Does pancake mix go bad?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Does pancake mix go bad?”. We will also discuss the shelf life and storage methods of pancake mix.

Does pancake mix go bad?

Yes, pancake mix does go bad. Pancake mix ingredients include wheat flour, sugar, leaving agents, salt, and eventually dehydrated eggs, milk powder, color, or flavoring additives.

These components may lose quality over time. For instance, leaving agents can lose effectiveness, the mix can experience color change, and fat can break down generating unpleasant odors and tastes.

Pancake mixes have low moisture values (9% or below), which makes them a shelf-stable product [1]. 

However, they are also highly hygroscopy, implying that brownie mix can easily absorb moisture from the surroundings [2]. 

A moisture increase will favor clustering and microbial growth, as shown by Abdullah and others [3], who determined that moisture contents higher than 10% promote mold development in wheat flour.

What is the shelf life of pancake mix?

Pancake mix that has been kept in sealed and unopened containers in the pantry should be expected to survive for up to 12 months.

Lopéz-Mejía and others estimated the shelf life of pancake mixes to be 10 months stored at 25°C [1].

Always stick to the best-before date described on labels.  

How to find out if pancake mix has gone bad?

The signs that your pancake mix has gone bad include browning, clump, the appearance of off-flavors or off-odors, mold growth, and insect infestation.

Furthermore, if the leaving agent is no longer effective, you will notice your dough will not grow properly.

Browning reactions can take place due to enzyme activity from wheat flour [4] and may indicate that the pancake mix absorbed moisture from the environment. 

Clustering also indicates the occurrence of moisture pickup, given that pancake mixes are highly hygroscopic [1,2]. Mold growth could also be a sign of moisture increase, or simply spoilage.

Molds are perceived as bluish-green spots on the powder, sometimes with a cotton-like appearance. Moldy products are preferentially discarded because certain species of mold can produce toxic compounds.

Given that pancake mix is high in sugar, it can also be the target of insect infestation. 

Off-odors and off-flavors could be the result of undesired chemical reactions, such as fat oxidation. 

One of the most typical difficulties that arise as your pancake mix becomes older is a loss of rising power, which is caused by the deterioration of the baking powder contained in it. 

As a result, flat and leathery pancakes will be in this batch, but there will be no bad taste. 

How to store pancake mix?

Just like other dry ingredients used in cooking and baking, pancake mix should be kept in a cool, dry place. Keep in mind that moisture absorption can ruin your mixture.

If you have leftovers, to keep the mixture safe, remember to seal it while not in use. Place the mixture in a freezer bag or airtight container if the packaging cannot be sealed easily. 

If you do not want to use it right away, you may store the combination in the freezer, where it should survive for a bit longer.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question “Does pancake mix go bad?”. We also discussed the shelf life and storage methods of pancake mix.

Citations

1. López-Mejía N, Martínez-Correa HA, Andrade-Mahecha MM. Pancake ready mix enriched with dehydrated squash pulp (Cucurbita moschata): formulation and shelf life. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2019;56(11):5046-55.

2. Leiras MC, Iglesias HA. Water vapour sorption isotherms of two cake mixes and their components. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 1991;26(1):91-7.

3. Abdullah N, Nawawi A, Othman I. Fungal spoilage of starch-based foods in relation to its water activity (aw). Journal of Stored Products Research. 2000;36(1):47-54.

4. Brütsch L, Rugiero S, Serrano SS, Städeli C, Windhab EJ, Fischer P, et al. Targeted Inhibition of Enzymatic Browning in Wheat Pastry Dough. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2018;66(46):12353-60.