Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meet Our Go To Baking Powder Biscuit

I've been home sick the last couple of days.  Neither Walter nor Manuel have gotten sick, thank God.  Unless we want Manuel to lose 3/4 hour pay to take Walter in I either have to struggle to bring him to Out of School Care (OSC) myself or keep him home.  I decided to keep him home.  He's been totally sweet for the first half hour in the mornings - asking if I need anything, tucking me into bed with one of his stuffed animals.  Then ... well, then he starts to get bored, and I'm forced to get up and keep him entertained while trying to rest.

Now that I'm starting to feel better I decided I would make us some biscuits for lunch.  These are our go to biscuits  We usually have them for breakfast at least once a week, and we whip them up for dinner when it's soup or stew.  They are so easy to make, taste great on their own or spread with jam, and Manuel  loves having the leftovers for coffee break the next day.

If you look on-line or in most cookbooks the recipes for biscuits are quite similar.  Flour (white or wholewheat), salt, leavening (baking powder and/or baking soda), fat (shortening, margarine or butter), and liquid (milk, buttermilk or yogurt, and sometimes eggs) are the main ingredients.

Here's the ingredients for today's biscuits:

Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Butter, chilled and cubed - 1/3 cup
Yogurt and Milk, combined - 1 cup

For the flour I chose to put a bit of wholewheat flour in this time, so I replaced 1/2 cup of flour with this type of flour.  We don't tend to use too much salt ... so despite the fact that I was using unsalted butter I kept the amount of salt towards the 1/2 teaspoon point.  I used about 2/3 cup yogurt and topped this off with milk, using a spoon to stir until combined.

First, I heated the oven to 425F.

Next, I mixed the dry ingredients in a good sized bowl.  Then I got the butter out of the fridge and cut it into cubes (I have used soft butter and margarine with no problems).  I rubbed the butter into the dry ingredients to the point that there were no longer any big chunks of butter.  You don't want the butter to disappear in the dry ingredients, and you don't need to have uniform bits of butter  In fact, I find some differences in size help in the flakiness of the final product

Once the butter is incorporated I added the wet ingredients and quickly stirred to combine.  Like muffins, you don't want to over stir the biscuit mix.  Once things were mostly incorporated I dumped everything out onto the counter.  Using my hands I kneaded the biscuit dough 6-10 times.  Again, don't over handle as this will make for a tough biscuit that's better for hockey practice then eating!  Quickly roll it into a cylinder, cut into disks and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until lightly golden.

If you can (!) let them cool just a bit before eating.

I have used this recipe as the basis for cinnamon rolls - using a brown sugar-cinnamon-butter concoction on the bottom of the pan and spread on the biscuit dough ... totally yummy!  I have also put grated cheese, ham, raisins, and chocolate chips in at various times for variety.  Still, the basic version is still this families favourite.  Enjoy!

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