Monday, September 17, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

Everybody knows that any good Southern woman worth her salt has the ability to turn out a perfectly crisp, light as air, buttery biscuit with no measuring cups to speak of and a steady smile. This is not me. Not yet, at least. I am neither Southern nor an expert biscuit maker. But I do love a good buttermilk biscuit in any way, shape, or form. Drowned in gravy and ham, eaten with fluffy scrambled eggs and spears of asparagus, or topped with strawberries and cream in an impromptu strawberry shortcake--they're the basic foundation of so many good things. Reason enough to get this thing down to a science, no?

Well, my friends, it turns out that buttermilk biscuits are one of the easiest breads to make. All those horror stories you've heard about White Lily being the only acceptable flour to use: false--all-purpose is just fine. The myth of anyone other than a true Southerner being unable to produce a decent biscuit: false--my biscuits were pretty darn perfect, thankyouverymuch. The key here, ironically enough, is to do the least amount of work possible. Once you add the buttermilk in, don't overwork your dough. Mix it in until it is just combined--nothing more, nothing less, and you'll be golden. And, for that matter, so will your biscuits. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart's American Food, and as is usually the case with her recipes, this one is foolproof. Happy biscuit making, y'all. xo

Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 1 dozen
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl. Work in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in buttermilk with your hands until just combined.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch disk about 1-inch thick. Cut out 12 rounds with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, gathering and patting out scraps as necessary.

Arrange rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until cooked through and golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.