Kim Stagliano's GF Bisquick vs. GF King Arthur Flour Pancake Mix Showdown
This weekend I decided to test two new gluten free pancake mixes. Bisquick, from General Mills, the Betty Crocker people who launched several GF mixes under the BC name last year, and King Arthur Flour's new mix, which is also part of an extensive brand line of GF products. I made both mixes using So Delicious coconut milk, organic free range eggs and vegetable oil. Read on!
OK, I mixed the batters and noticed that the Bisquick is much thicker and lighter in color. The KAF is a darker color and thinner.
On the griddle - the Bisquick pancake puffed up and bubbled fairly quickly. It remained pale in color even when the center was cooked. The KAF pancake took a bit longer to cook and browned to a classic golden diner color.
On the plate - you can see that the Bisquick pancake (bottom of dish) is yellow golden while the KAF is golden brown.
Ah, cutting the pancakes open. The Bisquick pancake on left has an amazing melt in your mouth consistency. It's thick, fluffy and completely delicious - you would never know this is a GF pancake. It's fantastic. No off taste, no grittiness. Just a perfect pancake. The KAF on the right is a drop dead ringer for your favorite restaurant's pancakes. It's thin and super springy inside. No funky taste and no grit at all either. The KAF pancake was to die for in terms of taste.
On the plate you can see the color and thickness difference. Remember to use real maple syrup and never that fake corn syrup crap, OK? I like Mrs. Butterworth as an ad icon, but really, a good pancake requires real maple syrup. Sorry Aunt Jemima and Vermont Maid too.
Now for the differences in grading. We have two scrumptious pancakes so far. The KAF offers 15 ounces per box. It costs $6.95 for the box. The box is larger than the Bisquick box, which is misleading as it contains less product. The packaging is attractive - but they could save a lot of trees by scaling back the box size - and have more product on the shelf.
The Bisquick has 16 ounces per box. The box is smaller than the KAF box, despite the fact that it has an extra ounce of product in it. It costs $3.99 for the box at my local store but can cost as much $5.98. That's a pretty big price difference from the KAF, especially for an extra ounce of product. Both boxes are small - by the way - a trick of all GF products so you don't faint at the price.
So what are you paying for? Here's where KAF moves ahead of Bisquick in my mind - the ingredients. Bisquick uses rice flour (that's why the product is so pale) and modified potato starch (ix-nay on the odified-may) and worse, aluminum baking powder. Damn. I made the biscuit recipe and let me tell you, they are just delicious too - which bums me out completely since I hate using anything with aluminum baking powder. People who are GF are likely to be health conscious - so I suggest to General Mills (who I'm sure is listening to a lady in CT) to use another baking powder.
King Arthur Flour uses whole grain brown rice - a healthier choice than the plain rice flour found in Bisquick and a non aluminum baking powder. Their potato starch does not say modified. Three wins for our friends in Vermont.
RESULTS: Both mixes make outstanding gluten free pancakes.
The Bisquick wins for mouth feel in my opinion, because I love a fat, fluffy melt in your mouth pancake. Bisquick also wins for price and more environmental packaging. And the mix makes kick ass biscuits which has been a wonderful addition to our dinner table.
The Bisquick loses for quality of ingredients.
The King Arthur Flour wins for making a perfect diner style thin springy pancake and for its ingredients.
KAF loses on price and packaging. You can not make biscuits with the mix. I tried. Big time fail. I ended up with baked pancakes.
Buy the mix that makes your favorite style pancake and that meets your budget. I'll buy both from time to time. I'm am completely OVER mixing my own flours and hoping I don't get a gelatinous beany kids-won't-eat-it result.
Thank you to General Mills and King Arthur Flour alike for meeting a huge market need.