buttermilk biscuit

Ahh thee irony

I’ve been busy. I’ve been neglecting this blog and the two or so people who read it. (Thanks guys!) I’m sitting in the middle of the catering war zone that is my house, but I wanted to take a minute to say my piece on the Buttermilk Biscuit, and all of it’s glory.

To me, a proper buttermik biscuit is at once crispy and soft, flaky and tender, buttery and light. This is not something that happens by accident, no. It takes proper technique and attention to detail and ingredients to achieve this perfect biscuit I speak of.

I have a go to recipe that I love. This past week I catered a party for 60 people, and on my menu of passed hor d’ouevres I had a Cider Braised Pork Slider on a buttermilk biscuit with whole grain mustard aioli and an apple-cabbage slaw. (I’m out of breath just typing that.)I wasn’t sure I had all of the ratios right for my go to recipe, and I couldn’t find the post it note that it’s written on anywhere, but I knew it was adapted from a Bo Friberg recipe, and I have one of his books, so I just looked it up. The following is what I found:

9 oz cake flour
8 oz bread flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream
2 eggs
5 oz butter

Now, although this recipe looked totally unfamiliar and I was appalled by the notion of putting eggs in a biscuit(!), against my better judgment I went ahead with it. All the while, I was thinking, “There’s not enough butter in here. What are the eggs for? This isn’t the right recipe.” I shoulda known better. I did know better. I was just in the weeds, and way too busy to stop and think. Sure enough, the biscuits were decidedly un-biscuit like: cakey, not flaky.

I re-evaluated the situation at the last minute, the day of the party. I knew I couldn’t serve those biscuits. They didn’t taste bad, but they weren’t a biscuit, in my opinion. I looked through my binder of recipes and sure enough, staring me in the face when I peeled 2 pages apart was a coffee stained pink post-it note scribbled with the following fool proof, most delicious biscuit recipe out there, adapted from Bo Friberg, from a book that I don’t own. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you:

The Best Ever Buttermilk Biscuit

  • 7 oz a.p. flour
  • 7 oz cake flour
  • 1 1/4 oz baking powder
  • 13 oz cold buttermilk
  • 7 oz cold butter, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • heavy cream, for brushing tops

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter and using only your fingers, mix the butter into the flour by pinching and squishing it into flakes. When most of the butter has been cut into the flour, add the buttermilk all at once. Still using only your hands, mix together until the dough becomes one large, flaky, undermixed mass. Lay a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap on the counter and dump dough onto it. Pat together until dough is cohesive mass. Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least two hours or up to 2 days.

To Bake the Biscuits:
Lightly flour a clean counter top. Unwrap dough and place on counter. Using a rolling pin or the palms of your hands, roll or pat dough to 3/4 inch thickness. Using a floured biscuit cutter or a drinking glass, cut into 2 1/2″ rounds. Brush tops with heavy cream. Refrigerate until dough is cold and firm again. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minute or until tops are golden brown and biscuits feel lite for their size.

To make cheese biscuits: Before adding buttermilk, add 4 oz of shredded cheese such as sharp cheddar, pepper jack or gruyere. Continue process as above. Before baking and after brushing with cream, sprinkle tops of biscuits with more cheese.

69 Responses to “The Best and Worst Biscuits I’ve ever made”

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    Sep 14, 11 at 3:37 pm

    I love to cook good food and for a good recipe, no work is too much for me. I love the simple to the complicated.

    Your Blog is the first one I have ever read. Found in today’s newspaper. I am fairly new and totally a novice with the internet. I am 77 and grateful that I still love to cook and I have lived long enough to ’sort of’ use the computer

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