Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

I've posted about biscuits before, when I made Instant Biscuits. All the things I said there about biscuits apply to these, the better biscuits of the two in my opinion. They only require about another 5 minutes to make - plus, it has to be admitted, time to get the butter soft enough to work - so unless you are in a tearing hurry I suggest making these ones. I've been making them a fair bit lately as a good accompaniment to soup or salad, although they're nice for breakfast too.

I have used all kinds of flour for these and once I had a feel for the dough they have always turned out. You may need to adjust the amount of buttermilk or flour ever so slightly as you knead them, so you have a firm but workable, non-sticky dough.

If you over-work the dough, either in rubbing in the butter or by over-kneading them, they may be tough. However, if you use a soft pastry/cake flour to make them, they are less likely to toughen.

I haven't used all-purpose flour in decades; I don't do all-purpose baking so what's the point? If I'm doing yeast baking, I use hard flours and if I'm making pastry, biscuits, cakes or cookies I generally use soft flour. By the way, soft wheat is much more likely to be grown in Ontario than hard wheat, as soft wheat commands a higher price and can't be grown on the prairies. Hard wheat, unless it's spelt, Red Fife or explicitly a local and organic wheat, is almost always grown on the prairies, even when it's milled here in Ontario.

You can cut them out with a round cutter if you like. It's more traditional, but then you have scraps that have to be re-rolled and cut, and the last biscuit is guaranteed to be overworked and tough as a result. Nothing wrong with square biscuits.

It's very easy to make a recipe and a half or a double recipe of this. Keep in mind though that like all biscuits they are really only good while they are fresh.

8 biscuits
20 to 25 minutes - 10 to 15 minutes prep time

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups soft (pastry) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl. Rub or cut in the butter - I like to use my fingers - until it is in smallish grainy bits throughout the flour. However, don't overwork it; stop as soon as you are not seeing any significant lumps of butter left. The butter should be waxy in texture, not squishy or melted.

Mix in the buttermilk, until a rough dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead it - yes, really - for 20 to 30 seconds, no longer. The dough should just have time to change from a rough to a smooth ball of dough.

Pat it out into a rectangle about an inch thick, and cut it into 8 even pieces. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, well spaced out. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until firm and lightly coloured. Serve hot!

The tray of unbaked biscuits may be covered with a clean damp tea towel, and kept in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking; or, before the dough is patted out and cut, you may wrap it in waxed paper and store it in the refrigerator for up to two hours.

Last year around this time I made Lentil & Feta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Asparagus, and Sherry Stewed Rhubarb.


Joanne said...

I have some buttermilk in the fridge that needs to be used up! Perfect opportunity!

Sophie said...

Oooh,...Aaaaah,...georgous & lovely looking buttermilk biscuits!!

I like them a lot!


smilinggreenmom said...

Wonderful and healthy biscuits! I love it and can't wait to give it a try using our family's favorite whole wheat called Kamut Khorasan Wheat!! I have been looking for some good whole grain recipes to use it with so thanks!!