Artisanal Biscuits in a Can?

Immaculate Baking Company Buttermilk Biscuits

Immaculate Baking Company Buttermilk Biscuits

I Paid: $4.79 for a 16-ounce tube of eight biscuits (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

If you’ve ever found the unwrap-and-pop Pillsbury cardboard tubes appealing but a little too déclassé, then—huzzah!—the Immaculate Baking Company has your demographic pegged. Its buttermilk biscuits (and various types of scones) come in a tube but proclaim themselves “all natural,” with old-timey fonts and a whimsical folk-art cow. It all suggests Grandma’s loving hands, rather than the steel claws of industrial machinery.

I tested Immaculate biscuits side by side against Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers Butter Tastin’ biscuits, and the difference was fairly dramatic. The Grands! pulled apart into neat, almost crêpelike layers; they had a bit of a greasy, buttery flavor to them; and they were a little sweeter than the Immaculate version. The Immaculate biscuits were heavier, denser, saltier, and didn’t have that layered structure. Neither biscuit, it must be said, stacked up against homemade.

My respect for the dour restraint of the Immaculate biscuits faded appreciably when I realized that, at $4.79, they were more than twice as expensive as their lowbrow competitors. Taste is a function of value, and while better biscuits are certainly worth more money, slightly better biscuits are probably not worth more than double the alternative.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s Immaculate’s “all natural” claim: While ingredients such as palm oil flakes and palm oil shortening may count as natural in a technical sense, they ain’t exactly from Grandma’s cupboard.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.