Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Butter, biscuits, and brisket!

by Mango

Hello again! First off, butter is delicious (more on that in a moment). Second, biscuits (also delicious) can be pretty difficult to get right. Third, I have no idea how to make good braised brisket, so that is in Panda’s hands (paws?), and will be ready for you in our next blog. Since he made butter the other day, I figured nothing would go better with it than some warm scrumptious biscuits. The recipe I use belongs to Alton Brown, who is the best part of Food Network (I miss cable). Ina Garten runs a close second, if you ignore her hatred of cancer-stricken children. Giada De Laurentis (insert boob-parading and/or giant head comment here) is decent, when she isn’t annoying me with her over-pronunciation of Italian words. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiccccooooootttttttaaa. Mozzzzarrrrrrrella. But I digress. Back to Alton’s Southern Biscuits recipe. Preheat your oven to 4500F. Here’s what you need for 12 biscuits:

·       2 cups flour (NOT BLEACHED. Bleached flour is gross.)
·       4 teaspoons baking powder
·       1/4 teaspoon baking soda
·       3/4 teaspoon salt
·       2 tablespoons butter (I’m going to use Panda’s homemade butter this time)
·       2 tablespoons shortening (I use half the amount, still turns out great)
·       1 cup chilled buttermilk (I’ll be using buttermilk left over from the butter-making)

Now, don’t be afraid of this recipe having both butter and shortening. Butter has been vilified by health nuts and some doctors too, but compared to other things out there (margarine and butter-like products such as Smart Balance and whatnot), it really is healthier. Shortening is not the best, but with baking, there really is no better substitute for getting the right balance of crumbliness and softness. And really, as long as you’re not inhaling a dozen biscuits every day, a little butter and shortening once in a while won’t kill you. So here we go! 

I usually halve the recipe when baking biscuits for just the two of us.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Then cut a tablespoon of chilled butter into pea-sized bits and add to the flour. Add half a tablespoon of shortening as well. Use your fingers to work the shortening and butter bits into the flour, such that the dry mixture starts to look crumbly.

Make a little well in the center and add the chilled buttermilk. I use a fork to bring everything together. Do not overmix or you will end up with hard yucky biscuits.

When the ingredients have just started to come together, transfer it to a clean surface. Gently fold the dough over itself two or three times.  Do not knead (hard and yucky!). You will see bits of butter and shortening in it. This is good. Your dough may look like a big undermixed mess. This is also good.

Use a rolling pin to gently flatten the dough until it is about an inch think. Cut into biscuit shapes. I don’t have a cutter, but I’ve found that using a floured glass jam jar works perfectly fine!

Place in a lightly buttered cake pan, and bake at 450F for about 12 minutes, until the biscuit tops start to look golden brown.

Slather on your spread of choice and enjoy!

Panda: I could eat 80 of these.
Mango: No, you can't. I advised against this on the blog.
Panda: *grumble*


  1. I stopped making round biscuits a long time ago. Form blob of dough into roughly rectangular shape on cooking surface, slice into squares. No waste, no tough biscuits from re-shaped leftover scraps.

    1. That's a great tip! I do usually re-shape scraps but possibly causing toughness is a good point.

  2. Looks really tasty dude. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post Mango! I gained 5 pounds just from reading it. Thanks! ;)