I had this weird obsession with biscuits for about two weeks.  I wanted biscuits people!! Immediately.  I talked about them all the time, and I still have no idea why.  I mean don’t get me wrong, a biscuit with a little bit of honey (that’s how my Daddy eats them, so obviously the way to go ;)) is quite yummy, but it’s not usually my Veruca Salt “I want it now” moment.

I *gasp* did not make my own baking powder.  I used store-bought…the horror!! Other than that  I was a little biscuit making fool.  I do think the oven was a touch hot.  I felt like they browned on the outside a little too nicely before the inside was fully cooked.   I’d like to try them at 400 degrees for a longer amount of time… Bread-type products and I still have some trust-building exercises to do.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 15 (2 1/2-inch) biscuits

  • 5 cups sifted White Lily flour or other unbleached all-purpose flour (measured after sifting)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon homemade baking powder (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed butter (or lard), chilled
  • 1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk, plus a few tablespoons more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Homemade baking powder

  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 500° F (I would use 400 degrees on my next try and bake them for 12-15 minutes).

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, and whisk well.  Add the butter and, working quickly, coat in flour and rub between your fingertips until about half the butter is coarsely blended and the other half remains in large pieces about 1/2 inch in size.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir quickly, just until the dough is blended and begins to mass. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky and there should not be large amounts of unincorporated flour in the bowl. If dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more buttermilk.

Turn dough immediately onto a generously floured surface, and with floured hands knead briskly 8 to 10 times until a cohesive dough is formed.

Gently flatten the dough with your hands so it is of an even thickness. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. (If the dough begins to stick to your rolling pin, dust the pin – not the dough – with flour. Flouring the dough at this point will result in dusty-looking biscuits.) With a dinner fork dipped in flour, pierce the dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals.

Lightly flour a 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds. (Do not twist the cutter when stamping out biscuits.) Cut the biscuits from the dough as close together as you can for a maximum yield. Arrange cut biscuits on a heavy, ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet so that they almost touch. Do not reroll the scraps. Just bake the rest of the dough pieces, as is, and enjoy as a treat.

Bake in upper third of the oven for 8 to 12 minutes (if using 400 degrees – 12-15 minutes) until crusty golden brown. (Check about 6 minutes into baking and rotate pan if needed to ensure even cooking.) Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. Serve hot.

Homemade Baking Powder
Sift the ingredients together three times. Transfer to a clean, dry, tight-sealing jar. Store at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for up to four weeks. Use in any recipe calling for a commercial baking powder.

Source: Scott Peacock’s Hot, Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
From Scott Peacock’s “The Art of the Biscuit,” reprinted in “Best Food Writing 2008″; Found at Ezra Pound Cake

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