Tuesday, September 29, 2009

104. Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit Topping

Date Cooked: September 26, 2009
Page: 352
Rating: C

I’ll preface this post by saying that this was a component to another recipe which I will post next. So while this was my second attempt at a biscuit recipe, the first was the peach cobbler, I have yet to make biscuits. For those that follow my blog and feel that I am not making enough mistakes to be humorous anymore, well then you will be very pleased with this post, much to my misfortune.

Let’s start with the briefest history of biscuits. The word itself means twice cooked in French (‘bis’ = twice, ‘cuit’ = cook), and shares commonality with biscotti (Italian for twice cooked). The original biscuits were dense and hard and well suited to storage and travel. In fact, they were a staple food for sailors as they would keep for long durations. The lighter, fluffier biscuit we are familiar with in North America originated in the south. That’s it for your history lesson, don’t worry, no quiz will be given.

Now for the failure because it starts early. I was excited to cook this fine Saturday afternoon. We had made a meal plan for the week and were pretty good about sticking to it, but due to last minute changes in plans (we finally went and saw Julie & Julia) I didn’t cook this on Thursday as planned. Since I had everything already purchased and ample time to cook I figured I would dive in. Before diving, always ensure there is water in the pool.

With all the ingredients in place I got to work. The dry ingredients were added to the food processor. This consisted of all-purpose flour, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Didn’t take me long to mess this up. I added twice as much salt as I should have and only half the required amount of sugar because of my undiagnosed illiteracy. I got the sugar and salt quantities mixed up. The sugar was an easy fix of course but the salt not so much. With thoughts of my blog in my mind I began to carefully scoop the salt from the flour (I hadn’t mixed everything yet so this seemed almost like something that could be done), I gave up and decided to accept the failure and continue, I mean it wasn’t that much more salt. If only the salt was the worst of my problems.

I pulsed the dry ingredients together before cutting in the cold butter. I took some advice and covered the bowl with plastic wrap and this worked great. It kept the mess in the bowl, instead of all over the counter. I moved the contents of the food processor to a mixing bowl to which I added the buttermilk. I began carefully mixing with a fork but the dough would not come together! It remained soupy and I was getting a little frustrated. I started adding flour a tablespoon at a time and kept mixing. At this point I figured the dough, if it ever formed something cohesive enough to roll out would be tough. The gluten formation must be approaching the durability of wood. Around the addition of the third tablespoon of flour it dawned on me my failure. I might have a short-term memory issue. When measuring out the flour, of which I needed 1 cup of each type, I used a ½ cup dry measuring cup because it fit my containers better. I used it knowing I needed 2 scoops of each flour type. My debilitating brain disorder caused me to immediately forget this and I used only one scoop. Wow, that definitely explains my moist dough. I added the required amount of flour (minus the 3 tablespoons I had already mixed in) and proceed to knead it into a ball of dough. I knew this was set for failure.

Well the next step was to roll out the dough. I decided to try a trick I read somewhere recently. I don’t remember where and I am racking my brains trying to think of it. Oh, I remember, Derrick at BGB Challenge, a new addition to the CTB world. Placing the dough between two sheets of wax paper I rolled it out. This was truly an easy way to do it. Once rolled out enough, I removed the top sheet of wax paper (a little bit stuck but nothing major) and flipped it onto a lightly floured baking sheet. I removed the remaining sheet of wax paper and put the dough in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.

When it was time to use the dough I removed it from the fridge and cut it into pieces with a sharp knife, since I did not have and sharp pastry cutters. The book warns against using the lip of a cup since it pinches the dough and does not allow the edges to rise nicely. A nice sharp cut is recommended. I figured at this point my overly handled dough was going to need every trick possible to turn into something decent. I laid them over the chicken pot pie and everything went into the oven.

Rating: C. This rating reflects my execution of the recipe. While the dough barely rose when cooked it did taste great. I figure I still need some work on making dough. This event reminded me of my biscotti attempt.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out. The wax paper thing is a trick I learned from my Mom. Her crusts always turn out intimidatingly great and that's why it took me as long as it did to try my shot at a pie. But yeah, her two big tips were to use the wax paper and keep everything cold.


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