My Mother’s Homemade Baking Mix

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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  1. The picture turned out well. I love Picasa. I am the main photographer (amateur!) in my family and use it all the time.

    Enjoyed the post – looks like a terrific mix to have on hand.

  2. Thanks for your suggestions and the visit! You may hear from me again.

  3. Is there a way we can see exactly what is on your mother’s paper? I would love to copy it.

  4. Ita, I’ll email you (and anyone who asks) the larger picture and a few more I took of it.

  5. thank you for sharing your memories!

  6. Kim, did you get the pictures?

  7. I would like a copy also. Thanks.

  8. Yes but could not open FTP.

  9. I did not receive it yet.

  10. (I just now saw this post, which explains the late-late-comment!)
    Hannah, you weren’t kidding when you said your mother was the “most efficient cook” you knew. This is something my husband would do, but he would do it in a spreadsheet, as you did.
    Me, I open cans, mostly. I used to cook for Shabbat, but he mainly does these days, and I assist (chief bottlewasher!)

  11. I would love to have your recipe for this hommade baking mix as well. Thank you in advance! Happy holidays

  12. Oops I ment a copy of the paper as I am having a hard time reading it exactly. Thanks again…..Lori

  13. Oops I meant to ask for a copy of the actual mix recipe page. I’m having a hard time reading it. Thank you for the consideration, patiently waiting…….Lori

  14. Lori, there is a problem with your email. I got a notice that my last message to you did not arrive.

  15. I would love to have a copy of your mom’s recipe. It looks like a tried and true one. I’m always looking for GOOD recipes to use for my fast paced life. Thanks in advance.

  16. I have been searching on the web for baking mix recipes & would love to have a copy of your mom’s. I especially enjoy older recipes that have been passed around in families.

  17. This is also our familys master mix that we cant live without. You can find the original with all the recipes at the following site. Our original book is from sometime between 1940-1950. I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

  18. I would like to have a copy of your mother’s chart. Would be awesome! Thanks!