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Buttermilk Biscuits

 
Buttermilk Biscuits
 
Don’t forget to add biscuits to your meal plan on occasion.  They are simple to make and add a homey feel to any meal, whether simple peasant fare or something more elegant.  Serve them warm from the oven with butter, or reheat in paper towels in the microwave for brunch.
 

3/4 cup unbleached flour

¼ cup graham flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

4 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2-4 tbls freshly chopped herbs (dill, thyme, rosemary, or basil, to harmonize with the meal) or dried herbs

1 tbls fennel seed

1/2 cup shortening, all or part butter

¾ cup plus 2 tbls buttermilk or sour milk

 

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Preheat oven to 410° F.

Directions for measuring shortening: Fill a 2 cup glass measuring cup with 1 cup of cold water.  Estimate 1/2 cup of shortening and cut it into medium sized cubes.  Place the cubes in the cold water and submerge, adding more (or subtracting) until the water line reaches the 1 1/2 cup level.  Drain the water from the cup and dump the cubes onto a clean paper towel to dry.

Measure dry ingredients into a large plastic bowl and stir to blend.  Drop the shortening cubes into the flour and stir to coat each one.  Take your pastry blender and work the shortening into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Scrape the pastry blender with a knife to clean. There is an alternate method for getting the best texture with your butter, however . . .

If you prefer, you can measure the shortening and then freeze it until it is hard. Then, use an ordinary cheese grater to shred the butter into the correct sized bits, and just stir it into the dry ingredients. Or, try the food processor method.

Shake the buttermilk container and measure buttermilk into glass cup.  Stir into dry mixture to achieve a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, shake a little additional flour onto the dough, and knead 8-10 times, adding more flour as necessary.  Pat the dough to about ½” thickness or roll out with a rolling pin.

Take a pizza cutter and run it through flour to coat the edge.  Cut out medium-sized biscuits and place on one large or two small cookie sheets, ungreased, with the biscuits about 1” apart.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Check bottoms after 8 minutes and if they are becoming over-browned, flip the biscuits and return to oven for the remaining time. 
Home-baked biscuits

Serve immediately with fresh butter or cheese.  Yields 18-20 biscuits.

Serve with a hearty meal or with cheese or jam for tea.  Use herbs that harmonize with other dishes at your table.

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