The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Powder Biscuits

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Baking Powder Biscuits

Let's face it: you can look at a Google's worth of Baking Powder Biscuit recipes, and with the exception of small variations in flour, shortening, and liquid ratios they are pretty much carbon copies of each other.

Here's the one I've finally settled on after baking a few hundred buttermilk biscuits with small tweaks in the flour: shortening ratio.

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Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

480g             All-purpose flour (4 cups)

4 tsp            Baking Powder

½ tsp             Baking Soda

2 tsp            salt (10g)

85g            Unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

85g            Lard*, chilled and cubed

1-½ cup Buttermilk (368g)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F/218°C.

Combine dry ingredients and wisk to distribute evenly.

Using a pastry cutter, or two table-knives cut in chilled butter and lard until shortening is reduced to pea size and smaller.

Add buttermilk and combine just until dough forms a rough ball. Let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes to hydrate the flour.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Fold dough, gently, 4 or 5 times and  roll dough ¾ to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits, without twisting cutter. Place dough rounds on a parchment-paper lined sheet pan. Reshape dough scraps as necessary to complete.

Bake** for 18 – 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Makes 12 to 14, 2-5/8 inch diameter, dough rounds.

* Leaf lard is preferred, but natural lard can be substituted. Commercial hydrogenated lard can also be used, but substituting with all butter shortening may be a preferred choice.

**Some convection ovens dry out baked goods unevenly (baguette loaves, and rolls especially).  If you’ve experienced uneven oven spring when baking multiple, lengthy, or distributed rolls baking in “Convection” mode, consider using conventional “Bake” mode alternately.

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My primary purpose for writing this post is to defend a much maligned fat: Lard. The 50/50 mix of butter and lard yields bicuits with a balanced buttery, wheaty flavor and surface crispness that survived freezing. I've recently acquired 2 kg of leaf lard. I generally reserve this extraordinary shortening for pastry doughs and shortbread cookies only, but this time relinquished 85g for our "go to" baking powder biscuits. The difference, compared to a batch made with butter only, is incredible. Leaf lard is pricey, and difficult to find but worth the search and cost if your passionate about flaky pie crusts, and pastries--and, of course, biscuits.

Comments

emkay's picture
emkay

Lard has gotten a bad reputation because of commercial hydrogenated lard. Many don't realize how wonderful leaf lard is in pastry. It's very neutral and clean in taste. No "porkiness" at all. My all-butter pie dough is very tender and flaky, but with leaf lard it's exponentially better.  

I experimented with varying amounts of leaf lard in pie dough from 10% all the way up to 50% of the fat. I settled on 20% leaf lard to 80% Plurga butter. It's my go-to pie dough except when serving those with religious restrictions or vegetarians. 

Happy baking.

Mary

isand66's picture
isand66

These look perfect David.  Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
ian