I adore making these biscuits.
When I make them, its as though anything can be fixed in the world. I think they posses super powers. Of course I'm bias because I think anything with a stick of butter in it is magical.
These are the biscuits I think every woman should know how to make.
So here is the recipe I use. Happy baking friends!
Buttermilk Biscuits by Peter Reinhart
8 oz. (1-3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed for shaping the dough
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) very cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup very cold buttermilk
Heat the oven to 500°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven
Put the butter in the freezer until you are ready for it
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly.
Cut the butter into small bits and toss with the flour.
With a sharp knife, cut the cold butter lengthwise twice. Rotate the butter a quarter turn and cut twice again. Then slice into small squares. You should create 9 small bits of butter per slice. Toss the butter bits into the bowl with the flour mixture. Use your fingers to separate the butter bits. Don’t rub the butter too hard with your fingertips or palms, as this will melt the butter. You’re just trying to break the butter pieces apart, not blend the butter into the flour.
When all the butter is evenly distributed, add the cold buttermilk (do not place your buttermilk in the freezer) and stir with a large spoon until all or most of the flour is absorbed by the buttermilk and the dough forms a coarse lump, about 1 minute.
Dust a work surface with flour and dump the dough onto the floured surface, cleaning out the bowl with a spatula or a plastic bowl scraper. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with flour, and press the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle a small amount of additional flour on the top of the dough. Fold the dough over on itself in three sections, as if folding a letter. With a bench knife or metal spatula, lift the dough off the counter and dust under it with flour to prevent sticking, if necessary. Dust the top with flour and press the dough out again into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle and repeat the tri-fold. Repeat this procedure one more time (three times in all).
After the third tri-fold, dust under and on top of the dough, if needed, and roll or press the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick oval. Dip a 2-inch or 2-3/4-inch round biscuit cutter in flour and start cutting biscuits, dipping the cutter in flour between each biscuit. Press straight down to cut and lift straight up to remove; twisting the biscuit cutter will seal the sides and interfere with rising. Place them on a baking sheet or stone about 1/2 inch apart.
Gently gather any scraps of dough, pat and roll out again, and cut more biscuits from the remaining dough. You can gather and roll the scraps two times total and still get good results (the more times you roll out, the tougher the biscuits will be).
Put the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450°F. Bake for 8 minutes; rotate the pan 180 degrees; continue baking until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuits are a rich golden brown and the biscuits have doubled in height, revealing flaky layers on the sides, 4 to 6 minutes more. It’s all right if some butter seeps from the biscuits. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a cooling rack, leaving the biscuits on the pan. Cool the biscuits for at least 3 minutes and serve them hot or warm (they will stay warm for about 20 minutes).
some photos: Scott Phillips
Fine Cooking 85, pp. 49
April 2, 2007