My co-worker, Sharon, is a former bakery owner and therefore kindly allows me to ramble on about what I’ve baked, what I want to bake, and what I think about what I want to bake. About two weeks ago, as we stumbled onto the street desperate search of our morning coffee, I was rambling on about the cinnamon buns that I’d just made. Sharon asked where I’d gotten the recipe, and here’s how the conversation went:
me: “From this cookbook I’ve got by Peter Reinh-”
Sharon: “ohmygod!!ilovelovelovehime!haveyouhadhisbuttermilkbiscuits?! they’reAMAZING!I’llbringyoutherecipeyouhavetomakethem!”
(that’s “oh my god, I love love love him, have you had his buttermilk biscuits? They’re amazing! I’ll bring you the recipe, you have to make them!”)
Well, then. Biscuit challenge accepted!
It actually took me a week or so to get around to making the biscuits, because the recipe itself looks long so I thought they’d be complicated. Turns out the directions are detailed, but are definitely not difficult. A few tips to keep in mind, per Peter:
– the buttermilk should be cold to help keep the butter firm
– the folding process is done to create the dozens of layers that enhance the flakiness of the biscuits
– Peter recommends cutting the biscuits with a knife (rather than a biscuit or cookie cutter) simply because it omits having leftover scraps that need to be re-rolled
– the dough is repeatedly chilled to allow the gluten to rise, assuring a better and more even rise
And with that – enough chatting, let’s go!
Sift dry ingredients and cut up the butter (Peter is very specific about the size of the butter chunks – here’s how mine were cut)
Rub the butter into the flour
Add the buttermilk, and stir. The dough is pretty wet
Dust your countertop with flour (Peter says to do it lightly, but I needed a heavier coat of flour because the dough was so wet), dump out the dough, flour it, and roll out (check out the big fat chunks of butter!)
Fold into thirds, like an envelope. It was pretty messy the first time I folded
Turn, flour, and roll out again (neater this time!)
And fold again
Cover, and let rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. After that, roll out again
Cut, place on parchment, and back into the fridge for 20 minutes
Bake at 12-15 minutes (mine actually took about 20, but I’d left them in the fridge during the second rise for over an hour, so they were extra cold).
(as an aside – we ate these with nearly fat-free vegetarian vegetable soup… something had to balance out all that butter)
Blitz Buttermilk Biscuits
by Peter Reinhart, from Crust and Crumb
3 ½ cups (16 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (.25 ounces) salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounces) baking powder
¼ teaspoon (.08 ounces) baking soda
1 ½ cup (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, cold
1. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together into a mixing bowl
2. Use a knife or pastry cutter to chop the butter into pieces about the diameter of a quarter. Toss them into the flour and mix with your hands, lightly rubbing the flour and butter into each other between your fingers (do not let your fingertips rub against each other of the friction will melt the butter). Work the dough just until the butter pieces are down to the diameter of dimes and are coated by the flour mixture.
3. Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture just until all the ingredients are gathered and form a dough ball.
4. Lind a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust the work surface with flour, and roll the dough in it. Dust counter again and roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle at is ¾ inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or scraper, peel the dough up from the counter and fold it, like a letter, into thirds. Give it a one-quarter turn. Flour the counter and the top of the dough, and roll it out again ¾ inch thick. Pell it up again and fold it into thirds.
5. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Cover it with plastic wrap or enclose the pan in a plastic gag, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
6. Remove the dough and roll it out again ¾ inch thick. Fold it in thirds, give it a one-quarter turn, and roll it out one final time, again ¾ inch thick.
7. Use a knife to cut the dough into 2 by 2 by 2 triangular pieces, or use a cookie or biscuit butter and cut the dough into rounds.
8. Place the cut biscuits about 1 inch apart on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover them and refrigerate them for at least 20 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 500°. Brush the tops f the biscuits with melted butter or buttermilk. Place them in the oven and reduce the heat to 375°.
10. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes, or till they are lightly browned and golden all around (not white or cream, or the inside will be dough). Allow them to cool for 5 minutes, and serve while still warm.
March 31, 2012
This entry was posted in baking, breads, brunch and tagged baking, butter, flour.