Sunday, August 14, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are just like Bojangles biscuits* (see fine print).  Need I say more?

Last week I made the rustic blueberry tart/gallette (featured twice already on this blog so no need for a repeat) and here I am again with buckets of buttermilk. If I haven't ranted about this already I find it ridiculous that they sell buttermilk in such large quantities. Almost every recipe I have ever seen calls for 1 cup, at most, but usually even less. I still have some three cups to use. So, buttermilk biscuits -- why not?

Okay, I'll get off my soap box. Aside from being sold in (unnecessarily) large quantities, buttermilk gives a unique flavor to the finish product so its worth the couple of bucks (even if you have leftovers).  Something tells me buttermilk biscuits wouldn't be the same if you used regular milk + vinegar -- a common substitute for buttermilk when baking. Vinegar milk biscuits = not appetizing.

Cook's Illustrated Buttermilk Biscuits
(recipe from CI, biscuit method from AB (aka Alton Brown)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (do not omit)
2 tablespoons shortening 

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter (optional)

1 cup cold buttermilk

1. Cut butter into 1 inch chunks and place with shortening into freezer for about 10 minutes.

2.  Preheat oven to 450F  and lightly grease a cookie sheet

2. Dump flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor. Pulsate once or twice just to combine.

3. Add cold butter and shortening. Pulse about 4 times for just a few seconds each iteration. This should leave you with some pea sized chunks of butter. Do not grind until you get the "wet sand" look. The larger butter pieces is what makes the biscuit fluffy.

4. Transfer to a bowl, preferably some type of metal and (using a fork) stir in all but 2 tbs buttermilk.  Be gentle but make sure you've incorporated all of the flour. Add the remaining 2tbs buttermilk if needed. The dough should be moist but not (too) gooey. Move the bowl to the freezer for 10 minutes  -- no need to cover.  (metal = conductor which means the butter will chill faster)

5. After dough has chilled, use your fingers to mash the butter bits into nickle sized disks.  (You don't need to be very precise and don't worry about getting every single one. Just have fun with it. .. and make sure that the butter stays cold!)

6. Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a ~10 inch circle, about 1/2 inch thick. 
7. Cut the biscuits using a 3 inch biscuit cutter (or thin glass :) making sure not to twist when you push down. This will effect how the dough rises. 

8. You can brush the biscuits with the melted butter -- but I skipped this since I thought 1 stick of butter and 2 tbs of shortening was plenty already.

9. Bake for ~15 minutes or until golden.


*I'm no expert on fast food biscuits. I can only make the Bojangles comparison because just a few weeks ago I rode with my Dad to get coffee -- he ordered a couple of biscuits and I had a bite. Or maybe they're more like KFC...?  If you're a true biscuit lover please try this recipe and let me know how it compares.

Nutritional Facts per biscuit -- these are not diet friendly (serves 12):
Calories: 194, Fat: 10g, Sat Fat 5.8g, Carbs 27.5g,  Protein 3.4g
There are some vitamins in these but they get canceled out by the outrageous amount of fat. ;) 


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Honey said...

this looks delicious. I recently make buttermilk biscuits and they sucked. I'll have to try another recipe.