Friday, September 20, 2013

The Art of Biscuit Baking

Biscuits are dreamy and delicate and flaky and tender and crispy and melt in your mouth delicious...or at least they should be.  A biscuit should appear as though you popped the dough right out of can....there I said it!  The little chubby white guy that giggles really does know how to make a puffy biscuit, but you can to!

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a short video of me making biscuits! :)

There is an "art" to achieving this though, but it's not a hard art to learn.  Once you realize what is needed, you will never make a flat, hard hockey puck me! :)

Things to remember:

Be GENTLE - if you work the dough too hard, you start getting the gluten all crazy and end up with tough cement.

Make sure you start with cold butter.

Only break the butter up into pea size bits, don't mash it flat, don't break it up smaller than this.  This is what helps to create the layers.

Don't twist and swirl your biscuit cutter, this seals the edges and doesn't allow the dough to rise while baking.

Don't be afraid to experiment!!!  Add some shredded cheese to the mix, maybe jalapeno jack to kick it up.  Use regular milk, buttermilk, goat milk, whatever you have!  Use 1/2 wheat flour, but don't expect your biscuits to be quite as high and fluffy as when you use all white.

So, here we go, let's make biscuits.

Print the recipe HERE.

Fluffy Delightful Biscuits
Makes 8-10 (can cut in half if making for just 2 people)

2 C. unbleached white flour (OR you can use 1 C. White Wheat plus 1 C. White)
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Sugar
3/4 tsp. salt (fine grain)
1/4 C. refrigerator cold butter (4 Tbsp)
1 C. milk (IF you have buttermilk, us it!)  *if you don't, look below for how to make it quick and easy!

Preaheat oven (and baking stone if using) to 450.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and  salt.  Cut butter into little chunks and drop into flour.  Using fingers, break butter up into bits, not too small, because the butter bits make it flaky!
Stir in the milk, gently, just to combine.

Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface.  Turn dough onto surface (it may be sticky, flour your hands a tiny bit).  Only use enough flour to keep it from completely sticking to your hands, but not too much.
Gently knead the dough by folding it over itself gently just 3-4 times.  Pat it down with your fingers until it's about 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick.

Use your cutter to cut out biscuits, press straight down and do not swirl the cutter.  Straight down, straight up.

Place biscuits on parchment paper on a flat cookie sheet.  Refold scraps and gently work together.  Pat down and repeat cutting out remaining biscuits.  Use last bit of scraps to make "ugly" biscuit. :)

Once all biscuits are cut and placed on parchment, slide parchment onto baking stone.
NOTE:  If you want to place the biscuits directly onto the stone, you can certainly can, you will just get a darker bottom, but it's no big deal.

Bake for 10-12 mins.  Admire your work.  Stare at the way the biscuits fluffed right up and take lots of pictures. :)

Devour biscuits, dip in soup, smother with butter and jam, top with sausage and egg.  Oh, just enjoy them, they are delightful!

Check out my video tutorial on how to make biscuits! :)

NOTE:  If you don't have a biscuit cutter or just don't want to take the time to cut them out, make drop biscuits.  Simply drop blobs of your biscuit dough on the parchment and bake as directed.
Change it up!  Add shredded cheddar cheese to the flour mixture, and maybe a dash of garlic powder and/or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Oh yeah! :)

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