Do Bakeries Bake From Scratch?

Decorating By Deniro Updated 6 Feb 2009 , 8:31pm by MrsMissey

FromScratch Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:29pm
post #91 of 117

I do understand what you are saying Kate. I appreciate the effort to thwart the myths. I wish more people would stop caring about what their neighbor was doing in their kitchen. The only ones we can make decisions for are ourselves. I do me and you to do and if we can be happy just letting people do their own thing then maybe it would be a better place right? Gawd... my inner hippie is showing... icon_wink.gif

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:34pm
post #92 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

I do understand what you are saying Kate. I appreciate the effort to thwart the myths. I wish more people would stop caring about what their neighbor was doing in their kitchen. The only ones we can make decisions for are ourselves. I do me and you to do and if we can be happy just letting people do their own thing then maybe it would be a better place right? Gawd... my inner hippie is showing... icon_wink.gif




<high five>, CakeBuddy!

(I can't ever keep my inner hippie under wraps either.)

CeeTee Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:35pm
post #93 of 117

(puts on my coke-bottle glasses and goes into Poindexter mode)

There is a bias among bakers (and cooks in general) that if you do not do things the traditional way, then you are not doing things right. Convienece products such as mixes and the like are seen as cop-outs, or the last resort of the lazy and incompetent. It's not just here on CC, it's society in general. Advertisers stress 'down-home' and 'just like mom used to make' in their products because it's what appeals to people. No one would ever buy something that has the tagline "now with 150% more polysodium carbonate and blue dye #12!"

The image of Betty Crocker in the kitchen wearing a frilly apron and giving kids a homemade cookie fresh from the oven still strikes a powerful chord in the hearts of many, and has been romanticized as the ideal avatar of a pure baker. This is the image all bakers unconsciously compare themselves to when they talk about how they do things. This is why the scratch vs. mix debate still gets so heated, because we've led ourselves to believe that there's only one way can maintain the purity of that Norman Rockwell scene.

Celebrity chefs like Emeril and Bobby Flay are making bank right now selling the concept of scratch cooking to the masses, while those like Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee, who use primarily convienece/quick-fix methods to achieve the same results, are seen as hacks. People take a certain amount of pride of being able to say they made something from scratch, no matter the quality of the end product...that no matter how good the food tastes, if it's not "from scratch", then it's suddenly not as good as it could have been and cheapens the dish and the person who made it.

k8memphis hasn't been attacking scratch bakers, she's just been trying to point out the fallacy of their rationale and show that the debate is really moot. If you buy your ingredients from a grocery store or a food warehouse, then it IS overly processed and not truly fresh, no two ways about it. Everything we put into our bodies, even raw fruits and vegetables, are the results of thousands of years of genetic manipulation and chemical enhancement. An apple we eat today is nothing like the apples of 150 years ago. It's the basics of agricultural science. Ultimately, she's been trying to point out that the mix vs. scratch debate has nothing to do with science or logic and everything to do with emotion. This is why there will never be a satisfactory answer for anyone. The emotion element, the one which brings up the aforementioned image of Betty Crocker, will not allow it to be resolved.

Technically, the definition of from scratch is 'thrown together hastily from the start'. If you put ingredients into a bowl, mix it up, and pour it into a pan, then in a purely dry, logical form, you are cooking from scratch, doesn't matter if any of those ingredients came from a box or not. It's only the human emotion element which decides wether it's a valid form of baking or not.




(Alton Brown I am so not...)

FromScratch Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:48pm
post #94 of 117

Thank you CeeTee. You are absolutely right. I wish the stigma would go away. I bake from scratch because it makes me feel good to do so. If someone feels good doing it different then that is cool with me. I don't think that my way is the only way, but I do think it's the way for me. I don't hold that to the entire human population.

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 5:52pm
post #95 of 117

I think that everyone knows that a using a cake mix isn't making a scratch cake.

You want to use a mix, go for it.

Just don't tell your customers that you bake from scratch. That's where my problem with it comes in, on the business side of it. The fact that the mix bakers do seem to get all riled up about this subject and try to find a million and ten ways to say that mixes are the same as baking from scratch shows me that it's clear to everyone that it isn't the same. Regardless of any arguments about enriched flour or not.

mixinvixen Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:04pm
post #96 of 117

sex, pizza, and cake are three things that my husband says can't be bad. i personally think that only the extremely untalented people, to the point of being genius at it, can screw those three up!!

i do what works for me and my clients. that translates to some of my ingredients being from scratch while others start as box...regardless, they both end up with high quality chocolates, butter, liqueurs, salts, fruit and zest, spices, flour and sugar...and a big smile from my client.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:09pm
post #97 of 117

This is a great question:

If I got all the ingredients on a box of mix and made a cake what would it be scratch or mix?

"Scratch bakers" do not get to determine how I market my wares. There is no greater authority granted to scratch bakers to limit me to baking only one way.

I would be lying if I said that I do not bake from scratch.

And for scratch bakers, if you have ever used a coffee creamer, a box of jello or pudding are you not then using a mix???

CeeTee Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:17pm
post #98 of 117

Except...what is the REAL difference between using a pre-measured set of dry ingredients and measuring your own? You still combine them with wet ingredients. You still bake it, cool it, and ice it. A person using a mix goes through the exact same steps as a person not using a mix. Only one step is different. That step does not take away from the final product, but for some reason it's the step which causes such a stir.

Technically and logically...a person using a box mix IS baking from scratch. Is manually measuring dry ingredients really so critically important a step that one can't honestly claim they assembled a cake unless they do so?

pouchet82 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:31pm
post #99 of 117

Box Mix Cake = yummy
Scratch Cake = yummy

No matter which we chose at least our cakes are EDIBLE.
Yes, I enjoy baking from scratch, but I will use boxes as well. Depends on my mood.
Made 2 cakes 2 weeks ago- one was scratch and one was a doctored mix. The verdict? I had rave reviews for both, and everyone that teasted them said they were the best cakes they ever tasted.
To the OP- no clue what most bakeries use. Do I care? As long as I buy a cake and it is yummy and tastes fresh, who cares? There are additives in everything these days! (My motto, you are going to die anyway!)

So how about all us bakers share a big yummy cake with layers of scratch and box cake! Because as long as it tastes good, who cares how it is made?!

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:40pm
post #100 of 117

I don't use artificial flavorings, so I don't use creamers, jello or pudding, sorry.

snarkybaker Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:46pm
post #101 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeeTee

Except...what is the REAL difference between using a pre-measured set of dry ingredients and measuring your own? You still combine them with wet ingredients. You still bake it, cool it, and ice it. A person using a mix goes through the exact same steps as a person not using a mix. Only one step is different. That step does not take away from the final product, but for some reason it's the step which causes such a stir.

Technically and logically...a person using a box mix IS baking from scratch. Is manually measuring dry ingredients really so critically important a step that one can't honestly claim they assembled a cake unless they do so?




Sorry, but that is a load of nonsense that only someone who can't bake a scratch cake ( or doesn't want to bother to learn ) could come up with. It's like saying somebody doing a paint by number is actually a great creative artist.

Baking from scratch and consistently acheiving a superior product is the zenith of the culinary craft. It is harder than cooking. I say this as someone who was trained as a "chef" rather than a "pastry chef".

I put box mixes one step above Walmart cake. That said, a lot more people shop at Walmart than at Bergdorf's. There is no doubt you can make a living selling cake made from a mix.

I personally take exceptional pride in the quality of our " made fresh from scratch everyday" baked goods. There are maybe 15 bakeries in the country who do what we do. That is special. Duncan Hines sells $250 million dollars worth of mix a year, so popular, yes....special, no, not so much.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 6:53pm
post #102 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeeTee


Technically and logically...a person using a box mix IS baking from scratch. Is manually measuring dry ingredients really so critically important a step that one can't honestly claim they assembled a cake unless they do so?




So you think cake mix bakers are really baking from scratch?

I mean the flour we use is already a mixture as it is.
It's not at all a pure ingredient.

So in the same sense scratch bakers are literally using a mix.

There's enrichment and a browning property that enhances the final product.

maryjsgirl Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 7:00pm
post #103 of 117

This topic is always funny to me. And for those that bake from scratch and pointing fingers there is always someone that does it better and ummm...more "scratchy" than you, lol. I wonder if the Amish women laugh at you for calling your food scratch while they are collecting their eggs from the chickens they have raised, milking their cows, and grinding their own wheat? "Silly Americanized woman calling that store bought flour, milk, and eggs scratch", lol. Do you not see that?


I completely agree with CeeTee that "scratch" is purely emotional. I am totally one of those people that show my love in cooking. I love making homemade noodles, pastas, stocks, etc. The more time and steps a recipe has the more "love" I feel that I am giving.

I also agree with the people that say mix people should not hide the fact. Health wise my son cannot eat artificial food colorings. He has a sensitivity to them and cause him to vomit and other things. I would be very angry if someone lied and made my son sick for sake of "saving face" or whatever reason people aren't truthful about the subject.


Now maybe someone can pin this dang "scratch vs mix" debate so we won't have to...yet again...have this argument in another week.

banba Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 7:05pm
post #104 of 117

I agree with costumeczar, I don't add all the mentioned either.

Do box mixes not taste good? Why do they have to be "tweaked" so much?

What results are they really giving that they still need to be "tweaked" by adding even more stuff to them?

This is what I am not understanding, exactly how adequate of a product are they that they still need stuff added to them?

Chef_Stef Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 7:10pm
post #105 of 117

oh look, another scratch vs mix thread. Who could've predicted...this? icon_confused.gif

To answer the original question (what was it?)...I'd guess most large chain bakeries use mixes for convenience and cost, because bottom line is still bottom line. For small bakeries, who knows?

I know I make great cakes from scratch with organic eggs from my own chickens, organic milk (no, I don't have a cow), organic vanilla, organic flour and sugar, berries from my own garden, and fresh preserves that I make from fruit from my own orchard. I have to charge through the nose for them, but there are people who gladly pay it, and I am proud of my cakes. I personally don't prefer mixes because I can taste the difference, but honestly...whatever works for you. It certainly shouldn't be a debate, because like someone said, it's not like either camp will win converts...

bake on

banba Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 7:44pm
post #106 of 117

Sorry I have to correct something in my last reply, since finding cc I have actually bought things like flavouring and colours from the US. I am not against trying new things.

I am just trying to understand the fascination with box mixes. A lot of other countries don't have this fascination.

Your recipes don't translate to other counteries very well which seems sad in a way!

Scratch recipes are global!

julzs71 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:02pm
post #107 of 117

Have you ever gone to an applebees or Chilli's or some type of restaurant like that and had a steak? Then gone to a very nice upscale steak house. In Florida in was Bern's Steak House. At both places I would have gotten a steak. The final product are two totally different things. You either love the Applebee's or you love the Bern's. They both serve steak, they are just cooked different. I personally love the Bern's steak house and would skip three Applebee's to go get a Bern's steakhouse steak. It is all about what you prefer. I do not judge anyone that goes to Applebee's.
You get to make what you want and eat it or sell it. I don't care. I get to make what I want, I hope you don't care. If you make it from a box or a bag then doctor it up, Yippee I still don't care. If you make it from a box, Yippee! I think neither side should have to go through the long process of defending what one makes and why! I will tell you why I bake scratch just for the heck of it. It taste so darn good.

maryjsgirl Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:04pm
post #108 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by banba


I am just trying to understand the fascination with box mixes. A lot of other countries don't have this fascination.





It's probably the same way most Americans don't understand the fascination with fruit cakes that most European countries seem to have. We just don't get it??? icon_wink.gif

CeeTee Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:08pm
post #109 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by txkat

Sorry, but that is a load of nonsense that only someone who can't bake a scratch cake ( or doesn't want to bother to learn ) could come up with. It's like saying somebody doing a paint by number is actually a great creative artist.

Baking from scratch and cosistently acheiving a superior product is the zenith of the culinary craft. It is harder than cooking. I say this as someone who was trained as a "chef" rather than a "pastry chef".

I put box mixes one step above Walmart cake. That said, a lot more people shop at Walmart than at Bergdorf's. There is no doubt you can make a living selling cake made from a mix.

I personally take exception pride in the quality of our " made fresh from scratch everyday" baked goods. There are maybe 15 bakeries in the country who do what we do. That is special. Duncan Hines sells $250 million dollars worth of mix a year, so popular, yes....special, no, not so much.




Why do you assume that I bake only from box mixes? And if I did, how is that a valid assesment of my baking skills overall? Why is a box filled with pre-measured ingredients such a threat to ones sense of self-worth over their skills?

I'm playing Devil's Advocate by looking at the debate from all sides in a purely dry manner.

This once again goes back to defining baking from scratch and the emotional attachment associated with the claim. This response above? A classic example of an emotional reaction that does not state any supportive logical facts.

Baking harder than cooking? Opinion -- It is highly variable depending on the individual. It cannot be concretely proven.

Popular not the same as Special? Opinion -- If 250 million people all like the same thing that can also make it pretty special.

Box Mix one step above Wal-Mart cake? Opinion -- Even a pre-assembled Wal-Mart cake can beat out a fresh cake. One has to assume the final result of a cake made with a box mix will be consistently on the same level of quality as a pre-made cake, which isn't practical.

That you are one of 15 bakeries who does something a certian way and therefore it instantly makes it better or special? Opinion -- Taste is subjective. Ingredients are only one factor, not the penultimate factor of quality.

It's not the ingredients or in what manner they were assembled which makes the cake special, it's the time and talent the person puts into the cake overall which makes it special. A person can have all fresh, expensive, top of the line ingredients and make a lousy cake. A person can have a box mix and grocery store bought ingredients as a base and produce a spectacular cake. The reverse is also true: a person can be lousy with box mix and a master at manual assembly.

That's really what it boils down to...One method of labor is not inherently better than the other. Different? Yes. Better or a valid measure of overall quality? No. The ingredient means only as much as the level of skill, training, and know-how the person using them brings to the table.

This is the factor that's always thrown out first thing when this debate arises, and why both sides get so riled up. Both sides are guilty of placing ALL the deciding factor of quality and someone's worth as a baker on one insignificant detail.



....but then, people will always judge others and find ways to think of themselves better than, because it's just what we humans do. icon_razz.gif That's why this debate will never end and there's no right answer. Man cannot live off dry facts and logic alone.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:11pm
post #110 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by banba

Sorry I have to correct something in my last reply, since finding cc I have actually bought things like flavouring and colours from the US. I am not against trying new things.

I am just trying to understand the fascination with box mixes. A lot of other countries don't have this fascination.

Your recipes don't translate to other counteries very well which seems sad in a way!

Scratch recipes are global!




Banba, I think it is just simply an age old discrimination. As you can see here in this thread people get way emotional. I think one portion of people want to not only be the best outright but they draw a line where they are able to imagine another section of people to be considered of a lesser quality than they are.

Measuring ingredients nor using cake mix doesn't change our worth.

Is it not a fascinating thing? The discussion and the passion--very powerful stuff.

Cakedom's own caste system.

Another one that kills me is the avoidance/abhorance of sheet cakes. Sheet cakes, can you imagine? The shape of a cake is beneath us for some reason.

Honestly I think one of the marks of a caker is being able to do a great sheet cake and I think all of us want to be able to pipe a pretty rose.

And you had another question about what's the big deal with mixes. They afford the baker more control over the baking.

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:18pm
post #111 of 117

Maryjsgirl...I Looooove fruitcake, the more brandy the better! But not to pour fuel on another fire, but British/Aussie fruitcake isn't the same as that yellow brick (there's only one, we know) that gets circulated here in the states at Christmas!

julzs71 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:19pm
post #112 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Maryjsgirl...I Looooove fruitcake, the more brandy the better! But not to pour fuel on another fire, but British/Aussie fruitcake isn't the same as that yellow brick (there's only one, we know) that gets circulated here in the states at Christmas!



ditto

__Jamie__ Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:19pm
post #113 of 117

[quote="k8memphis"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by banba

Another one that kills me is the avoidance/abhorance of sheet cakes. Sheet cakes, can you imagine? The shape of a cake is beneath us for some reason.





What's the big deal? icon_confused.gificon_lol.gif

I couldn't make a straight edged, perfectly level sheet cake to save my life. So I don't bother and refer requests elsewhere. And you bet, I bow down to a top notch sheet cake maker, in fact I give kudos and compliments to ones uploaded here all the time!

maryjsgirl Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:21pm
post #114 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Maryjsgirl...I Looooove fruitcake, the more brandy the better! But not to pour fuel on another fire, but British/Aussie fruitcake isn't the same as that yellow brick (there's only one, we know) that gets circulated here in the states at Christmas!




Oh I see! You have to get drunk off of Brandy to enjoy the delicacy that is the fruit cake. icon_lol.gif

-K8memphis Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:25pm
post #115 of 117

[quote="Jamie85364"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Quote:
Originally Posted by banba

Another one that kills me is the avoidance/abhorance of sheet cakes. Sheet cakes, can you imagine? The shape of a cake is beneath us for some reason.




What's the big deal? icon_confused.gificon_lol.gif

I couldn't make a straight edged, perfectly level sheet cake to save my life. So I don't bother and refer requests elsewhere. And you bet, I bow down to a top notch sheet cake maker, in fact I give kudos and compliments to ones uploaded here all the time!




Some people trash sheet cakes, I was shocked by that--obviously not you.

I can't write straight on them either --so I always write at an angle on sheets so it wasn't so noticeable (duh) So I had one boss who insisted that I write straight across from side to side on every cake. Who cares? Can you say micro-manage?

__Jamie__ Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:27pm
post #116 of 117

[quote="k8memphis"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie85364

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Quote:
Originally Posted by banba

Another one that kills me is the avoidance/abhorance of sheet cakes. Sheet cakes, can you imagine? The shape of a cake is beneath us for some reason.




What's the big deal? icon_confused.gificon_lol.gif

I couldn't make a straight edged, perfectly level sheet cake to save my life. So I don't bother and refer requests elsewhere. And you bet, I bow down to a top notch sheet cake maker, in fact I give kudos and compliments to ones uploaded here all the time!



Some people trash sheet cakes, I was shocked by that--obviously not you.

I can't write straight on them either --so I always write at an angle on sheets so it wasn't so noticeable (duh) So I had one boss who insisted that I write straight across from side to side on every cake. Who cares? Can you say micro-manage?




Outright trash them? Uncalled for, and unacceptable. icon_sad.gif

MrsMissey Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:31pm
post #117 of 117

I thought it would be a good time to go ahead and lock this thread. Thanks everyone! thumbs_up.gif

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