Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

Lately, i've been reflecting on change. Instead of reading my usual fantasy novels, i'm reading medical related non-fiction. Instead of using a treadmill, i'm jogging to the track and walking. Instead of baking excessive sweets, i'm making pickles, biscuits, roasted sweet potatoes, and massive pots of brown rice. I'm changing jobs and apartments, and i'm trying to change my outlook on a few things.

I thought baking less often would be strange, but it feels relaxed and natural. I've enjoyed making simple, less time consuming things. I'm sure there will be time for fancier recipes once the summer is over.

These fluffy, tangy biscuits are a favorite of mine. They're popular at home too; i'm pretty sure my brother ate three or four the first time I made them. They reheat well, and if you're pressed for time you can keep the dry ingredient/butter mixture in the refrigerator for a few days and add the buttermilk when you're ready to bake. You can substitute 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup all purpose flour too, for a different flavor.

I really love buttermilk in baking, if you haven't noticed. I'd love to eat these with a smear of good butter or sour cream.

Buttermilk Biscuits
from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk cold, preferably low-fat

To Form and Finish Biscuits
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces), distributed in rimmed baking sheet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Generously spray inside and outside of 1/4 cup dry measure with nonstick cooking spray.

2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda to combine, about six 1-second pulses. Scatter butter cubes evenly over dry ingredients; pulse until mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, eight to ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add buttermilk to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated (dough will be very wet and slightly lumpy).

3. To form and bake biscuits:Using 1/4 cup dry measure and working quickly, scoop level amount of dough; drop dough from measuring cup into flour on baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, forming 12 evenly sized mounds. Dust tops of each piece of dough with flour from baking sheet. With floured hands, gently pick up piece of dough and coat with flour; gently shape dough into rough ball, shake off excess flour, and place in prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 rounds around perimeter of cake pan and 3 in center. Brush rounds with hot melted butter, taking care not to flatten them. Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees; continue to bake until biscuits are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Cool in pan 2 minutes, then invert biscuits from pan onto clean kitchen towel; turn biscuits right-side up and break apart. Cool 5 minutes longer and serve.


Koren said...

Those look delicious. In the genre of medical non-fiction, I highly recommend The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. Perhaps you've already read it. It's a fascinating story of two cultures differing understandings of health and sickness.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i think it's natural not to want to turn the oven on so much during the summer. i find myself making tons of ice cream, mousses... it's a season thing. but i can always make time to bake and to eat biscuits. lovely.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya too. I think that a natural departure from the excessive baking of sweets is natural. Eventually, you realize that you have baked alot of the things that you intially wanted to. Then what? Then it's time to explore other venues. Hopefully, you post some recipes and pics from your new food palate. About the books, I agree with Anne Fadiman's novel. It's so good and slightly heart-breaking.

gorochan said...

haven'treaditmyselfbutmeanto: http://www.amazon.com/Cutting-Remarks-Insights-Recollections-Surgeon/dp/1583941479/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214119374&sr=1-6

and his blog: http://www.surgeonsblog.blogspot.com/