1.19.2013

My mom's biscuits


I consider myself a decent cook, but there are just some things that I will always feel my mom does better. Biscuits are one of those things. Hers are light, buttery, flaky, and always perfectly browned. Heck, she even won the best biscuit prize from 4H when she was a teenager. I live in the shadow of those biscuits. I'm getting better, but every time I make them I always have an inauspicious feeling that something will go wrong. And actually, occasionally something does: when I made these biscuits, for example, I forgot to use self--rising flour like in my mom's recipe, and had to go back and add baking powder after I'd already cut in the butter and milk. Amazingly, it all turned out ok! I've made them again since, and they are getting better all the time--my last batch was as flaky and peelable as a Pillsbury biscuit--but much tastier, of course. Really, there's nothing like a homemade biscuit. They just make you feel like life is good....like your mom could be right around the corner in the kitchen, serving up your favorite meal like when you were a kid.

Now that I'll soon be a mom myself, it seems like a perfect time to carry on the tradition of these biscuits. The recipe is as basic as it can be, so the result is really more about technique than anything--so I included a little tutorial photo to help you out. They make a great breakfast when sandwiched around a sausage patty and American cheese (I'll never do anything fancier than American--it's the one and only cheese for sausage biscuits). I used vegetarian sausage patties (whose praises I have sung already), and froze the extras without the cheese. When you're ready to eat them, all you have to do is top with a bit of cheese and pop them in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds. It's a perfect breakfast for busy moms and kids.


Ingredients

3 c. self-rising flour, OR 3 c. all-purpose flour + 4 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. milk
16 tbsp. butter (chilled)


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F and butter a large baking sheet. Add your flour to a large mixing bowl. If using all purpose flour, sift in the baking powder and salt.
  2. Chop your butter into 1 tbsp size slices and add them to your bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until your butter-flour mixture resembles loose gravel.
  3. Now this is where it gets messy, so make sure you have all your tools and ingredients ready (or a helper with clean hands). Prepare a clean work surface and sprinkle liberally with flour. Have a rolling pin and some extra flour ready. Pour the 1 1/4 c. milk into the flour mixture. You can start by mixing it in with a spatula, but eventually you will want to use your hands. The resulting dough will be wet and sticky.
  4. Turn out the dough onto your floured work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough liberally with more flour, then begin rolling it out with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to your surface or the rolling pin, you need more flour. Roll out the dough to 1/2" or 3/4" thick.
  5. Fold the dough in half and rotate 90 degrees. Roll out the dough again and repeat the process, rolling and turning about 10 times total. Each time you fold the dough you are creating another flaky layer in your biscuits!*
  6. On your final roll, the dough should be 3/4" thick. Using a 3" biscuit cutter, cut out your biscuits and space them 1" or so apart on the baking sheet. Mash together the dough scraps and roll out again until you have no dough left.
  7. Brush the tops with milk and bake for 12-14 minutes. Recipe yields about 14 biscuits.
*Troubleshooting tip: If your dough refuses to stick together when folded and rolled, you likely have too much flour--just brush off the excess with a dry pastry brush. Conversely, if your dough is sticking at all to the surface or to the pin, its too wet. Too-wet dough will prevent flaky layers from forming in your biscuits--add more flour! And if this all sounds too intimidating, just remember--practice makes perfect ;).

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous! I'm a sucker for biscuits. I have to admit I was a serious Bisquick biscuit baker as a teenager. Your version looks much superior - yum!
    I hope you are well and that your pregnancy is going fine.
    Wishing you well,
    xo
    E

    ReplyDelete