Squirrelbrain Laughswithdolphins (moonrose) wrote in betterbaking,
Squirrelbrain Laughswithdolphins
moonrose
betterbaking

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Biscuits

My darling loves biscuits ... actually that's probably an understatement. I'm pretty fond of them, but never really got much into making them, and when I did they usually came out kinda ... meh. Food God AB inspired me to give it a go though, and so I took the White Lily recipe he's got reprinted in his book I'm Only Here for More Food and started tinkering. What I wanted was something simple I could make with what we'd usually have around the house, rather than something I'd have to keep extra things around for.

Now, I cheated, I did get new things to make this first batch. We bought some lard - something I don't usually keep handy, but was cheap and from what I hear is pretty good stuff for biscuits. Now then

Today's ingredient list:

dry-
1 c Wondra Flour
1 c regular old bleached AP flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
wet-
1/4 c lard
2/3 c reduced fat 2% milk

Today's method:

Sifted the dry together into the bowl, measured the lard into water in my perfect beaker to get 1/4 c, smooshed it into the dry goods with my hands, then slowly added the milk, using my fingers to gently mix it into the flour & fat. When it was good and clumpy, not quite sticky, but cohesive, I turned it out on the lightly floured countertop and just patted it together and flat to about half an inch thick. All throughout I tried to work the mess as little as possible once the milk was in. Cut with a 2" biscuit cutter (one of the ones with the floopy edges, but good enough) and then spaced them nearish each other on a greased (Baker's Joy) pan and dented the centers of the tops with my fingertip. Popped them into a 500°F oven for 8 minutes on the middle, like, not top but next to top rack (is that C?). Buttered the tops when they came out.

Today's Result:

Well, they didn't puff very much at all. Not quite doubled in size, really maybe a 50-75% poof (maybe that's more than I'm giving it credit for). Turned out QUITE tasty though. I love the texture too. They have just enough of that stick-to-your-ribs quality that they'd stand up to gravy, but they are light enough I can pull them apart and eat them plain or fork it open for jelly. Bottoms didn't burn at all, which is a huge bonus in my book, and I'm attributing to having the rack up higher than I usually do. That's usually where I broil, honestly. The crumb is not at all crumbly - in fact, I think I could sit and eat these all damned evening.

Thoughts:

I'm a little curious what might come of a better fat amount - I kind of feel I short-changed the biscuit with the lowfat milk. At the same time, it's a little healtier I suppose. Want to try this with buttermilk next time - I think the acidity of the buttermillk will help activate the baking powder better. I think the brushing with a bit of butter at the end is a tasty way to get butter flavor but keep the lard texture. Also to try - how does Crisco stack up against lard. I mean, it's a whopping 1/4 c for a whole dozen biscuits - I probably get more fat out of a serving of bacon, so I'm not sweating that. Just more likely to have Crisco in the house. Also, was surprised that the fat did not create the large crumbs I'd expected - wonder if that was from the superfine Wondra flour. Need to experiment with changing just the flour to all AP or changing the ratio to 3-1 rather than 1-1 or something. Still, I count it a successful experiment.
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