Friday, March 1, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits (like Dad use to make)

Yesterday I was fondly remembering how Dad got on a buttermilk biscuit kick when I was around 13 years old. After figuring out just how easy they were to make, he made them about 3 times a week for a while. Every morning I would grab a warm biscuit, put a generous pat of butter and some jam on, then sprint out the door (it seemed we were always running to catch the school bus)! If you make them right they are so light and delectable!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

3 cups COLD flour (I keep mine in the fridge anyway, but if you don't you might want to throw it in the freezer for a bit)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
8 Tbls cold butter
2 Tbls shortening (no shortening? just use 10 T of butter)
1 Tbls sugar (or honey, or agave)
1 1/2 Buttermilk
a bit of cold milk, half and half or water
a little melted butter for basting

Place flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Grate the cold butter (using the large holes on a cheese grater) into the flour, throw in the pat of shortening. Using a pastry cutter incorporate the butter and shortening into the flour. (*This can also be done with two butter knives sliding the two knives together, through the flour mixture, in a scissor like motion).
The fats should be chopped up into little bits and evenly distributed throughout the flour.
Mix the buttermilk and sugar. Dump over the flour and begin to gently incorporate by scraping down the sides of the bowl as you turn it. I usually need about 2 Tablespoons of of additional liquid (the cold milk, half and half or water) to bring it together. Flour your hands and knead about 4 times in the bowl.
Next, to bake, you can use either the drop method or roll them out. BOTH are GREAT.
Lightly grease the baking sheet then
Drop the biscuit dough in blobs (about 1/2 cup) on the baking sheet. Baste with a little melted butter.
Flour a clean surface and drop all the dough from your bowl on it. Lightly flour and roll into a large area, about 12 inches wide. Fold each side in like you are making an envelope. Lightly flour and roll out again. Repeat this process twice. Then using a floured round cutter make your biscuits. Baste with a little melted butter.

Bake at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes (depending on their size). They should be golden brown on the top and bottom. MAKES ABOUT 12 GENEROUSLY SIZED BISCUITS.

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