Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RECIPE: Dutch Oven Biscuits (Old Fashion Buttermilk)


Old Fashion Buttermilk Biscuits

Submitted by: Rick Beach


Ingredients
3 Cups   Flour
3 tsp      Baking Powder
1 tsp      Salt
3/4 tsp   Soda
1/2 Cup  Butter (Real butter) (One Stick) (Shaved then frozen or kept very cold)
1 1/2 to 2 Cup Buttermilk (Very Cold) (Start with 1 1/2 Cups)

We suggest not substituting the Buttermilk with regular milk adding lemon juice or vinegar until you have mastered producing fluffy biscuits with this recipe.  If yours seem dry or clunky increase the Buttermilk slightly until you know the perfect mix for your area and oven.

There is a definite knack to baking light and fluffy biscuits.  A couple of secrets to good biscuits is very cold Butter and Buttermilk, not mixing the dough much, and folding and patting the dough several times. 

Properly mixed biscuit dough almost looks like it hasn't been mixed all the way. The other secret is a very moist mix.

Never use an electric mixer or dough machine when mixing up biscuits. Use a fork, and use it as little as possible. 

Also old stale Baking Powder (opened and on the shelf for awhile) looses its ability to create the bubbles required to raise good light biscuits.  Pitch the old stuff and use fresh.

Mix your dry ingredients together with a wire whisk. 

Shave the cold butter with a potato peeler or other type of cutter.  Then stick it in the freezer while prepping.  When cold or frozen, break up the shavings. Keep very cold until ready to mix in.

Then stir in the cold shaved butter into the mixed dry ingredients.  Alternatively to shaving the butter, you can "cut" it into the dry ingredients using a tool made for that, or two knives.  All pieces should be pea size or less. 

The buttermilk in this recipe is part of the leavening (makes the bubbles) The acidity of the Buttermilk reacts with the Baking Powder & Soda.  Don't substitute the buttermilk with something else for this ingredient if you are new to making biscuits.

If you don't have buttermilk on hand I suggest you use a different recipe known to work with the ingredients you have.  In a pinch, lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar can be added to regular milk.  The acid in vinegar or the citrus juice sours the milk and works as the leavening with the baking powder and soda.  Stir the milk and vinegar/juice together and allow it to sit a few minutes before adding it to the dry ingredients.  But know the formula.  I recommend Buttermilk if you want killer biscuits.  But I often use a concoction of regular milk, sour cream, feta cheese and lemon juice in place of buttermilk.  It depends on what is in the fridge. Start experimenting after you master getting fluffy biscuits that raise well.


The dough should be sticky.  Probably more sticky than you think.  Mixing the ingredients too much, or too dry is the killer of soft and fluffy biscuits.   Plop the sticky dough out on an extremely well floured bread board.

Flour your hands.  Don't roll dough out, but pat or gently flatten with your well floured hands (about 1 1/2 inch thick.  Fold the dough in half over on itself and gently pat the dough to 1 1/2 inch thick.  Repeat the fold and pat two more times.

Cut biscuit rounds and place them on a baking sheet or in a Dutch Oven.  Cover with a towel and let the biscuits rest for 10 to 15 minutes before putting them in the oven, or putting the heat to the Dutch Oven.  Biscuits placed next to each other will rise much higher than those placed with gaps between them.  The closely placed biscuits will also be much more moist when done.

Prep
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  (Dutch Oven Coals for 400°F-Don't pre-heat the Dutch Oven)

Stir dry ingredients together.  Whisk or sift
Cut in Butter (broken up frozen shavings)
Mix in the first 1 1/2 cup of Buttermilk gently (Do not over mix) using a fork. If dry add more in small amounts until dough is almost too sticky to handle (flour your hands)

Dough Mixture should be almost sticky and mixed so little it looks roughly combined.  Don't keep mixing
Turn out on floured board and pat gently to 1 1/2 inch thick (Do not roll or pound down with hands)
Fold dough over and pat to 1 1/2 inches thick, three times.
Cut rounds with biscuit cutter or top of a small drinking glass, can, etc.
Place rounds on cookie sheet or into the bottom of the Dutch Oven up against one another

Bake
Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on top in your Kitchen Oven
Bake 14-18 minutes in a covered Dutch Oven (Coals for 400°F)
It is assumed you know proper coal/heat techniques for Dutch Oven baking
Click this link if you need help with Dutch Oven Coal counting? We prefer the 3 uppy-down rule! 

Serve hot with butter, jam, gravy, etc.

Makes 12-16





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