Thursday, 16 October 2014

Buttermilk Biscuits For a Rainy Day

Buttermilk biscuits baking, and yes I know, my oven needs cleaning...

I love scones, baking powder biscuits, raisin buns, whatever the name for them, I love them.  I usually split them and eat them with a little butter and whatever jam is in the house, with a pot of tea near at hand.  I don't indulge often, but when I do I would rather this than any cookie or square.  I grew up with two grandmothers and a mother making biscuits so I guess it is a form of comfort food for me. As I know it is for many, many people...
There are countless recipes for biscuits and it is interesting to see what gets included sometimes...coconut, dried fruit, cheese or bacon bits because that's another thing so good about biscuits.  They can be sweet or savoury depending on your mood or purpose.  One of the local coffee shops here makes them with chives and bits of ham for a savoury choice or with chopped apple and toffee bits for a sweet option.  Both yummy.
Anyway, here is my recipe for buttermilk biscuits which comes from a very old issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups flour                                 3/4 (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar                                 1 cup buttermilk
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Oven at 425 degrees.  Whisk dry ingredients, being sure not to confuse the amounts of baking powder and baking soda which I did once...not a good result!  Using pastry cutter or fingers, rub in butter till consistency of coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and mix.  I try not to overmix it.  I used a large cutter and made 10 biscuits placed on a greased pan and baked for approximately 15 minutes.  I waited till I could see the tops getting a little brown before removing them.

Growing up my mother never bought buttermilk; she would just sour a cup of milk with a teaspoon or so of vinegar, and that seemed to work just fine.  It would have been whole milk that she used; come to think of it, perhaps another reason why everything she made tasted so good.  These days I use mostly skim or almond which definitely would not be as rich tasting in the final product.

I did not brush the tops with egg or milk but I think they look okay anyway.  Notice the one on the right that is totally irregular; I call that the cook's and it is made of the last bits of dough.  Beside it is a bowl of pancake mix.  Since I had the buttermilk I thought I would use it up and put together a batch of pancakes.