Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homemade biscuit

I certainly think that a little clarification with the terms biscuit is required in this case.

Biscuit to English and Asian readers are the type that you can find in a box or a pack, the thin crunchy crisp that is mostly sandwiched in cream, usually sweet and flavored. However, biscuit to American are baked fluffy pastry, much like scone, only without dried fruits in it. Biscuit is meant to be on the bland side, with just a hint of salt, as a vessel for sausage gravy, although it can also be eaten with butter and jam as well. Refer to Popeye's biscuit.

The homemade version of biscuits are a lot fluffier than the commercially baked ones. I have had Popeye's biscuit on numerous occasion and honestly, I think my biscuit is a lot better than theirs. Possibly because my recipe is adapted form Alton Brown, the food network star, who also happens to grow up on southern fare.

I love baking biscuit. Especially when it comes out nice and tall. The right texture of biscuit should be fluffy and moist, never dry. The crust should have a little crunch but that's as far as the crunch should go. Anymore than that, it will be too dry.

I even served this in place of cream scone for Mother's Day Party every year, with homemade lemon curd and cream. Trust me, these are really good, be it sweet or savory.

Southern Biscuit Recipe
(By Alton Brown Biscuit Recipe )
2 C. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp shortening
1 C. chilled buttermilk (or 1 C regular milk mixed with 2 tsp. white vinegar works fine too)

1. Preheat the oven to 450F or 232C.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add butter and shortening and cut in with knives, forks, or a pastry cutter. You can use your fingers too if you want.
3. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk.
4. Stir the wet and dry ingredients until they just come together. It will be sticky.
5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times by folding it on itself. (His tip from the show.)
6. Press into a 1 in. thick round and cut out with a 2 in. cup or cutter. (just reform the scraps and cut until you've used everything)
7. Place biscuits on a sheet so they just touch and cook at 450* for 15-20 min. or the tops are lightly golden brown. (I've had best results with the air cushioned pans used for cookies.)

Note: You want to handle the dough as little as possible so that the biscuit will come out light and fluffy. 

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