Who makes the "perfect" biscuit?

Discussion in 'Breads' started by alblancher, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks like Sausage Boy nailed it...his looks like my 94y/o neighbors biscuits that I might add I have eaten a million of them..
     
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member


    These look swell! How's about a detailed Recipe?...JJ
     
  3. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wish I could share the best biscuit recipe with ya all.  I can't even get it, and have kicked myself many times for not getting it, I just assumed my mom had it. That was my grandmothers she made the best biscuits I have ever eaten. The recipe died with her.
     
  4. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This fascinating,I went on the hunt through old Aussie cookbooks including some of my late mothers trying to see if there was some equivalent down here. What you call biscuit we would call a scone. Considered a fair test of how good a baker the little women was.

    I found a few similar recipes in the Country Womens Association cook book,first published 1937.

    Funny looking over moms handwritten notes ,man that women could cook. I figure these things are British in origin. Do you guys do a sweet version or is it all savoury to go with gravy sort of thing.

    KFC have them here but dont call them biscuits probably to confusing . 

    Do you guys do the pumpkin version or am I  wandering in some other direction?
     
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Moikel,

    I thought what the British called a biscuit  Americans would call a cookie.  Scones are a bit smoother in shape and denser.  I don't know anything about English cooking so I am just going by what I have seen in American bakeries.

    The biscuit may be a uniquely American experience.  They need to be light in texture, with an almost crisp outside, "fluffy" and almost buttery in taste.  We grew up with comedians like the Three Stooges using poorly made biscuits as hockey pucks and projectiles.

    Biscuits and gravy are considered a southern dish.  White sausage gravy in the deep south and light  " red eye gravy" in pockets of Tennessee and maybe Florida.  Biscuits and butter more a western homesteader type dish.   I hope this post leads to further discussion.
     
  6. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just made chicken and biscuits the other night, had to print off my own recipe to follow it, couldn't remember it; that's the holes in my long-term memory.  I've made these a thousand times over 40 years!  Just glad I remembered I'd posted it on here; it was before my first stroke.

    BTW, just posted an interesting article over on YAWYE about salt, may interest y'all!  It sure surprised me!
     
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There are Pumpkin versions. Our Biscuits are usually saltier than they are sweet. They do have ties to the typically sweeter Scone and there are also fairly sweet versions called Short Cake Biscuits that are often topped with Fruit...It confuses us too.[​IMG]...JJ
     
  8. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is the mix i use. Get it in NC. Its not bad for a bagged mix.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Flour does make a difference.  Traditional Southern flours, like Martha White and While Lily are made of "soft" flour, which is relatively low in gluten.  High gluten is good for making yeast risen products such as bread, not so good when your goal is flaky, as in a biscuit or pie-dough.
     
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks for bringing that up Billiebouy,     I knew there was a difference in flours but never made the connection to my biscuits.

    So I need

    soft flour

    buttermilk

    flaked frozen butter      4:1 flour to butter

    baking powder and baking soda

    salt

    little bit of sugar

    work butter into flour until a coarse consistency 

    add buttermilk and combine  till dough holds together but isn't sticky  Do not overwork

    move to a floured surface and lightly roll out

    fold over in thirds several times lightly rolling out each time

    cut into squares or circles

    let rest 5 - 10 minutes

    give them a light love tap before brushing with buttermilk or additional butter  (this hint comes from Ronny the local constable/fire chief/handyman

    bake in 400 oven till lightly brown
     
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    No more Mrs B's frozen biscuits at the gathering. Al gets to make them!
     
  12. INGREDIENTS 

     2 cups self-rising flour 

     1 teaspoon sugar 

     1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

     1/2 cup shortening 

     3/4 cup buttermilk

     Note: You can use all purpose flour. If so add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

    Preheat oven to 450° F. In large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork just until the dough pulls together. 

    Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Dip your hands in flour and bring the dough together and pat until all is 1/2-inch thick. Using a glass or biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut into 2-1/2 inch rounds. Bring remaining dough together and continue. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. (For biscuits with soft edges, place touching. For biscuits with crispier edges, place slightly apart.) Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. 

     This is a good basic recipe. I don't keep buttermilk so I usually just make baking powder biscuits. No need for baking soda unless you have something acidic. You can sour some milk with a bit of vinegar with pretty good results, takes about 10 minutes.

     If you don't own a pastry blender, you should get one. They work great.

     Many southerners wouldn't think of baking biscuits in anything but a cast iron skillet.

     Pastry blender.

    [​IMG]

     

     Chuck
     

  13. X2
     
  14. The recipe.......

    Bodacious Buttermilk Biscuits

    1 1/2 cups White Lily flour or 1/2 and 1/2 all-purpose and cake flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    2 tablespoon cold lard, cut into pieces
    2 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces
    1/2 cup buttermilk or as needed.
    1 tablespoon buttermilk or heavy cream for brushing.

    1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, work in the lard and butter just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk just until moistened.

    2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly rolling the dough over onto itself 3 or 4 times. Roll out or pat the dough 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch sharp round cutter, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll and cut out the remaining biscuits; do not overwork the dough. Brush with buttermilk or heavy cream.

    3. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Serve immediately.

    The biggest secret to biscuits that rise high is a sharp biscuit cutter dipped in cooking oil and pressed straight down and pulled straight back up.
    Never us a drinking glass, cup or dull cutter and never twist the cutter, it seals the edge so the biscuits won't rise as well.


    Good luck!

    :sausage:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  15. The one you get on a bag of White Lily self-rising flour is hard to beat.
     
  16. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What a great thread about biscuits! 

    I like to get up and make a fresh pile of biscuits and gravy every once in a while myself. I learned how to do it from watchin my mom while I was growing up. She left me her first cookbook with all the good notes inside. This basic recipe for baking powder biscuits doesn't make the softest or flakiest biscuits, but it makes the best gravy-holding biscuits I have ever found.

    The old book..

    [​IMG]

    The recipe....

    [​IMG]

    This book is actually available in a small, paperback version. If you are new to cooking, this book really explains the basics of cooking techniques as well as food chemistry.. 
     
  17. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sausageboys photo & recipe look like the winner to me ,identical almost to recipes here but called scones. Oldtimes also used one of these,to make drop scones.Solid cast iron,drop mix in.They came in a couple of sizes.IThis came to me from as salvage from a demolition job a friend was on.He figured it was something to do with cooking so he dropped it over.I heat to very hot in woodfired oven then pull it out ,blow the ash off it(low tech I  know) oil it then drop in scallops or oysters I  have dusted&/or marinated & let them cook tabletop on the retained heat.Might try a batch of "biscuits" now.Funny how pit4brains & me have the same sort of deal with Moms cookbooks on opposite sides of the world.[​IMG]unny
     
  18. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Still on my quest for the perfect biscuit

    I am using soft flour  White Lily self rising and shaved butter now.  The improvement is dramatic    I was going to make a comment about uneven rise but Sausage Boy already mentioned it.

    I have been forming the dough into a square, folding it over in thirds and lightly re-rolling several times.  I have learned that you shouldn't over dust the flour between folding and rolling because they tend to fall apart when you cut them.  There is an experience factor involved to get just the right amount of dusting flour so they are not sticky but still hold together..

    After rolling I cut the biscuits into squares and bake.  The biscuits cut from the edges end up as "lean-to" biscuits.  They are not rising evenly.  I see the advantage to using a sharp round biscuit cutter so all biscuits are cut with clean edges.   Next time I do them I'll trim all the edges before cutting with my sharp knife into baking sized squares.  Guess I'll use the trimming as dog treats.

    When I get them right I'll post some pics! 
     
  19. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    With this amount of work going into it you cant be far off nailing it!
     
     
  20. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    HeHe,

    I am finally at the point that they are better then just edible.  But it is a labor of love,  I think I need to keep practicing!  Still have lots of preserves sitting in the cupboard.
     

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