Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Dough Also Rises

I love biscuits! And unlike bread or rolls, you don't think ahead to make them, since these mix up quickly and only take 15 minutes to bake--perfect time to set the table, toss a quick salad, or maybe get a head start on the washing up. I served these biscuits with lentil soup and they were quite good--but I am getting ahead of myself:

I chose The Dough Also Rises and tried Alton's Southern Biscuits (p. 42 in the book). I wanted to compare it to my mom's biscuit recipe, which I've been using up to now. I'd like to point out that the book recipe and the online recipe are slightly different: the one online calls for equal parts shortening and butter, while the book calls for a 2:1 ratio of shortening to butter. (If I'd realized the difference before I made them, I'd have done equal parts since I happen to adore butter.)

Biscuits should definitely be puffy, and my mom's biscuits never puffed very much, but the picture of Alton's looked nice and puffy. They didn't disappoint, either--they puffed way bigger than my old biscuits. Since the flavor is very similar, I think I might switch recipes based on puffiness alone!

I used a pastry cutter instead of my hands to to work the fats in, which was fine, but I wished I'd used a rolling pin to roll the dough after it was kneaded, because I found I couldn't press very evenly so some biscuits were thick and some thin. Alton says to make a round that is 1" thick and I made mine between 1/2" and 3/4" but I only punched 10 biscuits and one of them was runty. That could just be the nature of biscuits, though. I don't come out with the same number each time with my old recipe either.

My kids loved to help me punch them out and love to eat them too. I served the leftovers to my husband the next morning with Alton's Sawmill Gravy (p. 49), since he's been asking me for a long, long time to make him that breakfast. :)

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