Friday, November 13, 2009

Angel Biscuits

It's been a while since a recipe was posted so I thought I would show you what my middle son and I made for our dinner one night this week. All my kids love to "help" cook and with their range of ages some are more help than others. If you haven't cooked with a kid lately, round one up and have some fun! Every step is intensely interesting to them and they are so proud to serve everyone what they made. Yes, it takes longer and it's messier than if you made it by yourself but I see it as an investment. In five or six years I want to be able to send my oldest into the kitchen to make some biscuits or cookies and then serve me some on a silver platter. Besides, it's a special time for them to spend with me or their dad as they help mix and stir. This particular helper is the perfect age to love measuring and cutting things with the biscuit cutter and as he kept wandering in while I was cooking to beg for food, I put him to work.
These biscuits are different in that they have yeast and baking powder and they have to rise for a while. When you pull them out of the oven, they are crusty and flaky with more chewiness to them that straight baking powder biscuit don't have. They are a little more substantial making them great for serving with chicken stew or a hearty breakfast. Oh, and they make a lot, which is just what I need. Anyone not serving a horde may want to cut the recipe in half.

Angel Biscuits
1 pkg (2 1/2 tsp.) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 to 2 cups milk
5 cups flour (I use 3 cups whole wheat and 2 cups white)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large measuring cup with a pouring spout. Let it sit while you stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. When the yeast and water looks creamy, stir in the milk. Now back to the dry ingredients, mix in the butter with your hands, or a pastry mixer if you don't like to get messy, I use my hands and crumble/rub the butter into the flour. You are trying to get a coarse crumb texture. When it's there, quickly and gently stir in the yeast/milk mixture adding only as much as you need to get the dough to come together. As soon as it starts to come together into a rough ball, dump it out onto a floured surface and knead quickly 5 or 6 times. The goal is to get it fairly smooth without overworking it. Always err on the side of underworked if you are unsure how much to mix it. Biscuit dough needs to be handled as little and as gently as possible to keep it tender. Too much handling will activate the gluten in the dough and you will have the dreaded hockey puck biscuit problem. Next you want to pat it out so it's about 3/4 of an inch thick. I like thicker biscuits so if you want thinner ones, aim for 1/2 an inch. Cut them out with a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass and arrange them on your baking sheet.
If you like softer biscuits place them so they are touching each other and for crispier ones, set them a bit apart. Cover them with a clean towel and let them rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Slide the sheet into a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be brown and crusty and everyone will be standing there with their plates. These are seriously good biscuits folks!

1 comment:

Kristin said...

FOLKS. I have had these here biscuits made by Ms. Audra herself. I think my husband would have moved all seven of us into their front room paying them rent if he could guarantee having these hot and fresh every morning. They are delish.