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Old 06-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #11
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Foods processed in a local cannery have "Brand" name labels and "Store: labels. The same people are on the line for both products, the same trucks deliver the product from the fields.
I've never noticed much difference in the staples that I've used in baking. However I don't buy store brand flour or butter (except Costco brand).
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #12
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What's interesting is I actually prefer some store brands of unsalted butter over Land O' Lakes. Here's why. Salted butter only contains cream and salt. Unsalted butter contains cream and "natural flavorings". I find that Land O' Lakes is more aggressive with this flavoring, and things like Swiss meringue buttercream aren't improved by this flavor and actually become too buttery in my opinion. I've had great luck with My Essentials (Food Lion, Hannaford etc..) BJ's club and Aldi unsalted butter. I know that My Essentials is made by Richfoods, and I suspect that the others are the same. I've never found a butter that seemed to throw off a recipe because of too much water content. margarine on the other hand is all over the map with water content, I don't use it though so not a problem.

Sugar does vary in crystal size for sure between brands. I weigh my sugar, so it makes less of a difference in most recipes. I have been buying White Gold brand pure cane, it is made by Dixie Crystals and is cheaper than the Dixie Crystals that it sits beside.

Flour, well I've had good luck with pretty much every brand that I've used, I've never had one that made a huge difference in the quality of my baked goods. I often buy My Essentials unbleached flour. If I had to pick a favorite based on quality and price it would be Gold Medal unbleached.
Strange that Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter contains "natural flavoring" - whatever that is. I use 2 kinds of organic unsalted butter, and they only have 2 ingredients - organic sweet cream and either lactic acid or microbial cultures.

I use Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar, since it's the only brand I can find around here that is "extra fine" as opposed to "fine." I wonder how big a difference it is between the two kinds?

Gold Medal Unbleached AP flour is my favorite also.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:39 PM   #13
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I just had something happen to me where I noticed something. I usually buy store brand butter and I have been noticing that's its watery when it melted for my eggs in the morning. Kelley's brand butter was on sale so I grabbed a few blocks and I noticed how much nicer it is to work with. I don't think I'll continue to use store brand butter anymore.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:42 PM   #14
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I like to stick with pure cane sugar. Beet sugar, which is cheaper to make, is often what you get with generic/store brands. There are differences in baking and cooking.

If the butter is Grade A, it should be pretty much only cream and salt.
Beet and cane sugar are equally available over here and I have used both for preserving - jam, marmalade, jellies, etc. At one stage I was having a lot of trouble with my stuff not setting properly. I then read an article written by the woman who was in charge of training the judges in Women's Institute competitions. She said that you get a better set with cane sugar than with beet sugar and sure enough, when I thought about it, I had been using beet sugar. Since then I've always used cane sugar and voila, perfectly setting jams, jellies and marmalade without adding extra pectin.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:03 PM   #15
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One time I sent DH out to pick up some flour. He bought the generic brand and everything I made with it was heavy and denser than normal. I used it up but then went back to my Gold Medal All Purpose flour. I haven't noticed a difference in sugar or butter.
I use stores "own brand" plain flour as the only difference I can see between that and more expensive brands is that it needs more sifting than the expensive ones. I was once told that stores' own brand self-raising flour was not as reliable as branded versions. However, as the stores' own brand flours are produced by the mills which produce the branded flours and I've never really noticed any difference between own brand and the "posh" stuff.

Never noticed any difference between stores' own brand butter and branded versions but own brand sugar tends to be beet sugar so I don't use it.

Butter over here can't be called butter if there is anything in it other than cream and, optionally, salt. If it has oil (or water in the cases of the stuff peddled to slimmers) it has to be called "spread". I prefer unsalted for baking but salted on my toast.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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Strange that Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter contains "natural flavoring" - whatever that is. I use 2 kinds of organic unsalted butter, and they only have 2 ingredients - organic sweet cream and either lactic acid or microbial cultures.

I use Dixie Crystals Granulated Sugar, since it's the only brand I can find around here that is "extra fine" as opposed to "fine." I wonder how big a difference it is between the two kinds?

Gold Medal Unbleached AP flour is my favorite also.
I've noticed that most commercial unsalted butters have natural flavorings, with the exception being organics. It seems like LOL just has extra flavoring. Salted doesn't seem to have it since salt is a natural flavor enhancer.

For consistent quality I prefer Dixie Crystals and Domino sugar, I buy the White Gold brand because of price and it's pure cane and has the Dixie Crystals name on the side, so it has to be the same product. I have noticed that store brands can vary in crystal size and are rarely pure cane, but have never had any big issues with them. I've found with fine textured cakes the finer texture of the brand names works best.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:59 PM   #17
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For my AP flour, I use King Arthur Unbleached and purchase it from the store, whoever has it. If I am making a cake or special bread, I buy from the company online. I do have to plan carefully and early for special things.

I only buy unrefined cane sugar, if it needs to be powdered, I put it through the processor. Honey is used often as a sweetener and so is pure maple syrup, Grade B.

I no longer bake as much as I used to, mostly because of the tiny kitchen and the altitude change from what I grew up with has my natural skills lagging. I admit I let it frustrate me and gave up.

Other brand name items are purely from many years of trial and error, some I won't change from others it depends what's on sale. I get my butter from Costco or buy Tillamook from Oregon.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:14 PM   #18
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I've read where many generic products are made by the same companies that produce the brand names, just sold under a different label.
That's true. The problem is knowing which companies the store brands are using! My local Harris Teeter supermarket told me their organic butter comes from Organic Valley after I emailed the headquarters and inquired. I used to buy the Organic Valley brand for at least $2.00 more than the Harris Teeter one, so now I buy the HT brand, and haven't noticed any difference. Also, one of the employees at HT told me their store brand chicken comes from Perdue. But, this info is only available if one asks, and even then, I assume most of the employees wouldn't have that info - I wish there was a way to find out about so many other items!
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:25 PM   #19
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That's true. The problem is knowing which companies the store brands are using! My local Harris Teeter supermarket told me their organic butter comes from Organic Valley after I emailed the headquarters and inquired. I used to buy the Organic Valley brand for at least $2.00 more than the Harris Teeter one, so now I buy the HT brand, and haven't noticed any difference. Also, one of the employees at HT told me their store brand chicken comes from Perdue. But, this info is only available if one asks, and even then, I assume most of the employees wouldn't have that info - I wish there was a way to find out about so many other items!
Don't count on the fact that the name brand factory makes the store brand as an endorsement of quality. It could mean that the name brand sees this as a way to make a buck on their second rate stuff they won't use in their brand.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:33 PM   #20
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I don't think the fact that something is a "store brand" says anything about the quality one way or another. One of our local grocery chains has a store brand organic pizza that knocks the socks off of many of the so-called brand names. On the other hand, their bread is just plain awful.

I buy products that I like. It may be a store brand, or it may not.
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