Boxed Dessert Mixes vs. Desserts Made From Scratch: Is It Worth It?
Many restaurants turn to boxed mixes in the kitchen. This is especially true for desserts and breads. Many believe them to be both cheaper and more time effective. But is that really true? We outline the pros and cons of both the traditional and convenience methods.
Taste and texture. These are arguably the two most important factors in a business that prepares and serves food. They’re also the two most apparent differences in the battle between boxed vs scratch. While some insist that mixes don’t affect flavor, there is evidence to the contrary. Mixes contain emulsifiers and other ingredients that most assuredly do affect texture and mouth-feel. The caliber of ingredients is also up for debate as the companies creating and selling mixes, in general, have no regard for the quality of the ingredients they use. This is another factor that will definitely have an effect on the taste of your products.
Cost is another very important concern for businesses. And on the surface, mixes seem like the cheaper option, but look a little closer. Eggs, oil, ingredients to prepare your frosting, and any additional ingredients like nuts, chocolate, coconut flakes etc. are not included. You must also assess the cost of preparing garnishes. All things considered, the savings of a boxed mix is negligible and potentially non-existent.
Another pro for team scratch, especially in a restaurant, is the ability to repurpose ingredients that make up dessert. You can use milk, eggs, butter, and flour in a multitude of other recipes. Whereas a mix for German chocolate cake can only be used for, you guessed it, German chocolate cake.
Time and Effort
The last argument for using manufactured mixes is the time and energy saved. There might be slightly more prep work when preparing from scratch. More ingredients do have to be weighed and measured. But the same number of pans must still be prepared, the oven must still be brought to temperature and baking still takes the same amount of time. Not to mention clean-up which no boxed mix has ever eliminated. All-in-all the difference in time invested in from-scratch baking vs. convenience baking is small, but the results in flavor plainly speak for themselves.
While our case against mixes has been pretty clear, let us take a moment to drive one more nail into the proverbial coffin. While many establishments simply want reliable familiar dishes that taste good and look presentable, for some, creativity is a priority. Boxed mixes almost entirely eliminate that option. However, when you make from scratch, you have the chance to let your artistic side shine.
There is a widespread inaccuracy in our society that boxed mixes make baking easy. Somehow taking the mystery out of eggs, flour, and sugar when combined. The fact is, that boxed mixes speed up your assembly time fractionally. But they still require just as many dirty dishes, the same amount of energy to heat your oven, the same amount of time to bake, and the same amount of clean-up. Not to mention they contain a plethora of preservatives, generally the very lowest quality ingredients, and in the long run, cost you more than baking from scratch. Assert your independence, make your own food, your guests and your wallet will thank you.