Post #521 Some More Flour Stuff

January 16, 2017 at 11:56 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #521 Some More Flour Stuff

Last night, I was thinking about morning breakfast.  Partner/Spouse was working overnight and would be home around 8am.  The dogs usually got me up between 6:30 and 7.  I just received the replacement blade for my food processor and wanted to use it to break it in.  We had a fresh, unopened package of our favorite bacon in the fridge.  I wanted to make biscuits!  Fresh biscuits and fried bacon would be perfect!

I know the basic biscuit recipe but I’m always looking for the new twist, something that makes the result unique, or the process easier.  So I hit the ‘net and spent a pleasant hour late at night with a glass of wine reading recipes and looking for a gem.

Didn’t find a gem, but I did find a little puzzle.

Turns out, there really isn’t a new twist on biscuits.  It’s simply fat combined with flour and leavening that’s wetted down and cut into shapes then baked at a high temperature for a short time.  The proportions all remain the same.  Sometimes the temps are different and the bake times change for that.   And other flavors are added in the form of herbs, cheeses, extracts, fruits, etc.

So here’s the recipe I used this morning:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cold milk (I used water)

Mix all dry ingredients together, then rub the butter into the flour until it resembled coarse crumbs (I used my food processor, pulsing the mix about 15 times.)  Add the milk/water and combine until a soft dough forms.  Set on a lightly floured surface and knead about ten times until the dough is smooth.  Pat or roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the shapes out using round cutters, or a knife if making other shapes.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool two minutes, then brush with melted butter.  The most important thing to remember in biscuit recipes is DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH.  Be quick and efficient.  If you want to reuse the scraps from cutting out the biscuits, treat them very gently.

Just a basic flour and water recipe, right?  But something kept tugging at the back of my brain.  I just couldn’t grasp it right away.

So Partner/Spouse comes home in the middle of cutting out the biscuits and is surprised and delighted.  His own breakfast plans were incorporated and a good time was had by all, including the dogs.

This is all that’s left of the eight biscuits I made:

biscuit

 

As I was patting out the dough prior to cutting the biscuits out, I could see lumps of butter and my mouth watered thinking about how these were going to turn out.  So good!

Then it hit me.  I went on a journey of discovery not long ago which I shared with the readers of this blog.  I wanted to learn how to make scones, that uniquely British baked treat full of jam, thick cream, and butter.

Want the basic recipe for scones?  Just substitute the word “scone” wherever you see the word “biscuit”.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cold milk (I used water)

Mix all dry ingredients together, then rub the butter into the flour until it resembled coarse crumbs (I used my food processor, pulsing the mix about 15 times.)  Add the milk/water and combine until a soft dough forms.  Set on a lightly floured surface and knead about ten times until the dough is smooth.  Pat or roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the shapes out using round cutters, or a knife if making other shapes.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool two minutes, then brush with melted butter.  The most important thing to remember in biscuit recipes is DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH.  Be quick and efficient.  If you want to reuse the scraps from cutting out the biscuits, treat them very gently.

They’re the same thing!  However, here in the U.S. , we don’t treat our finished biscuits quite the same.  We do put jam on them, but we seldom use thick cream.  We also sweeten them up by pouring honey or syrup over the top while good salty butter melts inside.  We put slices of ham or bacon inside them and treat them as a breakfast sandwich, even going so far as to add a fried egg and cheese to it sometimes.

Then there’s the king of the biscuits dinner, Biscuits and Gravy!  (Imagine a full orchestra chorus in the background.)

Ground sausage fried up and turned into a thick milk gravy that holds the essence of the sausage flavor.  Two or four giant fresh biscuits lovingly cut into two with a wedge of butter in between, and a full cup of sausage and gravy poured over the top, served hot.  I can feel my arteries hardening just thinking about it.  I can barely make my way through one biscuit, much less two or four.  But I’ve seen people (my father was one of them) who could pack away four biscuits, two cups of gravy, two fried eggs, and a mound of fried potatoes, burp slightly, then reach for toast!

I’ve never seen a scone treated that way.  Scones have blueberries in them, or chocolate chips.  Jam and honey aren’t foreign to a scone, but having a scone as part of a bacon sandwich is.

So, I’m happy that my lifetime of baking biscuits prepared me for learning about scones.  I’m just as happy that I can turn two cups of flour and 1/2 cup of butter and water into something light and delicious.

Enjoy

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