The Great Biscuit Debate #2 No Laziness Allowed

biscuits 2

Okay, are y’all ready for some more biscuits?

This is the second batch I made in my ongoing quest for the perfect buttermilk biscuit.  You can find Batch Number One, made with unbleached all-purpose flour and shortening here.  Batch Number Two was made with bleached, enriched flour and shortening, and actually turned into sub-batch a & b (how disturbingly obsessive is this?).

For these, I bought some White Lily flour, which is an enriched bleached flour that has lower protein and gluten than regular all-purpose.  This makes the flour finer, whiter, and silkier and gives biscuits a softer texture.  I had not used White Lily before so I wanted to try it, since it’s the most talked about flour surrounding biscuit making in the South.

Here’s a little confession – I like to try new things, but only if it’s my idea.  I had heard the hype about White Lily flour, but I grew up with Red Band and just couldn’t believe it was all that much better.  (Some people might call that stubborn, I just call it old-fashioned.)  But I finally came around and decided it was time to try it.

The reason I ended up with ‘sub-batches’ is because I wanted to try not sifting the flour vs sifting it.  And that’s just because, well, I’d rather not sift if I can get away with it.

So, the ones I made first in Batch Two (pictured above) weren’t sifted.  They had a softer texture and were lighter than Batch One made with unbleached all-purpose, and were flakier, but didn’t rise quite as high.  When I made Batch Two again (pictured below), I sifted the flour and got much better results – higher, lighter and even flakier.

biscuit 2b

What I’ve learned so far is:  1) bleached flour (White Lily) gives a lighter, softer, and fluffier biscuit texture, 2) if using a soft bleached flour, sifting is essential, and 3) make sure your dough is still pretty sticky, so the biscuits don’t end up too dry and crumbly.

Buttermilk Biscuits #2

makes about 14 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 5 cups White Lily flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup shortening, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 485 degrees.
  • Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until it is in pieces the size of large peas.
  • Stir in the buttermilk with a fork until the dough starts to come together. Using your hands, knead the dough to incorporate all the flour. The dough should be sticky; add more buttermilk if it is too dry.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold over itself 3 or 4 times to make layers.
  • Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin to 3/4 inch thickness, or pat with hands.
  • Cut out rounds of dough with a 3 inch biscuit cutter (don’t twist!) and place on a baking sheet so they almost touch.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown, checking about halfway to rotate pan.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter right after removing from the oven. Serve hot.

Next on the list – White Lily with half shortening and half butter.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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3 thoughts on “The Great Biscuit Debate #2 No Laziness Allowed

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