How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Favorite Biscuit Variation

It seems that we've mentioned Deborah Madison's Buttermilk Biscuits on several posts, but have been remiss in providing the recipe. This is likely because we've been enjoying these for so long they are hardly "new" to us. However, this week we did a few variations on the recipe, making it new again.

The recipe, as described in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, calls for
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of buttermilk

First, I will point out that we almost never use buttermilk, but substitute plain yogurt instead. Earlier this week when preparing to make these I realized we had only regular milk (no buttermilk, no yogurt). We learned a trick once of making a buttermilk substitute in 10 minutes by adding some vinegar to plain milk. Alas, we had no vinegar either. (Our larder was indeed spare as we had diligently eaten virtually everything in both our houses before taking an eight-day road trip to drop our daughter at college in the mid-west).

However, I was not about to let the lack of necessary ingredients stop me from having my biscuits. I used a substitute for the substitute -a meta-substitute- lemon juice did the same job of curdling the milk as vinegar. I also whisked in a dollop of sour cream. My next problem was that we were quite low on flour, and I discovered we were short by about 1/3 cup. I considered making a smaller batch of biscuits, but then I remembered that James improved on our waffle recipe earlier this year by putting in some corn meal in place of flour (see the entry here) and so I decided to try the same with the biscuits. I sifted the flour and corn meal in with the rest of the dry ingredients, then cut the butter into it with a pastry cutter. The sour milk/cream mix was added to the dry ingredients and mixed. James took over from there.

I believe this is the second time we have used the Big Green Egg for biscuits. Thanks to the innovations Pam describes above, these were delicious! But thanks to my still-limited skills with the kamado-style grill, they were not beautiful. They look lovely in this photograph, taken a few minutes before they were done --
-- but they did not look quite so lovely as I scraped them from the baking stone. I had heated the grill to 500F, but had put the stone in for only a few minutes when I added the dough. I should have let it heat more thoroughly. The result was rather hot knuckles and a fair bit of batter left on the stone. By the time it cooled thoroughly, those remnants were quite charred, and the stone is soaking for a couple days as I write this.

The good news, though, is that the delicious biscuit tops had all the advantages of muffin tops.

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