Ever since I learnt to bake – the first recipe being Best 2 Egg Cake that my mother used from a sheaf of papers her father had copied many decades ago – I have abhorred the use of premixed baking mixes. That is not to say that no one should use a mix to bake at home or the results aren’t satisfactory. They are all of the prior – quick, less of a hassle and mostly reliable. I enjoy playing with ingredients and prefer not to miss out! So, when a gift hamper came full of Stonewall Kitchens’ products including a scone mix and a savory biscuit mix, I was forced to try my hand at baking with most of the ingredients already measured. My experience wasn’t all together unsatisfactory and hence this review of Stonewall Kitchen products.
Does a ready to use baking mix contain everything?
Almost. Since a baking mix is dry, it only contains dry ingredients. So flour, baking powder, dried herbs or other flavorings are mostly included. What a home baker needs to add are the wet ingredients and anything extra they’d fancy. Each box of a baking mix comes with at least one, if not more, recipe for the standard product expected as the end result. Following that recipe you might need water, oil or butter, dusting flour and the like.
Here’s how I fared with Stonewall Kitchen’s Cheddar Herb Biscuit mix
Surprisingly easy to put together, these savoury biscuits came out fluffy with a good crust and an airy inside. I used olive oil, my preferred cooking fat instead of butter, and just to be sure that they would truly be herbed – added a whole lot of herbs of my own. I like to have dried fenugreek, Kasuri Methi (in Hindi), at hand at all times. It is a remarkable flavour enhancer in dishes such as chicken and aloo-gobhi.
Taking a leaf out of my Indian savory cravings
Savoury snacks in India often have methi. There is a whole category of fried snacks in India made of whole or processed flour that use additives like fenugreek leaves and carom seeds. Some are long, wedges akin to french fires and called Matar (also a word for green peas!) and others are flat, disc like flaky snacks of fried dough called Mathi or Mathri. Each of these can be paired with dips or achars (pickles) especially during winters while sipping on a cup of hot chai.
Adding methi to Stonewall Kitchen’s Cheddar Herb Biscuit Mix helped me satisfy my cravings for an Indian style snack without the deep frying. Not that I disprove and do not fry food at all, I try to limit it.
Easy bake for large groups
The final push for using this mix that had been languishing in my pantry was the impending arrival of friends for a weekend. I knew we wouldn’t eat too many meals at home, yet needed enough things for an easy breakfast and munching during the day. The biscuits served this purpose perfectly. I whipped up scrambled eggs for breakfast, along with cream cheese along with scones and chai. Read on to find out how I customized scones.
Can you customize the end product?
The straight and simple answer is, Yes!
Baking Scones with a Stonewall Kitchen mix
I decided to convert Stonewall Kitchen’s Traditional Scone Mix into strawberry and blackberry scones with fresh cut fruits. The one thing I had to be careful about was the additional moisture that this would add to the dough. An easy trick that bakers use is to pat dry and dust flour on any fruit being used. A thin coating of flour absorbs the moisture and helps fruit stay afloat – this is particularly true of cake batters. In a scone, where the dough is more akin to a biscuit, there is less room for fruits to sink.
What did I learn?
As usual I didn’t have too much butter at hand. Usually that’s none. So I reverted to my default – olive oil. I had some concerns about switching out butter for olive oil but was pleasantly surprised. The scones gained a little in olumer during the bake and had a good texture – not as dense as I had expected, which is great. If there is one baked good I despise, it is a dense and dry scone.
The downside of fruits…longevity
The only downside of this customization is that with fresh fruits scones cannot be kept on the kitchen counter, especially in summer months, for too many days. I decided to refrigerate mine after day one. A few seconds in the microwave or a quick toast in the OTG was all that was needed to warm up scones to just the right temperature. I served scones with some lemon curd and fruit preserves.
Helpful for quick bakes
I definitely enjoyed the ease of working with a pre-measured base of dry ingredients. In baking even slightest change in the ratio of ingredients impacts the end result. That is one worry a mix can take care of, although there is still room for a cook to go wrong. The other advantage of having a mix handy during holidays or when expecting company is the ease of getting things done rather than having to list, buy and then prepare ingredients for a bake.
This review of Stonewall Kitchen products is only a peek into the world of baking mixes.
There are many such products out there. At the Kitchenpostcards we do not exclusively endorse any products.
If you are on unsure about baking, a mix might help you get started. Otherwise, take the plunge and start your journey with some easy bakes on the blog.