Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits (revisited)

I've taken a very long break from making biscuits because I never seem to be happy with how they turn out. The little things never want to rise, so they end up more like hockey pucks that delicious little circles of flaky bread. With extra buttermilk sitting in my fridge though, I couldn't very well pass up the opportunity to make biscuits, so it was time for another attempt.

I've been studying biscuit techniques for a while and have picked up the following hints, some of which I followed, some of which I did not:
  • Use a low-gluten, soft-wheat flour like White Lily ... ok, so that wasn't going to happen I only have Five Roses and sadly it's high gluten 
  • Sift the flour before measuring
  • Chill the fats and the bowl
  • Avoid handling the dough as much as possible ... the food processor is your friend (I've finally been sold on this ... and now I need to buy a larger food processor)
  • Do NOT roll out the dough, pat it out
  • Invest in a good biscuit cutter with sharp edges ... I prefer to cut square biscuits so I don't waste dough
  • Don't re-roll the dough
With all of that in mind, I set out to try a recipe again. I made this recipe twice (cutting it in half each time), once with lard and vegetable shortening and once with butter. It's slightly better using the lard and shortening, but the butter works. While I was making it with butter, I failed to add additional salt as I only had unsalted butter, but you should definitely do that. If you like a super moist biscuit, you might also want to think about using 6 tbsp total of fat instead of 5. In the end, the most amazing thing about this recipe was that the biscuits rose ... finally! No more hockey puck biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits (from Texas Home Cooking)

2 1/2 cups soft-wheat flour, preferably White Lily
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp lard, well chilled
2 tbsp vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, well chilled
1 cup buttermilk, well chilled

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Sift together dry ingredients three times.
3. With a food processor (or if you don't have one a pastry blender), blend in lard and shortening until a coarse meal forms.
4. Blend in buttermilk until a sticky dough forms.
5. If you didn't use a food processor, Turn the dough out and kneed four to six times.
6. Otherwise, go straight to patting the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
7. Cut with a 2 or 3 inch round biscuit cutter.
8. Arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

No comments:

Post a Comment