Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuff Biscuit

The word Biscuit is both singular and plural in our family vernacular. And, one thing you can be sure of is that if your biscuit are tuff (hard, crumbly and generally inedible) then you overworked them.

Like much in life, if you ignore biscuit and don't give 'em proper attention, they won't come together. However, if you mess around with them too much, you ruin them. I think this is particularly the case with husbands and children!

Biscuit are such a part of everyday life, that they end up being used in euphemisms and analogies all of the time. "Tuff Biscuit!" is our version of "Tuff Luck!" since we don't really believe in "luck." "Tuff as Hardtack" is another saying that my mother always used (probably because she really never made proper biscuit, they were all pretty much hardtack!). Now when Mother said this, she meant that something was completely inedible -- like biting into a stone. This usually was used to describe someone else's cooking.

Rain's Biscuit (not so healthy version)
Good ingredients and a good recipe are critical. Grandmother used to make biscuit EVERY morning. The ones that didn't get eaten at breakfast were served at each meal thereafter (which might be one meal -- dinner -- or as many as three more) and by suppertime we'd be toasting them with butter.

The best biscuit cutter -- and the only one anyone in my family has ever used, is the jar the Chipped Beef comes in. This is particularly handy since chipped beef gravy is real good on biscuit!

To make good biscuit, just get a bag of White Lily Self-Rising Flour and follow the directions on the back. You might substitute butter for Crisco (I do) and/or cream for milk. And, whatever you do -- don't use skim milk -- there's just no call for that. If you're that worried about fat, you don't need the biscuit in the first place!

Rain's Biscuit (healthy version)

Ok, healthy is probably a misnomer, but it's healthier then the other kind.

  • 2 TBSP Yeast proofed in 1/2 warm water
  • 6-ish c Fresh Milled Soft White Wheat (maybe more, maybe less - experiment)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbps Sucanat (or honey)
  • 3/4 c of butter
  • 2 c Buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400. Proof your yeast in the water and set about mixing the dry ingredients with a fork. Cut in the butter -- being careful to get a uniform consistency. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk and yeast. Mix this just enough to bring it together, but no more than that. Flour a surface and pat out the dough to about 1 - 2 inch thickness. Cut with a glass jar, biscuit cutter or anything round and place on a cookie sheet (Pampered Chef baking stones are the best). Let sit for about 5 - 10 minutes then bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Don't overbake! Take them out when they just start to turn brown at the edges.

"Don't overwork your biscuit or they'll come out tough as hardtack!"

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