We got the following question from Lanette:
I do much of our cooking from scratch and am trying to eliminate processed foods. I have found several ‘recipes’ for make-your-own-baking-mix but they all call for shortening. I don’t know which is worse! I’m wondering if you could
do a post on Bisquick vs. Homemade options. I use it all the time for pot-pies, dumplings, the occasional biscuits, pancakes, etc. so it’s handy to have a mix on hand. I’d love to hear Fooducates take on this kitchen.
Excellent question. We’re happy to read that you’re making lots of food from scratch. Now let’s take a look if Bisquick is worth the time it saves. But first a note on shortening.
Shortening is basically a fat that is semisolid at room temperature and can be used for baking. It provides an amazing texture to baked foods – making light and fluffy breads, biscuits, and rolls. You don’t get the same mouthfeel with liquid oil.
Historically, shortening meant lard. But then hydrogenation was invented, and vegetable oils, bombarded with hydrogen atoms suddenly became semisolid at room temperature too. They were cheaper than lard, and became very popular. Crisco, anyone?
Unfortunately, the side effect of hydrogenation is the creation of trans-fatty acids, which are even worse for health than saturated fats of butter and lard.
What you need to know:
Betty Crocker’s Bisquick was invented in the early 1930′s to save time for busy cooks by premixing the ingredients needed for baking biscuits. Betty Crocker is part of General Mills.
Here’s what you’re getting in the Bisquick box:
Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.
Dear Betty: you lost me at Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil. Is there any reason to continue selling a product with trans-fat in this day and age? We know how bad these fatty acids are for us. The recommendation is for NO consumption of trans fats a day.
What to do at the supermarket:
It’s really easy to mix your own bisquick equivalent. Buy the following ingredients at the supermarket: flour, baking powder, salt, Canola oil / butter. And here’s the “recipe”, that takes all of 96.3 seconds to prepare:
- pour 1 cup flour, 1½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, and 1 tbsp oil or melted butter into a mixing bowl.
Butter based recipes will taste better than ones with oil but you’re going to get more saturated fat. If you really want to go all out with a recipe – lard is making a comeback.