Quick post today about biscuits. Yes, those things of which everything is written, said and cooked already. It’s not about the recipe really. Insert your own if you like — trust me, it will work just as well.
The thing I like about biscuits is the texture. I like the flakes, and I like the crumbs, and I like all the little buttery pockets and layers. My husband likes layers more than he likes the crumbs, but me, oh, I like the crumbs. For that reason alone, and not for any other (such as laziness or spite), I decided to try the biscuits the wrong way today. See, I like the textured surfaces, not the smooth ones. I am the one who fluffs the Shepherd Pie’s surface with a fork and makes silly patterns on the mashed potatoes. I am the one who cuts out abstract patterns in the top of the pie, just to make it more interesting. When you make biscuits the right way, all the textured surfaces are on the sides of the biscuits, where the dough was cut with a glass or a dough cutter. But no one is ever looking at the sides. When you get a biscuit, the first impression is always — wow, a nicely golden top, and then you grab that fork or knife and split the biscuit in half, ripping through those beautiful sides without even looking. Right? No, really, right???
That’s what I had in mind when I made against-the-rules biscuits. I cut them completely wrong and got as much texture as I wanted, along with beautiful goldishness (is that a word, because my spell check insisted on changing this into godlessness twice!) all in front of my eyes — right on top where I can see it.
Makes 8 large biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick (4oz) cold unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
- Mix all the dry ingredients together, and dump them out onto a board
- Using a knife or your hands, rub or cut together butter and flour mix, until pea-size crumb forms throughout
- Make an indentation in the crumbs and pour the buttermilk/kefir in slowly.
- Mix everything together until just combined, avoid kneading as much as possible. I find that cutting the buttermilk in with the knife helps reducing the kneading.
- Pat the dough together into a ball.
- Here is where the against-the-rules portion begins. Instead of rolling the dough into a sheet and cutting the biscuit rounds out, shape the dough into a thick roll, about 3″ in diameter. Pat the ends of the roll to flatten them as much as possible.
- With a knife dipped into flour, cut off the biscuit disks about 3/4″ thick or thicker if you like your biscuits taller. The dough won’t rise much, it will rather expand sideways during baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Place biscuits on an un-greased baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet, allowing some room for expansion; bake for about 20 minutes, or until nicely golden.
- About half way through baking, grease the top of the biscuits with a bit of melted butter.