Augason Farms is one of the few food storage companies to offer gluten free storage foods. Since I am gluten intolerant, this is important to me, because like everyone else, people who are gluten intolerant also would like a readily available source of bread mixes and dinners to put in their pantry to store for emergencies or camping.
Even though I make most of my own food for storage, I do realize that option is not available to everyone. I thought I would use my knowledge about gluten free foods to review a product for others. Going into this, I was not comparing this to “other food storage products,” I was comparing it to the real homemade deal. I also fed this to my husband who still partakes in wheat products, so he was comparing it to “wheat flour” based pancakes.
Augason Farms is an American company with an American made product, they also seem to have a high standards for quality so I didn’t hesitate to try it (no, I did not get this for free to try out and review, I found it at my local Walmart). What attracted me to the product, initially, was that it only required water to make. Most gluten free pancake mixes require, water, milk, oil, xanthan gum and an egg or two, so I was excited to give this a whirl.
I tried making them twice and I have to admit the first time was a disaster. First I tried making them while camping as I like to try this kind of stuff while I am cooking on equipment that I may have to use in a “Bug In” or “Bug Out” situation someday. I was so disappointed that I almost didn’t try them again, but I am glad that I did.
Both times, it mixed up beautifully! No lumps, it was nice and smooth, all I had to do was add water until it reached the thickness I desire for pancakes. It also poured well making nice little circles of dough in the pan (I fancy myself a pancake connoisseur, so little details like that are important to me, I make them every chance I get).
While cooking on my propane cook stove with a light weight pan, I noticed the pancakes seemed to take a while to come up to temperature. Each time I would check them to see if it was time to flip them they tried to fall apart on me like they needed more time to cook and firm up on the first side. Eventually they looked like they were going to burn if I didn’t flip them, so I did, and they indeed fell apart on me. The dang things cooked equally as horrible on the other side despite me shifting my pan around to distribute the heat better and multiple heat setting adjustments.
I was frustrated needless to say, the queen of pancakes couldn’t make it work! So I sucked it up and served the crumbly disheveled pancakes to my hubby, ignoring the “do I have to try this?” look, while putting on my own “I might cry if you don’t eat them,” look. Evil? Yes. Effective? Also yes, because he tried them. Here is what I thought: the flavor was really good, I was really happy with how the pancakes tasted, but I was not happy with the texture of the pancakes. Like many a gluten free mixes they were grainy and crumbly, I couldn’t even get a piece to stay on my fork. My hubby thought the same, they tasted good but the texture overruled the flavor, he gave the rest of his pancakes to the dog.
I didn’t give up, I thought for sure it can’t be that bad (and guys, I really wanted to like this) so the next weekend I made them at home with my nice electric range and nice cast iron pan, which I KNEW would evenly distribute the heat. The results were night and day. I mixed it up exactly the same, the pancakes bubbled when ready to flip, they flipped great, browned on the other side and ended up in a pretty, fluffy, stack, as all pancakes should (see picture below)!
When we sat down to taste this batch, it was a much better experience. The bites stayed on our forks and we cleaned up the entire stack. Again I thought the flavor was great, and while the texture was much improved this time around, it was still a little gritty, to the point where I would probably not take the mix camping with me, but I wouldn’t hesitate to eat them in an emergency situation where we are drawing on our food stores. In fact, I would look forward to eating them. My husband also thought they were much improved the second time, but not nearly as good as the pancakes I make from scratch.
Gluten free bread product mixes tend to be gritty or grainy because of an over dependency on rice flour as a base for the mixes. A quick check of the label confirmed to me that one of the main ingredients was rice flour, but I understand why companies use rice flour. It is the cheapest among the gluten free flours, AND it is the most tolerable among Gluten Free flours. What I mean by that is; rice flour is the least likely to bother your stomach or cause a reaction of some kind. Therefore, most companies use it. I also noticed that Augason Farms uses soy flour in the mix. The good thing about soy flour is that it punches up the protein levels in a mix. The bad thing about soy flour is that many people tend to be allergic to it and most soy out there, unless otherwise stated, is GMO soy.
Since I usually make my own pancake mix from scratch, I know that a different combination of gluten free flours will produce better pancakes. My favorite flours include oat flour,sorghum flour, and buckwheat flour. After reviewing the ingredients on Augason Farms Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix I noted there wasn’t anything in them that would act as a binder in place of gluten and as a result the mix may benefit from some xanthan gum or plain gelatin powder. If you wanted to add something to improve the mix I would give one of those two items a try.
Final ThoughtsWould I buy it again for food storage? Probably not. I will continue making my own for storage. If you don’t have time to make your own, this will work fine and is probably the best on the market for a Gluten Free Pancake mix made for instant mixing and long term storage.