Some things are worth taking the time to perfect…
… and I think that everyone should work to perfect their technique for a good biscuit. Once you master the process, you can play around with the add ins and really have fun with different combinations. The ingredients are so basic, but I really think that it’s the technique and maybe a couple tricks that help. I found my perfect recipe in my Joy of Cooking cookbook. I actually use a food processor to make biscuits. I know that there may be some that believe that this is not the ‘purist’ way of making biscuits, but I have a food processor, it takes up space in my small kitchen, so this is one of the ways that I can actually use it. Plus,it works for me and I believe that it helps to keep the ingredients cold because there is less handling with warm hands and everything happens a little faster, and faster means that they will be mine to eat sooner, rather than later! You can certainly make them by hand, this is just my technique.
I am always fascinated by the way biscuits rise! Its just amazingly wonderful how that happens. I actually pat the dough out once and then fold it over and then cut the biscuits, give it a little layering effect and it adds to the rise! The combinations of add ins to biscuits are truly endless. One of my most recent additions was Gouda and black pepper which was really good. You might have to adjust the amount of liquid, but not by much.
In my opinion, biscuits go with everything. I love biscuits adorned simply with butter and honey… or a really good jam. I like biscuits with bacon and eggs. Oh, and biscuits with sausage and maple syrup (like eat it as a sandwich, with syrup as the sauce!). You can also eat biscuits with fried catfish and some butter cheese grits, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My Meme (grandmother) would catch her own fish, bring them home, fry them up and make some grits… could you imagine a lovely biscuit along side that feast! What about a biscuit with a nice bowl of soup and tossed salad. Then there is fried chicken and biscuits… yes, let’s end with this wonderful combination. Add some honey and butter to one of those biscuits, coupled with the salty savoriness of the fried chicken and my oh my, if you add a little hot sauce!! I just need to stop! Oh wait, then there are the dessert biscuits… shortcakes, like as in strawberry shortcakes! I’ll stop now, but just promise me you will work on perfecting the biscuit. Its one of those things that is important to know how to do, like you know how to tie your shoes or even ride a bike, you should also know how to make a good biscuit. This skill will take you far in life. Maybe even more important than knowing how to tie your shoes, I mean not all shoes have ties… so you can get around having that skill, right?
The Perfect Biscuit
Recipe inspired by the ever perfect Joy of Cooking
Number of biscuits varies depending on your cutter size
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter (or shortening, but I use butter)
3/4 cup milk
Milk or butter to brush tops (I always use milk)
Fresh cracked black pepper
- In bowl of food processor, combine flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine.
- Cut butter into small pieces and add to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse 3-4 times until pea sized butter pieces are well distributed in the flour.
- Drizzle all milk into the bowl of the food processor and pulse about 5 or 6 times, at this point the dough may start to come together, if not don’t worry.
- Lightly flour an area and turn out the dough mixture and quickly knead the dough a couple times to bring everything together.
- Pat the dough down until it is about 1/4 inch thick and then fold the dough in half and pat it down again to about 1/2 inch thick and begin cutting out as many biscuits as possible with a lightly floured biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Repeat the process quickly until you run out of dough.
- Brush tops with milk and top with cracked black pepper.
- Bake until lightly browned and highly risen!!
- Make sure your ingredients are really cold before you start. Perhaps cut up the butter into chunks and then put it in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
- When cutting out your biscuits, don’t twist the cutter. Just cut down and then up, no twisting. When you twist the cutter it seals the layer and limits the amount of rise you will achieve in your biscuit.
- I don’t use a rolling pin for biscuits, just quick pats with my hands to flatten it out a bit, however if I did this adorable little rolling pin in the picture would be perfect for the job!
- Pepper is not required, but in my opinion it adds a little something to the taste and look of the biscuit.
ENJOY! ENJOY!! ENJOY!!!