January 28, 2009

Biscuits are messy to make.

Monday night, I watched the sleet & snow fall and wondered if school would be canceled the next day. By 10:00, there was already a growing list of school closures.

"Do you have stuff to make biscuits in the morning?" Jerad asked.

"I guess so," I replied.

"Good. We can make biscuits & gravy for breakfast, since you won't have school."

By the time I went to bed, my school still wasn't added to the list of closed schools. At 5:15 the next morning, while every other school in the area was listed, mine still wasn't on there. About 15 minutes later, I got the call.

I answered the phone with a cheery "Good morning!" and promptly went back to bed.

* * *

I'd only made biscuits once before...in junior high foods class. And, they were awful...flat, hard, & dry.

Despite making a huge mess in the kitchen (flour EVERYWHERE!) , these biscuits were easy to make. They were dense, crispy, & buttery and reminded us of pot pie crust...which was actually a nice contrast in texture with the sausage gravy we smothered them in. Next time, though, I'll try a different recipe...one that will yield a softer dough and give me big, fluffy biscuits.

Basic Biscuits

from Homesick Texan

According to Homesick Texan, "beaten biscuits are what people made in the days before baking soda and baking powder was around. In order to get the biscuits to rise, cooks would beat the dough with a mallet, rolling pin or even an axe for over half an hour until it blistered. This injection of air into the dough caused them to lift a bit, but beaten biscuits are still pretty flat, crispy and dense."

Two cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sugar (can add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, cold (8 tablespoons)
3/4 cup of buttermilk, cream or half-and-half

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  • Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.
  • Add the liquid, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.
  • Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking.
  • Take dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.
  • Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half.
  • Using a round cutter (can use a glass or a cup if don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut out your biscuits from folded dough.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Makes 10-12 biscuits.


Wendy said...

We have always used the "Baking Powder Biscuits" recipe from Ye Olde Fannie Farmer cookbook. My mom is famous for them (ask Andy), and they are perfect for smothering with sausage gravy.

Katie Zeller said...

I've always made them with a minimum of handling, barely getting the dough to hold together and only kneading 5 or 6 turns...More like scones, I think.
They taste great hot; hockey pucks when cold.
What a great way to spend a snow day!