Saturday, January 24, 2015
The Comfort of Buttermilk Biscuits
It's true that I get revved up thinking about making new recipes, especially the ones that the Bread Baking Babes and Cake Slice Bakers make each month. New ideas and techniques really get my creative juices flowing and it's fun to discover foods that can become favorites.
Sometimes, though, it's so nice to make a recipe that I've made over and over again. The process is usually faster and calmer and somehow comforting. I've made these biscuits since I was a young girl. My Dad loved his biscuits for breakfast and he loved them with stew. He loved them with ham and they make a great topping for chicken pot pie. Best of all they are great with some butter and honey, just out of the oven, with nothing but a cup of coffee. Well, I like them that way.
I haven't made biscuits for a long time, but this morning I was in the mood and I had all the ingredients ready to go. It's a short list, just self-rising flour, shortening and buttermilk. I keep my Crisco in the back of the fridge because I use it so rarely that it goes rancid in my cupboard between uses. That also makes it nice and cold for cutting into the biscuit flour. The essential thing with these biscuits is to avoid over handling the dough. You don't want a lot of gluten for these, just tender flakiness. I only knead the dough a few times; just enough to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. I do roll out the dough to about half the thickness I plan on having, then fold half of it over the other half. This makes it easy to split the biscuits when baked. Pushing straight down on the biscuit cutter is another tip. These really are easy as child's play, so try them soon. I bet you'll enjoy them as much as my Dad did. Don't forget the honey. I'm thankful to my newest neighbors who gave us a jar of local honey with comb in it for Christmas. They made these biscuits just perfect!
Classic Self-Rising Flour Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
½ cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk ( you can also use plain milk)
Cut shortening into the flour until consistency of coarse meal. Add enough milk to make a soft dough (may be slightly more or less than one cup).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently about ten strokes. Roll 1/4 the thickness desired for finished biscuit height. Fold half of the rolled out dough over the other half. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter (or drinking glass rim) pushing straight down. Don’t twist the cutter.
Place biscuits on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 4000 F oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes about 14 two-inch biscuits.