I bought a box of “Heart Smart” Bisquick brand baking mix as it listed “canola oil” as the fat it contained; instead of the usual “hydrogenated oil” found in most such mixes. I want to encourage the makers to make “non-hydrogenated” stuff, so when I see one I buy it. I also wanted to know if it was any good.
So I’ve made a batch of biscuits with it. It’s pretty good.
OK, so last night I made a batch… and basically ran out of mix. What to do, what to do…
I whomped up enough “other stuff” to get the batch done (and OK at that). But it left me wondering:
Is there a known way to make DIY “Bisquick analog”?
The answer is “Yes and no”.
A web search turned up many alternatives. Most of them either have way more fat in them than the original, often calling out ‘shortening’, and are not what I’d call a particularly healthy mix. Others include powdered milk in the mix (not in the original, which typically calls for using milk in the making of a product… So I can see making a mix with powdered milk already in it, especially for things like camping or emergency use; but all the recipes you use have to change…)
From The Biquick Box
After a run to the store today I found just how much different the Heart Healthy version is from the Regular. It’s not as much as you would think. There were several other brands of “mix wannabe” including one from Jiffy Mix. Pretty much across the board they list “Hydrogenated” on the label. For me, that equates to “NEVER EVER EVER EAT!!!” ( Trans fats are absolutely horrific and, IMHO, account for the vast bulk of all the evil attributed to saturated fats.)
At any rate, from the H.H. box:
Serving size: 40 gm Total Fat: 2.5 gm Sodium: 340 mg Potassium: 40 mg Total Carbs: 27 gm Sugars: 3 gm Protein: 3 gm
0.75 or so Flour (we have to guess a bit as flour is not all starch and protein)
(using 2.5 x sodium as the “salt” mass to make up for Chlorine gives about 0.85 gm and at this point I’d guess the potassium is partly from a salt substitute, but some is in the leavening, so I’m just going to “guess” the salt at 1 gram total)
The Regular has 4.5 gm of fat with 410 mg of sodium and does not list potassium content. It has only 1 gm of sugars.
The sugar is there to give nice browning and a more tender crumb / fluffy biscuit, not just a sweeter taste, so if you leave it out, expect a flatter heavier result…
OK, as a “first cut” we get about 2.5 / 35 gram ratio of fats / flour ( or 4.5 / 33 for the regular) That is roughly a 14:1 flour:fat ratio for the H.H. and a 7.5:1 for the regular.
What ratios do you get in the “alternatives”?
C is Cups (236.588 ml – call it 237). T is Tablespoon (15 ml) while tsp is teaspoon ( 5ml ). Yes, I know they are really 14.7 ml and 4.928 ml… do you REALLY measure to the 1/10 or 1/100 ml level of precision?)
10 C Flour 2 C Shortening 1/3 C Baking Powder 1/4 C Sugar 1 T Salt
Well, right off the bat we can see that 10:2 is a long ways from even 7.5:1 … Now figure that the flour is only about 125 gm / cup while the fat is closer to 205 gm, making that ratio 1.64:1 or about 7.5:4.5 and you can see we’ve got about 4.5 times too much fat in that stuff to be even close to a match for the Heart Healthy. Perhaps a bit better for the original.
I also note that they don’t say what KIND of baking powder they are using. This matters as the different kinds take different quantities to “work right”… It does have some sugar in it (but 1/4 cup or 2 ounces is 4 T so you have a 4:1 sugar:salt ratio… a bit high), and the salt looks about right. How about some masses?
One cup of sugar is about 200 grams while a cup of shortening is about 205 grams
(There are more such conversions here: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Cup-to-Gram-Conversions/Detail.aspx )
OK, so that’s about:
Flour 1250 grams Fat 410 grams Sugar 200 grams BakingP. 64 grams ( 1/3 cup is 16/3 T or 5.3 T at 12 g each or 64 gms) Salt 18 grams
Call it 1942 total grams. Ratios?
0.032 Baking Powder
Even for the “hearth healthy” version, that puts the salt at way low and the fat at way high…
How about the “Regular”?
0.0258 Salt (so about equal salt and sugar)
You can put a wide range of “shortening” into your home brew “Bisquick” and claim it will work OK. From about 1/5 down to about 1/16. The “online” variations have a wide range of things like salt, sugar, and shortening (more examples below). It ought not be that hard to make an even better ‘substitute’ using a bit of math…
I’m just going to list here a few other examples that I found on the net. You can, by inspection, see the range. If you wish, you can turn it all into masses and see who got it closest to “right”. I’m not going to bother…
8 C Flour 2 C Shortening 1.25 C Dry Milk Powder 1/4 C or 4 T Baking Powder 1 T Salt
Note the lack of any sugar and a VERY high fat to flour ratio.
6 C Flour 1/2 C Cold Butter 3 T Baking Powder 1 T Salt Mix 2 1/4 cups of 'mix' with 2/3 C milk for biscuits
Again, no sugar. Lower fat though.
4 C Flour 1 C Shortening ( so the same high fat ratio as the 8 cup version above) 2 T Baking Powder 1 tsp Salt
Again, the lack of sugar…
On one posting I found someone complaining about one of the “mixes” and the advice was given to add 2 T of sugar to “tenderize” and improve the flavor… I’d say also to cut the fat dramatically and add some more salt, too.
1 C Flour 1 T Oil 1.5 tsp Baking Powder 1.5 tsp Salt
I have some “work to do” to make a mix that is “right”, but it doesn’t look that hard. I’d start with the flour to fat ratio. Get it down into a range closer to the original. For starters, I’d go for a 10:1 ratio of flour to oil by weight. Part way between “original” and “heart healthy”.
Then I’d use about a 0.025 ratio by weight of both sugar AND salt.
At that point, it’s just “add leavening until it works right for the particular leavening you choose” and I’d take that guidance off the can. After an experiment with whatever brand I’ve got on the shelf, I’ll post any final formula (if it is worth it…)
So, for starters, I’d go with:
Flour: 1250 grams ( 10 cups) Oil: 125 grams ( 3/4 cup - hey, it can wander a bit...) Sugar: 35 grams ( 3 T - 37 grams...) Salt: 35 grams ( 2 T - 36 grams...) Baking Powder: Per package directions for about 1450 grams of "stuff", but about 1/3 Cup if the 10 cup recipe can be believed. At 8/3 ounces x 6 tsp / ounce = 16 tsp or about 77-80 ml)
If anyone wants to “run ahead of me” and try it first, feel free. It may take me a day or two to get it done. And, of course, “improvements welcome”.
One I can clearly see is adding powdered milk for a “camping mix” that does not need fresh milk to make biscuits.
Another would be to use “potassium salt substitute” and potassium based leavening for a zero added sodium version.
Finally, I’m going to make a Gluten Free version “for a friend”. The GF mix in the store was $5 for a box that looked to be about 1 lb. Rice flour was the dominant ingredient, then the rest was about the same, finally ending with a bit of xanthan gum (at less than the salt content…) It also had a smidge of potato starch at more than the salt, but less than the sugar, so not much. Using the above numbers as a guide, I’d start with Potato Starch at about 40 gm and Xanthan Gum at about 20 and adjust from there. ( I already have the xanthan gum… it’s sold at Whole Foods).
So, Happy Baking!