Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Fluffy and flaky ... yes, ma'am!
Buttermilk biscuits are delicious. The secret ingredient to making them light and fluffy is lard. Unfortunately, lard is a heart attack waiting to happen. I can't bring myself to put lard in home baked goods even as a treat. Only a person being served his last meal should ever eat lard!

So the goal is to develop a healthier (notice I didn't say healthy) buttermilk biscuit recipe. It is not possible to make biscuits completely healthy because without white flour and butter, the result won't taste anything like a classic biscuit. You may be able to come up with something else that is tasty, it just won't taste like a buttermilk biscuit. But don't fret because I have a recipe for an almost healthy buttermilk biscuit. It's flaky; has fiber; and although I cut the amount of fat by half, you can taste the butter in each and every bite:

Buttermilk biscuits

Ingredients: 

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda {I put baking soda in for the buttermilk. It is optional.}
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup very cold butter
1 cup whole wheat flour

Lightly brush a 10 inch cast iron skillet with olive oil, and preheat the oven at 400 degree F. Have them ready, meanwhile ...

Directions: 

1) Into a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of white flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar. Stir together, using a folk.
2) With a knife, cut the cold butter into little tiny cubes (work fast so the butter stays solid) and drop into the flour. Stir using a fork. 
3) Make an indention in the flour mixture, then pour in the buttermilk. 
4) Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring with a fork, or your hand until a dough forms.

This next step is tricky. To get fluffy biscuits, try not to over work the dough. Although you need to mix the ingredients well enough to get a proper biscuit dough, try not to touch it too much. Not overly touching the dough keeps the butter cold and results in a fluffy texture.

5) Sprinkle the whole wheat flour, a little at a time, on the biscuit dough, as well as, on your hands until the dough is only a little sticky. Knead lightly in the mixing bowl. When the flour is incorporated and your dough is elastic (but not too wet or dry),  you are ready to form the biscuits.
6) Pinch off the dough and quickly form the biscuits. (I don't roll the dough out, or cut with a cookie cutter. It melts the butter.) I gently form balls, then press flat.
7) Lay the biscuits in the skillet, touching each other. Crowded biscuits have nowhere to go but up. They will rise higher.
8) Bake for 15 minutes, or until light brown.

Makes 18 buttermilk biscuits. Fluffy and rustic style. Pop out of the oven and serve. As you can see before taking a photo, I ate 4 biscuits as a test to make sure they turned out. Someone has to do it!

Extra tip: When out of buttermilk, substitute 1 cup of regular milk with 1 teaspoon white vinager. Let sit for 20 minutes (to curdle) before pouring into flour.

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