Friday, April 23, 2010

BHG Biscuits

If you have read my blog for long, you'll know my deep distaste for canned biscuits.  (If not, read this.)  This is my tried and true biscuit recipe.  It's never failed me.  These biscuits feed my family regularly.

Truth in advertising: This is not my recipe.  This is from the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook, published in 1978.  I've tested quite a few recipes and this is the one I prefer.  So, this darling little post is more about technique than about the recipe.

On pp. 210-211, you'll find the recipe for biscuits, plain and simple.

What You Need:
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C shortening
3/4 milk

What You Use:
mixing bowl
pastry blender
cutting board for kneading and cutting out dough
biscuit or cookie cutter
cookie sheet

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Place flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening in the bowl.
3. Use the pastry blender to work the shortening into the flour until it looks pea-sized.
4. Pour in the milk and quickly, but gently, stir in the milk until the dough just comes together.
5. Dump dough onto a lightly floured cutting board.
6. Knead very gently, just until it's all one mass.
7. Pat the dough out until it's about the same thickness all the way around, about 1/2".
8. Using your biscuit/cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and place them on the cookie sheet, ~1" apart.
9. Gently smoosh the remaining dough together and repeat.
10. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 until biscuits are golden brown and delicious.

Important bits - salt, flour, baking powder, shortening.

Get ready to use that pastry blender!

Just like bringing a pie crust together, you're looking for little pea-sized chunks.  When your dough looks like this, you're ready for the liquid. Pour it in, mix gently, dump it on a cutting board, knead it gently and it should look something like this:

Notice I didn't get crazy trying to make the dough flat and pretty.  The more this dough gets worked, the tougher the biscuits will be.  If you want tough biscuits, go ahead and work the dough.  If you want fluffy layers, go gently.  Cut out your biscuits and chuck them on a cookie sheet for baking.

When I make biscuits, I triple the batch.  I cut them out and place them closely on a pan like this. Then I put the whole pan in the freezer for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, they come out of the freezer hard enough to not stick to each other when put in a gallon-sized freezer bag.  Then, when the kids want biscuits and scrambled eggs for dinner, all I have to do is pull out some biscuits, let them sit on the pan for 20 minutes or so, and then bake them.  



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