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WHICH ONE IS BETTER? HELP!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

OMG! SO GLAD TO BE BACK HERE! THIS IS THE QUESTION:

 

I currently use duncan hines, but I'm wondering if I should start making them from scratch. Nothing is wrong with the method Im using but Im wondering if it's cheaper to do scratch. Is it really cheaper or better to do scratch vs mix? How can I make it moist like duncan hines? I hear people say the scratch cakes are too heavy and dry. Just tired of going to buy boxes of mix all the time. Plus I dont people seeing what I use. Kinda private with my ingredients, lol! Thanks guys!  I hope you guys can help!

post #2 of 15
Once you get big enough to buy ingredients in bulk, scratch is cheaper. As for which one is "better", it varies depending on the quality of the scratch recipe and how much R&D you invest in getting it right.
post #3 of 15

Welcome back and Happy Holidays! 

 

This could be the part of the famous and ongoing "scratch vs. mix" debate.    Everybody has their own opinions.  There are those that say scratch is the best way to go.  They're right.  There are those that say doctored mixes are the way to go....they're right also.  Hmmmm...... it is a puzzlement.

 

You said: "Nothing is wrong with the method Im using but Im wondering if it's cheaper to do scratch."

If nothing is wrong, why are you looking for a solution?

 

"Is it really cheaper or better to do scratch vs mix?"

Cost:  Depends on your ingredients.  Whether or not it's "better" is up to you.  If you are "ashamed to admit" that you use a box mix, then don't share your recipe.  Personally, I don't see a problem.  If the customer/recipient likes the taste and texture, who cares? 

 

How can I make it moist like duncan hines?

Duncan Hines (and other mixes) are able to commercially incorporate emulsifiers that help the dry and wet ingredients "bind" together.  Here's an excellent article by Anne Byrn, author of the Cake Mix Doctor:

"What's in a Cake Mix?"

http://www.ivillage.com/whats-cake-mix/3-a-57713

 

Scratch bakers do the same, but exceptional scratch baking requires practice and science and more practice, until you know all the variables that can occur with ingredients, temperature of ingredients, weather, altitude, etc. 

 

I am a hobby baker and have a few scratch recipes that are very good.  I prefer to doctor mixes.  It's easier, cheaper and I can keep shelf-stable ingredients on hand, reducing trips to the store for ingredients.  Granted, everyone who tastes my cakes gets that taste for free (lol), but I haven't had anyone ask if it's scratch or mix.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetneice View Post

OMG! SO GLAD TO BE BACK HERE! THIS IS THE QUESTION:

 

I currently use duncan hines, but I'm wondering if I should start making them from scratch. Nothing is wrong with the method Im using but Im wondering if it's cheaper to do scratch. Is it really cheaper or better to do scratch vs mix? How can I make it moist like duncan hines? I hear people say the scratch cakes are too heavy and dry. Just tired of going to buy boxes of mix all the time. Plus I dont people seeing what I use. Kinda private with my ingredients, lol! Thanks guys!  I hope you guys can help!

I don't believe scratch baking is cheaper, especially when you're using quality ingredients.

 

 

RE: buying in bulk, I bet cake mix is also cheaper when bought in bulk so comparing your cost now (per retail size box) and saying buying scratch ingredients in bulk is cheaper is like comparing apples and oranges. Any kind of baking using retail units would be more expensive when compared to bulk. When you get big enough to buy cake mix or scratch ingredients in bulk, your ingredient costs will be lower than using retail size units. 

 

Edit: The 50lb box of Duncan Hines cake mix (equivalent to about 43 retail boxes) runs about $75 per my google search.

 

If your main reason for wanting to switch to scratch is for a cheaper option, you might be disappointed. The R&D to develop your recipes or tweak existing ones to your taste alone gets pretty expensive.

post #5 of 15

Humorous sidebar:

 

I've tried to find "scratch" at the local grocery, but I've had no luck. It seems they haven't got scratch.

 

I have no idea whether the image file still exists anywhere, but I once put together a spoof of the Bisquick box, for a universal baking mix called (brace yourselves) "Scratch." One corner of the box had portraits of "our founders": Betty Crocker (the 1970 painting) and her purported military officer husband: a general named Mills (yes, there really was a General Mills, in fact several generals named Mills, as I recall).


Edited by hbquikcomjamesl - 12/18/12 at 10:53pm

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply
post #6 of 15

I do think scratch is cheaper.  I buy in bulk but we're talking Sam's Club bulk, not truckload bulk - totally accessible for all but the tiniest baker.  The add-in parts to a mix, eggs and oil, are the most expensive parts.  The scratch equivalent (using the word loosely) to what's in the box mix is the cheap bits: flour, sugar, baking powder.

post #7 of 15

Again it depends on the quality of one's ingredients and recipes. For example, my strawberry cake includes:

* real strawberries vs jello (which I've seen as the go-to for getting that strawberry flavor in box cakes) 

* Plugra butter vs oil (which is pretty much the fat called for, if at all in a cake mix) 

* milk/buttermilk vs water called for in box cakes.

* more eggs per yield than what is called for in the WASC for example.

 

When I need an Amaretto flavored cake, I can't go grabbing for a bottle of coffee creamer to doctor or flavor my cake, nope I head to Specs and buy the real thing. When I need a white chocolate cake, I don't reach for white chocolate jello pudding mix (as indicated in the WASC recipe), nope, I reach for Ghirardelli and get to melting.

 

Like KoryAK said, the flour, sugar, baking powder are relatively inexpensive when bought in bulk, but the add-ons for a scratch cake are what make it more expensive.. at least for me, that's the case.


Edited by vgcea - 12/19/12 at 2:30am
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea View Post

RE: buying in bulk, I bet cake mix is also cheaper when bought in bulk so comparing your cost now (per retail size box) and saying buying scratch ingredients in bulk is cheaper is like comparing apples and oranges.

Edit: The 50lb box of Duncan Hines cake mix (equivalent to about 43 retail boxes) runs about $75 per my google search.

To clarify my statement, it is absolutely correct that bulk mix is cheaper than retail mix, but bulk scratch is in turn cheaper than bulk mix. At Restaurant Depot, 50# of cake flour is $15 and 50# of sugar is $20, so for half the cost of the bulk mix you can get twice the ingredients by weight.

Quote:
If your main reason for wanting to switch to scratch is for a cheaper option, you might be disappointed. The R&D to develop your recipes or tweak existing ones to your taste alone gets pretty expensive.
It's true that R&D is expensive, but it is also a one-time expense that can be allocated out across the lifetime of your business. Higher ingredient costs will hit your profit margins over and over again.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl View Post

Humorous sidebar:

....I once put together a spoof of the Bisquick box, for a universal baking mix called (brace yourselves) "Scratch."

In the 80's I lived in Sydney, Australia.  My husband and family (all Australian), loved scones.  I bought several tiny boxes of Bisquik in the "international" grocery section (exoribitant prices!) and made the "Yank" version of scones for a large breakfast gathering at our home. 

 

Everybody raved about my light and fluffy and exquisite scones.  They all wanted the recipe. 

 

Still cracks me up................

 

Forget scratch "scones", give me Bisquik every time.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

wow! Thanks guys! I always worry about my customer's knowing that I doctor mix cake. The funny thing is they loooooove my cake! I just wanted to get your opinions on it. You get those customers that ask: Is this made from scratch? My answer: Everything you have tasted was made fresh today." Thats no lie, we bake daily, but I try to avoid saying scratch because I dont want to lie.

post #11 of 15

I don't know if anyone else has these experiences with mixes but whenever I use them, either alone or as part of a recipe my cake and cupcakes tend to shrink a lot. But when I make recipes from scratch I never have that problem so I prefer to bake from scratch. Any suggestions?
 

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET SHRINKAGE BUT NOT OFTEN. I WONDERED WHY THAT IS TOO.

post #13 of 15

How funny.

I've had scratch cakes shrink like a wool sweater in hot water.

Probably had cake mix cakes do that too just can't remember.

I've pretty much done everything wrong at least once.

I think its from over baking-

or a heretofore unbenownst

measuring booboo.

Either

in the mix itself

or user error

icon_biggrin.gif


Edited by -K8memphis - 12/23/12 at 9:58am
one baker's never ever do is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
 
Reply
one baker's never ever do is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
 
Reply
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti View Post

In the 80's I lived in Sydney, Australia.  My husband and family (all Australian), loved scones.  I bought several tiny boxes of Bisquik in the "international" grocery section (exoribitant prices!) and made the "Yank" version of scones for a large breakfast gathering at our home. 

 

Everybody raved about my light and fluffy and exquisite scones.  They all wanted the recipe. 

 

Still cracks me up................

 

Forget scratch "scones", give me Bisquik every time.

That's funny, because my kids won't eat anything made with bisquik. They say there's a weird aftertaste, and I have to agree. I don't know what it is because I don't have a bisquik box here to check but it defintiely has something in it that tastes weird.

post #15 of 15

Ever since the box cakes have changed, I noticed my cakes were not as high and fluffy. The last one I cooked from a box did not raise up any at all. I guess the baking powder was no good even though the expiration date was 1 1/2 year away. Hopefully that will never happen to you. Maybe I just got a bad box of cake mix.   If everyone loves your box cake then keep on doing what you are doing. As long as they are moist and rise good what they don't know will not hurt them.  You could do an experiment one day and cook a cake from scratch and a box cake and compare the two if you are curious as to which one you like the best.  When people doctor the cake boxes up, some can not tell the difference!!!

 

I have started doing all my cakes from scratch since they changed the box mixes.  I guess it's a matter of what you are used to doing. 

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