"Hey. What are you lookin' at?"
"Never seen a talking biscuit before? What's with the salivating?"
"Seriously. Step the "F*** back!"
"Really? Really? Well, guess what, lady?"
"You can just EAT ME!"
(sticks out tongue for effect).
I do exactly as he says.
End of conversation.
I have eaten a lot of biscuits in my time, and loved a very few*. The cheddar biscuits at From Scratch in Carmel. And now these. This recipe is adapted from The Foster's Market Cookbook. These guys may be a little rude, but oh my are they tasty! Pretty much the perfect balance of rich buttery flavor and that elusive tender, flaky, slightly crumbly biscuit texture. Easy, too**.
The trick to these, as with anything where you are looking for the end result to be both tender and flaky (pie crust, anyone?), is first having your fat (in this case, the butter), very cold, and in small pieces that can be easily coated with flour. The trapped fat melts as the biscuits bake, creating the heavenly layers in the end result. The second key trick is working the dough as little as possible after you add the liquid. To much handling will signal to the flour that you want it to be elastic and springy (like a yeast dough), as opposed to "short", where the dough breaks easily, giving you those yummy crumbs found in the best scones, pie crusts, and of course, biscuits. If you follow these two rules, almost any recipe will come out well. This one will come out great!
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbs. milk, for egg wash
Pre heat oven to 400. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar to combine. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork, cut in the butter dice until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. NOTE: At this point, you can put the mixture in a container in the fridge, then just use it to make biscuits later. You can also cut in 2/3 c. of shredded cheese and some herbs, or other flavorings if you like.
Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add 1 1/4 c. of buttermilk. Stir gently with a wooden spoon or your hands to combine, mixing only until dough comes together. Add the additional 1/4 c. of buttermilk if you need to, 1 Tbs. at a time. Turn the dough out onto a flour-covered surface, knead just a couple of times, and roll or pat out into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Cut into rounds, and place biscuits about an inch or so apart on a baking sheet.
Place egg and milk in a small bowl, and whisk with a fork to combine. Brush a little of the egg mixture on top of each biscuit to give it a nice shiny coat.
Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, or until biscuits have risen a bit and are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately, with lots of butter, honey and jam.
Click to print this recipe!
* I've liked quite a few. An almost-great biscuit is still a very good thing. Melted butter can cover a multitude of sins.
** Speak for yourself, lady.