Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Homemade Baking Mix

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big user of baking mixes.  I just don’t see the point in paying a premium for someone else to mix something up for me that I can do myself from ingredients that I stock in my pantry on a regular basis already.  I have to confess that this has resulted in snobbery against recipes that call for pre-mixed, pre-prepared items.  Kinda funny actually (and hypocritical if I’m being completely honest) since I often purchase and use pre-shredded or pre-sliced cheeses, canned cream of mushroom soup and canned chili and think nothing of cake/brownie mixes, pre-made pie crust and store-bought cocoa mix.  But last year I was co-facilitator for an “Outdoor Chef” workshop with my friends Janet (of the Chuck Wagoneer blog) and Amelia for Adult Girl Scout Volunteers and one of the recipes we decided to make was this Spicy Taco Cobbler, which called for not only Bisquick but also (*gasp*) Uncle Ben’s Spanish Ready Rice.  I was resistant to using this recipe because I really felt a workshop titled “Outdoor Chef” should include recipes that would allow the participants to really maximize their cooking skills by making everything from scratch.  Well, the recipe was a huge hit and I was completely won over.  I’ll talk more specifically about why it was so good in a near-future blog post, but let’s just say that I was determined to re-create that recipe from scratch and that meant I needed a good Baking Mix recipe.

I ended up choosing this recipe from King Arthur’s Flour for All-Purpose Baking Mix, omitting the shortening because I didn’t want to worry about shelf-life and I have been, up to this point, a very infrequent user of baking mixes.  I went ahead and made up the whole batch – happy for an excuse to make the Biscuits & Gravy my hubby and I have been craving lately as well as a myriad of other tasty delights.  You’ll need to remember to add fat to your recipes when you make this if you decide to make it without the shortening.  For my scratch version of the Spicy Taco Cobbler, I added 1 Tablespoon of melted, unsalted butter and it worked out perfectly so plan on a ratio of 1 tablespoon fat to 1 cup of mix as a starting point (and I’ve since used the same ratio when I’ve made pancakes and waffles).  You may need to play with your recipes a bit to determine works for you as well to determine which fats work best with each of your recipes.
This worked beautifully for the Spicy Taco Cobbler, rising nice and high and developing a golden brown, crust on top with a tender, moist interior.  I’ve also made wonderfully fluffy, light pancakes and really tasty waffles with that perfect balance of crunch on the outside and tender on the inside using this mix and I need to make another batch already.
This is super easy to do - I assembled the mix right in a re-sealable plastic bag and then stored it next to my flour in the hopes that it’s presence there will act as a reminder to use it (unlike the who-knows-how-many-years-old box of Bisquick I found in my pantry earlier today). 

Here’s the recipe (sans the shortening):
9 Cups Unbleached Flour
5 TBLS Baking Powder
1 TBLS Salt
¼ C Granulated Sugar

Measure all ingredients directly into a re-sealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag.  Shake to mix well.  Label and store. 

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