Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Southern Biscuits, Alton Brown-style

Because the picture I posted last time made my mouth water, and because I had lots of strawberry jam and wanted to give it away to some friends with something of the baked variety, I made biscuits tonight. I found the most fantastic recipe by Alton Brown, one of my favorite Food Network celebrities. Watching Alton cook is like observing what might occur if Bill Nye the Science Guy took to experimenting in the kitchen. I love the way he uses food science to create perfectionist alpha recipes, explaining the history and culture behind each targeting dish as he goes.

These biscuits tastes exactly as a biscuit should taste, and the texture is divine- crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy inside. Paired with jam or honey, they are to die for. Note: If you use the 2-inch biscuit cutter that he suggests, you will end up with closer to 2 dozen mini-biscuits. At least I did. For medium size, try 2.5"; for large size, try 3".

With no further ado, I give you.... Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits.

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons shortening

1 cup buttermilk, chilled


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

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