why hospitality.” It has been so good. I love your reminder to make extra food for others. I got grumpy about this recently (the frequent feeding of extending family), but you are right that it is a chance to show hospitality.

    Yes, opening and closing doors is a nuisance! Hooray for open shelves!

  • Kim B. says:

    Yes! I too have my own little bake station that I created in a little corner in my kitchen. I LOVE that you too are in favor of putting as much on the counter as possilbe…AMEN dear sista!! Unfortunately, I don’t have as much counter space as I’d like, but I do put as much of my “equiptment” as I can in plain site. Just seems to beckon me to come hang out :) LOVE this series & am enjoying your pics on Instagram too! Have a blessed day!

  • martha says:

    I am so thankful I stumbled upon your blog. I am enjoying your hospitality series so much, you are so wise and encouraging. I am a 62 year old mother and grandmother and I am enjoying those golden years I had with my little ones again through my grandchildren. I have my daughters two everyday while she teaches and I enjoy them so much. Your words and thoughts are such a blessing . I love the fact you home school, actually I am so in awe of anyone who tackles that difficult job. I shared with my daughter your thoughts about it and it made her wish she was able to do it too. I love the ideas of different station for drinks, baking, etc…but I would have to expand my kitchen greatly to accomplish the the space for them. Most of all I love the idea of meals as communion. When my children were growing up we always had our evening meal at the table , it was the most important part of the day. Now my husband and I have drifted to eating while the TV is on, a practice that we had banned before. Thank you for your lovely words and encouragement!! Also, I love Texas too, my Daddy grew up in the little town of Henrietta and even though he lived in Virginia for over 55 years he still got his hometown paper until he died.

  • My baking center is a must in my kitchen. Did I mention it was a tiny kitchen! If I wasn’t organized it would be a nightmare. Especially as my 31 days project has been 31 days of baking!! I am drooling over your wonder colorful glassware. Oh, and your range, which I have seen on your blog before. Pure love!

  • Julie Ann says:

    Hi Edie. I have loved baking ever since I got my first easy bake oven. I can’t believe I never thought of a baking center. Again, I am inspired! Thanks! <3

  • I didn’t read through the comments so maybe someone suggested this, but a little chalk board paint on those glass canisters would solve the label problem too! Pier 1 sells them with the chalkboard paint on them for WAY more than Walmarts without paint … it takes a couple coats of paint and you’ve got the same look for less!

    And I am thoroughly enjoying your series too. Thanks for putting your heart into it.

  • Gina says:

    Love it!! Surely, you forgot to mention cornmeal. I know you have it. As a Southern cook I know you make a cornbread! ;) I also keep bread flour because my pizza dough recipe and Amish white bread recipes use it. :) Looking forward to your Honey Wheat Bread recipe!! =D

  • Noel Fairchild says:

    This has encouraged me to start baking and to organize my drawers! I have loved this series and passed it on to many friends.

    Please tell me what that white thing is below your shelf on the right side?

  • Julie says:

    Hi Edie! I LOVE this series! Every post has been beautiful, encouraging and helpful. I love your style and the graciousness that characterizes your life. This series brings to mind 2 Cor. 2:14 &15. Truly you have spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ to us as you have shared and taught us through these posts. Thank you!

    In my little, hard working kitchen I have a baking center and beverage center but unfortunately they are behind doors. I like having Trader Joe’s pound plus dark chocolate bars stocked with my baking things. I discovered that the addition of finely chopped chocolate to homemade granola persuaded my 6 yr. son to change his granola eating ways. :)

  • Jackie says:

    Love it! But ohmylanta–you forgot to add BUTTER to that list! I am like you with the chicken stock, but with butter.! I get all nervous if I have less than 3 pounds at any one time!

    Oh, and I love, love, love your eye for color in all you decor!

  • Terry A. says:

    I thought of your hospitality series when I read this at BJS today: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=23929

  • Shaunna says:

    Girl, you rock.

  • beth says:

    this is amazing, i have never heard anyone else admit to not washing or rinsing off their measuring spoons after each use. i don’t, and nobody knows, except my mom. she’s never said anything, but similar to your sister, every time she comes to stay, if she needs to use one, i always see her giving a look when she picks one up, thinking, but not saying, ‘ewe, don’t you wash these after each use???’ my thought is that it’s only dry goods, no big whoop. as for measuring spoons, as long as it’s not something super savory like garlic powder or curry, i admit i just give it a swipe on my apron, and put it back with the rest! confessions of a baker : )
    i had planned a very easy dinner of take away pizza tonight before a halloween activity, but you’ve made me re-think my plan. i’m now feeling compelled to turn on some jazz, bake some bread, and try your corn chowder recipe. my husband should write you a thank you note!
    cheers from vancouver island, bc, canada

  • Michele TX says:

    Ok, you have been inspiring me lately and it’s great. I had a partial baking center in my kitchen meaning that the measuring cups, bowls, etc. were all in one place but I would walk back and forth to the pantry (which is not in the main cooking area) to get some of my ingredients. So, I did some re-arranging after reading this entry and put casserole dishes and pans that I don’t use as often in the pantry. Then, I put the ingredients in containers I already owned, labeled them and put them in the slide-out drawers under the counter. Perfect! I put it to use today making your honey wheat bread and it worked great! Thanks for your inspiration. I had read of baking centers before but somehow you wrote about it in a way that made it all click for me.

  • Janna Conrad says:

    I love your kitchen! I just moved in my house one month ago and you have inspired me in so many artistically and functional ways! I taught public school for twelve years, had three kids, and now I AM homeschooling too. I love it! Everyone can’t understand it and think I am crazy. They have missed the BIG picture here. I love the Lord Almighty-Jesus is the Way! He guides me through it all. Point of Grace and Amy Grant are my music favorites and El Shaddai and Gabriel’s Oboe sing to my heart! Pioneer Woman on the FOOD Net. is also amazing! Any how, I should have been born of the south not just because I love Scarlett, but….. I am a Yankee. God blesses in funny ways. Keep it up I love your site!

  • Saundra says:

    Love love your baking center. I, too, have those large clear jars for flour and sugar , etc. Since having to eat gluten free and sugar free it has totally put my baking in an upheaval. Meaning I don’t bake as much, everything is in the pantry, trying to separate ingredients. !!!!!
    You have inspired me however to try & organize this part of my kitchen to work better for me. Thanks for sharing. (I don’t know how I missed this post earlier when you first wrote it :))

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