Pre-Easter Breakfast (baking mix taste-off)
Easter Saturday is one of my favorite mornings of the year…I’ve worked my tail off all week, everything’s done that’s going to get done, and I have no commitments except to family until this evening when I go to church for the big almost-three-hour Easter Vigil…today is mine. Ours.
So this morning I made waffles. As it turned out, it was the opportunity to do a real “baking mix taste-off,” because I still had about a cup of Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix from when my husband and kids made my birthday breakfast, and that’s not quite enough to feed a voracious family of four in the morning when at least the other three are at their hungriest all day. So I made that batch, and then I mixed up a batch of my own homemade baking mix, which I’ve written about in the past.
Neither of these baking mixes is quite as effort-free as things like Bisquick or the Trader Joe equivalent–you need to add actual liquid oil (melted butter tastes best, of course, but regular vegetable oil like grapeseed works fine too) along with eggs and milk or water. And it’s a good idea with waffles anyway to spray or oil your iron between waffles, or they eventually start to stick–unless you have a really fabulous non-stick waffle iron and you’re careful about not heating it to the point of dangerous fumes. I’ve made my own little bottle of “cooking spray,” which is basically a mixture of about half and half grapeseed oil and half distilled water in a little spray bottle in the fridge–I shake it like crazy and just spray on between waffles. I’d recommend not mixing up too much of this at a time, since oil and water together are prone to mold, but at least in this case the combination of the distilled water (really cheap at the neighborhood drugstore) and the refrigeration seems to be holding it off, and this little bottle has been keeping just fine for several months since I don’t use it much.
Verdict: The Bob’s Red Mill mix is very good. It uses whole wheat pastry flour, buttermilk powder, wheat gluten, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. The whole wheat thing is a plus, of course–my own mix is only about half whole wheat and the other half regular unbleached. I made a batch of these, and they did very well in my waffle iron (though they didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped they would–it’s very possible that it was just an older bag of mix and the baking powder had lost some of its oomph; it’s the inescapable hazard of buying pre-made anything off the shelf, no matter how good and reputable the brand), and were very tasty.
However, if I do say so–the very next batch, made out of my own just-mixed baking mix, was hands down the better mix. Lighter, more flavorful, delicate crumb, less sticky-to-the-iron. And I say this not as much to celebrate me or anything as just to point out that what you can make at home in less than the time it takes to cook one waffle can be pretty superior to what you can buy ready-made. (And as I say, Bob‘s is a very good company with high quality products–I buy their stuff all the time!) And it’s way cheaper than any pre-made mix and made from ingredients that most of us keep kicking around anyway. (Except for the milk powder, I guess–though in the past couple of years I’ve found it incredibly useful for lots of things, so I’ve started making that a pantry staple–I get mine from Amazon by the case, since it keeps forever…) So I highly recommend trying this!
This afternoon we color eggs–this year, unfortunately, it’s still the commercial Paas stuff (my husband went shopping), but next year I really want to try the natural dyes…
Happy Easter, everyone!