Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade Biscuits

Biscuits are a mainstay of any meal in the South.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, biscuits are on the table.  Add some cheese and you  have a savory biscuit, which is the perfect addition to a soup or pasta dinner.  Pop them on top of a vegetarian pot pie for a one pot meal or you can use them as a dough f or some delicious kid friendly tiny pizzas.  Last but no least, pour some honey on them and you've got breakfast.  In short, biscuits are insanely versatile, but like some many baking projects people are afraid of making biscuits from scratch.  This is simply need not be the case, as anyone can make biscuits.  With only five ingredients, and about 5 minutes time anyone can make biscuit dough.  While I chose to do so, you don't need to roll and cut out the biscuits,  you can instead pat them into shape or simply drop them onto the baking sheet.  However, you do it, biscuits are a wonderful addition to any meal.

The one question you do need to ask about biscuits is regarding what kind of fat you want to put in them.  Yes, fat.  I said, fat.  There are no two ways about it, you need fat to make biscuits.  This being a vegetarian blog, lard and bacon fat are out of the question.  However, you do have several choices as a vegetarian.  I use unsalted butter and add salt to the recipe.  This is primarily because ALL I ever use is unsalted butter.  Other options are salted butter, margarine, shortening or butter-flavored shortening.  If you chose to use salted butter, margarine or butter-flavored shortening, you are doing to want to reduce or eliminate the salt from your biscuits.  Of course, if you like saltier biscuits then do not reduce or eliminate the salt. 

The Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 cup milk

Place the all-purpose flour into a large bowl

Add the baking powder and salt

Whisk together with a wire whisk

Add the unsalted butter

Using a pastry cutter, two dinner knives or a fork, combine the unsalted butter with the flour mixture until the mixture is pebble-like in appearance. 

Make a well in the middle of the flour/butter mixture and pour in the milk.  You will need between 3/4 to 1 cup of milk.  Start with only 3/4 of a cup and go from there. 

Using your hands combine the flour/butter mixture and the milk until a dough is formed.  Do not over mix the dough, once it is combined, it is done. 

Place the dough on a floured or non-stick surface

Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick

Use a biscuit cutter or a glass to cut out the biscuits

Place the biscuits about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

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