Saturday, October 30, 2004

I am the best biscuit maker EVAR.

I am so pleased with myself. Even though Shiokadelicious! said it was the best biscuit recipe she'd found, I was still skeptical - I wasn't using a food processor, haven't baked in a long time, etc. But OMG these biscuits are fabulous.

Biscuit Dough:
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
11⁄2 cups cold buttermilk, preferably low-fat

To Form and Finish the Biscuits:
1 cup (5oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, evenly spread out over a rimmed baking sheet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven rack to the middle position, and heat oven to 500F / 260C. Spray a 9" round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside. Generously spray the inside and outside of a 1⁄4 cup measure with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse to combine (about six 1-second pulses).

Scatter the cold butter cubes evenly over the dry ingredients, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (about eight to ten 1-second pulses). Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl.

Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. [Yes, the dough will be very, very wet, and rather lumpy, but do not overmix. Even I could resist the urge to overmix this time, so you can too.]

Using the greased 1⁄4 cup measure, and working quickly, scoop a level amount of the dough batter and drop onto the flour on the baking sheet. [You may require a small spoon to help pull the wet dough free of the cup.] Repeat until all the dough has been measured out, and there are 12 evenly sized mounds of dough on the baking sheet.

Gently roll each piece of dough in the flour on the baking sheet until all sides are lightly coated with flour. Gently pick up the piece of dough and very lightly shape it into a rough ball. Shake off any excess flour and place the dough into the prepared cake pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Arrange 9 of the dough pieces around the perimeter of the cake pan and the remaining 3 in the center. Brush the tops of the dough with the hot melted butter, taking care not to flatten them.

Bake 5 minutes at 500F / 260C. Reduce the oven temperature to 450F / 230C, and continue baking until the biscuits are a deep golden brown -- about 15 minutes more.

Let the biscuits cool in the pan for 2 minutes before inverting onto a rack. Turn them right side up, cool for 5 minutes longer, then break them apart and enjoy!

Cut & pasted from Shiokadelicious!, who got it from Cook's Illustrated, issue unknown.

I was too impatient to wait five more minutes after taking them out of the pan, and I ate them right away.
I also didn't put cooking oil in the pan - it is teflon, and I don't like cooking oil. Even though I am borrowing Garth's really exciting oil sprayer thingy, which is non-aerosol and into which one can put whatever kind of oil one wants. In any case the biscuits came out fine without oil in the pan. (This could be because some of the butter brushed [well, spooned] onto the tops dripped down onto the bottom of the pan.)

And the biscuits go nicely with the no-recipe no-chicken soup:
Some veggie broth - I used leftovers from the tomato soup and added probably 2 more quarts of water and a boullion cube.
Some carrots, sliced - I don't know how many I put. Maybe 10 baby carrots, because that is what I had.
Some celery, sliced - I put two stalks.
One small onion, chopped up little
Two small cloves of garlic - I didn't want to make it too garlicky
One bay leaf
Some powdered thyme, because I love the way it smells with sautéeing onion and garlic
Some pepper
Egg noodles.

Onion & garlic & thyme sautéed in olive oil until onions are translucent, blah blah.
Added carrot and celery and a glug of broth and let it sizzle there for a while - just a minute or two.
Added the rest of the broth, and the water and cube, and brought it to a boil. Oh, and the bay leaf.
When it was boiling I dumped in a bunch of noodles and then boiled it until the noodles were done. Happily, the carrots and celery were also done at the same time.

I got some extra-super-firm tofu, which I was thinking about cutting in tiny cubes, breading and frying and tossing in the soup, but it turned out not to need it. I haven't had real chicken soup in a long time, but, surprisingly, this does not taste to me like it is missing something. I thought it would. So I am pleased.


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