Monday, March 24, 2008
Second Easter day, yes, here in Holland we celebrate this holiday for two days, so I decided to do an American style breakfast for the family. I love the breakfasts they serve in the South so I made sausage patties, bacon, scrambled eggs and biscuits. I also tried to make gravy, to go with the biscuits, but failed completely on that one :-).
Since most of the things I made from Dorie Greenspan's, Baking, from my house to yours turned out very well I used her Basic Biscuit recipe, in the book she gives little pointers on variations, for this one it's Buttermilk Biscuits which you get by replacing the milk by buttermilk and the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
I used my food processor for this recipe, since I didn't want to overwork the dough and a food processor does a great job here.
The biscuits turned out fabulous, high and flaky, just like the ones we got in those little mom 'n' pop places in the South!
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cps all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter, and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and pieces the size of everything in between, and that’s just right.
Pour the milk over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and toss and gently turn the ingredients until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading-3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even-a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.
Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2 inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting-just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)
Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.