Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits
Do you ever remake a recipe only to find it doesn’t remotely resemble what you remember? I made a variation of these biscuits on a sunny afternoon in Southern California. They were flaky and layered, perhaps because I envelope-folded the dough a few times. I distinctly remember having trouble getting the dough to come together.

This time around, the dough was so wet it was impossible to knead. I patted the mass into a uniformly thick rectangle, cut it into biscuits, and hoped they wouldn’t spread beyond the confines of the baking sheet. The finished biscuits were crisp on the outside, fluffy in the middle, and prone to crumbling. They would go well with fried eggs and bacon, but they’re too delicate to split and fill with sausage gravy. I’m not sure I liked them more than the herbed variation, but I definitely preferred the texture. I’d recommend looking for a lower-gluten self rising flour instead of all-purpose.

I’ve only tried two biscuit recipes- this one, and Cooks Illustrated’s drop biscuits. I think my technique needs improvement before I can judge which recipes I really like…

Angel Biscuits

adapted from Sara Foster’s “Fresh Every Day”
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
3 cups self-rising flour (ie White Lily)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup well shaken buttermilk
3 tbsp melted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter a baking sheet (or line it with parchment paper).
2. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until it is foamy and doubles in size.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
4. Mix together the yeast mixture and buttermilk. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough just starts to come together. Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a ball. Do not add more flour or work the dough any more than is necessary.
5. Roll the dough about 3/4 inch thick and cut with a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter. If the dough sticks to the cutter, dip the cutter in flour.
6. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet. If you want the sides to be soft, arrange the biscuits with their sides touching. If you want the sides to be crispy, leave 1 inch between the biscuits. Lightly brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

3 thoughts on “Angel Biscuits”

  1. I swear by Martha Stewart’s cream biscuit recipe. I think it’s nearly impossible to screw up and always comes together no matter what the weather. That being said, it’s probably not quite what you’re looking for. I mostly use it for jam and honey butter rather than gravy.

  2. I have a couple of biscuit recipes if you’d like: a straight and simple buttermilk biscuit from my grandmother, and a slightly sweeter, fluffier variety that’s somewhere in between a biscuit and a dinner roll. The latter I usually stuff with a cheese, garlic, and broccoli mixture before baking to make a stuffed dinner pastry.

    Let me know if you’d like either or both.

  3. if I don’t have a pasty cutter, is there anything that works as a suitable substitute for biscuits and other recipes where it calls for the fat to be “cut in”. If not, what should i be looking for when i buy one?

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