Friday, October 14, 2005

Mile-High Biscuits

These are my favorite biscuits. They come from the marvelous folks at Cook's Illustrated, from the July/Aug 2004 magazine. They are fluffy and light, with a very high rise, tender crumb, and crisp top.

Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 12

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. double-acting baking powder
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk, preferably low-fat

To Form and Finish Biscuits
1 cup (5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, distributed in rimmed baking sheet
2 Tbs. unslated butter, melted

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Generously spray inside and outside of 1/4 cup dry measure with nonstick cooking spray.
2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse dry ingredients to combine, about six 1-second pulses. Scatter butter cubes evenly over dry ingredients; pulse until mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, eight to ten 1-second pulses. (Or, just whisk dry ingredients together and use your hands to combine, like I do.) Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add buttermilk to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated (dough will be very wet and slightly lumpy).
3. To Form and Bake Biscuits: Using 1/4 cup dry measure and working quickly, scoop level amount of dough; drop dough from measuring cup into flour on baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, forming 12 evenly sized mounds. Dust tops of each piece of dough with flour from baking sheet. With floured hands, gently pick up piece of dough and coat with flour; gently shape dough into rough ball, shake off excess flour, and place in prepared cake pan. (Do not overhandle!!). Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 rounds around perimeter of cake pan and 3 in center. Brush rounds with hot melted better, taking care not to flatten them. Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees; continue to bake until biscuits are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Cool in pan 2 minutes, then invert biscuits from pan onto clean kitchen towel; turn biscuits right side up and break apart. Cool 5 minutes longer and serve.


Jonathan said...

Rachel, you epicurean, you! These recipes look great! Have you ever tried making beer biscuits?

Ruth Rachel Vendsel said...

I haven't ... sounds like something that would please a mixed crowd!

Jonathan said...

Yes, my baptist friends love them.