I wasn’t necessarily raised on [tag]transcendent[/tag] [tag]biscuit[/tag]s, we had [tag]patacones[/tag] and [tag]arepas[/tag] instead. My mom, who is from [tag]Illinois[/tag] and from a family of Illinois corn, soybean, and pig [tag]farmer[/tag]s who came from the hills of [tag]Kentucky[/tag] ages ago (and I don’t know where before that), would talk about the delicious food her grandma cooked in her diner. Biscuits were obviously part of that but she never made them on any consistent basis because they are “unnecessary carbohydrates”. In our house, in the 70s, if a [tag]carbohydrate[/tag] was to be eaten it had better be whole wheat or [tag]rice[/tag]. This is all fine by me, life is long and there is plenty of time to make biscuits.
I fell in love with biscuits when we lived in the south ([tag]Texas[/tag], [tag]Louisiana[/tag], [tag]Georgia[/tag] and [tag]Virginia[/tag], if you want to call NoVA the south). I mostly lusted for biscuits from two particular places – [tag]Popeye’s[/tag] in [tag]New Orleans[/tag] and [tag]Hardee’s[/tag] in [tag]Peachtree City[/tag], Georgia. The commonality between these biscuits was their moistness.
I like biscuits so much that I do choke down the drier ones but I am always ruminating on those moist ones I remember from New Orleans and Georgia. I know that those two fast food joints are not the paragons of [tag]southern cooking[/tag] but they got the whole biscuit thing right.
Unfortunately, my husband and kids have not liked my biscuits to date. I have tried the lazy way – [tag]Bisquick[/tag]. I like them but the family won’t touch them. I have made them from scratch but the same story, especially if they are drop biscuits.
Lisa over at [tag]Homesick Texan[/tag] had a very lovely post on [tag]beaten biscuits[/tag], something I have never eaten or made. Check out her post for more information, background, texture, and [tag]food porn[/tag].
Well, it seems that I have finally broken the dry biscuit barrier with my latest attempt. I combined several variations for biscuits as found on pages 789 and 790 of the 1997 version of the [tag]Joy of Cooking[/tag] to excellent effect.
I served these [tag]whole wheat[/tag] [tag]buttermilk[/tag] biscuits to the more “discerning” 10 year old with little expectation but with threats of bodily harm if some of the biscuit wasn’t even at least tried.
I looked over at the child to see her actually munching away on the biscuit. Then, this really blew me away, she asked for another one. I asked her, OK, I interrogated her, as to what was different with these biscuits and she says that they have a delicious flavor, something she has never said about previous biscuits. I tried them and they are moist, flavorful, and really take a beating in the storage department as they do not dry out even the next day. Most biscuits should not have to last more than 15 minutes but if you have to store a few leftovers, these work well.
If you try these, I hope you have the same experience.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
(as per Joy of Cooking and a bit of my own adaptation re: using [tag]whole wheat pastry flour[/tag])
- 1 1/2 C [tag]King Arthur Unbleached Flour[/tag]
- 1/2 C [tag]Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour[/tag]
- 2 teaspoons double acting [tag]baking powder[/tag]
- 1/2 teaspoon [tag]baking soda[/tag]
- 6 tablespoons cold [tag]butter[/tag], small cubes
- 3/4 C cultured buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450F.
Whisk together the flours, the baking powder and baking soda. Add the cold butter and then crumble it together with the flour until your get very small fragments of flour coated butter.
Please, if you can, study the advice given in the Joy of Cooking as to how best this is done. I use my hands because I like a little excitement in my life, living on the edge (right!). If you have hot hands, don,t do this because you will melt your butter and you will have a mess on your hands.
Add the 3/4 C buttermilk and mix ONLY until the dough has come together (over mixing is a massive no-no, just say no). Pick up the dough and press it against the edges of the bowl to pick up all the bits.
I make square biscuits because 1) I hate waste, 2) I am not dogmatic about the shape of my biscuit, 3) the reformed biscuits made from the scraps of round biscuits are always tough and not worth the time.
Put the dough out onto a floured board, pat to 1/2 inch (or your preferred size), and then slice into squares.
On an ungreased parchment lined baking sheet, place the squares so that they just barely touch one another.
If you wish, brush tops with butter or a bit of milk wash.
Bake 10-15 minutes until light brown. Your oven may take longer or less time. Since these are whole wheat they are already sort of brown so you need to keep watching them so that they get the color you like. Don’t bake too long, they will dry out.
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