21 February 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits - Made with Buttermilk Powder


Homemade biscuits elevate a basic breakfast to new heights. In the case above, they transformed a couple of scrambled eggs into Comfort Food. If you're Southern (as I am, on my father's side), they can appear on the lunch or dinner table as well. So it's important to know how to make good ones. If you're English (as I am, on my mother's side), a biscuit is a cookie; what we're talking about here resembles a scone.

If you've only ever eaten the kind that comes in a tube that you whack on the edge of the counter to unfurl and pull apart, a homemade biscuit will be a revelation. Once you see how quickly they can be made from a few basic ingredients and how much better they taste, you will never eat another canned biscuit.

When I have buttermilk (or sour cream or plain yogurt) on hand, I make my other Biscuits recipe. But, unless I'm making other recipes that week that call for buttermilk, I'd rather use buttermilk powder than waste a carton. 

The three keys to good biscuits are:

1 butter rather than shortening (Though there are plenty of people who make tasty biscuits with shortening, I don't eat the stuff. The only fats I use in my kitchen are organic butter, organic oils and "drippings" from organic meat.)

2 not over-mixing after adding the liquid (Working the dough too much after the liquid is added makes a tough biscuit.)

3 a very hot oven (This makes a biscuit with a crisp, golden exterior and a fluffy interior.)

Of course, I always use organic flour and buttermilk powder as well. Lots of Southern cooks swear by a certain soft wheat flour, and some cooks use part cake flour to approximate that flour. I just use organic unbleached all-purpose flour from Bob's Red Mill and have never felt the need for a softer flour. I use Organic Valley milk, butter and buttermilk powder. (And, no, I'm not on their payroll! Just like to tell you what products I use.)

Biscuits

(Makes 12 biscuits)

2 packed cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (if using food processor, put butter in the freezer for 15 minutes)

1 cup milk

1 Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly spray an insulated baking sheet with cooking spray. If you have a food processor and want to use it for this, with metal blade in place, combine the flour, buttermilk powder, baking powder and salt in work bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 times to combine. Add frozen butter and pulse 6 to 8 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal with some bigger chunks remaining. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl.

If not using a food processor, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. With your fingers or a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs with some bigger chunks remaining.

2 Pour milk over flour mixture and gently mix until just combined.


3 On a lightly floured surface, gently pat the dough into about a 3/4-inch-thick 6x8-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 square biscuits, and then gently round each biscuit by hand (as in photo above) or leave square. (If you use a round biscuit cutter, you either waste dough or have some tough biscuits made from re-rolled dough.*) Place about 2 inches apart on the insulated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. When I remember to do it, I brush the tops of the biscuits with a little milk before baking. It makes them pretty!

* Someday I'll get around to ordering this set of hexagon cutters that would solve the problem of wasted or re-rolled dough.

Biscuits may be frozen, double-wrapped, for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature, wrapped, then unwrap and heat at 350 for 5 minutes. Keep some on hand for biscuits and gravy (cream gravy that starts with some well-browned loose sausage).

36 comments:

Bernideen said...

I have not heard of buttermilk powder and it sure would be a good idea! I always seem to waste some of the quart of buttermilk! Thanks for a great recipe. I hope you can post it on "Open House" in a bit if I can get through the 8" of snow to my store. I don't download pictures on my "at home" chromebook so I need to do it there.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Bernideen! Yes, I'll post it there later. You can probably get your nearest health food or natural food store to special order it for you if they don't carry it. Let me know how you like it!

ZipZip said...

Gee, I've not used buttermilk powder, either. Does it change the consistency of the biscuits any? Will have to test and see.

Um, I do find that the flour used makes a difference in how tender a biscuit is. I only use a soft wheat flour. White Lily, which you referred to obliqely, is the best known, but there are other brands as well. We can get soft wheat flour that's grown locally, through Weisenberger Mill. It's been ground here since the 19th century and is Good Stuff :} I'm not paid by either brand, either: they're just what I prefer to use.

As for butter, oh yes, that does make for a better biscuit. Sad to say, I often use shortening for budgetary reasons, but I am married to a Kentuckian and we have two Kentucky boys, so we go through a lot of biscuits and rolls and good bread generally, and not for sandwiches!

Very best,

Natalie

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Jean:
Yes, we should certainly refer to these delightful looking confections as scones. As you say, they are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed as sweet or savoury depending on the mix.

Yours look absolutely wonderful and, with scrambled egg, a perfect breakfast, brunch or supper dish. Lovely!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Natalie, I don't think there's any difference between ones made with the powdered and ones made with the liquid. But try it and let me know what you think. And I'm sure the soft wheat would be wonderful; I just have so many gluten-free flours to store that I don't have shelf space for more than one kind of wheat flour! I know what you mean about lots of bread "and not for sandwiches." Even if there were a dozen foods on the table, it wasn't a meal to my Southern father if there wasn't bread on the table!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Jane and Lance! When I make scones, I always put in an egg, which is never done with biscuits. And I never seem to get around to making savoury scones, always put in a little bit of sugar and some dried fruit. I need to get out of that rut!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

they look so fluffy and delicious - great tips for great looking biscuits!
Mary x

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Mary, thank you! I eat waaay too many biscuits, scones, rolls and bread - I'm a breadaholic!

Southerner said...

Now, Jean I am a little confused. I know what a biscuit is. I know what a scone is. As for a cookie, OK, we say cookie, sometimes, but that is only when we have been watching too much of Sex in The City.
We English are definitely secure with biscuits, we eat them all the time. We are secure with scones and scones are what appear in your photograph. But, scones and biscuits are not one and the same thing to us.
Have you ever been to Devon or Cornwall? They do fantastic cream teas down there. A cream tea consists of scones, the ones in your picture, a tub of clotted cream(the cream must come from the milk from cows grazed in Devon fields overlooking the Atlantic, atop rugged cliffs)and a tub of home made strawberry jam, all washed down with a nice cup of tea, or two.

How does that sound??

Sitting outside a thatched cottage overlooking a Devon rural scene would also be preferable.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Tony, I love a cream tea - Devonshire or Cornish! See last week's post to see just how well I can slather clotted cream and jam on a scone!

Southerner said...

I've looked at your last post.

OOOOH!!!! That scone piled with clotted cream looks good!!!!!

It's got to be strawberry jam though, Jean. All those other things are a matter of trying too hard and trying to embellish perfection.
You can't embellish perfection.
Come on now!!!!!!

Tea and scones in a Cornish or Devon village is the only thing. When are you coming over?

I'll take you there. ha! ha!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Tony, when I manage to make the trip, I'll take you up on that! How about Devon AND Cornwall?

Richard Sheppard said...

Hummm, I never thought of using powdered buttermilk but it sure makes good sense. I buy fresh buttermilk once in a while for one reason or another but don't always have it around. But with powder, I can always have some handy! I love biscuits especially when I have pomegranate jelly around. Good thing we made some a few weeks back. Mmmmmmm!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Richard. And, mmmmm, pomegranate jelly - something I don't have nearly often enough. I'll have to make some soon, now that I'm off the marmalade kick!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

It's been a hard day. So when I opened up your delightful repast to buttermilk biscuits I could taste them in my mouth right now!. I don't have any buttermilk...having used it on the bread I made last week. So I'm just going to have to make due with whatever I have on hand.

As always, your pictures and stories are delicious! Sue

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Sue. That's why I like the buttermilk powder. You can just have it on hand to use anytime. Sorry you've had a hard day; hope tomorrow will be a breeze!

Jenn said...

Bread-wise, biscuits are king in my book :) I'm not from the South, but I would eat them morning noon and night too!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

I agree! Morning, noon and night. If not biscuits, some kind of bread. I'll even ask for the bread basket at a restaurant when I'm ordering a sandwich or pizza!

LANA said...

Recipe looks easy, and I agree with you about the organic ingredients. With St. Patrick's day coming up next month, would you have a recipe for irish soda bread that does not come out dry? I have tried many recipes that fall short.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Lana, I developed a recipe for that years ago, but I haven't made it in ages - I'll have to make it and see if it's ready for posting! Thanks!

Yenta Mary said...

Great minds, as they say ... :) I often just cut biscuits into squares, precisely to avoid the waste/re-rolling issue. I've just been thinking that biscuits sounded good, and I think you've provided the inspiration to bake a batch!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Mary! I love providing "inspiration"!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Biscuits, cookies, scones – what’s in a name – what I do know is that you’re getting closer to PANCAKES. While I like all the former, I seldom eat any, since they fall into my general scientific classification called BREAD. And breads, as a rule, don’t make the cut of enough enjoyment for me to be worth a “slice” of my calorie quota. There are exceptions. Pancakes, if they are done right, is one. Ditto cookies done right, but I make an entire meal out of them (sometimes three squares – make that rounds – in a single day). Here’s a thought/question: since you use yogurt in biscuits, what would they taste like with coffee flavored yogurt (or any other flavor, for that matter)?

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sully, there you go again - trying to turn a bread into a dessert, with sweet flavored yogurt! Leave the sweet OUT of the biscuit and use a good jam to put sweet ON the biscuit. If you like pancakes, try these: http://delightfulrepast.blogspot.com/2010/07/pancakes-perfect-pancakes-hotcakes.html - and let me know how they come out for you.

Sandra said...

bread of any kind is my favorite food, and biscuits are at the top of the list. thanks for stopping by today

Deb said...

Found you through Bernideen's blog. These biscuits look delicious and I am going to make them soon. Maybe today..maybe right now. I really want a biscuit. :) Thanks so much for the recipe. Deb (Ontario)

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Point taken, but… IF someone wanted to put flavored yogurt in a biscuit, would it work, ya think? … I do remember that pancake column, and I think I revealed my pecan corn fritter version then. Pancakes, like biscuits, incline toward dryness for me, hence I like to hydrate or under Cook everything. E.g., the slush pizza, corn fritters slathered in butter et al.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sandra, thanks, glad to hear I'm not the only one who might be a little too fond of bread!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Deb, thank you! And I'm glad you told me how you found me - it's fun to know. Let me know how the recipe turns out for you.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sully, yes, you could! Just leave out the buttermilk powder and replace 1/3 or 1/2 of the milk with the yogurt, whatever flavor you like. Let me know how it turns out!

Liz Berg said...

I used to always have a buttermilk powder on hand...I need to stock up! I made biscuits last week to top a chicken pot pie and had forgotten how much we loved them fresh from the oven. Now I'm craving them again :)

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Liz, I know what you mean! I can be going along just fine for a while without biscuits, but as soon as I have them once, the craving starts.

Sippity Sup said...

My favorite style of biscuits take almost no mixing and are more properly called dumplings. But my grandma used them interchangeably whether cooked on top of the gravy or cooked dry and smothered in (red eye) gravy. GREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Greg, your grandma and mine would have gotten along famously! No matter what, There Will Be Gravy! I love that style - drop biscuits - too. Now you've made me hungry!

Cheryl said...

I blame you for this obsession with biscuits, I have literally craved biscuits sine I saw this post...thankfully it's snowing to beat all and I think this would be a great way to enjoy the day!!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Cheryl, thank you so much! I hope they turn out well for you on this fine snowy day.

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