Today I am writing about the beauty of master mix.
What is master mix? You are most likely asking yourself. Well, for starters, it’s not a mixed tape. When googling “master mix” attempting to come up with ideas for a definition, there were many results pertaining to DJ-ing. As DJ-ing isn’t my forte (ha…ha…ha…), I am not going to spend time elaborating on that type of master mix. Instead, today’s post is about the master mix that is used for baking.
So back to my original question- What is master mix? I decided to write my own definition:
Master mix is an all-purpose baking mix that can be made ahead of time and stored for many months. It can be used as the “master” (base) for many recipes including muffins, pancakes, cornbread, etc.
In other words, it’s a time-saver. (Insert praise hands here.)
It’s also a money-saver. Master mix makes whipping up baked side dishes a piece of cake (not literally) and the recipes that stem from it usually only require ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. Hence, once to make a big batch of this goodness, you should be “set” on baked good ingredients for quite a while.
And as a personal testimony (for those that care- ha!), master mix is part of my childhood. My mom almost always had a huge bowl of this stuff in the cupboard and muffins were a staple at many meals. We were a family of 5, but could easily blow through a dozen of those scrumptious things each time a batch of muffins was made.
We also grew up having a lot of cornbread made from this master mix recipe, which- I’m telling you- is addictive. Way better than a box mix! The recipe for that is HERE.
All my little anecdotes shared above to say– there are some great staple recipes that can come out of this “master recipe”.
Now, I will admit that all these years I thought that perhaps the recipe was my mom’s secret recipe, but a few weeks ago when brainstorming for this post, I decided to ask her where the recipe came from. Apparently it’s no secret family recipe, but interestingly enough is actually taken from an old Mennonite cookbook called “More-with-Less” written by Doris Janzen Longacre (which has clearly been loved over the years as you can see in the picture)! I suppose those Mennonites really know their way around the kitchen! Who knew that it is them that all my life I’ve owed my master mix love to? (By the way, it looks like they have an updated version of the cookbook which I am totally buying for my own personal use. I love the idea of “more-with-less”. That’s what our family is all about these days! Thank you, Ms. Janzen Longacre! )
The recipe below for Master Mix is summarized in my own words and adapted for my blog.
Without further ado, I present you with the recipe for:
Ingredients for an 8 lb batch
(yields about 28 cups, enough for apx. 14 dozen muffins):
note: I will also post the recipe for a 4lb batch below, but we usually just do the 8lb batch since we bake with it so often!
¾ cup baking powder
3 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cream of tarter
5 lb bag of flour
½ cup sugar
2 lb vegetable shortening
Before I go any further, please do not freak out about the amount of vegetable shortening. This is the fat used in the mix to hold the baked goods together. I did the math and for the muffin recipe I am going to post, less than ½ tablespoon of shortening ends up in each muffin, making up for approximately only 44 calories of each muffin. Similar statistics for the cornbread recipe I have on hold for a future post (found HERE). ☺ So don’t worry. While I’m sure (as always) there are healthier options out there, these aren’t terrible for you!
1. Sift baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar into a large bowl.
Although we have a sifter, I just use a whisk. (Now, remember- this recipe makes A LOT [apx. 28 cups]. You are going to need a very large bowl, and one with a lid so that the master mix can be stored. We have this Tupperware bowl and love it. It holds 32 cups so is just big enough. The lid is also super easy to get on and off [bonus!].)
2. Mix bag of flour and sugar into the sifted mixture.
What we have found easiest is putting the lid on the bowl and shaking it really well.
3. Add the vegetable shortening and cut into the consistency of cornmeal
Now, this is where it gets to be a little messy. If you have one of these measuring devices for sticky -type food, I definitely suggest using it! It keeps the mess minimal.
Also, if you have a pastry cutter, it would definitely behoove you to use it in this step! We don’t have one so just use knives. It does the trick, but is a bit of work.
Also, I’m not 100% sure that we have ever gotten it to quite the consistency of cornmeal, but we’ve never had any issues either! 🙂
Violá! That’s it. You now have enough master mix for approximately 168 muffins (if you were to use it solely for muffins), which should hopefully last you and your family a while unless you’re total muffin fiends!
TO STORE: Store in an airtight bowl or container in a cupboard or pantry. This will keep good for months!
If 8 lb is too big of a batch and you’d like to try a smaller batch, here are the quantities for apx. half the batch:
ingredients for a 4 lb batch:
6 tablespoons baking powder
1.5 tablespoons salt
1.5 teaspoons cream of tarter
10 cups of flour
¼ cup of sugar
2 cups of vegetable shortening
(same directions as above. Yields same results! Just approximately ½ the quantity)
Now considering that master mix is no good without any recipes to use it in, I am going to move onto our favorite muffin recipe. Just like growing up, these are now a staple in my own household with my own family. My toddler is obsessed with these and I actually have to hide them from him whenever he is in the kitchen. I could say similar things about my husband as well. 😉
Also, please be gracious. I am not a food photographer and am feeling self-conscious now about the muffin I photographed. Is it pretty enough? Does it look good in the photo? Still have not reached a verdict on these questions, but I promise that is does at least taste good!
Master Mix Muffins
2 cups master mix **
1 cup oats (we use old fashioned)
1 cup of milk of your choice
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of add-in of your choice (frozen blueberries, bananas, blueberry and banana combo, frozen mango, raspberries, chocolate chips, etc.! We have tried all of these and they have all turned out delicious!)
**if you don’t like oats, you can leave the cup of oats out and do 3 cups of master mix instead of 2.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Beat egg, milk, and sugar in a bowl
- Add in master mix and oats
- Add in your “add-in” (fruit, etc.)
- Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and add in muffin mix (I use my 1/3 measurement cup and that spreads them pretty evenly in the tin)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry
There you have it! I love this recipe because it is so EASY and takes literally about 5 minutes to mix these up and get them into the oven. And they are delicious and a great side for almost any meal. Oh, and they freeze/defrost wonderfully!
If you like the idea of Master Mix recipes, stay tuned for a post coming soon with a master mix cornbread recipe! (If you’d like to, subscribe HERE so that you don’t miss the post! I will never email you apart from new posts, which generally come out 1-2x per week.)
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read. I’m going to be lame and make up a verb here– Happy Master-mixing! ☺