FINALLY!! Biscuits I can be proud of.

Discussion in 'Breads' started by mdboatbum, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Last weekend we were down in South Carolina for a friend's wedding. While there, I wandered into the Food Lion up the street from the hotel to get some beer. I not only found, much to my delight, Sweetwater IPA, but Cheerwine and most importantly of all, White Lily Flour. Hadn't seen Sweetwater anywhere but Georgia, and it's one of my favorites so I stocked up. Got some Cheerwine just because, but I'm not a big sweet soda drinker so I wasn't all that excited about that. The flour, on the other hand, was a HUGE find. I've been trying to perfect biscuits and pie crusts, and had decided my failures were due to one of 2 things, either a complete lack of cooking ability or the wrong flour. I kept hearing about White Lily, (especially from Kat here) but couldn't find it locally. Tried other brands and even cake flour, but nothing provided that perfect, light, melt in your mouth biscuit I've experienced only in the South.

    Well, I'm here to tell you, today all that changed.

    Like I said, I've been trying to perfect biscuits, so have looked at a LOT of recipes. I knew a couple things, I wanted to steer clear of Crisco and I wanted rolled biscuits as opposed to drop biscuits. Avoiding Crisco just because I've discovered I don't like it, and wanted rolled biscuits because I like to make sausage sandwiches and they seem to work better. The biscuits pictured above are actually rolled biscuits, though they may not look like it. I don't have a proper biscuit cutter so I used a coffee can. They're HUGE. That's a full sized dinner plate they're sitting on.

    Anyway, I ended up coming up with a recipe based on a combination of a lot that I've seen (including Kat's).

    2.5 cups White Lily AP flour plus more for rolling

    1/2 stick cold butter cut into 1/4" cubes

    1/4 cup cold lard

    (this is the only thing I'm going to change. I used too much butter and lard. I think I can get by with a little over half the amounts I used, so maybe 2TB butter and 2TB lard)

    3/4-1 1/4 cups buttermilk

    1TB baking powder (I used Aluminum free to avoid the metallic taste)

    1tsp salt

    1/4 tsp baking soda

    I use a food processor because it makes it a lot easier, and more importantly it incorporates the fat much more quickly, allowing it to stay cold and solid.

    Preheat oven to 500˚. This takes a while, at least in my oven.

    Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into food processor and pulse to combine.

    Then add the butter and lard and pulse until you have pea sized chunks, about 7 or 8 times with my food processor. You can also do this by hand, but if you do you'll be warming the fat, so refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes prior to rolling. A pastry blender will work too.

    Once you have your fat incorporated, dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the buttermilk. This is really done by feel. You want quite a wet dough, so just keep adding buttermilk and mixing with your fingers until all the flour is moistened. The dough should be WAY too wet to even think about rolling at this point.

    Now take another 3/4 of a cup to a cup of flour and dump it on your board. Spread it out to about a 12"x12" area and then dump your dough in the middle.

    Now, VERY GENTLY with the side of your hand, start folding the dough over on itself incorporating some of the flour on the board with each fold. This is technically kneading I guess, but BE GENTLE. You'll want to do this 4 or 5 times until the dough is just dry enough to roll and cut. It will still be VERY SOFT. What you've done here is created layers, so you'll have flaky biscuits.

    Now roll out to 3/4" thick and cut the biscuits and place shoulder to shoulder on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You can grease a sheet pan or cookie sheet but I've found this makes the bottoms of the biscuits a tad crunchy and over browned for my taste. You'll want the biscuits touching each other to promote an even rise and to prevent over browning of the sides.

    Make a dent with your thumb in the middle of each one to avoid "the hump" in the middle. I put mine in the fridge for about 8 minutes while I waited for my oven to come to temp.

    Bake 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your biscuits and how your oven works. For my ginormous biscuits, it took exactly 13 minutes. Tops should be brown and they will have risen a good bit when done.

    I gotta say, these are the biscuits I've been trying to make for years. I'm so freaking happy I could bust!! After all my failures I really thought I'd never, ever, be able to make good biscuits. Even though I over did it on the fat, they're far and away the best I've ever made. They certainly aren't heavy, but I think with less fat they'll rise even higher and be a bit lighter. As is though, they're really light and tender.
    foamheart likes this.
  2. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Those look good my friend!

    I use Kat's biscuit recipe and they come out perfect every time!!!  

    Nicely done.

  3. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Send me one!  Those look great!  Making me hungry!  Just need some sorghum syrup to add!

  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great lookin' biscuits Md....  Congrats on your success......
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Bill! Her recipe is next on my list. I tried but didn't get the results everyone else seemed to, but I think it was just the flour.
    Thanks Kat! The sorghum is a good idea. My brother gets it by the 55 gallon drum for his BBQ sauce, so maybe I'll snag a quart the next time I go visit.
    Thanks Dave! It was a long time coming but I'm really happy with the way they turned out. I'm thinking sausage gravy and biscuits might be on the menu tonight!
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You have some lard now to make that "oily" gravy!  LOL

  7. Those look fantastic! I use a water glass turned upside down to cut my biscuits and they come out a perfect size.
  8. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Biscuits? Sausage Sandwiches? You must be popular!

  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Those look great and Kat, you grabs us a couple a biscuits I'll get the Steens. Course since in the smoking forum some "Back" bacon or belly bacon or ham or just snything smoked ...... Maybe not fish.

    NIce looking Biscuits.

    Oh NO.... I am seeing a glazed look in his eyes.... we maybe losing him to the dark side of the oven......... Next it will be french bread baguetes, then sweet rolls, then buns for homemade sausages.......
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  10. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Alesia...I do too....when I roll mine...use a thin edged glass.

  11. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Too late.

    Rye Bread

    Sweet rolls and sandwich bread

    Sandwich bread

    Oatmeal bread

    And even the dreaded French Baguettes.

    I have even made homemade hotdog buns, but didn't get any pictures.

    The sad reality is until I can convince my wife to move out of this damned apartment into a home with some outdoor space, my smoking adventures are going to be pretty limited and most of my cooking is sadly confined to the kitchen wattburner.
    foamheart likes this.
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]   [​IMG]   [​IMG]   I bow to the master, anyone who can make rye bread that looks like that I bow in humble humility to! I have not had a decent Reuben in nearly 20 years because good moist delectable rye bread is just not obtainable. Can't even order it in, its stale before  you get it. Rye is soooo tricky to achieve....... Forget I made any recommendations..... I should have just bit my tongue and listened.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  13. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  I am bowing to the Prince of Bread!  Shamey on you...and you said you couldn't do Biscuits!  ohhhhmmmmm.......[​IMG]

  14. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh stop. I wasn't trying to brag, just pointing out that I've already been lost to the dark side of the oven. And what I didn't post was pictures of the dozens of doorstop loaves and hockey puck biscuits. I've been trying to become a decent baker for years and most of it hasn't been pretty.

    As for biscuits, today's batch was literally the first time I've ever actually been  almost completely happy with them. I'd thought I'd gotten close before, but realized today how far off I really was.
  15. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    And yes, I do realize I'm a little (lot) OCD when it comes to trying to perfect something. It makes my wife nuts. The entire year of ribs 3 times a week nearly drove her off.

  16. That alone would convince me to move out of an apartment!!! But I live in a small mobile home and I've been griping for several years now that we need a bigger HOUSE - falls on deaf ears for now. When he retires, I'll get my house, in Nebraska!!!!!
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I can make the milk gravey! So can I eat now?
  18. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The breads....and everything look amazing.  I am totally impressed!

  19. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    those are picture perfect Md!

    There's a couple Wegmans Grocery stores in the DC area, if you're near one, they carry the Lilly brand Flour.
  20. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great looking food.......... I can hold my own in a bakery, but it is hit or miss mostly with breads.

    I worked with a couple ladies over the years that would make what I call hand biscuits. They measure everything by their hands, no measuring cups or spoons...... I tried one day to measure what they put in and repeat it.......well not the same by any means..........they also would use a knife to cut the biscuits out.........when I asked why they did it that way...... They just looked and smiled and said " you want them all to be the same. If I cut circles I will have scraps and if I work them again they will be tough. Now we would not want some to get good biscuits and others get tuff biscuits would we?" I would stop asking questions because I knew if I pushed it, I would not get a fresh one out of the oven. That was in the very beginning of my career over 23 years ago when I worked in a hospital kitchen. To this day I have never had biscuits like theirs. Both ladies have passed and I have never had any biscuits that even came close to theirs. What they made IMHO is the true essence of "soul food". They put so much love into their food every day. I don't know if they rubbed off on my Grandmother or she on them, but for their generation and the relationship they had for the times, it was not common. I was blessed to experience their love for friends, family and food. I cooked for many years and did pretty well, but had no reason why I was doing it. Then when I went through some life changing events. I realized I was trying to be and cook something that I was not. I went back to cooking for the love of family, friends and bringing that fresh from the oven biscuit feeling to my guests. It is nice to play with some of the things we do at work, but my passion will always be simple comfort food made with love.

    Ok, ok, ok I will stop now. It was just when I saw the recipe, the ingredients and the cutting discussion it brought back many memories. Not many recipes have lard in them anymore.


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