Techniques for Tall, Flakey Biscuits, and Gravy too

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Biscuits and Gravy, It is such a man thing isn’t it. So hearty, heavy and filling. I am not a southern raised gravy cookin’ expert at all, BUT, I have some helpful techniques to share, and if you want to please a hungry man in your life, read on.

This post has been in my drafts for two years as I didn’t know if it was interesting to anyone. However after teaching these recipe tips several times to young 4-Hers, teenagers at a retreat, and a group of mom’s, I was surprised how many had not even made baking powder biscuits before, let alone flat ones. So perhaps it may be something worth sharing…
The biscuit recipe and technique came from The Kitchen Door, but you can use whatever baking powder biscuit recipe you like as the secret is all in how you roll them out.
I use half whole wheat flour and they still turned out tall…but using all white flour, you will have the tallest, flakiest biscuits ever.

Best Ever Baking Powder Biscuits

Preheat oven to 450,  Yields 8  (hmm, eight? Yes I double this)

The Ingredients

2 cups flour
1TBS baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
¾ cup cold milk (preferably whole) plus extra for brushing

The Instructions

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Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Drop cold butter in flour mixture. With your fingertips or a pastry blender, work in butter until pea sized lumps are formed in the dough. Do this as quickly as possible so the butter doesn’t get too warm. (Using a food processed is definitely faster, so I resort to that often, but the butter bits become too small, dough is tougher, and much less flakey. Stick with your hands if you have the patience!)

Add milk, pouring evenly across the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a couple times until you have a smooth ball. Less is best.

Now for the rolling-out part. This is what gives the biscuits their flaky layers

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With a lightly floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll your ball of dough into a rectangle, aim for 6″ x 11″,  thickness does not matter this first time.

Preciseness is not my thing here as you can see.

Turn the rectangle around so you’re standing parallel to the long end. Fold the short ends of the rectangle in toward the middle.

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Now take the folded rectangle and fold the whole thing in half. (You can fold more than this if you like, the point is you are folding in air that will make them rise higher by adding layers.)
Roll that dough out gently into a rectangle again, but closer to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick this time, then cut out the biscuits.

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Be sure to use a nice sharp biscuit cutter here and not the top of a glass as some recipes suggest. When you cut your biscuit, dip your cutter into flour and press STRAIGHT down into the dough. Do not twist the cutter or a lot of your flakiness  (i.e. air) will go away.
Re-roll scraps of dough the same way and cut again.

Arrange in a pie plate, placed closely together. (THAT’S the part I forgot in this picture) Brush the tops with a bit of milk, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the insides aren’t doughy.

If you could care less about tall biscuits and are in a hurry, feel free to just drop the dough on the baking sheet.

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Personally I am completely content with just a warm buttered biscuit dripping with honey or with homemade jam, BUT, to keep the hungry males in our home full and content, how about some gravy to go with those.

Gravy with Meat, a How To

This is based on technique, not measurements.

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Start by browning sausage and spices of your choice.
I used Italian pork sausage, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Next time I would add red pepper flakes to spice things up more, but seasoning with just salt and pepper work well too.

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No need to remove the meat. Permission granted. Sprinkle flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) directly on the browned sausage, stir and cook for 1 minute to cook out the “flour” taste. (You can always add more fat in the form of butter or bacon grease for even more flavor)

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Add milk (1 to 2 cups to start with), salt and pepper and maybe any other herbs you like. Remember to taste before you get too salt happy. The milk makes the mixture runny at first, but thickens as it cooks, so wait while before you adjust with more milk or flour for your desired texture.

More hungry customers showing up at your table? No problem, just add more flour and more milk.

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Serve on those biscuits at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (And apparently with even more meat on the side if feeding my boys.)

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3 responses to “Techniques for Tall, Flakey Biscuits, and Gravy too

  1. Hi, Sherry. Don’t give up your blog!! I would read it overtime if I received notification of a new post. Is there a way I can set that us–or that you can? I love what you write. I was deleting some email when I noticed that Dianne had forwarded your blog to me (two years ago–that’s how bad I am about deleting email) about your Moonie, who had just died. I reread that one and then was lured into reading about high, flakey biscuits! You have a special way of communicating. I love to read your “stuff.” Love you. Cassie

  2. Since I’ve only posted twice this year, I think I needed your encouragement Cassie! Thanks for that. Yes, IF (I mean “when”) I finally post, you could recieve an e-mail of it, if on the left side of the blog you type your e-mail for notifications…let me know if it’s not there (mine says “you are following this blog” so I’m not sure if it’s set up correctly). Love that you actually read it…besides my mom 🙂 Enjoy SUMMER!

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