I am in the process of emptying my fridge before I go home to NY for Thanksgiving. I had some buttermilk and decided to make biscuits for breakfast. Biscuits are a food that I’ve battled before with success and failure. Biscuit dough can be fussy and the general rule of thumb is work quickly so that the butter stays cold and the dough is not overworked (which makes for flaky dough).
This morning I made “Mother’s Biscuits” from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads (1973). Having previous experience making biscuits I was suprised by Mother’s technique: “While it is considered heresy to handle biscuit dough needlessly, Mrs. Rawlings’s mother believed that to make a flaky layered biscuit one should roll out the dough, fold it over itself in 4 layers, roll out again to the thickness of a 1/2″, and cut with a 2″ cookie cutter.” Though I was skeptical I trusted in Mother’s wisdom with satisfying results; however, I used buttermilk in place of sweet milk.
(adapted from Mother’s Biscuits)
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 cup buttermilk
Preparation: sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Add cold butter to dry ingredients using pastry cutter (or fork). Mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add buttermilk until combined. Roll dough out on clean, lightly floured surface. Follow Mother’s instruction and roll dough out four times into itself. Cut using whatever size glass you like- I used a wine glass. Gently re-shape scraps and cut again. Place on lightly greased and floured sheet pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Eat for breakfast with with jam and eggs or make into shortcakes with fruit and whipped cream.