Over half of retail bakeries use mixes, according to a recent survey of U.S. retail bakers. We find that in many cases, bakers are choosing to go with mixes because they are more economically efficient without sacrificing on taste.

Mike Concannon of Connanon's Bakery in Indiana grew up with almost 100% scratch-made bakery products, but found that after commodity prices went through the roof in the mid-2000's his bakery needed a new game plan. "We started looking at mixes. We use a creme cake mix, which you can make several different items with that. We do different nut breads, streusels, muffins, just by adding different things to the base," he says.

Mixes can also make bakery items a little more shelf-stable. "It's got different enzymes and things like that, so they'll stay fresh longer. You still have to mix it right and handle it right. We still do a lot of things from scratch such as icings and cookies, but a lot of our doughs are made from mixes. You still have to have talented bakers who can use the mixes well," he says.

Round Rock Donuts in Texas was able to get its mix recipe to taste like its scratch recipe after many trials, and it allowed the shop to speed up the process and up production as its customer base has grown.

"As our business has increased, one of the things getting it the way was making things from scratch. We approached Dawn Foods about formulating a mix that would be an exact copy of the Round Rock Donut the way it was from scratch. It comes out the same every time. Now, we average a faster time per customer, allowing for continued relationships," says Paul Guderyahn, Operations Director at Round Rock Donuts.

While most retail bakeries continue to make things from scratch, many are finding that mixes can help address production increase concerns.