Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Perfect Biscuits

I have searched for a long time for that perfect biscuit recipe. You know the one. Wonderfully brown and crisp on the outside, and deliciously soft, flakey and moist on the inside. Of course you need to make these from scratch, I knew no box mix was going to cut it. But I tried several of different recipes and never really got the results I wanted. After watching an episode of Sandwich King on Food Network, I am happy to exlaim, "By Jove, I think I've got it!" Turns out the perfect biscuit isn't just about the recipe, but the technique. Two simple things make a world of difference.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar*
3/4 cup butter 
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.

2.In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add COLD milk all at once. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for four to six strokes or just until dough holds together. Pat or lightly roll dough until 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough with a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Handle the dough as little as possible.

5. Pull cast iron skillet from the oven and add enough vegetable oil just to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Place biscuits, sides touching, in hot cast iron skillet. Brush the top of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden. Remove biscuits from oven and serve warm.

Two simple steps, baking in a hot cast iron skillet and refridgerating the ingredients after combining, made a WORLD of difference.