Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Make Risen Buttermilk Biscuits

These light and fluffy biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the buttermilk adds just the right amount of tang for genuine Southern flavor. If you want to be authentic and make these biscuits the old-fashioned way, use pure pork lard instead of vegetable shortening. In my opinion, lard produces the best results in terms of flavor and texture, but they're still darn good when made with vegetable shortening.

Biscuit-making is an art, which means that practice makes perfect. Don't despair if you don't achieve perfection your first few times, because less-than-perfect homemade biscuits fresh from the oven are still better than those from a can.

For a real Southern snack, split your homemade buttermilk biscuits in half and add a thick slice of country ham. And if you have some hoop cheese, add a slice of that, too. If you prefer, drizzle honey, molasses or sorghum over the split biscuits for a sweet treat. Nom nom nom...

Buy NC Country Ham
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
3 Tbs sugar
2 packages yeast

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the lard or shortening until the mixture resembles fine crumbs--two forks work well for this, and it helps if the lard or shortening are chilled. Combine the water and 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, and heat to lukewarm, about 115°F to 120°F. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water-buttermilk mixture. Make a hole in the middle of the flour-shortening mixture, then pour in the warm liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon, adding up to 1/2 cup of additional buttermilk if necessary to make the dough manageable. Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and gently knead just a few times (not too much or else the biscuits will turn out tough). Roll out with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of about 1/2" and use a biscuit cutter, coffee cup or drinking glass to cut out biscuits. As you cut them, place the biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet. You can mush together the leftover dough ends and roll out again to make more biscuits, repeating until all the dough is used up. Let the biscuits sit at room temperature to rise for about 10 minutes. While they're resting and rising, preheat oven to 400°F. After 10 minutes, bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve hot.

Zestfully yours,

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