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Old 08-17-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
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My Biscuits Stink!!!

I have been trying to make my own biscuits from scratch for sometime now and I keep thinking that one of these batches is actually gonna turn out some awesome biscuits.... so far I have not been able to master what seems should be a fairly simple cooking task.

I will post some of the recipes I have tried, but no matter which recipe I try, I get one or two of the following results.

1. Biscuits do not rise... they stay the same size as when I patted out the dough and cut them.

2. Biscuits are dry... they look dry and crusty on the outside.

3. Biscuits are dense... they usually have a great flavor, but dense... no fluffyness. 1 Biscuit will do you in!

I know on occasion I have over handled the dough, but this last time I was really careful to not handle it so much.

I have fresh baking powder... so I don't think that would be the issue unless baking soda gets old and does not work. I know a few of the recipes I have tried call for both.

I have used chilled unsalted butter and lard (question about lard, is that the same as shortening?) I used the Crisco sticks this last time around.

So if anyone can give me any ideas of what the heck I am doing wrong.. I would appreciate it. I don't want to buy that canned store crap anymore!

Recipes I have tried:
http://www.recipezaar.com/41065
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/JPs-Big...ts/Detail.aspx

THANKS!

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Old 08-17-2008, 02:49 PM   #2
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I wouldn't even try to make a biscuit without WhiteLily flour....It should be available in your area Miss Sattie.
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:49 PM   #3
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Lard is not the same as shortening. Shortening is vegetable fat and lard is animal fat.

OK, biscuits are different for everyone. For me, I like baking powder biscuits that are fairly dense, but flaky and really need to be eaten as soon as they come out of the oven or they are hockey pucks later. These are a very dry dough and are cut out with a glass or something. I think this is NOT what you are looking for.

The other type of biscuit I have made is made sort of like a pastry in that you cut up the fat (be it lard or shortening or butter) into the dry ingredients until its about pea sized then add your liquid. I've done both buttermilk and soured milk biscuits. These tend to turn out fluffy and almost like a lighter dumpling. This is the kind you are looking for right?

The trick to these is to do as you said and not overwork the dough. I don't think you need to worry so much about the temperature of the shortening, although if you are a purist then cold is better. Just be sure when you add your liquid you only stir as much as needed and no more. I've found the addition of a little extra salt is a bonus to flavour too.

I didn't check your recipes, I'll go do that now. If you like, I can post mine for you. It is pretty easy and seems to always work for me.
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Old 08-17-2008, 03:35 PM   #4
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Alix, that would be great if you could post your recipe.

How wet or dry should the dough be once it is formed? The biscuits I made the other day seemed to be a wet dough, but I still ended up with what looked to be dry biscuits that were dense. I had to put a ton of sausage gravy on it to keep them moist enough to consume. Same with using butter and jam.

UB.. I will keep my eye out for the flour... I have been using Pilsbury all purpose.
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Old 08-17-2008, 03:42 PM   #5
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2 cups flour
4 tsps baking powder
1/4 cup butter
2/3 - 3/4 milk
shake of sugar
shake of salt

Blend like pastry, then add the milk til dough sticks. Either cut out with a glass or make biscuit "blobs". This makes about a dozen small biscuits.

Sattie, this one is the flakier denser kind. The dough is pretty dry here. Let me go find my other recipe.
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Old 08-17-2008, 03:48 PM   #6
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This dough is stickier and it might be closer to what you are looking for. Here is the recipe.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:31 PM   #7
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Alton Brown did an episode of "Good Eats" with his grandmother and made her recipe for biscuits here:

Recipes : Southern Biscuits : Food Network
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:32 PM   #8
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Here are two recipes that work every time. You DO need to be sure you are using soft, winter wheat flour, like White Lily. If you don't have that, Shirley Corriher says you can use half whatever flour you have and half CAKE flour.

Here is Shirley's recipe:

Shirley Corriher's Touch-of-Grace Biscuits

Serves 4 to 6

The secret of these sensationally light biscuits is the steam produced by a moist dough and baking the biscuits up against each other.

Preheat oven to 475. Set a rack in center of oven.

Blend together in a bowl:

1 1/2 cups (measured by dipping cup into flour and leveling against side of bag) white lily self-rising flour, or 1 cup other brand self-rising flour and 1/2 cup granulated flour (i.e.Wondra or shake and blend), plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
Work in with finger tips:
3 tablespoons shortening (Crisco, Spry, etc.)
Add and stir with a spoon until just mixed - dough will be wet and gooey:
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
For shaping and baking:
Spray 8-inch cake pan with non-stick spray. Have 1 cup non-self-rising flour in a pie plate. Spray a medium ice cream scoop or tablespoon with non-stick spray . Scoop up biscuit dough and drop in flour.

Sprinkle with flour and roll in flour. Shake off excess and shape into a tall round. Place in cake pan. Continue process until all dough is used, pressing biscuits snugly next to each other. For wretched excess, you could brush bicuits with melted butter. Bake about 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Eat hot, turning out the panful of biscuits onto a platter, and gently separating them with a paring knife.

Copyright 1996 Shirley Corriher

and here is mine:

Grandma Greenwalt’s Biscuits

makes about 12 biscuits

2 rounded cups all-purpose flour (I use White Lily)
2 heaping teaspoons Rumford’s baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 BIG tablespoons rendered leaf lard [table tablespoons]
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used Crème Fraîche)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients.

2. Cut lard in until mixture is lumpy. Then pour in just enough milk to make it stick together. (The mixture will be sticky and moist.)

3. Put flour on a pastry board. Pat down the dough in the flour and cut out the biscuits. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Teacher’s Tip: In the Mid-West, regular all-purpose flour works fine for this recipe. I live on the East Coast now, though, and for the longest while couldn’t figure out why my biscuits didn’t rise like Mom’s. The answer is that the flour we get here has too much protein. There are two ways to solve this problem. One is to seek out and purchase soft winter wheat flour or to substitute cake flour for one of the cups of flour.


Instructions for Rendering Leaf Lard

Cut into 1/4-inch cubes or grind through a 1/4-inch plate. Using a large stockpot, add 1/4-iinch of water in the pan to prevent scorching and do not add to the batch once you have started cooking. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED! As the lard renders, the cracklings will float to the surface. When the lard is almost done and the cracklings have lost the rest of their moisture, they will sink to the bottom. At this point, turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then strain into a heatproof bowl. When the lard has cooled some, but is still liquid, transfer to clean jars. Chill as quickly as possible for the finest grain lard. The lard will freeze indefinitely. You can keep the cracklings to use in other dishes, if you like.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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Sedagive... I have seen that episode and find it amazing that she was able to do it by sight without measuring.

Thanks ChefJune... I'm gonna keep trying, one of these days they are gonna turn out right.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sattie
UB.. I will keep my eye out for the flour... I have been using Pilsbury all purpose.
If you can't find the White Lily...look for Martha White...it's a close second. Also, you may want to pick up a bag of Self Rising. I'm sure you will run across some excellent recipes that call for it...

Have Fun!
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