One of the most time-consuming tasks in my mother’s kitchen was sifting flour. Following Betty Crocker’s instructions, she sifted flour on wax paper, before measuring, for accuracy and to keep the flour airy. Sifting, adding dry ingredients, and cutting in shortening in one large batch made it easy to put together pancakes, waffles, muffins, cornbread and simple cakes in a short time. The master baking mix recipe and chart is pictured above.
My mother wrote out the chart on lined paper and covered it with clear contact paper. I am not sure where she got the original recipes. When I married in 1988, she xeroxed it along with other favorites.
The chart at the bottom shows how much baking mix and additional ingredients go into in each item.
My mother had a chronic illness that limited her movements and she needed my help making the mix. Having it on hand allowed her to bake even when I wasn’t available. The lesson for us is to schedule big jobs for when you have help.
For the 29 cups of mix we used five pounds flour, 3/4 cups baking powder, 3 tablespoons salt, one tablespoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 pounds of shortening. Optionally, you could add two cups of dried milk. The instructions say: “Sift dry ingredients 3x. Cut in short. until ~= cornmeal.”
Sifting five pounds of flour three times and cutting in all that shortening took several hours. She stored it in large, round plastic containers on a shelf because shortening, which is pure transfat, doesn’t need refrigeration. You could make something similar with oil and refrigerate it, or leave out the fat and add it later. Whole-grain flours need refrigeration because they contain oil that can get rancid.
This post was inspired by a post on mixes at The Just in Case Book Blog.
Thanks to commenter Lydia who pointed me to a website with the original mix recipe.
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