Buttermilk Biscuits

Well, it has been quite a while since I have posted on here... since before school started back up, actually.
You can blame school for the lack of postings. Turns out, 20 hours is actually quite the load of work. Keeps me kind of busy, most of the time.

In any case, I finally had a free-ish Saturday afternoon and was making biscuits and so I thought I'd take some pictures. And, I mean, once you take pictures you really do need to post them, right? Of course right.

I have been for quite some time now trying to find a perfect biscuit recipe. I love biscuits. LOVE them. But my homemade biscuits always have left a little something to be desired.
This recipe doesn't rise enough.
This one is too dense.
This one is too bitter (that is a problem with a lot of them. The baking powder makes them bitter.)
 My sourdough starter hates me, and I forget that it exists until it is so far past "sour" that it really isn't funny.
No, it isn't.
It's nasty.
But finally, recently, I found Biscuit Utopia. Beautiful Buttermilk Biscuits. They are not bitter. They rise like little puffy pillows of biscuity goodness. They are flaky and pull-apart-and-load-with-butter-able. (that is a very important biscuit characteristic). And they are easy to make. And I'm going to show YOU how to make them!!! Aren't you lucky.

I found and adapted this recipe from http://simplyrecipes.com/ which has lots and lots of wonderful noms.

Like all good biscuity recipes, you first mix together the dry ingredients. And then you ADD BUTTER. Or margarine. Margarine is cheaper. But butter is nommier. Is nommier a word?

Then you chop that butter all to pieces with your handy dandy butter chopper.
I use my butter-chopper a lot. That's why it's all bendy.
Bendy Butter-Choppers don't work as well as you might wish them to.
I need a new non-bendy butter-chopper. 

Now, don't chop the butter into too fine of pieces. You want that butter to be in big enough chunks that those chunks can turn into flaky bits of goodness later on. Chunks about the size of... medium-size chunks.
Maybe ranging from pea-size to thumb-size. Yeah, that's about right.
Then you add buttermilk!

Now, before this recipe I had never used real cultured buttermilk before. I found this on sale at Crest for 99 cents per half-gallon and I thought I'd try it. I really like it! I think that the buttermilk might be the secret of these biscuits' extreme goodness. I read online that you can make cultured buttermilk by mixing some store-bought cultured buttermilk with some regular milk and letting it sit out for a while, so I'm going to try that and we'll see if it works. I'll let you know. If I remember...

Anyway, moving on. You mix the buttermilk in, but don't over mix it! It will be very crumbly. This is good. Too much liquid makes the flour release gluten, which makes things chewy and will make your biscuits un-flaky and tough. Don't add too much, and don't mix too much.

Now, you are going to make flakes in your biscuits. Dust the counter with flour and dump your clumpy dough on the counter. It will try to fall apart. You are going to gently corral those clumps and press them lightly together and down into a sheet of crumbly goodness about two inches high.

Now, fold (I use the term loosely... more like, flop) the dough in half, and press gently down again to the same height. Do this about three or four times, until the dough starts to stick together better. This will make flakes in your biscuits. You are about done when the dough looks like this:

Remember, you aren't kneading the dough. You are gently flaking it. On the last turn, put some flour on the top of the dough before you fold it, and press it down to half the height you have been. Then fold it for the last time and just barely press it together. This last fold will create the half-way flaky point so that when you pull apart your fresh, warm biscuits, they will fall beautifully in half and await buttery goodness and honey and jam.

Now, cut out the biscuits. Press firmly straight down on your biscuit cutter (in my kitchen, that means "drinking glass that I use to cut biscuits with"). Don't twist the cutter or you will seal the edges of your biscuits, and they won't rise to full flaky glory. Set the biscuits on an ungreased cookie tray. Don't worry if they want to fall apart in half. Just stack those halves on top of each other and pretend like they are behaving.

Bake these at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are crispy golden brown.
Use a spatula to scrape them off the pan.
Add butter. Or jam. Or both. And honey.
And eat them all.
Or share.
Your choice. 

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tb baking powder
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
8Tb butter or margarine
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the flour, baking power, sugar, and salt.
Add the butter or margarine, and cut in until crumbly.
Add buttermilk. Mix until the dough clumps.
Turn out on floured counter, and press into 2-inch high sheet.
Fold and press, repeating until dough sticks together.
Fold one last time, pressing lightly together.
Cut out biscuits, place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until tops are crispy golden brown.

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