Saturday, November 28, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

While dinner rolls would be more traditional for Thanksgiving at my grandma's house, there's no way I could find a recipe to replicate her delicious rolls, so I decided to go for something equally dear to my heart ... buttermilk biscuits.  These won't rise as much as the canned kind, but they are delicious.

The recipe calls for the use of a food processor, but my food processor can't hold quantities as large as this recipe, so I made due with the pastry blender attachment.  All tips have been included here.  The only other change I made was to melt some butter to brush on top of the biscuits before they went in the oven.

Buttermilk Biscuits (from recipezaar)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board (if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (approx ... I ended up using closer to 1 cup)

1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
3. Cut the cold butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
8. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick.
9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds (or a drinking glass).
10. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
11. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
12. If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
13. Brush with melted butter.
14. Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
15. Do not overbake.
16. Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
17. The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.
18. I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of overmixing.
19. You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
20. Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.

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