Saturday, October 25, 2014

Simply Special

Buttermilk Biscuits
It was the custom in the everyday routine of my grandmothers and my mother to "make bread". That, for them, was biscuits and/or cornbread (yes, every day) and occasionally dinner rolls for the Sunday table. Rather rare in the modern kitchens of today. And I really don't understand why because it takes so little time to make it right and really good compared to some instant cornbread mix or a biscuit can that's opened by abusing the edge of the countertop. 

I can remember all too well my first attempt at cornbread. I literally stood on a step-stool while mixing up the batter, because I was too short to reach the top of the counter. Being allowed to help Mama at such a young age with such an important chore, sparked my desire to learn more and to perfect each thing as I moved along. That time in the kitchen with these three women was valuable to me. First of all, I was totally enamored with the whole process of cooking and secondly, Mama was determined to make me a better cook than she was when she and Daddy married. She knew exactly zip, nada, nothing. Opening a can was stretching it for her as she recalled her first feeble attempts at cooking. Daddy was evidently patient. Actually, Mama and I learned several things together as my curiosity grew. She allowed me to experiment and grow in what I found interesting, while giving me a hand and some sound advice. A pinch of this or a pinch of that, as I recall. We worked very well together around the kitchen island.

And Mama made great biscuits by-the-way. I devised my own style and method, different from hers. But no matter what path one takes, the simple task of biscuit baking is special to anyone sitting at your table, usually with a butter knife in one hand and a jam spoon in the other. This is one of my recipes in the little cookbook I wrote for my family. As simple as biscuits are, they're equally delicious.

Buttermilk Biscuits

 2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk

I love this old bowl
A proper biscuit pan ~ Cast iron
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar to a mixing bowl. Stir to mix well and remove any lumps, should there be any. Pour the measured oil and buttermilk into a small bowl and mix well, being sure to incorporate both ingredients completely. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently while bringing the flour into the middle of the oil/buttermilk until all the flour is incorporated.

Stir together until it becomes a dough
Soft dough makes tender biscuits
Loosely scatter flour onto waxed paper
Bring the dough together and sprinkle flour on all sides
Pat out with floured fingers to create a rectangle ~ Cut into twelve biscuits
I used a floured dough scraper to cut into equal sized biscuits, or you may use a round biscuit cutter.
Note: I also employ the pinch method by flouring my hands and rolling the dough into a ball then placing it onto the pan. After all the dough is used, I flatten each one with my hand.

Place into a greased and preheated cast iron pan. I put the pan into the oven while it is preheating and add a smidgen of canola oil just before placing the biscuits into it. Bake at 375 until golden brown and delicious!
G, B and D!
 Serve to a grateful family!

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