Crave: The art of biscuit making
photo by: Brent Hofacker/Mother Earth News
Whether you’re dreaming of a delicious breakfast, lunch, or supper–or even an afternoon snack–we have just the thing. Easy to prepare, and oh-so-good fresh from the oven, biscuits go great with butter and jelly, honey, or topped with country gravy. When your stomach starts rumbling midday, satisfy your hunger with a flour tortilla topped with ham and cheese, or head south of the border with Mexican toppings. For supper, mix up a batch of dumplings or noodles to go along with soup or broth; your family will love it.
Cheese Roll Biscuits
These little rolls are much more than biscuits. Bread flour gives them a chewy texture and crisp crust, and the addition of cheese and buttermilk introduces extra protein and makes for a satisfying side dish or snack. Make them with Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese for a brunch or potluck. Yields 2 dozen.
1⁄4 cup lard, cold and coarsely chopped, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated cheese of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheet with lard; set aside.
2. In large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Using pastry blender, cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk, and mix lightly with fork.
3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and knead lightly. With floured rolling pin, roll out to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Sprinkle cheese evenly over dough.
4. Roll dough up, jellyroll style, and then cut into 3⁄4-inch-thick slices. Place, cut-side down, 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
Grandma’s Homemade Biscuits
These biscuits are as authentic as they come, from a time when lard from the family’s hog and milk from the backyard cow were common fare. The dough can be rolled and cut with a biscuit cutter, or dropped from a spoon. Make these for a big family supper, because they are best when eaten fresh from the oven. Yields 1 dozen.
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lard, cold and coarsely chopped, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease baking sheet with lard; set aside.
2. In large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk, and stir to form ball.
3. If cutting biscuits, sprinkle remaining flour on sheet of wax paper, turn dough mixture onto it, knead for 5 minutes, roll out dough to 1-inch thickness, cut with biscuit cutter, and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. If making drop biscuits, drop dough onto baking sheet using large spoon, and pat down gently. Brush tops with melted butter.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.