Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits


Mmmm. I love biscuits. I have tried dozens of recipes over the years & so far I'm really loving this one. With Autumn upon us, and soup, stew & chili season beginning, I thought now would be a good time to whip up a batch. We've been sick here the past week, so I made a big pot of chicken soup yesterday. These were perfect on the side.
I've read before that when you are baking biscuits, it's best to have them positioned on the baking sheet so that they're touching. Then when they're baked, they form into a big sheet of biscuits, that can be torn apart before eating. This helps them stay moist. So, I tried this technique & it worked well.
Another way to keep them flaky & soft all the way through, is to not over mix the dough. Over mixing will make them tough & give them a texture similar to a hockey puck...so, don't do that.

Begin by cutting 1 1/2 sticks of butter into small pieces. It's important to use cold butter & to keep it cold. So, put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. {Note: I used salted butter, because that's what I had on hand. If you'd like to use unsalted butter, increase the salt in the recipe to 1 3/4 teaspoons}

Next, into the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the steel blade attachment, add 3 3/4 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt & 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Process until blended. Then, scatter the cubed butter over the top & pulse a few times,

just enough so the butter pieces are approximately the size of a pea. Whisk together 1 cup of buttermilk and a 1/2 cup of half & half.

Dump the dry ingredients out into a mixing bowl. Pour in the buttermilk & cream. Then, using a spatula, gently mix, until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix!

Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface & knead it a couple of times, until it comes together. Gently press the dough into a disc & using a rolling pin, dusted with flour, roll the dough out to an even thickness of about 1".
Using a bench scraper, or a sharp knife, cut the dough into a grid to make square pieces {or, use the biscuit cutter of your choice}. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet & position them so that they're touching.


Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.

Break the biscuits apart & serve.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 8-12 biscuits
Adapted {barely} from Saveur magazine

3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup well shaken buttermilk
1/2 cup half & half

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt & baking soda to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment. Process until blended. Scatter the cubed butter over the top & pulse a few times, just enough so the butter pieces are approximately the size of a pea.
Dump the mixture out into a mixing bowl. Whisk the buttermilk & cream together, then add them to the bowl. Using a spatula, gently mix, until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix!
Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface & knead it a couple of times, until it comes together. Gently press the dough into a disc & using a rolling pin, dusted with flour, roll the dough out to an even thickness of about 1".
Using a bench scraper, or a sharp knife, cut the dough into a grid to make square pieces {or, use the biscuit cutter of your choice}. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet & position them so that they are touching. This helps them stay moist as they bake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, before serving.
Click here for the printable recipe.

19 comments:

Nicole Franzen said...

yumm i want one now!

http://nicolefranzen.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Katie, You're making me hungry, mmmmmmm
looks yummy.

JoAnn said...

These seem just too easy not to try; and your comment about chicken noodle soup is just perfect to serve them with. Thanks!

Joanne said...

Haha hockey puck biscuits do NOT sound appealing. But these certainly do! I almost always have some buttermilk around that needs using up. These sound perfect for doing just that!

Karen said...

OO Lovely biscuits, fall is definitely here!

Katrina said...

Hello, these look great--good to have with the potato and leek soup we're having tonight!

Just wondering if you can tell me what 'half & half' is?? Hopefully it's American name for something also available in Australia..?!

Thanks!

kate said...

Thanks Katrina~
Half & half is a mixture of half whole milk & half heavy cream. Hope this helps :)

amanda said...

i made some biscuits this morning that were only subpar....wish i would have seen this recipe earlier! :)

Shannon Mac said...

These look so delicious! Hello Sunday breakfast :)

Miss Kate said...

Oh, how delightful do these look? I can't wait to try them. Also, that buttermilk looks like a neat brand to use. When I make buttermilk scones or biscuits at home, I just add a TB of vinegar to a cup of milk and wait for it to sour.

kate said...

Miss Kate,

The buttermilk is from a company called, "Kate's". They also make butter. Their stuff is amazing!!

The Food Hound said...

I have been wanting a recipe for buttermilk biscuits-- this looks like a winner! And I will definitely try the break-apart method!

Lisa said...

Your biscuits look absolutely perfect. They're crunchy golden on the outside and so fluffy and high. All I can say is yum.

Zephyr Art said...

Wow! I am usually a terrible biscuit maker!! I made these, though and they turned out AWESOME. Thanks!!

cedarglen said...

Oh, such wonderful biscuits. And world-class pictures.. Darn wonderful work.
Your pulsing method with the food processor is on the mark and the visable bits of butter in your patted dough suggest a light touch with that powerful machine. You got the message: Do not over mix!
If I might add two simple notes: Those uneven brown spots on the tops of your biscuits are *usually* a sign of too much baking powder. I know this is a largeish batch, but 1.5 Tbs. is a bit high. You might try a batch using 1.0 Tbs and eventually down to 0.75 Tbs.
I know, you want that HEFTY spring the minute the biscuits go into the oven. You might try this: Increase your basic baking temperature to at least 425 and maybe 450 (ovens vary). When you open the preheated oven to insert your biscuits, no matter how fast you are, you are going to lose upto 100 degrees of temp. When preheating the oven, give it a full 500 degrees and let it cycle a couple of times. Get the pan in a quickly as possible and slam that door. Instantly reduce the temp to 425 or 450 and keep a close eye on the baking. If your oven has a window, use the light or a flashlight, rather than opening the door. If not, make the peeks extremely short. Expect a slightly sorter baking time and plan ahead to rever the pan at slightly under 50% of the expected baking time. Until you get a better idea of how much time they require at the higher temperature, keep a close eye on them, but make the peeks as fast as possible. In short, if you raise the baking temperature a good bit, you will still get that great rise and spring and without using so much Baking Powder. And tose spots should go away, too.
Despite the temptation, let the wonderful biscuits cool - on the pan for 3-4 minutes, before serving. They are still cooking and they need to be close to each other during the resting period.
Heck, you've already got 95% of it more than right and you are oh sooo close to perfect. Play around with it a bit, please. Get that oven temp UP and keep it there; you won't need as much BP and those funny spots will go away.
Best Wishes.

cedarglen said...

Oh yes! Please let me know how any changes work. I care and I'm always on your side.

kate said...

cedarglen,

When I initially read the recipe from Saveur magazine, I was hesitant about the amount of baking powder...as it seemed like a lot!
But, I decided to try it anyway, as written.
I was very happy with the results.

I had no idea that un-even brown spots were an indication of too much leavening. So, thanks for the info.

Your comment is here for anyone who wants to try your method. But, I have to say that regardless of any baking powder *spots* on the top, they were pretty darn good! I can't say I would change a thing...but, as they say, to each they're own :)

Joyce across the Pond said...

I tend to agree with Cedarglen, not that I want to disagree with anyone but there is a lot of raising agent in this mixture. The biscuits (or scones as we call them in Northern Ireland) look well and I'm sure taste good. I would also agree that the temperature needs to be high...I really don't knead at all, just get the dough together, cut with circle cutter and get into the fan oven at 200/220 degrees as fast as possible....I only check them once when they are 'set'....sometimes not at all....I give them 12 mins at the most. If you check down older posts on my blog you will find my variation with fruit in them. However I love to read about folk baking from scratch..there's nothing quite like your own baking. If you do decide to check out cedarglen's suggestions we'd love to hear the result. Kind regards!

kate said...

Joyce,

I only kneaded the dough enough for it to come together, as mentioned in the post. Barely, really.

I usually use a biscuit cutter, but I decided I liked this method, as it was 1-2-in the oven. Makes it quick & easy for a weeknight dinner. But, absolutely, a cutter can be used instead.

As far as the leavening...again, they came out great. But, for anyone who wants to try the recipe with less vs. what's called for here...go for it.

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