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Old 08-30-2009, 09:39 PM   #1
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Biscuits- 3rd failed attempt- Can u help me?

Hey ya'll! I am new to these forums, new to baking. Having grown up in the south, I am blessed with amazing memories of my grandmother cooking yummy breakfast foods like pancakes and amazing biscuits. Now that I have kids of my own, I want to share these warm memories with my little girls but alas, my baking skills leave much to be desired :) Which is why I am here.

After three failed attempts at biscuits from scratch, I'm looking for some help. My most recent attempt can be seen here:

As you can see, flat, non fluffy biscuits. They also happened to taste bland and kind of floury.

This time around I used the following ingredients from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook:

2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2.5 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoods butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 large egg

My 'process':

a-I mixed flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together.
b- I cut the butter into tiny cubes and tossed them into the dry mix along w/the shortening
c- used my hands to work the butter and shortening into the mix. I stopped when I had all the butter into various lumps and the shortening was clearly merge with the mix
d-I whisked the egg and milk and then poured it into the mix and stirred for just a bit, till the mix was no longer wet but still very lumpy and dryish...
e- dumped it on a lightly floured surface and put flour on my hands as well and kneaded it about 4-6 times and then used my hands to flatten it out to about 3/4 inch thick.
f- cut the dough with a biscuit cutter- the exact one my grandmother used when I was a kid, matter of fact- and put them on a lightly greased pan.
g- baked for about 17 min till they look like you see above...

The one step I skipped was the recipe called for sticking the flattened out dough (before I used the cutter) into the freeze for 1 hour. I've never heard of doing this making biscuits from any other recipie and to be honest, I didn't have the patience to try it. But would that have made all the difference?


Can anyone see where I may have gone wrong?

Thanks for reading, eager to learn!

SpiderCook

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Old 08-30-2009, 10:11 PM   #2
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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.

OK, so this is my usual recipe. I think your recipe has less baking powder (thus less rise) and less liquid but more fat. I think maybe part of the issue might be how you mixed it? Did you use cold fat and cut it in like pastry? It works better that way. I have another TNT biscuit recipe that might work for you. Comparisons at least will help you adjust your current recipe.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

1 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 to 1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425; grease a baking sheet or use a sheet of parchment paper.
Cut in butter and flour coarsely. Add milk, stir to just incorporate. Turn out on floured board, knead 3-4 times. Pat dough out to a rectangle 3/4 inch thick. Cut out biscuits, place on baking sheet. Dip your knuckles into a small dish of buttermilk, and lightly indent the biscuits. Bake 13-15 minutes, til light brown.
To make drop biscuits, increase milk to 1 to 1 1 cups flour and drop biscuits on baking sheet.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:53 PM   #3
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I would be certain that the unsalted butter and solid shortening (Crisco or lard) is very cold. Mixing with your hands should be quick and minimal to keep it from melting as much as possible.

And as a personal taste thing for southern biscuits, I would change from half-and-half to buttermilk. It provides more acid to react with the leavening.

Oh, and don't forget 1/8 tsp. of salt to Alix's Buttermilk Biscuit recipe (which is my favorite). This is not the time to worry about your salt intake, it HAS to be there, or your biscuits will taste flat.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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Thank you guys very much! I will try another batch later in the week with these tips.

One question: Alix, what do you mean 'mix like pastry'?
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:25 PM   #5
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When you mix something like pastry you either use a pastry blender, or a couple of butter knives to cut the fat into the flour. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl first, then put the cold fat on top. Use a couple of knives and cut the fat into small pieces (usually pea sized or smaller for biscuits). It will mix with the flour and give you a nicer biscuit.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:26 PM   #6
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Selkie, THANKS for the salt reminder. I can't believe that isn't in there.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
When you mix something like pastry you either use a pastry blender, or a couple of butter knives to cut the fat into the flour. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl first, then put the cold fat on top. Use a couple of knives and cut the fat into small pieces (usually pea sized or smaller for biscuits). It will mix with the flour and give you a nicer biscuit.
Great! Now I get it! Toldja I was a noob! Thanks very much!
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:15 AM   #8
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I'v also read (or seen on t.v.) that you should cut the biscuits without turning whatever cutter you are using. Supposedly, turning the implement will retard rising somewhat.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:45 AM   #9
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my mom never used a biscuit cutter and i don't either. i just knead and then pat out dough into a square and cut into rectangles. this saves me the trouble of having to re-roll or re-knead the dough and risk over working dough.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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I use to make mine like alix but then i found this one by paula dean and that has become my favorite.
Sour Cream Muffins Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network
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