Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits: Sunlight
There is nothing as awesome as a fluffy, warm, buttermilk biscuits, slathered in butter and some jam or jelly. In the south they take their biscuits seriously. Every person who makes buttermilk biscuits think theirs are the best, and their families will adamantly agree. I’m here to tell you I think mine are the best, because of course I do, and they really, really are! 😉

My mom made bread occasionally, but I don’t ever remember her making biscuits. That didn’t stop her from helping me figure them out though, and I actually won a ribbon in 4-H for buttermilk biscuits. In all honesty, there weren’t many entries, and I remember mine were sort of misshapen, but they tasted really good. After that I didn’t revisit buttermilk biscuits again until after Jamison and I married. Even then it took me a while to get them exactly how I imagined them in my head, and it was long after we figured out Jamison is allergic to gluten, but I finally did, and these are the result.

Buttermilk Biscuits: Goodness

The biscuits mix up quick, and in no time you have fluffy, warm pillows of goodness, ready for your favorite butter and toppings. We’re talking 30 minutes from start to finish. They’re good for sausage and ham biscuits too, or breakfast sandwiches, or they’re perfect just as is. No matter how you slice them, you’re looking at buttermilk biscuit perfection!

Buttermilk Biscuits: Ready to Eat

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1 pastry cutter or fork
Flour for the counter and cutter
1 biscuit cutter or small glass

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar until incorporated. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter in to the flour mixture until crumbles form. Next stir in butter milk until dough forms. Start with 1/2 a cup and slowly add more until dough forms in to a ball. It may be a bit between crumbly and sticky at the same time, it’s funny like that, but that’s ok. Usually you’re going to use about 1 cup of buttermilk total, but you might need slightly more, or slightly less, depending on the humidity and such.

Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a surface that has been sprinkled with a thin layer of flour. Give the dough a few kneads to incorporate all of the ingredients. If it’s sticky, sprinkle on a bit more flour and knead it in until it’s a relatively dry dough. Shape the dough in to a round and flatten to about and inch thick. Fold the dough over on itself toward the middle from both sides and then press the dough back out again to an inch once more. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.

After the final press, take a biscuit cutter or a small glass and dip it in flour and cut your biscuits and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Cut the dough until you run out. You may need to shape the last of the dough in to a round for baking. Depending on the size of your cutter, you’ll end up with 8-14 biscuits, give or take.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits: Baking

Notes: I like to use King Arthur Flour. I really like their products. I’ve used White Lilly in the past as well, I did grown up in Tennessee after all, but I really prefer King Arthur.

I use organic cane sugar in everything, but regular refined sugar will work ok too. The same with the sea salt, I always use it, but table salt will work too, though I find it to be a bit more strong that sea salt, so you might want to cut it back to 1/2 -3/4ths a teaspoon if you do go that route.

A word on the folding of the dough. This is a very quick method that forms the layers of the biscuit. I mean look at these beautiful little layers:

Buttermilk Biscuits: Layers

Aren’t they gorgeous?

My favorite toppings are Irish butter and strawberry or blueberry jam. These are a few of my favorites:

Buttermilk Biscuits: Jelly, Jam and Irish Butter

Pumpkin or sweet potato butters are good as well.

Now it’s time to eat! Enjoy!

Baking on the 15th: Strawberry Choux Cake

Strawberry Choux Cake: A Slice
There’s a new group I’m participating with on Facebook started by Kelly of Sass and Veracity called Baking on the 15th, which is just as it sounds, we bake a shared recipe, and then we post about it on the 15th of each month, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our blog, and/or whatever social media portal we choose. Kelly got us started this first month with a Strawberry Choux Cake adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg. Think a giant cream puff with strawberry compote cream and Chantilly cream. In short, right up my ally!

So the “scary” part of this cake was the choux. Choux can be a bit tricky, though I’ve made it once before. Years ago when I was in Daring Bakers, we made eclairs, and that was my one and only venture in to anything in the choux family. My choux failed for the most part on that little adventure, and I never got back around to trying it again. I’ve thought about it a few times, but just never got up the nerve. I mean, who doesn’t like a good cream puff or eclair? I’m a big fan of eclairs, with freshly made pastry cream, drizzled in chocolate. To me, that’s the very definition of heaven on a plate!

This time my choux actually puffed! I mean look at this crazy beast of a puffy mountain:

Strawberry Choux Cake: Choux Baking

It wasn’t soggy, it was just perfect. I was very pleased with how it turned out, though I did a double take when I first glanced in the oven. I was a bit afraid it was coming after us and planning to take over the world! 😉

One of the interesting things about this, though not surprising since this is a very European cake, was the weighed ingredients. I have a kitchen scale, but I had never used it for baking before. We used both cake flour and bread flour, and both were weighed. The butter and eggs were also weighed, though I will admit to measuring the eggs in a quart jar, instead of weighing them. I did weigh everything else though.

Strawberry Choux Cake: Weighing Flour

This cake had quite the ingredient volume when you think about it. I had never baked anything that ended up taking 16 extra large eggs before. Another ingredient that was new to me was ammonium carbonate. I made the mistake of smelling this and wished I hadn’t. I’m also a dough taster, and that wasn’t pleasant either, though once baked the taste faded.

Here is a look at what went in to the cake:

Strawberry Choux Cake: The Ingredients

I don’t usually measure out things before I start and dirty separate dishes, but I felt like I need to, to keep things straight for this one.

I also taped the recipe up so I could keep referring back to it:

Strawberry Choux Cake: The Recipe

I lost count of how many times I read this bad boy through from beginning to end, and in bits and pieces as I went, but it was a lot. Choux is a bit complicated, but it’s worth it in the end.

The first step was making the choux and then letting it cool. While the choux was cooling, you started working on the elements of the cake. The first thing you started was the Strawberry Compote component of the cake, though you didn’t finish it until the cake was entirely cooled. You cook the strawberries with some sugar and lime juice and let it cool, then you add gelatin softened in water and whip some cream, and finally you add in the chilled strawberry mixture. This is the filling for your cake.

Once the choux is cooled, you cut rounds out of your baked choux. I ended up using the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan as my circle, and formed the cake inside the pan. I had 3 layers of coux, with the strawberry compote in between each layer, and on top. I let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so before the next step:

Strawberry Choux Cake: Strawberry Cream Setting

After the strawberry compote is set, you make a batch of Chantilly cream to “ice” and decorate the cake. Chantilly cream is basically just whipped cream with a little vanilla bean and extract thrown in for fun. I added in 1/4 a cup of sugar, instead of a tablespoon, because I liked my whipped cream a bit more sweetened that that.

Once it’s made, you spread the mixture over the layers of choux and strawberry compote cream. I piped a border around the bottom and the top, and then you spread out strawberries to decorate. I decided to cover the top of my cake with strawberry slices in a fan pattern on top, and a single whole strawberry in the middle. Then you take some of the left over choux bits and toast them until they crumble and sprinkle them over the top:

Strawberry Choux Cake: Decorated

At this point you’re supposed to sprinkle it all with powdered sugar, but I forgot that step. I kind of wish I hadn’t though. I think it would have added an extra little pop.

Overall I really liked this. It’s not quite as sweet as our American desserts. It’s sort of fresh and light. I’d love to try it again and use blueberries or blackberries instead. I also added a little chocolate drizzle to one of the slices and it was a nice addition. This reminds me of something I saw in a bakery window in Paris. I’d definitely make it again!

Strawberry Choux Cake

Take a look at some of the other posts and their gorgeous cakes!

Sass and Veracity

Barbara Bakes

Once a Time a Time

Creative Culinary

Next month I’m hosting, so stop by again and see what we bake next!