Monday, April 22, 2013

Biscuit Making Video Tutorial

Greetings!  It's been a long time!  I've been wanting to show Karli my biscuit-making method for a while, but we live 160 miles away now.  The internet is such a glorious solution, so I made a video so she can see.  Here's a link to my tutorial on how to make light and tender biscuits.  The recipe and detailed instructions are below.   Enjoy! :)

Here's what you need:
• 4 ½ cups of flour -- plus more for dusting
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 5 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 Tbsp. sugar
• 1 cup of cold lard, butter, or a combination of both*
• 2 ½ cups cold buttermilk**
• Melted butter (optional)

First measure your buttermilk** in a liquid measuring cup and put it in the freezer.  Keep the ingredients as cold as you can without freezing them.
Next in a big mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Stir to combine.
Add the lard and/or butter*.  Cut it into the flour mixture until the lard/butter is in pea sized chunks.
Now pour the very cold buttermilk into the bowl.  Stir to combine, but do not over stir.  If the mixture is still very wet, add a handful of flour and mix.  The mixture should have some structure, but still be very wet.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 or 3 baking sheets or use parchment paper.
Generously flour your work space.  Pour out the biscuit batter/dough.  Sprinkle more flour on top and flatten down the pile.
Using the dough scraper, fold the dough upon itself.  Scrape the dough from the counter and scoot more flour under the dough if possible.  Keep moving the dough so that it doesn't stick much to the counter.  Fold about 5 to 10 times until the dough no longer spreads or falls apart, but stays sturdy yet soft.
Roll dough out to about ½ to ¾ of an inch.  The thinner your dough, the shorter your biscuits.  It's better too thick than too thin.  Cut with biscuit or cookie cutter.
Place biscuits on baking sheets about 1 to 2 inches apart.  I can fit 12 on one of my sheets.
If you want your biscuits to have a bit more color and taste, brush the tops with melted butter before you put them in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes or until just slightly brown.  Let them cool on a cooling rack.
Makes 24 to 32 biscuits.  They keep for about a week and freeze well.

*I used ¾ cup of lard to ¼ cup butter.  DO NOT JUDGE THE LARD.  It has a bad reputation while bacon remains king.  Bacon=good.  Lard=good.  The lard I used in this video isn't ideal for biscuits.  I got it from the farmer's market and it's not as solid as commercial lard which is much harder.  Good lard is at least as hard as refrigerated butter.  You could also use shortening, but that stuff is the worst for you.  It's very important that the fat you use is very cold.  If not, the flour will start to absorb it and your biscuits won't be as tall and fluffy.  Cutting the lard or butter into cubes first with a knife will make it easier for you to cut them into the flour with the pastry cutter.

**If you don't have buttermilk, you can use milk soured with vinegar.  Put 2 Tbsp. vinegar in your measuring cup then fill the rest of the way up to the 2 ½ cup line with milk.  Let it sit for at least 5 minutes and then put in the freezer until your other ingredients are put together.  If you have yogurt, you can dilute it to buttermilk consistency with a bit of milk or water.

I found this recipe here.  The honey-butter sauce is nice, but not necessary.  My instructions are very verbose, but hopefully helpful.