Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eureka! Biscuits!

After eleven years (almost twelve!) of marriage, I have finally managed to make biscuits that I can feel good about. The NHL may be saddened by this news - they will have lost a major supplier of hockey pucks, but I know that some other young (?) bride will soon replace me in this ministry!

So how did I do it? I am here to share my recently-gained secrets with you... There are additional tidbits in there as well about ... Bisquik, Buttermilk and what's a gal to do if she doesn't have either in the house??

Here is the general recipe:

2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3-4 Tbsp. shortening
2 Tbsp. cold butter
3/4 c. buttermilk OR just under 3/4 c. milk and 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1. Mix 1 1/2 c. flour and the rest of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside the final 1/2 c. flour for kneading. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter.
Incidentally, at this stage you have homemade Bisquik - has a decent shelf-life when stored in an airtight/bug proof container, wonderful to have when going camping or on trips!

2. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives. Little tip: Cut the butter up into pieces before adding to the flour mixture. If you don't have shortening in the house, add in extra butter. The chunks of butter/shortening should form small "peas" in the flour by the time you're done, but those "peas" make it so the dough is extra buttery and good so don't mash them all out!

3. Add in the buttermilk. Stirring it in until you have a soft dough - this will actually still
be slightly sticky because we kept out that last 1/2 c. of flour.

** So what is a girl to do if she doesn't have any buttermilk in the house? The buttermilk is, believe it or not, an integral part of this recipe. The acidity in the buttermilk reacts with the baking powder to make the biscuits rise and fluffy! SO, the secret is... vinegar! Mix your 3/4 c. of milk with 1 Tbsp. vinegar to curdle it just the right amount. **

4. Preheat the oven to 450 deg. F. Put 2 pats of butter or a bit of oil into your biscuit pan and place it into the heating oven to melt. This step will give a nice crust to your biscuits. Pour the reserved flour out onto a clean counter and knead the dough onto the flour three or four times until your dough is soft but not stiff.

5. Roll the dough out to about 1/2" thick and cut into 2" wide circles with a glass or a biscuit cutter, rerolling and cutting the scraps as you go. Place your biscuits into the heated pan and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden on top.

In the picture on the left you'll see my new biscuit cutter - the center piece comes out to make biscuits, or you leave it in to make doughnuts! Haven't done those in ages - perhaps Saturday before the pumpkin farm, then we can share with friends! (If I do, I'll try to get pictures to share here!)

Here is an extra tip, just for reading this far:

How to make the flaky layer biscuit similar to the ones you see in the store (Shhhh... don't tell my secret!)

Instead of rolling the dough out to 1/2" thick, roll it out thinly, cut it and stack it several times. Then bake as before!

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