Monday, August 4, 2008

I did it!!

I finally mastered biscuit making and made what I consider the perfect biscuit! I have only been on this quest for over a year and I've probably only consumed 2-3 dozen biscuits. What's several hundred calories - it was all for a good cause! Sure I've made some that have tasted good, but none were as high and flaky as these! Without further ado, I present the best and easiest biscuits.

The recipe comes from All Recipes, but for your convenience I've typed it below.

Johnny's Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour (see note to make your own)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons shortening (see note)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (see note to make your own)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Spray a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet with non stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the shortening and softened butter with a fork until the lumps are pea size. Gently stir in the buttermilk until all of the flour is incorporated; do not over mix. The dough should be very wet. If not, add more buttermilk to achieve a sloppy consistency. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.
Place all-purpose flour in a bowl. Spray an ice cream scoop or large spoon with vegetable spray and scoop out dough. Drop each biscuit one at a time into the flour. Using well-floured hands, pick up each piece and pass from hand to hand lightly to shake off excess flour and shape it into a soft round. Place the biscuits gently into cast iron skillet. They will be a tight fit. Do not mash the biscuits down! Brush tops lightly with melted butter.
Bake at 475 degrees F (245 degrees C) for 16 to 18 minutes. Cool before serving.

-To make your own self-rising flour, mix 1 cup flour with 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt.
-To make your own buttermilk, mix 1 cup milk with 1 T. white vinegar. Please make your own and don't use that stuff that they call buttermilk in the store - it's not! It's just milk with a bunch of chemicals added to it. If you can purchase the old-timey kind that's fine but not that synthetic stuff!
-I have always been against shortening because of the fat content and the general makeup of the stuff (Specifically, what is it?). I found a one that is not made from animal fat, rather from compressed oils. That sounded like a much better option to me! I got mine at Whole Foods but I would think any health food store would carry such a product.
-I didn't have a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, so I used a 9-inch one and it just made the biscuits even bigger!
-Lastly, a food processor will make these a cinch! I'm always reluctant to drag that beast out but I'll do just about anything for a good biscuit. I'm not sure if that was part of the winning ticket but it was a lot easier and it blended everything just perfectly.

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