Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Practice has taught me that making buttermilk biscuits is more about technique than ingredients. Yes, you need to know what to put into your mixing bowl but most recipes are pretty similar. I think I have tried almost all of them. Yet achieving that perfect buttermilk biscuit texture and consistency has always been just out of my reach, until now. I have finally figured out how to make the delicious, golden, fluffy biscuits I have been dreaming of. These are the lessons that I have learned through my many attempts at achieving the perfect buttermilk biscuit consistency and texture:
  • Handle the dough as little as possible, over handling makes tough biscuits
  • You want to keep the ingredients cold so mix quickly!
  • Using a food processor allows you to work quickly and avoid over mixing (but can definitely be done by hand which is some times more fun anyway, especially if you are mixing with kids)
  • While you are mixing the dry ingredients keep the butter in the fridge to keep it cold for as long as possible
  • Using a rolling pin to flatten over works the dough so just pat out with our hands - part of the fun of cooking is playing with your food
  • If you like crusty biscuits then space them about 1" apart, they will not rise as much as biscuits that are put closer together
  • You can freeze the cut biscuit dough for up to one month uncooked then when you are ready to cook place frozen biscuits in oven at 450 for 20min
Now that I have shared all that I know about biscuit making technique here is the recipe that I have found works best:

  • 2cups all purpose flour (white lily is a good one for biscuit making)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into small chunks and kept cold
  • 3/4cup buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Combing dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor
  • Cut butter into flour until it looks like course meal (you can use your hands or if you are working with a food processor then pulse a few times until reaches the right consistency)
  • Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined, if the mixture is dry then add a little more buttermilk, you want it to be a little sticky
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface
  • Gently pat the dough out until it is about 3/4" thick
  • Use a round cutter or pint glass to cut out the biscuits
  • gently knead scraps together and form into a biscuit
  • Bake for 10-12min
Bon Appetit!

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