Batch of master mix can help simplify meal preparation

Homemade master mixes have been around for decades. They were first developed by extension home economists to provide an alternative to commercially available products such as Bisquick.

The idea is to mix up a big batch of the flour, baking powder and salt, cut in the shortening or butter and then refrigerate or freeze this mixture. It is then available to quickly make biscuits, pizza dough, impossible pies, cinnamon buns, muffins or cookies.

With everyone staying at home with the COVID-19 restrictions, having a batch of master mix on hand can help to simplify meal preparation.

Master mix

Yields about 14 cups.

  • 9 c. all-purpose white flour 2.25 L
  • 1/3 c. baking powder 75 mL
  • 1 tbsp. salt 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar 5 mL
  • 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered skim milk 325 mL
  • 1 lb. cold vegetable shortening or butter 454 g

For a whole-wheat version replace four cups (1L) white flour with whole-wheat flour.

In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, mix well. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender until the mixture is like coarse meal and the butter is like small peas.

An alternative is to divide the dry ingredients into three batches and mix in a food processor, add a third of the shortening or butter and process to the coarse meal texture.

To store, place mixture in an airtight container or a large sealable plastic bag. Label and store in the refrigerator or freezer, use within three months.

Impossible cheeseburger lentil pie

The original impossible cheeseburger pie recipe was on the Bisquick box in the 1970s and became a favourite in many homes. In this version, I have added cooked lentils.

  • 1/2 c. uncooked green lentils 125 mL
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef 500 g
  • 1 c. onion, chopped 250 mL
  • 2-3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1 mL
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard 10 mL
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. master mix 75 mL
  • 1 c. milk 250 mL
  • 3 eggs
  • parsley or green onions to top

Sort lentils to remove dirt and stones, wash and place in a sauce pan with two cups water. Heat to simmer, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until soft, drain.

Spray a nine-inch (22 cm) pie plate with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Place the ground beef, onion and bacon into a large skillet. Fry until the ground beef is browned, the onions are soft and translucent and bacon is cooked.

Drain off grease and place meat, onion and bacon mixture in the bottom of prepared pie plate. Stir lentils into meat mixture.

Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture.

Whisk together master mix, milk and eggs until smooth with a few little lumps.

Pour evenly over cheese and ground beef.

Bake in oven 25-30 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove and cool slightly, garnish and serve. Serves six.

Flaky sour cream no yeast cinnamon rolls

Yields 10 to 12 cinnamon rolls.


  • 3 c. master mix 750 mL
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar 45 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. water, milk or cream 75 mL


  • 1/3 c. butter, melted 75 mL
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon 10 mL


  • 1/2 c. icing sugar 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cream 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract 1 mL

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the master mix, sugar and baking soda in bowl. Combine sour cream and other liquid in a separate bowl. Add sour cream mixture to flour mixture and mix with a fork until dough sticks together.

Gather dough together and place on an ungreased, lightly floured cookie sheet. Lightly flour hands if needed. Pat the dough down then fold in half and then in quarters onto itself. Pat down again and refold, repeat four to five times. This produces the flaky layers. Mix in any flour left in the bowl during this process.

Finally, press dough down to a one-quarter inch (.5 cm) thickness, or use a lightly floured rolling pin. Form an 18 inches by 10 inches (46 x 25 centimetre) rectangle.

Spread melted butter over dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon and spread evenly over butter.

Start rolling the cinnamon rolls along the long edge, roll tightly without pulling and stretching the dough. Roll until it is seam side down.

Use a serrated knife or dental floss to cut into 1- or 1-1/2-inch rolls. Tuck loose end of each roll underneath and place an inch apart on prepared baking sheet.

At this point, the rolls can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days.

To bake immediately, bake for 12-15 minutes. If baking straight from the refrigerator, add a couple minutes to baking time. Bake until golden brown.

Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes then drizzle with icing.

or the icing, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, cream and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

Flaky biscuits

Yields 10 to 12 biscuits.

  • 3 c. master mix 750 mL
  • 2/3 c. water, milk or sour cream 150 mL

Preheat oven to 450 F (320 C).

master mix and liquid in bowl, mix with a fork until dough sticks together. Gather dough together and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Pat the dough down then fold in half and then in quarters onto itself. Pat down again and refold, repeat four to five times. This produces the flaky layers.

Finally, press down to 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness, cut with a floured glass. Distribute across the cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

This dough can also be used to make individual pizzas or hand-held pies with fruit or pizza fillings.

Impossible Saskatoon Berry Pie

This is an incredibly easy pie to make with a wonderful flavour.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted 125 mL
  • 1 c. white sugar 250 mL
  • 1 c. sweetened shredded coconut 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. master mix 126 mL
  • 2 c. milk 500 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract 5 mL
  • 2 c. saskatoon berries, fresh or frozen 500 mL

Grease and set aside a deep dish 9.5 – 10 inch (22 cm) pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 F (180C).

Place all ingredients, except saskatoon berries, into a large mixing bowl and beat to combine. Stir in saskatoons.

Pour into prepared pie plate and baked in oven 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

If using frozen saskatoons lay them on a paper towel to wipe off moisture and ice crystals before adding to mixture. Serves six.

For more recipes using the master mix, click here. This Sept. 7, 2017, article I wrote has recipes for drop biscuits, dumplings, fruit cobblers, lentil biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies and a bacon and cheese pie.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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