In the Scratch vs. Store Bought posts, I intend to make from scratch products that I would normally purchase ready-made, calculate the cost and time, taste test, review, and determine whether it is worthwhile to make it myself.
I’m starting out with the Master Mix developed by Purdue University, vs. Bisquick, made by General Mills.
Master Mix (makes 13 cups)
9 cups sifted all-purpose flour ($.75)
1/3 cup double-acting baking powder ($.50)
1 tablespoon salt ($.02)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar ($.25)
1/4 cup sugar ($.15)
2 cups shortening which does not require refrigeration OR 1 2/3 cups lard ($1.32)
Stir baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar into flour. Sift together three times into a large mixing bowl or onto a large square of plain paper. Cut into shortening until Mix is consistency of cornmeal. Store in covered containers at room temperature. To measure the Master Mix, pile it lightly into cup and level off with a spatula.
If lard which requires refrigeration is used in the Master Mix recipe, the Mix should be refrigerated.
Click here for recipes that use the Master Mix, broken down into family size or “just for two” servings, including biscuits, muffins, waffles, pancakes, coffee cake, cornbread, dumplings, cakes and cookies.
The Cost Breakdown:
Bisquick costs $3.39 for 40 oz. One serving is 1/3 cup, so this package makes 28 servings at $.12 each.
Master Mix costs $2.99 for 13 cups, or 39 servings, also at just about $.08 each. Master Mix wins the cost comparison at 25% less per serving.
The Taste Test:
I performed two taste tests this week: pancakes and apple crisp. The Bisquick pancakes were the winners; they were lighter and fluffier, and the Master Mix has a very slight, mildly bitter flavor from the inclusion of whole wheat flour. Once butter and syrup were added, it wasn’t noticeable. I liked them, but Peanut and Mr. Penny preferred the Bisquick ones.
The apple crisp had no noticeable difference. Both were delicious and browned nicely.
On taste, Bisquick wins on the pancakes, but only narrowly.
The Time Factor:
The initial mixing took under fifteen minutes. After that, it takes no more time to use Master Mix than to use Bisquik.
I used King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour, so my mix is more nutritious than the white flour Bisquick. That also makes it more expensive than if I’d used white flour bought on sale. It doesn’t have a whole wheat flavor like regular whole wheat and has a slightly higher protein content than white wheat. I bought it on sale for $3.99 for a 5 lb. bag before Thanksgiving.
I also used lard instead of shortening as the lesser of two evils. Bisquick uses partially hydrogenated fats, which I try to avoid, and the quantity is higher in the recipe, creating a higher fat mix overall. Neither is an ideal ingredient, but the recipe doesn’t work without it.
Scratch vs. Storebought winner:
If you were able to get Bisquick on sale with a coupon, that may be a better value. It’s also worth noting that shortening would increase the cost of the master mix, making the cost difference negligible. Still, I preferred the flavor of the Master Mix, and with the lower price, minimal time invested, and inclusion of whole wheat flour, it’s a winner for me.