The Southern Biscuit Demistyfied

A Three Week Series with a new biscuit recipe and a gravy recipe each week.  If you're really good, week three will include a Cocktail recipe that's delish!

  The Southern Biscuit

The Southern Biscuit

 
 

It all started when…

Perched on the side of the kitchen counter as a young boy I recall the joy of helping my Grandmother make biscuits. Ahhhh, I can still remember making one "special biscuit" out of the remaining dough, although I always made sure there was just a bit of dough left over to eat for myself. It's true, I was one of the fortunate ones. Not only did my sweet Grandmother (Nannie) cook farm to table Southern Appalachian delicacies that left a proper "food baby" sticking out the bottom of your shirt, she left you wishing you could eat just one more helping.

  Cornbread and a cold glass of milk.

Cornbread and a cold glass of milk.

Typically, both biscuits and cast iron skillet cornbread graced the table, which meant your choice of sorghum syrup, blackstrap molasses, or honey. In dire straits, Karo mixed with a pad of butter did the trick. Speaking of doing the trick, I'm quite sure all Southern Highlanders are aware of the sour stomach elixir known as cornbread in a cold glass of milk. 

I still make biscuits and cornbread form my wife and sons when the boys are in town visiting because some comfort foods are a necessity for family gatherings. But here's the rub - I often hear how difficult it is to make biscuits, and that's a shame. After a goodly bit of thought, I decided to share the essentials of what I learned so long ago. I hope you enjoy these recipes and please, let me know if you did!  

Top Tips: 

ONLY  use whole buttermilk. The ingredients should list nothing other than whole milk, culture, and salt.
It DOES make a difference what type of flour you use. And there is some science behind why some flour is lighter than others and, thus, better suited for items like biscuits and cakes. Basically, you want flour with a low protein content. I recommend White Lilley or Our Best self-rising flour (Boonville Flour & Fee Mill in Boonville, NC).

 

WEEK THREE

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Lisa Marie's

Buttermilk & Honey Biscuit

  THESE BISCUITS ARE FLAKY ON THE OUTSIDE AND LIGHT AND FLUFFY ON THE INSIDE.  

THESE BISCUITS ARE FLAKY ON THE OUTSIDE AND LIGHT AND FLUFFY ON THE INSIDE. 

INGREDIENTS:

3.5 cups Caputo pasta flour

1 3/4 cups butter (cold)

1 1/2 Tablespoons sea salt

2 Tablespoons + 1teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 Tablespoons honey

3 1/4 cups buttermilk

 

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add all dry ingredient to a large bowl an whisk together until combined.

Grate cold butter and add to dry mixture. Now combine with hands until thoroughly mixed throughout. 

Add buttermilk to mixture and combine until you get that shaggy mass. 

Dump bowl of ingredients out onto floured counter - press mass together - fold into a rectangle measuring 12 inches by 8 inches. Fold the top of the rectangle halfway toward the middle; fold the bottom of the rectangle on top. Flip. Do this three times. 

Cut into squares of desired size. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, and the middle has set - around 30 minutes. 

 

Macerated Berries

 Macerated Berries

Macerated Berries

Macerating: The process of soaking fruit in liquid and sugar to soften it and release its juices is called maceration. Macerating is similar to marinating-the fruits (in this case berries) absorb the flavors of the liquid as they soak and soften.

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Mixed Berries (such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)

Gin - You decide!

Sugar - Your taste!

A squeeze of Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice

 

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Hull and slice strawberries, if using; place in a medium bowl. Slicing bigger berries speeds up maceration-liquids will release faster. 

Add remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes or until mixture is syrupy, gently stirring occasionally. Sugar, lemon or lime juice, and gin soften and preserve the berries while extracting their natural juices to become a syrupy sauce. 

While this recipe uses gin and lime juice, you can play around: acidity from balsamic vinegar, red or white wine, and lemon are a few ingredients that will lend flavor while softening. Liquors like bourbon, vodka brandy, and rum will also act as a light preservative while imparting their essence. 

Other useful flavorful ingredients include vanilla bean, jalapeno, basil, lemon thyme, fresh ginger, and whole cloves. Play around to find a combination and balance to your own taste.

If desired, refrigerate and continue to macerate for up to 4 hours.

 

BONUS COCKTAIL: GREYHOUND

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INGREDIENTS:

1 (1.5 ounces) Jigger Gin

5 Fluid Ounces of Grapefruit Juice

1/2 Cup Ice

 

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Combine gin and grapefruit juice in a highball glass.

Add ice and stir well.

 

WEEK TWO

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Shirley Corriher's

Touch of Grace Buiscuits

  Touch of Grace Biscuits

Touch of Grace Biscuits

 

INGREDIENTS: 

Butter for greasing

2 cups (9 ounces) spooned and leveled self-rising flour (preferably low protein Southern U.S. flour see Top Tips above)

1/4 cup sugar (or less, if you prefer your biscuits less sweet)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

2/3 cups heavy cream

1 cup buttermilk or enough for the dough to resemble cottage cheese (if you are not using low-protein flour, it will take more than 1 cup)

1 cup plain all-purpose flour, for shaping

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing

 

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream, then some of the buttermilk until dough resembles wet cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess -- not soup, but cottage-cheese texture. If you are not using a low-protein flour, this may take considerably more than 1 cup of buttermilk. 

Spread the plain all-purpose flour (not self-rising) out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium (about 2 inches, #30) ice cream scoop or spoon, place three or four scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hand. Turn dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as your work. Place this biscuit in the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball in the same way and place each shaped biscuit scrunched up against its neighbor so that the biscuits rise up and don't spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all dough is used.

Place the pan on the arranged shelf in the oven. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with the melted butter. Invert onto one plate, then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Seve immediately. "Butter'em while they're hot."

 

 

 

Chocolate Gravy

INGREDIENTS:

1 Pound of 67% Cacao Chocolate

1 Cup of Granulated Sugar

1 Quart of Heavy Cream

2 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt

 

  Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate Gravy

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Heat heavy cream ove medium-low heat to simmer. 

Add sugar, chocolate, and salt to the cream.

Cook, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes until chocolate melts and mixture has a gravy consistency. 

by Scott Haire August 01, 2018

 

 

WEEK ONE

Buttermilk Biscuits


INGREDIENTS:

3 Cups self-rising flour

1.5 Cups high-quality whole buttermilk

Melted butter for topping

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Mix by moving your open hand along the side of the bowl, folding the flour into the buttermilk but taking care not to overwork the dough. 

Once it's a shaggy mass, turn it out onto a floured surface and fold it until it comes together. Make one last fold and then punch out rounds using a biscuit cutter or a glass. 

Grease a baking sheet with butter or coat a non-stick cooking spray and place the biscuits on top, almost touching. As they rise, they'll be walls that encourage the biscuits to grow upward, not out. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter, sprinkle on salt, and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, brush with more butter, and serve immediately. 

 
 

Sausage Gravy (aka. Homerun Gravy)

INGREDIENTS:

1 Pound of your favorite sausage

1/3 Cup of flour, All-Purpose Flour

3 Cups of Half and Half

METHOD OF PREPARATION

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Place your favorite sausage in a 10-inch skillet. I like locally made country sausage such as Nantahala Sausage (with sage in the winter).

Cook and crumble pork until cooked through over medium heat. 

Add flour and stir cooking for 4 minutes.

Add half and half, and bring to boil stirring often.

 

by Scott Haire July 23, 2018