Friday, February 19, 2010

The Five Most Common Mistakes That People Make With Biscuits

What are the five most common mistakes that people make with biscuits?

Patting the dough too thin.
Everyone loves big tall, flaky biscuits. The dough should be about 3/4-inch thick. The biscuits should double in height.

Handling the dough too much.
Gently form a dough ball handling no more than necessary. Kneading will develop the gluten and you'll have "hockey pucks" for biscuits.

Letting the butter get too warm.
tart with ice cold butter, work quickly, and don't let the butter melt. If it melts, it will soak into the flour and ruin the texture.

Not getting the oven hot enough.
The hot oven quickly turns the water to steam and creates flaky layered biscuits. Give your oven an extra five minutes to warm up and don't rely simply on the temperature register.

Making too dry of dough.
You want the dough as wet as you can handle, even a little sticky. A wet dough rises easier.

Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons Watkins Baking Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
1 1/3 cup fresh buttermilk or reconstituted from buttermilk powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse pieces.

Add the buttermilk and stir the mixture with a fork until most of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Turn the ingredients onto the counter and knead and fold until the dough is formed. Do not knead longer than necessary.

Roll or pat the dough to about 3/4-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased baking sheet with the edges touching.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are just golden brown and biscuits sound hollow when gently tapped. Serve warm. Yield: 15 large biscuits

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups/500 mL sifted all-purpose flour
1 tbsp/15 mL Watkins Baking Powder
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL salt
5 tbsp/75 mL cold butter
3/4 cup/180 mL milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and cut into dry ingredients with two knives or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in center and gradually add milk, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead lightly for 30 seconds. Roll out 1/2 to 3/4-inch/1 to 2-cm thick. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter. Arrange on greased baking sheet. Bake at 450ºF/235ºC for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 12 biscuits, one per serving.


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