Friday, April 12, 2013

Baking in the Rain

Okay, I am not literally baking in the rain, or even baking. What I did do, among other things, is clean out my baking cupboard. 

Basically, I started out cleaning the kitchen because somehow, despite no one eating in the morning (I know, bad habits), my kitchen is gross every single morning. I think I may have elves, just not the kind that makes me shoes. So, I was cleaning the counters and realized that they were way too cluttered so thought that I would simply move the cutting boards to an out of sight place that I could also easily get to. That led to me wanting to find a home for a couple of things that have been on the counter too long. That led me to cleaning out the baking cupboard (and the laundry pantry, but that is another story). 

So, I went through the cabinet and cleaned and consolidated and moved things around to make everything easier to use. 

The upper two containers are filled with sugar and flour, 15lbs and 10lbs respectively. I have this hoarding problem. Okay, it is nowhere near "TV ready" hoarding by any means, but having lived most of my life worrying about the next meal, I tend to overcompensate. That, and, pretty!

While we are there, you many notice that I have things on the doors. Those ideas for using the doors as additional storage never worked for me. The doors always ended up a little ajar. What I did was make an envelope using a heavy duty manilla folder and then taped it up to keep all of the manuals that I need in there, like the settings for the microwave and such. My Gramma taught me to tape often used recipes in there too, which I did with the recipe for window cleaner. There is also a list of medications for the family so we have that accessible if we can't use the computer for some reason.

Easy to find
During this it became apparent that I was quite hungry. I am nursing a split tooth, so it has been a bit of a challenge finding things to eat. Then I remembered that I have the baking mix I have mentioned in the past.
Baking mix
Since I have been waiting to try it before posting it, this seemed like an ideal time to give it a go, since pancakes are very soft and tasty. 

The directions are written on labels on the outside of the container to make things a bit simpler. I cut the recipe for pancakes in half and gave it a try. Even using a whole egg (it called for 1 egg for the full recipe) I found that it needed a lot more water than called for.  These were not thin pancakes even with the extra liquid.

Ugh, is that what my stove top looks like?
Please ignore the grossness of the stove top. Also, that butter isn't burned, it is browned. Seriously, it was browned butter, albeit accidentally browned. It lent a nice flavor to the pancakes though.

Here they are all cooked and ready for my tummy.
Ta Da!
This mix will also help you to create biscuits, cookies, coffee cake and more. I was very pleased with the results. They were fluffy and still filling, plus, real maple syrup, need I say more?

Now you ask, where is the recipe for this lovely mix? I have it for you here. It was developed by an extension office, and though I really wanted to avoid cutting in real shortening, preferring to add oil when mixing the batter, I went ahead and tried this. Some people will say to refrigerate this. Personally, I don't. Shortening is fine and shelf stable, but if it squeeks you out, put it in the fridge, I don't judge.

Master Baking Mix

9 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
2 cups dry milk
1/3 cup double-acting baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups shortening
which does not require refrigeration

1. Stir baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, dry milk, and
sugar into flour.
2. Cut in shortening until mix is consistency of
3. Store in covered containers at room temperature. To measure the master mix, pile it
lightly into cup and level off with spatula.

My system for cutting in the shortening was to put batches of it with a corresponding amount of the shortening into a food processor and pulse it until done. The creates a more standardized mix, which will help when you use it later. Once I finished the batches, I mixed it together well and put it into the container. 
For my purposes, I only made a half of this recipe and it filled that container, which is one of the really big "disposable" containers that you find at the grocery store. 

Some recipes to use with it:

3 cups baking mix
1/3 to 2/3 cups of water 

Mix it all together gently. I have not tried the biscuits yet, so be careful with how much water you use. Just get it to the consistency of a normal biscuit dough.
Pat out until about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch and cut out as you normally would. I have also made square biscuits by just patting it out roughly into a square shape and cutting it up. I like that method because the dough is handled less and that makes more tender biscuits.
Bake at 450 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes.


3 cups baking mix
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of water (I had to use more though)

Mix until just combined and cook as  any other pancake batter.

Coffee Cake

3 cups baking mix
1 egg
3/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter

Mix the batter and pour into an 8 inch cake pan or equivalent. 
Cut topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top. 
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes

There are many more things that you can make with this, including sugar cookies and waffles. Your imagination is the only limit here.

Now, to brave the weather and go protect my bok choy that I unfortunately planted (or transplanted) yesterday, as well as the radicchio, green onions and radish seeds. I am so glad I didn't jump the gun and put out the other plants that are waiting very impatiently for their new home.

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