Sunday, November 23, 2008
Hey y'all. Buttermilk buscuits are harder than they look.
We've been in North Carolina a full year now, and I hadn't perfected buttermilk biscuits.
Do we like biscuits down here? Oh yes, we do.
And this should be simple...a quickbread - no yeast; mix it and bake - couldn't be easier right?
As it turns out, yes and no. They're one of those things that once you've mastered, you wonder how they ever gave you trouble, but man did they give me the business.
I think this is batch 5. Batch 1 was inedible. 2 and 3 were improvements, 4 was a setback and then there were these...yes, 5 batches.
I really think the key to biscuits is not as much about doing things right as it is about avoiding a few critical mistakes; so with that in mind here are the pitfalls:
Not too dry. I tried to make a dough that was much closer to a bread dough and I didn't use near enough liquid. I got a great tip for cutting biscuits out of the rolled dough that also works great as a measure of if your dough is too wet. You use a rocks glass to cut them. (I used a glass that came with a bottle of Macallan scotch several years ago.) You push the glass straight down into the dough, not twisting, and lift. The vacuum holds the biscuit until you tap it out on your baking sheet. Your dough should be just stiff enough to do this.
You have to work fast. I used self rising flour from Aldi. This particular SR flour contains both baking soda and baking powder. Once the buttermilk hits the sodium bicarbonate, it begins releasing CO2 bubbles, so you don't want to waste any time. When you pour the buttermilk, the clock starts ticking. The sooner you get them in the oven the better. Of course this means your oven is already at....
500 degrees. Hot and fast. Took mine under 10 minutes.