Sunday, September 18, 2011


I make these biscuits a lot. They are simple, there's just a few ingredients, and they can be varied a lot. We have them with soup, stew, roasts, and any time there is a good reason to bake up a good biscuit. You could just buy the frozen ones, but why do that when these are so easy to do? Besides, it's fun to mess with the flour, it's fun to decide how to make them, these rise a whole lot better and it's fun to watch that, and they taste better. How mindful is that! I did the nutrition facts for you too in case you are one of my calorie counting friends.

these got a little too brown, but you get the idea!
Baking Powder Biscuits

Ingredients and later on some options to make these even more super yummy:

2 cups all purpose flour, measure this by very lightly spooning the flour into the cup. do not pack at all.
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
2/3-3/4 cup milk

Options for making these absolutely even better:

if you change the baking powder to 2 t and add a bit of baking soda - about 1/4 t, you can swap out the milk with buttermilk and these biscuits bake up incredibly moist.

Most of the time, I add about 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar for fabulous cheese biscuits!

Add some diced jalapenos with the cheese for fantastic jalapeno cheese biscuits.

Directions and where the messy fun begins:

Preheat the oven to 450F - now if you oven runs hot, lower it a bit, you don't want these to brown before they are done on the inside.

For a lot of breads and stuff like that you usually start by mixing together the dry stuff and that's what you do here. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then use a fork and "cut" in the shortening - yup, use a cutting motion and keep on incorporating the shortening into the flour. This is the only real important part of making biscuits. You need to keep on cutting the shortening in until you have all these nice teeny tiny coarse meal balls.

Add the milk - use the smaller amount and stir, add more if you have to only just until the dough is soft and forms. Wait, I guess there is a second most important part. Don't over stir the dough...ok, third most important part is not to make them soggy with too much milk. The biscuits aren't as tender if you do either - this is not hard, just takes practice and practice is delicious.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead very gently about 10-12 times only just until it is no longer sticky. Then pat it out pressing with your fingers until it is reasonably even and 1/2 inch thick. Use a drinking glass or cookie cutter to cut the biscuits - cut as close as possible. At the end you will likely have enough bits and pieces to gently press together into a sort of kind of biscuit shape and that is the special biscuit that the cooker gets to eat "just to make sure" they are good enough for everyone else.

Don't grease the baking sheet, just put the biscuits on it about 1/2 inch apart and bake about 8 minutes or until they are a pretty light brown. Do not let them get as brown as I did in the picture. They were still tasty as could be but I don't like them that brown. In other words, remember they only take like 8 minutes to bake so don't go off and check you email or start watching music videos that your friends post at FB. :(

Enjoy these mindfully and quickly!

ps - I'm going to try weighing the ingredients next time and using the ratio method of cooking so I can experiment with using different fats to replace the partially hydrogenated fat. In case you want to try it, here's the ratio for biscuits: 

for each 9 oz of flour, use 3 oz of fat, and 6 oz of liquid. 

Your choice as to what each main ingredient is – your fave flour, your fave fat, and your fave liquid – all weighed in the proper ratio. I'll report in after I've tried this out with different fats.

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