Monday, November 13, 2017

RV Kitchen: Thirty Minute Biscuits!

Let's talk biscuits! 
We're eating a lot of stew and chili to stay warm, and that means biscuits. I just spoke to somebody who confessed her biscuits never, ever turn out right. I shared the secret of great biscuits with her, and I thought I'd share that secret, along with my 30-minute-start-to-finish-never-fail biscuit recipe. And if you're wondering, yes, she now makes great biscuits. 
First, you need to turn on your oven. You absolutely must have a hot oven.  Most recipes call for an oven that is 450 degrees, but I find most ovens run hot and 425 degrees works better.  

Ingredients are super simple. You only need six and one ingredient is water (does water even count as an ingredient?):

 2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of almond/whole milk

Secret One. I strongly recommend using cheap flour for biscuits, instead of a name brand. The cheap flour brand at the grocery store is almost always milled just down the road. (flour will have the location of the mill printed somewhere on the bag). Locally milled flour will be fresher and fluffier, and give you better results. There is a super cheap brand here in Louisville that's milled a few hours away in Tennessee and it's wonderfully light, fresh, and fluffy.
Secret Two. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk while counting to 60.  We need to introduce air and break up any flour clumps. 

Secret Three. Once the flour is whisked, you will cut in one stick of butter. But more importantly, you need to know why you are cutting in butter. When each little bit of butter melts in the oven, it will create a pocket of air in the biscuit. This is what makes the biscuit flaky, and helps it rise correctly.

There is a lot of ways to cut in butter. Some people use a pastry cutter, and others use a food processor. I'm too lazy to drag out equipment, so I just use two butter knives and keep cutting the flour again and again,until it is the size of peas. Make sure to take a minute once the butter is in teeny, tiny pieces and double-check for any too big bits you might've missed.
Secret Four.  I have no idea why this works, but it does. I learned this from a friend's grandma and it's THE secret to making the best biscuits. Once the butter is cut in, you need to make a volcano. Heap the butter-flour mix into a mountain in your bowl, then make a hole in the top.
Now mix the milk and the water together. Pour about a third of the milk/water into the hole you just made, and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep adding a little bit more milk/water until the batter is just sticky. You will not use all the milk/water, and you don't want to overmix, because that could break down the butter pieces. (You can see how much milk/water I had left over in the above picture)

Using a tablespoon, drop the biscuits onto a cookie sheet (just like you would if you were making drop cookies).  This recipe makes 12 regular biscuits or 16 small biscuits. Cook for 15 minutes until the tops turn golden brown. Eat!

Variation: If you'd rather have garlic cheddar biscuits, just add a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, after stirring in the milk.

RV trick: Since there is only two of us, we typically bake 4 to 6 biscuits in the toaster oven, and tuck the rest of the mix into the fridge (we put it in a ziplock baggie to save room in our tiny teeny fridge). It will keep fup to a week - just let the mix warm up a little before cooking the next batch of biscuits.


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