Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Ahh biscuits!  These are my favorite!  You can do so many things with a biscuit, and they are so easy.  I do not ever, ever, ever buy refrigerated canned biscuits.  I think they are gross, especially when you compare them with the real thing.

So, I had an epiphany several weeks ago when my sister told me she made her biscuits sweet, for breakfast.  I make biscuits for lots of things, adding ingredients to complement the meal, but for some strange reason that had never occurred to me!

Of course I had to try it out.  I added 1 Tbsp of white sugar to my regular recipe, and a generous 1/4 cup of dried cranberries.  De-LISH-ous! (Yes, I know how to actually spell that word.)  My mother-in-law, whom I adore btw, said they were like Scones.  She's Scottish, like actually from Scotland, so she knows a good scone.  I also think the way she says scone -Skon- is fun.

It was great for breakfast with a side of eggs and bacon.  I think the white sugar added to the consistency of a scone, whereas honey would have kept the dough a little tighter, and more biscuity.  Food for thought, and another batch.

So after that very long intro, meet biscuits:

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits (Makes about 8 biscuits): adapted from Pinch My Salt

1 1/4 c. cake flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 c. buttermilk or milk (I usually don't have buttermilk, and hubby prefers the taste with just milk.)

Favorite Add Ins (stir in before adding liquid):
Sugar or Honey
1/4 c. dried fruit
1/4 c. cheese, especially parmesan or cheddar
1 T. herbs

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  This is important because it takes a long time for an oven to get to 500 degrees.  Open a window and turn on a fan too, because your house will warm right up!

Prepare ingredients: cut butter into small chunks, place in bowl in fridge.  Measure out buttermilk and set aside (or back in the fridge.)

Flour your workspace, and keep extra flour on the side for your hands and dough cutters.
Mix the dough: whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until very well blended.

Add butter, and cut into flour using pastry cutter (my preferred method) or fingertips, until mixture resembles course crumbs.

Make a well in the center of your mixture.  Pour in the milk and stir *lightly* until dough comes together in a ball.

This is my "ball" of dough.  Don't over mix.

Knead and Cut:

Dump the dough mixture onto floured work surface.  With floured hands lightly knead 5-10 times (just pull up a corner or side of the dough, tuck in into the middle, and pull up another, etc. Turning until the dough is tight.)

Pat into a circle (or gently use your rolling pin) 3/4 - 1 inch thick.
Super flattering hand pose

Dip cutter into flour.  Cut biscuits *without* twisting the cutter.

Form the scraps into a biscuit shape instead of re-kneading to cut another.

Bet you can't tell which two unfortunate pastries were hand formed.

Place biscuits onto baking sheet, or into pie pan (or in my case, a preheated cast iron skillet), with the sides touching as much as possible.  Brush the tops with melted butter if desired.

Bake in the middle of preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.  Brush again with melted butter if desired.  Remove to cooling rack for a few minutes.


My modifications usually include doubling the recipe, then baking in a large (I think it's 12")preheated cast iron skillet.  I heat the skillet while the oven preheats, and add 1/4 cup of butter to the pan letting that melt while I knead and cut the dough.  I have also added buttermilk powder with the dry ingredients, and water instead of milk for the wet (according to the directions on the powder can.)  Then remove the skillet from the oven, place shaped dough into the skillet, starting from the center to make sure they all touch.  With so much dough, the temperature needs to be adjusted.  For the doubled recipe I bake at 400 for 13 minutes, and then 5 more minutes at 375.  The tops should not brown much, but the bottoms will be golden.

I also just saw a tutorial where they dip the cut biscuits in melted butter just before baking.  Seems like a healthy alternative to my plain ol' baking method, so I might give that a shot next time :-)

It really is easy, and only takes a few more minutes than opening those pre-canned ones and putting them in the oven.  Let me know if you try it!  Ten minutes of actual prep, twenty minutes if you're letting the dough relax before rolling out.

For a meal:
Use 1 pound ground sausage, like Jimmy Dean.  Brown It.
Grab your favorite country gravy mix, like Southeastern Mills or McCormick.  Follow directions on the bag.  Add a teaspoon or two of dried Rosemary.  (I occasionally make it from scratch, but really, this is just as good.)

Hire help.
Mix in the cooked sausage.

Pour gravy over warm biscuits.  I like to pull my biscuits apart and pour the gravy over the top of two halves.

Biscuits and Gravy
It helps to have such an excited onlooker!

Do you have a favorite adaptation or add-in for biscuits?  Did you try this?

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try these this weekend! Sounds delicious!