Ingredients !!!! It's Job One For Us!

Decorating By KuyaRomeo Updated 5 Sep 2011 , 3:24am by scp1127

KuyaRomeo Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 10:49pm
post #1 of 32

We have made a name for ourselves, locally, with our cakes. We get rave reviews, and I truly believe it's because we use nothing but quality fresh ingredients. I will spend the extra money and get good stuff, rather then cheap out and make a buck.

On that note . . the best thing I EVER did, was join Sam's Club Business Member today. I see that I can really cut down the cost of my cakes by buying good quality ingredients in bulk . . rather then the supermarket, like I was doing.

Previously I bought Pills all purpose flour for my cakes, with the exception of a few that do a better job with cake flour. I have never used any other flour.

I used to pay $5.00 for a small bag of flour, but now I see that SAMS has 25 lb bags for only $10.00 This is HUGE for my costs - and I LOVE it. However, it is flour brands that I have never heard of.

Can anyone shed some light on :

Bakers & Chefs brand all purpose flour
or
King Arthur? The king Arthur is $7 for 10 lb bag ,and thats still a better deal than perviously . .

On one hand, I would like to believe that flour is flour . . but it is not. I had a bad time with cheapo powdered sugar that made my frosting all grainy, and then cheap corn starch that made my strawberry filling all cloudy.

Anyone have any experience with these flours?

Thanks!!

31 replies
Kitagrl Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:24pm
post #2 of 32

I buy Sam's Club butter (although they are in the process of changing their brand, at least for the sticks, and I'm worried they'll change the block butter brand...hmmm).

I also buy their Bakers and Chefs powdered sugar, and it works fine for me.

I've bought the flour once and it seemed fine too, I honestly cannot tell the difference between their flour and King Arthur flour.

I like Sam's (Tone's) pure vanilla, too, although I think some here do not. Its okay! I buy all my eggs and milk and cream there, too, as well as the Ghiridelli chocolate and cream cheese and sour cream...oh okay most of my stuff comes from Sam's Club haha.

Everyone seems to like my cakes very well too, although amazingly enough, the MOST raves come from the doctored box mixes. hahaha. Although I have a few super good scratch recipes that people love as well. I think just the fact that we are baking fresh to order makes a big difference, and then the homemade fillings and icings make a HUGE difference as compared to the industrial kinds. The real butter from the frostings tends to soak into the cake and further flavor them.

myslady Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:33pm
post #3 of 32

I think bakers and chefs is comparable to gold medal flour.

ShandraB Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:36pm
post #4 of 32

I have not personally used it, but I have a caking friend who swears by King Arthur flour. If it's a significant savings for you, I'd give it a try!

KuyaRomeo Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:51pm
post #5 of 32

Thanks for the responses. I will try both the King Arthur and the Bakers and Chefs brand. If my cakes come out the same . . I will go with the Bakers and Chefs . . as it is much cheaper. Although, King Arthur is still cheaper then what I pay for the Grocery Store prices.

I see they have McCormick pure Vanilla for only $7 16 oz bottle. I will stick with that, as I have always used McCormick . . . but used to pay $7 for a 4 oz bottle at the market . . Gosh, I feel like the cost per cake is going to be less than half of what it used to . . just by switching to SAMS.

Does SAMS carry Land O Lakes butter? That's what I always use. They are the most expensive at the super market at $5.49 a pound, but I have tried other butters and they just don't give the same results taste wise.

I may get a BJ's membership too, but maybe SAMS will be good enough. SAMS business membership was $35, and BJ's was $50 . . so I decided to try SAMS first.

Now, I have to sit down and figure out the cost per cake . . to make from start to finish . . .

tbkimber Posted 3 Sep 2011 , 11:57pm
post #6 of 32

King Arthur brand has always worked really well for me.

Taterfink Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 12:52am
post #7 of 32

just a note since you said you may join BJ's.

I've been told that BJ's takes coupons and that Sam's does not.

I've not asked BJ's personally, but I have asked at Sam's and was told that they do not take coupons.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:14am
post #8 of 32

The nice thing about King Arthur Flour is that they worry as much about ingredients as you do. When there was the scare about overseas wheat sourcing a few years ago King Arthur sources its AP flour wheat from Kansas. It is one of the better ingredients.

KuyaRomeo Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:37am
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

The nice thing about King Arthur Flour is that they worry as much about ingredients as you do. When there was the scare about overseas wheat sourcing a few years ago King Arthur sources its AP flour wheat from Kansas. It is one of the better ingredients.




Good to know . . I think I will stick with KA !!!


On another (sort of related) note:

I am shocked at how many bakery and shops use cake box mix??? I am not saying that is a bad thing, but just very very surprised to know. Personally I won't do it . . it is just one of my selling points that everything is from scratch. BUT . . is it really that you prefer the cake mix? or just better for time consumption when baking in larger quantities? Just curious.

all4cake Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:10am
post #10 of 32

No, Bakers and Chefs is not comparable to Gold Medal. Several years ago, I picked up a bag of the B&C. There were things that weren't greatly affected like, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and pumpkin spice but everything else from cookies to sweet rolls and other cakes calling for a/p flour that I'd used GM flour for previously with optimal results failed miserably....biscuits even, were like lead weights, and I have never had a bad batch of biscuits...ever...never ever.

So, there is a difference. I'm sure my recipes/formulas could be adjusted to accomodate whatever it is that makes the difference but, I won't bother unless I am no longer able to get GM.

QTCakes1 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:11am
post #11 of 32

I understand how you feel! Just about 98% of the bakeries here, and I don't mean the grocery stores, all use the same cake mixer wholesaler.

I have used both brands. I will say King Arthur's is way better. It has a much better taste. The Sam's club brand works fine, but I think KA has a MUCH better taste.

southerncross Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:21am
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KuyaRomeo


I am shocked at how many bakery and shops use cake box mix??? I am not saying that is a bad thing, but just very very surprised to know. Personally I won't do it . . it is just one of my selling points that everything is from scratch. BUT . . is it really that you prefer the cake mix? or just better for time consumption when baking in larger quantities? Just curious.




I agree that I had no idea that mixes were used so often. I too am a scratch baker. I've tried the doctored mixes and don't really feel comfortable with them ....But here's the really strange thing...many (but not all) of my customers love the doctored mixed cakes (variations of the WASC). I can't figure it out.

I'm not sure if we are a nation that has become addicted to additives and preservatives (here's what's in DH after the main ingredient of sugar: Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid , Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono- and Diglycerides , Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate . Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Soy Protein, Whey, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.  

I grew up on scratch cakes and prefer what to me tastes purer than the chemicals of mixes. IMHO, the mixes are doctored to cover that chemical taste. But having said that, I still can't explain why so many of my customers prefer the mix based cakes.

KuyaRomeo Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:24am
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuyaRomeo


I am shocked at how many bakery and shops use cake box mix??? I am not saying that is a bad thing, but just very very surprised to know. Personally I won't do it . . it is just one of my selling points that everything is from scratch. BUT . . is it really that you prefer the cake mix? or just better for time consumption when baking in larger quantities? Just curious.



I agree that I had no idea that mixes were used so often. I too am a scratch baker. I've tried the doctored mixes and don't really feel comfortable with them ....But here's the really strange thing...many (but not all) of my customers love the doctored mixed cakes (variations of the WASC). I can't figure it out.

I'm not sure if we are a nation that has become addicted to additives and preservatives (here's what's in DH after the main ingredient of sugar: Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid , Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono- and Diglycerides , Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate . Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Soy Protein, Whey, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.  

I grew up on scratch cakes and prefer what to me tastes purer than the chemicals of mixes. IMHO, the mixes are doctored to cover that chemical taste. But having said that, I still can't explain why so many of my customers prefer the mix based cakes.




LOL . . that's funny! We have grown to crave salt and preservatives. Just lok at Applebee's Fridays, Chilis . . . it's enough sodium in one meal for a month . . yet people crave it! I agree . . I love the taste of natural ingredients, there is a freshness that chemicals just can't mock up.

Of course, I do lower myself to adding a pudding mix to my rum cake batter, etc . .

scp1127 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:31am
post #14 of 32

I have not found a scratch baker in my area yet. But they all boast fine, gourmet ingredients. One boasts Grandma's recipes and she gets everything from Walmart and resells it. I don't even find real chocolate. We joke that we can feed the chocolate cakes and icings to the dogs because there is nothing real. I personally throw it all in the trash after one small bite when I am testing the competitors.

Cheaper flours are usually not as fine and will affect the final outcome. Cheaper butters and other dairy do have corners cut. I don't do it, but you will just have to see how it works in your recipes. I buy all dairy from a local dairy farm and, wow, is it different! But it is expensive. Watch out for discount chocolate. It may have the right name brand, but there is no cocoa butter in it and it says "flavor". Off brand sugar is not uniform in size of the crystal. This can be corrected by a few spins in the processor, but is that worth it? Powdered sugar is definitely not the same. You can find all of this if you google it, as I am sure I will be challenged.

Bottom line, it is all of a lesser quality. You just need to see how it affects your overall outcome.

King Arthur Flour is a highly respected company. In my baking, I use cake flour, bread flour, AP, unbleached, and wheat. I can't go to one flour.

KuyaRomeo Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:43am
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127


King Arthur Flour is a highly respected company. In my baking, I use cake flour, bread flour, AP, unbleached, and wheat. I can't go to one flour.




I agree with everything . . . brands DO make a difference in the end quality. I have tested cheaper ingredients at times and it NEVER comes out the same. But, my standards are high. Many people that I have asked to sample, can not taste a difference . .but I can. And well, the reason I got into this is because I love taking pride in the end results . . therefore it is important for me to bake to my standards.

I also agree that more than just General Flour is needed. I use All Purpose for many things, but some of my cakes use cake flour, some use all purpose, and I use bread flour for my Challah bread (I don't do any other breads).


I am glad I posted this, as I have learned a lot. I saw some brands of flour that I was not familiar with, and I knew others would have some insight.

QTCakes1 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:44am
post #16 of 32

YOur right about all the flours! I have King Arthur's AP flour, Lilly's SR flour, Bob Red Mill's rice flour, corn meal, King Arthur's brea flour & wheat flour and last, but not least, MAsa corn flour. My husband just looks and shakes his' head, but I know al the scratch bakers on here understand! icon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:35am
post #17 of 32

We've experimented with premium ingredients but none of them have made an appreciable difference in the quality of the end product, at least based on our testing. For the most part we just use the brands at our local restaurant supply store. Incidentally our restaurant supply store (Restaurant Depot) has much better prices than the warehouse club stores -- 50# bags of cake flour are around $15 (we use exclusively cake flour for cake recipes, except for GF recipes).

The only time we use premium brands is when there are allergy considerations -- for example, we use Earth Balance vegan margarine and Whole Foods vegan chocolate chips, since they are the only brands we've found that are dairy-free.

jason_kraft Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:53am
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

I'm not sure if we are a nation that has become addicted to additives and preservatives (here's what's in DH after the main ingredient of sugar: Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid , Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono- and Diglycerides , Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate . Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Soy Protein, Whey, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.  



That list sounds scary but it's really just a bunch of added nutrients (the same stuff you find in enriched flour), leaveners (i.e. baking soda), vegetable oil, thickeners (i.e. corn starch), sugar, and emulsifiers (i.e. egg yolks). I believe the only ingredient that really has the job of a preservative would be propylene glycol, a humectant that stabilizes the product and keeps it from drying out.

jenng1482 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:55am
post #19 of 32

I recently purchased a 25# bag of powdered sugar from a food rep at the restaurant I manage when I couldnt get to Sams to buy my Bakers and Chefs PS. I was totally disappointed. It was more expensive, and had lots of small hard bead type chunks in it. The whole bag seemed chunky. I love Bakers and Chefs PS and will make the trip out of town to get it!

frankdiabetes Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 4:10am
post #20 of 32

I know King Arthur flour has a slightly higher protein content than other brands of all-purpose flour (maybe 11-12% versus 10% or so for Gold Medal/Pillsbury), so that would be an additional factor to consider in scratch baking. That being said, I love King Arthur and ALL of its products, and they are a company with phenomenal customer service as well.

scp1127 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 4:23am
post #21 of 32

frank, I agree. I worked too hard to get my recipes where I want them and adjustments for protein is just something I don't want to do. Also, on off brands, what they use can change, so the consistency will not be there also.

myslady Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:49pm
post #22 of 32

Comparable does not mean equal. I have used bakers and chefs recently and have not had any problems with it. I havent made any biscuits with it but everything else I have made turned out fine.

homemaderachel Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 7:04pm
post #23 of 32

I am a BJ's member (yes they take all coupons) and do all my cake baking with the KA AP flour they have there. Learned my lesson when I got the off brand stuff one day - what a clumpy mess. I also use local, grass fed milk and local eggs, but I use BJ's brand butter, vanilla and marshmallows. Scratch is my game and if the ingredients suck, the end result will too. So yeah, it's job 1 for me too. Glad to see there are others who shun mixes, regardless of the reason. Baking from scratch takes actual talent and technique, where imo, a boxed mix is for those who do not have the skill/time/desire to make a cake from scratch. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my thing.

I was pretty shocked to find that our local high end bakeries (not just the grocery stores) use mixes or frozen shipped in cakes as well. Modified food starch and Soy Protein don't belong in MY cakes. Is this a cost/time saving measure for these large bakeries? Sheesh, If it means switching to mixes, I never want to have a real bakery!

It's a niche that I've created for myself in my area - the demand for high quality scratch cakes is bigger than I thought. Some people will pay for quality - the others can go to Walmart for some modified food starch!!

all4cake Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 7:24pm
post #24 of 32

I'm so terribly sorry if it seemed as if I was calling you out on your statement. My comment was not intended to offend, nor to imply B&C was inferior or that GM was superior but to state that differences were noted when using an alternate product. I know I've tweaked the recipes/formulas quite a bit...maybe, so much so that they aren't as flexible to change as they once were. I've always used GM so all tweaking was done using that flour. I could achieve the same results with any flour if adjusting were to take place (I did say that) but, I'd rather not bother as long as GM a/p flour is available. I may just as well had the same outcome had I used a 'superior' or more expensive brand. The chocolate, pumpkin spice, and carrot seem to be more flexible all the way around.
I use various flours for different things. For anything calling for a/p, I stick to GM.

southerncross Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 10:11pm
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft


That list sounds scary but it's really just a bunch of added nutrients (the same stuff you find in enriched flour), leaveners (i.e. baking soda), vegetable oil, thickeners (i.e. corn starch), sugar, and emulsifiers (i.e. egg yolks). I believe the only ingredient that really has the job of a preservative would be propylene glycol, a humectant that stabilizes the product and keeps it from drying out.





Well Jason, you raise a valid pointto a point. My white cake contains enriched unbleached white flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate,riboflavin, folic acid, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid as a dough conditioner), cane sugar, farm fresh eggs, farm fresh unsalted butter (both eggs and butter from organically raised cows and chickens), leavening ~ I make my own baking powder (cream of tartar, monocalcium phosphate and potassium bitartrate), real vanilla extract.

That means that the following remain in a mix: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono- and Diglycerides , Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Soy Protein, Whey, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.

I have a difficult time accepting those additives as "nutrients".

QTCakes1 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 10:46pm
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft


That list sounds scary but it's really just a bunch of added nutrients (the same stuff you find in enriched flour), leaveners (i.e. baking soda), vegetable oil, thickeners (i.e. corn starch), sugar, and emulsifiers (i.e. egg yolks). I believe the only ingredient that really has the job of a preservative would be propylene glycol, a humectant that stabilizes the product and keeps it from drying out.




Well Jason, you raise a valid pointto a point. My white cake contains enriched unbleached white flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate,riboflavin, folic acid, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid as a dough conditioner), cane sugar, farm fresh eggs, farm fresh unsalted butter (both eggs and butter from organically raised cows and chickens), leavening ~ I make my own baking powder (cream of tartar, monocalcium phosphate and potassium bitartrate), real vanilla extract.

That means that the following remain in a mix: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono- and Diglycerides , Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Soy Protein, Whey, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.

I have a difficult time accepting those additives as "nutrients".




AMEN!!! thumbs_up.gif

jason_kraft Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 12:23am
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

I have a difficult time accepting those additives as "nutrients".



To clarify, by "nutrients" I was referring to the stuff that is already in the enriched flour most of us use (niacin, iron, calcium, etc.). The term "additive" includes any item used to enhance the taste or appearance of food, you can apply that term to sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, etc.

Most of the other ingredients from the cake mix are just different ways to accomplish a similar result, the fact that some of them have long names does not necessarily mean they are better or worse.

rlowry03 Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 12:39am
post #28 of 32

We swear by King Arthur in my house too! It's produced the most reliable bread loaves every time, and they have great customer service if you have baking questions.

southerncross Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 12:49am
post #29 of 32

Well, Jason, it's good that there are those that keep the cake mix people in business. Then Pinnacle Foods (parent company of Duncan Hines), General Mills (parent of Betty Crocker and Pillsbury) can pay dividends to it's shareholders who will then go to bakeries in Milpitas (I'm so old I remember when Milpitas was an unincorporated area on the mudflats)...kinda like a trickle down economy plan.

Tammies_Cakes Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 1:30am
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenng1482

I love Bakers and Chefs PS and will make the trip out of town to get it!




I also use Bakers and Chefs PS all the time. Never a problem and so much cheaper than the other brands. Here I get 7 pound bag for $4.88

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