Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the quest for the ultimate biscuit~

For many moons, I've searched for a good biscuit recipe. I mean, MANY moons. I finally settled on one I found in the Better Homes & Garden's red checked cookbook, but ya know, either I couldn't make em right, or it was a flawed recipe, because they would just crumble to pieces whenever I opened them to put in jelly or slop gravy over them. Grr.

Somehow, the topic came up in a few private messages with a friend on, believe it or not, a photography forum. And I tried the recommended recipe.

My quest is over.

So - may I present Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits recommended to me by my photographer and cooking buddy, Lee. Thank you, Lee! Not that you'll ever read this, HAHA...

(psst - I doubled the recipe because, um, we really like biscuits - so if you don't like biscuits like I do, then cut this baby in half)

Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits (doubled by Sis)
4 cups flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons shortening
2 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick square. Cut square biscuits of desired size, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. The square method eliminates the need for reworking the dough...
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes. bread bowl.
I make all my breads in this bowl, which was a gift from my mom for Christmas.
Except for the breads that I make in the bread maker.
And the ones I mix in the Kitchenaid mixer.
I make all my biscuits in this bowl. (haha)
I didn't have enough shortening, so I just used all chilled butter.
Cut until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Except mine never does. It just resembles flour with chunks of butter in it.
The fun part is coming! Make a big hole in the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk to make an amazing lake! Oh, look, Gertie the magical Gator has paid a visit! She must be curious to see if she can take a swim...
Hi, Gertie! Please don't swim in my buttermilk.
Options abound with the next step - you can play avalanche, dam-break,
earthquake, or my personal favorite, back-hoe...just collapse the sides of the lake
and mix all that good stuff up.
When it'll hold together, dump it out on a floured surface (the counter will do, HA)
and form a ball.
And since I love to get my clean DNA all over bread dough, I used my fingers
to press it out into a nice square. With rounded corners (not on purpose).
I like to use one half of the blades for my electric knife - it's really sharp, serrated, and cuts dough, bread, tomatoes, all sorts of stuff without smashing the edges.
I don't worry about whether the biscuits are all the same size. Sometimes, you get almost done eating, and you just want a little bit extra...there's a little biscuit that fits the bill. Starving? Grab a couple of the huge ones! lol
Transfer to a pan - I'm using a stoneware pan here, I love my Pampered Chef stoneware.
The final product. Ahhhh....btw - those are hamburger patties in the background, just waiting for gravy to be done so they can go back in and simmer a while.
I couldn't wait for supper, so I put just a tiny smidgen of jelly on the littlest biscuit. Just a little bit, because I don't want the jelly taste to overwhelm the biscuit. Plus I don't want to get fat. HAHA
Remember. Just a little bit of jelly.
After all that, sheesh, I need a nap...

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