Thursday, July 8, 2010

Southern Biscuits

I used to think you had to make biscuits using Bisquick. That or a Jiffy mix. What did I know? Bisquick comes in handy for a lot of things, especially when camping, but good biscuits it does not make. Biscuits have been on my mind. So, I did a little research and found several interesting recipes (and food blogs). I enjoyed the biscuit making post at Mommy's Kitchen so much, I thought I'd take pictures of my own biscuit adventure.
I settled on Alton Brown's recipe from the food network. It had less fat than other recipes I read and my experience with Mom's secret chocolate-chip cookie recipe tells me that shortening is a good thing. Buttermilk, a mystery to me, is involved, so surely they would come out like those I'd eaten at Cracker Barrell right?

Flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, butter, shortening and buttermilk, the post at Mommy's Kitchen describes making your own buttermilk with lemon juice and vinegar as well as making your own self rising flour. Good to know.

After mixing the dough by fork and fingers, I turned it out onto the floured counter to fold and knead. I cut the buscuits with a glass and baked them, touching, on parchment paper. I surprised by the oven temperature the recipe calls for: 450°. I baked them early 4th of July morning, so the house didn't heat up too much. It reminded me of a scene from a book Mom was telling me about.
Mom's recently read A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith, an award-winning, historical novel about the MacIvey family's journey from Florida pioneers to real estate tycoons. In the book, one of the wives describes cooking over an open fire in the pre-dawn hours. Mom said the pioneer women would get up near 4 a.m., cook everything for the day, and leave it on the table covered only by the pulled up corners of the table cloth. Can you imagine?I can't wait to read the book--it's going to be my treat for vacation! I wonder if Patrick Smith does classroom visits. Hmmm... There's nothing like a pioneer story to make you realize you live in the lap of luxury. Sometimes I'm convinced that the dreams of pioneer women--dreams of plucked chickens or prepared foods--led to grocery stores. Can you imagine cooking over a fire in the Florida summer? No can do.
My oven-baked biscuits came out well. I wanted them to rise higher and I suppose in order to get them to do that, I should have chilled my ingredients. They weren't quite the Cracker Barrell flaky melt-in-your-mouthness I was looking for, but they were good, delicious even. I put the pictures together with Photo Story 3 below: