Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Best Biscuits


I'm not making this up these are the best biscuits I have ever made. Plus, this is my favorite part of this recipe, I didn't have to struggle to cut in the butter. These biscuits had the best flavor of any biscuit I've ever made and they were so flaky. The recipe isn't hard and I promise you its worth the little effort required to make these. If all you've ever made are canned biscuits your in for a big treat. The recipe calls for vinegar and cream, both of which I did not have on hand. I used buttermilk when I made these biscuits as such I'm listing the buttermilk. If you'd like to try it with the vinegar and cream let me know and I'll post the amounts.

Best Biscuits
Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 oz) frozen unsalted butter (needs to be in the freezer for at least 30 minutes)
1 cup (4.5 oz) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (3.5 oz) pastry flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon (.5 oz) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ((.5 oz) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (.13 oz) salt or 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

Place a cheese grater over the bowl of dry ingredients. Remove butter from freezer, unwrap it, and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients.

Use your fingertips to separate and distribute the butter pieces evenly, breaking up any clumps but not working the butter so much it disappears or melts into the flour. Add the buttermilk and stir with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. Add a tiny bit more buttermilk if necessary to bring the dough together.

Transfer the dough to a generously floured surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use your palms to press the dough into a rectangle or square about 3/4 inch thick. Use a metal pastry scraper to lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well, then roll it out into a rectangle or square about 1/2 inch thick. Then, using the pastry scraper to help lift the dough, fold it over on itself into three sections as if folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top with flour as well, the once again roll it out into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat procedure again. Then, repeat one final time (four roll outs in all).

After the fourth rolling, dust under and on top of the dough one more time, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2 inch thick, in either a rectangle or an oval. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.

Cut the biscuits with a floured pizza cutter. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased sheet pan (lined with parchment paper) placing them about 1/2 inch apart.

Let the biscuits rest for 15-30 minutes before baking. Even better, place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Transfer the biscuits to the oven and lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees, or 425 for a convection oven. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6-10 minutes. until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuit are a rich golden brown. The bake time will be shorter in a convection oven. The biscuits should rise about 1 1/2 times in height.

Place the pan on a wire rack, leaving the biscuits to cool on the hot pan for at least 3 minutes before serving. The biscuits will stay warm for about 20 minutes.

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4 comments:

  1. This is the second post I've seen from PR's book...the other was pretzels. I'm hooked! Love a good biscuit any day...

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  2. I've never heard of grating frozen butter into the dough. I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing. I need as much help as I can get making biscuits! Mine never turn out right twice in a row!

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  3. What a great recipe! Homemade biscuits are my favorite. I can't wait to try it.

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