Biscuits

March 31, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Biscuits 1
Biscuits–yes, plain old-fashioned biscuits–are one of just a few things that can make your reputation as a cook. Even if you really can’t cook a lick, if you can make these few things everyone thinks you’re a good cook. What are these few things that if mastered make it possible for you to fake it as a cook for the rest of your life? Pie, some kind of yeast bread and biscuits.
Of the three, the easiest is biscuits, so let’s start there. If you’ve only ever eaten the kind that come in a tube that you whack on the edge of the counter to unravel, a homemade biscuit will be a revelation. And once you see how easily and quickly they can be made from scratch and how much better they taste, you will never again resort to a mix or a frozen biscuit.


Biscuits 2
The three keys to good biscuits are:
1 butter rather than shortening (the less said about that, the better; I wouldn’t want to get into one of those Oprah-versus-the-beef-industry things!)
2 not over-mixing after adding the liquid (working the dough too much after the liquid is added makes a tough biscuit)
3 very hot oven (for a crisp and golden exterior and a fluffy interior)
My basic recipe has many variations. Sometimes I use milk, sometimes buttermilk, sometimes a combination of milk and buttermilk or milk and sour cream or milk and yogurt. It’s very flexible.
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Biscuits
(Makes 12 biscuits)
2 packed cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (if using food processor, put butter in the freezer for 15 minutes)
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly spray an insulated baking sheet with cooking spray. If you have a food processor and want to use it for this (I prefer my hands), with metal blade in place, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in work bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 times to combine. Add frozen butter and process for 8 to 10 seconds or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl; pour in the milk and gently mix until just combined.
If you don’t have or want to use a food processor, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. With your fingers or a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs with some bigger chunks remaining. Pour in the milk and gently mix until just combined.
On a lightly floured surface, gently pat the dough into about a 3/4-inch-thick 6×8-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 square biscuits, and then gently round each biscuit by hand or leave square. (If you use a round biscuit cutter, you either waste dough or have some tough biscuits made from re-rolled dough.) Place about 2 inches apart on the insulated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Biscuits may be frozen, double-wrapped, for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature, wrapped, then unwrap and heat at 350 for 5 minutes.

Categories: Recipes