Cruising the Blogs: Feast-Worthy Buttermilk Biscuits

Sunday February 17, 2013

I love reading a story say from the LA Times, click on a small printed link and end up in a blog I never saw before. This also happens if you cruise the IMAGES file and click on different food photos, you end up in a blog you might never see any other place from a photo posted there. There seems to be an infinite amount of these food blogs and many are exceptionally good with some really lovely photography by the blogger done a la momento in their home kitchens.

So I am looking at a blog with what I consider great photography with bread. Bread, which is all one color if you havent noticed, is not that easy to photograph and I am just so impressed with the still life angles. Having done almost 2 dozen books and doing all the baking prep on my first book for the photography styling, I know how much work can go into a good simple shot.

So I see a great photo of a biscuit. One of the most evocative, since it has such great texture, making one want to eat it immediately. I am reading down and lo and behold, it is a photo of a biscuit made from one of my recipes. I couldn’t be more delighted.

In the dawning age of the blogger food writer who is now complaining that their photos and text are ending up in other places on the net, I state here I couldn’t be more delighted to see my recipes take flight and become someone’s elses’ own recipe. That is what recipes are for. Sharing, improvising upon, and evolving. The whole fun of sharing recipes is about community as well as nourishing, and I just don’t think civilization would be the same if we didn’t share recipes. The net has really opened this up for cooks, chefs, and bakers to express themselves and have an audience far wider than any book or newspaper column. It is really quite remarkable. There are some amazing cooks and bakers out there who will never publish a book or do a demonstration on TV.

photo of a Beth biscuit by Ari of BakingandBooks

“Feast-Worthy Buttermilk Biscuits: Slightly adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger” (Chronicle Books, 1999, and winner of the James Beard Award in 2000) by BakingandBooks, a darling gal named Ariela, who by the looks of her photography, is one hella baker. I am not sure she is still blogging as I haven’t seen any listings past 2009, but her site is worth reading (www.bakingandbooks.com).

Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

the heart shaped cutter is another favorite shape

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly

mixing the dough in a food processor

sprinkle the paper with cornmeal.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the cold butter into this mixture, either using a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands. I prefer to use my hands, gently rubbing the butter and flour mixture together until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and egg, briefly whisking. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. The dough will be sticky. (I use my Danish dough whisk for mixing, which is one of my favorite tools. You can also mix biscuits in a food processor.)

photo of the Danish dough whisk in action courtesy of King Arthur flour

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Knead the dough a few times until it holds together, then roll or pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.

cutting out the biscuits with a cutter

Now it’s time to use your biscuit cutter (you can also use the top of an empty, clean 14- or 15-oz tin can or water glass in place of a cutter, but a biscuit cutter is something every baker should own).

Dip the cutter into your flour, then press it into the dough, gently pressing down and twisting slightly to ensure a clean cut. Cut as many biscuits as possible, then remove the scrap dough (set aside) and transfer the rounds to your baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 an inch of space between each round. You can roll the dough scraps up and cut a few more biscuits if you like.

ready for the oven

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot right away and swoon with dripping butter with each bite.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2013

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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