What are you more likely to do, buy Rhodes Rolls to bake with dinner or make your own biscuits from scratch? Up until about 1 year ago, my answer was buy the rolls! Why not? They are fast, easy and no doubt about it…Good! But, what if you forget to get them out 2 hours before baking (that’s for the “quick method”) or dinner is in 30 minutes and there’s no time to bake them. Now what?
Time for the “perfect biscuit”. It will only take 30 minutes from start to finish and that’s being generous with time. I am telling you, here is your answer!
My chili was on the menu for dinner tonight and I was looking for something other than cornbread as the accompaniment (although my cornbread is mighty tasty, I must say) I got out my brand new stainless steel bowl ($6.99 at Orson Gygi) and began whipping up my light and fluffy biscuits (notice this bowl’s shine with no scratches!).
To begin you want to get your Mise en place (everything in place!)
This is a simple recipe with little ingredients.
2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
Add all your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to your bowl (it’s OK if it isn’t new!). Then add your shortening and begin “cutting” it into your dry ingredients. I use a pastry cutter but you can also do this with your fingers if you work quickly (don’t want to melt the shortening with the heat of your hand) – or a fork will also work, like our grandmas used to use.
Work the shortening in until it is about pea-size in the flour (a little hard to see in the picture but I assure you, it’s pea-size in there!).
Now add the milk a little at a time. You may or may not need to use all the milk depending on the day (literally). Add enough to make the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball. Too much milk will make them very sticky and hard to work with – then you’ll have to add more flour causing your biscuits to become a little tough.
Once you get your dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl, work with it just enough to incorporate the dry and wet together, dump it onto a floured counter top and begin gently kneading it – or as I do it, folding it over and over onto itself until it looks smooth and holds the shape of a ball. Work it gently and you’ll have a tender biscuit – work it too much and they’ll be tough.
Now you want to flatten it out with your hands (you could use a rolling pin but why dirty another dish for your kids to wash) until it is 1 inch thick – then, choose your biscuit cutter. I personally have a few to choose from so I line them up and make my choice (not really but for pictures I did). Do I want lots of little ones, a few giant ones or just enough for all of us to have a couple?
Today I chose the size for “just enough”!
Here’s a tip- when cutting biscuit dough, be sure to flour your cutter before each cut to prevent the cutter from pinching the edge of the biscuits as you cut. This will make it so the edges will raise to full height instead of looking like someone pinched them before baking!
Cut out all your biscuits and place them on a lined or greased cookie sheet (don’t mind the little balls of dough across the top of this picture – they are leftover dough, not biscuits gone wrong).
I only roll out the dough two times. Any more than that and the dough starts to become tough. I collect all the scraps from the first cutting and reshape them into another ball to roll out my final biscuits. From those scraps I just roll them in my hand and place them on the pan as mentioned above (or if Madison is around, she’ll play with it on the counter until she decides to eat ’em. Today she was outside playing while I was baking).
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 15 minutes or so. Watch the tops and when they get golden brown, they’re done!
Voila – light, fluffy and yummy! That’s a great little vessel for some slatherings of honey and butter. What are you waiting for?!
As for me, I am going to go scratch up my new bowl a little so it doesn’t look so new…