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Non-Buttermilk Biscuits

August 27, 2009

So, I finally found out how long it takes buttermilk to officially go bad: just under a month after it’s sell-by date. Give or take a few days. I was going to make buttermilk biscuits for dinner, but alas, my buttermilk (sell by July 27th) was growing powdery black mold. Ick. SO, I decided to use regular milk in this lovely recipe I got off the back of my self-rising flour bag, adapted a bit:

Non-Buttermilk Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 stick, a.k.a. 1/2 cup cold butter (instead of shortening)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk (I used 2% instead of buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix dry ingredients in medium sized bowl. Cut in butter until resembles very coarse meal, with large pea-sized buttery bits. You can use a pastry blender, a pair of knives (which is rather ineffective), or your hands. If you use your hands, be sure to return the mixture to the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes afterwards. Stir in milk until dough comes together. Do not overstir. If making drop biscuits, start dropping onto ungreased baking sheet. If making cut biscuits, like I did, gently knead dough, folding only 5-6 times, then, if you’re paranoid about the butter melting, like I am, or to cut the biscuits and were dissatisfied and had to knead a little extra, return to fridge to chill for 10-15 or more minutes. Pat into oblong rectangle. Cut in half and cut again 6 times, until you have 12 biscuits. Place on baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Or 15 minutes, if when set to 450, your oven only actually heats to 415, like mine does. Serve hot with extra butter, if you’re feeling really decadent.

These biscuits were quite delicious, actually. Like a cross between Bisquick drop biscuits (crumbly and soft) and those dripping with fat Pillsbury biscuits from a can, which I would always eat by peeling off layers when I was a child and lucky enough for Mom to make some. So, crumbly and soft and a little crisp on the outside, but still in somewhat peelable layers.

We had them with jambalaya (with extra onions and the end bit of a zucchini) and some fresh mini (a.k.a. “personal size”) watermelon. Nom, nom, nom!

If you are wondering about the constant refridgeration thing in the above recipe, I have recently learned, through extensive reading of various other food blogs, that the butter needs to stay cold because that’s what makes the dough flaky and tender. The chunks of butter steam in the dough, creating pockets of air and adding to the fluffy, flaky texture of it all. If the butter is too warm, it just soaks into the dough before it bakes. And you are left with no yummy air pockets.

Ahhh… the science of baking…

Anywho, just thought I would share the deliciousness, and also the fact that today I finally bought a pastry blender. I just need to collect a candy thermometer and a few more pans (layer cake pans, muffin tin, smaller loaf pans, 8×8″ square pan in metal, etc.) and my baking collection will be complete! I’m going to try and restrain myself until Christmas, especially since I just paid a giant chunk of my savings to school and am whittling away the rest with student loan payments and textbook purchasing. : (

This weekend the boy and I are headed up to the New York State Fair (he has to work a booth for the historic site he works at) and I am actually quite excited, though I’m hoping I can convince his mom and/or dad to come along, so I won’t be wandering the fair on my own for 8 hours. I believe most of my time will be spent in the Agricultural Museum area. At least for the first day. : ) The boy’s got to work on Sunday, too.

And Tuesday? I start my first class! Wednesday night is my second one. Tuesday is Intro to Public History and Wednesday is a history reading/discussion course on the Great Depression, in particular comparing and contrasting America and the New Deal and Nazi Germany’s efforts. Should be very interesting!

Last night I played fiddle with Paul, the steel guitarist I know, at our usual Mexican restaurant hang-out, Zona Rosa. It was my last Wednesday night gig there for a while, as now I will have class. Found out that Paul is moving to Arizona in October, probably just for the winter. I’m hoping he’ll introduce me to some of the many musicians he knows in the area so I can jam with someone while he’s gone. I’ve discovered that I really, really love playing improv blues fiddle and the upbeat kind of jazzy kind, too. I also miss singing harmony. : ( I miss my Pastry Shop Girls! If they cut an album without me, I don’t think I’ll forgive them. Well, actually, I probably would forgive them, I would just be insanely jealous. Of course, who knows! Maybe I’ll cut an album before they do! : D We’ll see.

And now? Time for bed. Eyes are drooping as we speak. Must… turn off… computer…!

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