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I made a fairly simple chicken-and-dumpling stew recipe; however, after one bite of dumpling, I have the most wretched aftertaste. The soup is fine; however, the dumplings taste totally nasty, kind of bitter and repulsive and a little like vomit (My fiancee describes it as "metal and bad"). If there had been anything in my mouth by the time that taste hit, I'd have spit it out instinctively.

The recipe calls for 1/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix and 1/3 cup buttermilk to make the dumpling dough; I doubled it because I was making a large pot of stew. The stew tastes fine once I ditch the dumplings; it contained chicken broth (made from bouillon cubes), milk, cornstarch, cooked chicken, parsnips, carrots, celery, and onions. The dumplings were dropped by spoonfuls into the stew and cooked for about 7 minutes, as per the recipe directions. I have not made this specific recipe before. The consistency of the dumplings seemed fine; they were a little bland due to lack of seasoning, but otherwise all was well until that aftertaste hit.

What could have gone wrong? The buttermilk was purchased just a few days before, well within its expiration date (Nov 24th), and the baking mix had been used for pancakes earlier in the week (which were a little bland but not disastrous)

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Was the baking mix old? Had the buttermilk gone bad? – smcg Nov 17 '12 at 0:42
@smcg Knew I forgot to add something! No, both ingredients seemed fine. – Yamikuronue Nov 17 '12 at 0:43
metal taste is probably too much baking powder. But from a mix it seems unlikely – Kate Gregory Nov 17 '12 at 1:15
Like Kate said, the taste you describe is exactly what too much baking powder tastes like, especially if it's old - the bitterness too, not just the metallic taste. It's bizarre that it didn't happen with your pancakes. – Jefromi Nov 17 '12 at 2:18
Frankly, I upvoted this just because of the question title. – FuzzyChef Nov 19 '12 at 4:10
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Spoiled buttermilk wouldn't give a metallic aftertaste, but I wouldn't expect old baking mix to do so either.

I would suspect that your box of bisquick is either contaminated, or you may have gotten a bad box. Sometimes manufacturing processes don't go right, so it might be that your box got far too big a portion of baking powder, or some other component of the mix. In the manufacturing process all the ingredients are supposed to be well mixed but it isn't unheard of for a clod to make it through the process intact. I'd throw the box out.

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Maybe you used too much evil, as in mistaking teaspoons of evil for tablespoons of evil? :^D

Seriously, the recipe itself could have errors like that, either from being handwritten in one of its iterations en route to you, or even a simple typo. Common ones that could produce what you describe are teaspoon vs. tablespoon, baking powder vs. baking soda, etc.

Did you taste the powdered mix dry? I'm not sure what it would taste like in that form, but I'm guessing a bland, flourish kind of non-flavor as opposed to the metallic taste your husband picked up.

Is it possible the bowl in which you mixed the dumpling batter had something in it? Like unrinsed soap that made it into all or just a few of the dumplings, or someone sprayed another cleaner, one not intended for food utensils, in the area of the bowl?

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There might have been unrinsed soup -- I did mix the cornstarch, broth, and milk in the bowl, then rinsed it, then made the dumplings in it. – Yamikuronue Nov 17 '12 at 17:10

The metallic aftertaste is because the mix had a unbalanced baking soda to phosphate ratio. Whenever your finished cook product is either yellow or has a orange spotted tint within it you have a unbalanced mix. The phosphate must have something to react with. A unbalanced PH will cause the aftertaste. (Metalic =too basic)

I believe that this mix uses a combo phosphate ratio. (V-90 plus Active-8= Stabil 9) One phosphate reacts immediately with water and will rise 80%. The balance will rise when heat activates it. The second phosphate rises 20% with water and is a primarily a heat activated phosphate.

You must mix and wait a minimum of 30 minutes when using phosphate based mixes to permit the leavening to balance out. You should use cold water only.

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I use very few mixes or prepackaged food of any sort, as I absolutely love to cook and bake with fresh foods as much as possible. Chicken and Dumplings though is one thing I have been cooking for more than 30 years, and my family's absolutely most favorite of all my dishes. I use regular Bisquick (or Jiffy Mix, either one), and regular whole milk. Alternatively, during the winter when I don't get to the grocery store for a couple of months, I'll put about 2 teaspoons of dry milk powder into the center of the mix and then use water to make the dough. The soup or stew needs to have enough liquid to allow the dumplings to be resting in the liquid, or even mostly submerged (though not necessary). I let the meal simmer on low heat with the dumplings added, for about 3 minutes. Then I put the lid on the pot and continue to simmer at lowest heat for another 5 to 7 minutes (or until I see the dumplings are fully raised and cooked - or if you wish, test with a toothpick like you would a pie to make sure the center is done). When I serve the dish, I take some of the broth/gravy, and spoon it over the dumplings. In my opinion, so-called "low-fat" or "more healthy" is anything but "healthy". Remember, what they take out to make it "healthier", they add more chemicals in to make up for the loss.

I hope this helps! :)

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Welcome to Seasoned Advice! This is all well and good and we appreciate the contribution; however, providing recipes/prep tips as an answer isn't really addressing the actual question here - the OP did not ask for chicken and dumpling recipes and recipe exchange is not part of our mandate. He asked what might have gone wrong with the specific recipe he used. In the future, please answer only if you have a direct answer to the question, and not with general tips about the subject matter. – Aaronut Nov 17 '12 at 12:42
My sincere apology for not putting the bottom line up front, for a clear answer - I believe the odd taste was the combination of ingredients, the Heart Smart Bisquick w/ buttermilk. IMO, so-called low-fat or more healthy items are anything but "healthy". What is taken out to make items "healthier", chemicals are added in an attempt to make up for what was lost. I believe if whole milk and regular Bisquick or Jiffy Mix is used, the dumplings will come out wonderful. I posted my tips/recipe merely to perhaps help Yamikuronue to try and make them again. Many thanks to Aaronut for the welcome! :) – Ronnie Nov 20 '12 at 3:20

Your dumplings taste bad because Bisquick tastes bad. No matter which variation you use, the stuff tastes horrible. I have been cooking for 40 years of married life and 10 years more under my Mother's tutelage. I can tell you precisely which item on a table has been made with Bisquick. And really, it is not hard to make dumplings, biscuits or cakes, using your own ingredients.

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Everybody has their taste. The popularity of Bisquick shows that people are willing to eat it, and, if the OP chose a recipe which involves it, she probably knew that she is OK with eating it. Whatever the mysterious reason, she'd probably know if she had an aversion to Bisquick similar to yours. – rumtscho Jan 4 '15 at 23:11
@rumtscho It's possible that the taste is masked (by syrup or meat or whatever) in most dishes that the OP uses it in, or that making these dumplings doesn't allow the baking powder to react in the same way that making biscuits or pancakes does. Buttermilk is acidic - maybe it reacted with the baking soda and allowed some of the phosphates to stand alone. – Random832 Jan 5 '15 at 16:47

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