Monday, July 30, 2007

The Biscuit Fairy

My Omnivore is not necessarily a morning person, shall we say.

On this particular morning, he trudged, bleary-eyed into the kitchen. Then he let out a little shout of joy.

"The Biscuit Fairy! The Biscuit Fairy came!!"

As he is fond of saying, he may be a California Boy now, but he was born in the South, and buttermilk biscuits are one of those things that bring a tear to his eye.

Because we've been experimenting with making our own cultured butter (inspired by Melissa 's post over at Traveler's Lunchbox), we had just exactly a cup of actual homemade buttermilk. Would it taste just like when we made it with store-bought buttermilk? Wll, let's just say that the Biscuit Fairy does not serve crappy biscuits...

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I like to use a pastry cutter or two knives placed together like scissors to "cut" the butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster you get through this part, the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. (It will be very sticky.)

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter (Although I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup that has lost its handles), being sure to push straight down through the dough. Don't let it slip off the edge -- a good cut on the sides is what allows it to lift during the rise.

Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. gather together the scraps of dough, working it as little as possible and cut another series of biscuits.

Bake until biscuits about 15 minutes, until they are risen and browned on the tops.

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