With an increasing awareness of celiac disease, more companies every month are launching gluten-free offerings. One of the newest ones is Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other wheat-related grains which can cause digestive issues. For people suffering from celiac disease, even a small amount of gluten can cause flare-ups and severe intestinal distress. Recent studies have indicated that celiac disease is more common that initially believed and food marketers have found an entirely new niche market.
The problem is that gluten, usually in the form of flour made from wheat, is in a lot of things. Flour is used as a thickening agent for soups and a major component of baked goods. And, it is the baked goods that usually make living gluten-free difficult.
Imagine hearing the diagnosis and learning that most breads, pastas and baked desserts were banned from your diet. The severity of it made gluten-free dieting difficult.
Worse yet, while other thickening agents work for soups and sauces, getting one of the non-wheat flours to work for baking is troublesome. Most times it means mixing a host of unfamiliar ingredients in an attempt to get a texture somewhat similar to gluten. The reason: gluten acts as the binding agent in most baking recipes.
Rice flour, soy flour, gram flour, peanut flour and more can be mixed in varying proportions to attempt to approximate the consistency of white flour, but often they come out with a grainy texture, almost like sand. Recipes also use more liquids and more fat to try to combat the dryness that comes with baking with non-wheat flours.
But finally there may be a mass market answer to the problem. Bisquick has introduced a gluten-free version of its baking mix. So far, I’ve only used the new mix to make pancakes, but the initial assessment was that the Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix is a winner.
The pancakes made using the recipe on the box were dense and filling with a good flavor and nice texture. However, as seems to be a consistent problem with gluten-free products, the calorie content was also very high. Of course, they were pancakes and those are never particularly low-calorie.
The Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix is mostly rice flour, with a few additives to make it more likely to bind together. Coming out of the box, it feels very fine, like rice flour or powdered sugar.
The main problem so far with the Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix is the price. At $4.29 for a one-pound box, it was nearly double the price of both the low-fat and regular baking mix. In addition, at least at my local Kroger, it was only available in the one pound box.
Other concerns we had about the new product is a warning on the top of the box not to consume raw batter. While I understand that eating batter with raw eggs is a bad idea, I wondered about the general warning. What’s in this that I shouldn’t be eating?
Furthermore, the Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix requires refrigeration after opening, to keep it fresh. As we have gone gluten-free, we have found that we already pack our refrigerator to capacity as most convenience food is a thing of the past. Adding one more thing that needs to be kept refrigerated is a pain.
On the other hand, the box has a recipe for biscuits. Breads, in general, have been the hardest thing to replicate on a gluten-free diet. For now, the Bisquick Gluten-Free Baking Mix has been added to my regular list of purchases, but I’m hoping that as more and more companies recognize the market for gluten-free products, some of my concerns will be addressed.