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  #1  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:10 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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my biscuits are doughy

Here's another questions for the cooks:

I'm making biscuits using a baking mix from my local chain grocery store (Ralph's in So. Calif.) I follow the directions almost precisely yet my biscuits turn out somewhat doughy in the center, not fluffy like I'd get with store-bought dough say from Pillsbury.

Do any of our chefs have a suggestion as to how to get fluffy centers? Do I need to add something? Roll the dough longer? Anything else?

Thanks for all your help!
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:13 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
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Cook them a little bit longer.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:22 PM
kniz kniz is offline
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Are you preheating the oven? This can make a big difference when baking. I learned this in a thread about preheating the oven and it's true. Your biscuits will rise better, too.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:23 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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And check the expiration date. Baking powder has a pretty short (6 mo?) shelf life.
Also, don't over-mix.
Peace,
mangeorge
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:23 PM
X~Slayer(ALE) X~Slayer(ALE) is offline
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and check the temperature of your oven. Just because you set it to the right temperature doesnt mean its whats registering inside. Use a reliable oven thermometer.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:33 PM
kniz kniz is offline
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Here is the thread and especially note posts made by Lemur866.
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:34 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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Also make sure that you don't squish the dough together. Just fold over the dough. Then you get those nice flaky layers.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:35 PM
msgotrocks msgotrocks is offline
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one more:
If you cook the biscuits in something dark colored or glass you may need to decrease the temp by 25 deg. (and cook a bit longer if in glass. Work the dough as little as possible, too.
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:39 PM
TeleTronOne TeleTronOne is offline
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I second the oven thermometer recommendation. You'd be surprised how off the thermostat in some ovens can be.

Second, be sure you're not overworking the dough, be VERY gentle with it. You just need to get it all mixed together, if you work it too much you'll develop more gluten than you want.

Third, why use a mix? Biscuits are really easy to make from scratch... just my opinion.
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2003, 07:44 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Hey, everyone, thanks for the replies. To answer:

Reeder: I have, by about 2-4 mins. Still doughy inside.

kniz Yes, I'm pre-heating it and using a thermometer to make sure it's at the correct temp (or very close) when I put the biscuits in.

mangeorge I'll check the expiration date before I buy a box. Thanks for the tip.

X~Slayer(ALE) done and done.

BobT Hrm.. good point. I have been working it a bit. I'll try to do it less. Thanks for the pointers.

msgotrocks I'm using a baking sheet (made of metal, aluminum, I guess) with a sheet of foil atop it.

TeleTronOne Thanks. I'll work the dough as little as possible. Okay, I'll get out my recipe book and see how to do biscuits from scratch. You think it would be alright to call up the spirit of my dead grandmother and ask her for baking tips?
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  #11  
Old 01-24-2003, 08:12 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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As said by BobT, and your consequent post, overrolling is prolly the cause of a doughy center. Basically, with biscuits, don't overwork them in the rolling out stage, use a hot oven,425, and put them *very*close together on the pan. They raise mighty high that way.

If you are gonna do 'em from scratch, the best , keep your butter cold, and dice it into tiny pieces quickly, then put it in with the dry ingredients. Don't mess with a fork or pastry blender, just use your fingers to *quickly* mix the flour with the butter. The finger motion is: put your fingers all together in a bunch, and touch your thumb to the bunch, like your whole hand is pinching something. With that construct, ya rub the dry ingredients and butter together, rolling your thumbs and fingers together. Sounds complicated in print, but easy in real space. Cut, or drop, the biscuits, soon after rolling, and put em right in the hot oven.

Hope this helps.

elelle, known for tasty biscuits...
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  #12  
Old 01-24-2003, 08:25 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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Oh, and, when adding the liquid, to my mind always buttermilk, never just dump it in. Put a little in, in a stream, stir with a wooden spoon, add a bit more, stir, and gauge the liquid added. For a normal batch of biscuits, it's about a cup, but there's always some variation, depending on all variables---batch of flour, air temp, humidity, etc. The liquid added is in the variable stage.

Did I tell you I am particularly observant with biscuits?
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2003, 01:50 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Freyr bakes biscuits, part II

Okay, I've just finished baking and eating a batch of biscuits. *urp*

Well, I followed your suggestions. The oven was pre-heated and at 450F. I didn't over mix the dough, I rolled it only a few times (3 or 4) and folded it that many times, too. I mixed in the milk slowly, rather than pouring it all in at once.

And the centers are still somewhat doughy.

Let me explain. There's the crust of the biscuit, the baked outer shell, there's the fluffy part, right under the shell and then there's the center, which is not as fluffy as the part right by the crust/shell. It's the center I'm wondering about. It's not as fluffy as the rest of the biscuit. I know, this isn't easy to convey in words, I wish you could be here, physically to see/taste/feel what my biscuits are like.

Any other suggestions for my biscuits? I'm going to buy some more baking powder and even get the ingredients for doing it from scratch. I'm also thinking of using a "name brand" mix rather than the store generic. Of course, I'm making sure of the expiration date.

One more point. I'm using fat-free milk. I'm mixing that from powder, too. Would that make a difference? elelle I'll try using some butter milk and see if that works well, too!

Thanks for your help, everyone!
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  #14  
Old 01-26-2003, 02:07 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Here's what my Beard on Bread says:

Quote:
If you want high, very fluffy biscuits, the dough should be 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick, and if you want thin, crusty biscuits.... 1/4 inch thick
<snip>
....... for crisp biscuits, place far apart on an ungreased cookie sheet; for fluffier biscuits, place close together on an un-greased cookie sheet.
<snip>
450 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes ...
Maybe yours are too close together? I'm with elelle too on the made-from-scratch. Really doesn't take much more time to make homemade, and the difference in taste is astronomical. I use a pastry blender and shortening instead of butter. I've also found that I like *drop* biscuits better than rolled.

I think practice will make perfect in your case. BTW, in regards to powdered milk, my Laurel's Kitchen recommends adding the powder in with the dry ingredients.

Good luck !
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2003, 02:13 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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If you're comparing baking powder biscuits to those "flaky" Pilsbury things that are kept in the reefer, and popped out of the can when needed, you won't get that same layering effect.
Try from scratch, maybe a little lower temp (425), and if that's still not to your liking you might go back to the prepared kind. Or you can make yeast raised biscuits. They can be flaky, but a bit more trouble.
Also, let the biscuits "rest" for just a couple minutes before you butter them.
Peace,
mangeorge
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  #16  
Old 01-26-2003, 02:58 PM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Freyr

msgotrocks I'm using a baking sheet (made of metal, aluminum, I guess) with a sheet of foil atop it.

I believe this may be your problem. The foil is acting as an insulator between the bisquits and the baking sheet. And aluminum foil is actually better at conducting heat from objects that transferring heat to them.
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2003, 04:26 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by racer72
I believe this may be your problem. The foil is acting as an insulator between the bisquits and the baking sheet. And aluminum foil is actually better at conducting heat from objects that transferring heat to them.
Whaaa.....??? Anything that conducts heat one way can conduct it just as easily the other way. Heat travels from highest concentration to lowest. If the baking sheet is hotter than the biscuits (and it almost certainly is) then the heat will travel from the sheet, through the foil into the biscuits. And as biscuits have a fairly high specific heat, the material the biscuits sit on makes little difference in terms of heat transfer. [/scientific rant]
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  #18  
Old 01-26-2003, 04:41 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Freyr
And the centers are still somewhat doughy.
You may be adding slightly too much liquid. They don't rise as well if you don't add enough, and don't cook properly if there's too much. Because flour varies, you need to determine the right amount of liquid by checking the consistency of the dough rather than following a precise recipe. Once you get it right a few times, you'll wonder how it was ever possible to get it wrong.
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  #19  
Old 01-26-2003, 07:54 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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Freyr, use buttermilk, and see if that helps. Also, just make em from scratch; mixes are overpriced, and questionable as to shelf life. Once you get it down, it's not difficult at all, and the results are much better. Again, you don't need to "roll" biscuits much, or fold them over. My MO is to get them just wet enough, turn them out on a floured board, and *very* lightly use the rolling pin to make a cohesive mass. Don't press down too hard! After the first roll, you could fold over and , again, *lightly* roll again. I have a hunch that you are pressing too hard when rolling the dough. Just press enough to make it stick together.

As to spacing, I always put em just next to each other, and that makes them rise high. If you are cutting biscuits, make sure you use a sharp cutter--- the ol' standby tin cans have a dull edge and don't work so well.

Hope this helps!
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2003, 08:15 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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elelle, do you use baking soda in your biscuits?
Peace,
mangeorge
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  #21  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:03 PM
SandyHook SandyHook is offline
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I don't see the problem. A fresh biscuit with a touch of hot dough in the middle is perfect, just the way I like them. Works well with pancakes also.
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2003, 11:58 PM
SnugTheJoiner SnugTheJoiner is offline
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Legend has it that about 200 years ago, an Amish housewife had the same problem that you're experiencing. Tired of doughy centers in her deep-fried biscuits, she used a knife to poke the centers out, and--VOILA!--the doughnut was born!
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2003, 10:20 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Biscuit Wars, Chapter II: Attack of the Bisquick

Just another update. I finally got around to making another batch. I bought some Bisquick and tried their receipe and followed all the other suggests; I spaced them closely and didn't knead the dough but 3 or 4 times.

And, TA-DA!! It worked! The centers are nice and fluffy! I'm happy. However, I am going to follow thru and follow a receipe for homemade biscuits from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook and try that. I'll report back what happens.
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  #24  
Old 02-07-2003, 10:34 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Cool. The pancakes are pretty good too.
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  #25  
Old 02-07-2003, 10:44 PM
cw cw is offline
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Blah, I was spoiled as a kid, I despise any biscuit mix or canned biscuits, try this (may take time, but you won't be disappointed)....

2 cups flour
3tbsp baking powder
1teasp salt

sift together in bowl

5 level tbsp of shortning

cut the shortening into the flour mix with enough MILK to make a soft thick dough.
Turn dough out on heavily floured board or cabinet.
Kneed dough lightly until firm enough to cut.
Pat dough out about an 1" thick. Cut into9 biscuits with cutter (or a drinking glass).
Melt 1tbsp shortening on baking sheet, coat both sides of biscuits

Cook @ 400 in preheated oven for 15 min or until brown (golden).

=Kick ass biscuits
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  #26  
Old 02-07-2003, 10:53 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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Biscuits,

Handling: Use cold fat, cold flour, a cold bowl, and a cold counter or board. First put everything in except the liquid, and cut with a butter knife in each hand, as if you were chopping it up into pieces. Keep it up until you have very coarse crumbs of fat, coated with flower.

Add your liquid: Don't stir. Use your hands, lifting a bit of the mix into the thin stream of liquid. As soon as it is mostly in clumps, but certainly not all wet, stop with the liquid. Now, from the side, fold the dry part into the center, turn the bowl fifteen degrees, fold the dry part into the center, and turn . . . repeat until it is all holding together pretty well. Put it on the floured board (wax paper is ok, but not foil) and pat it gently out from the center until it is about the right thickness. If it is just obviously not worked enough, you can fold it over and pat it out again. Try not to do it twice, though, the biscuits will be tougher.

Fresh baking powder is really important, and keeping it in a cool dry place is the best way to be sure. (not over the stove). As often as you seem to fix biscuits, you may actually go through a can of baking powder before it goes flat.

Damn, I need to make some biscuits.

Tris
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  #27  
Old 02-08-2003, 12:42 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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For the love of God, please, please, please remember that the trick to scratch biscuits is cold. Cold cold butter, cool everything else. And don't overwork, or let the butter melt, for crying out loud! If the butter melts before baking you won't get the tender flakiness that is the glory of the biscuit.

Cold. Preheated oven. Not overmixed. Do not let the butter melt.

Did you remember that the butter must be cold?
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  #28  
Old 02-08-2003, 01:02 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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For flakier biscuits, do not use butter or vegetable shortening. Use lard. That's the secret to Grandma's biscuits. Say what you will, the best biscuits are made with lard.
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2003, 01:21 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Yum, lard.
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  #30  
Old 02-08-2003, 01:46 PM
The Mermaid The Mermaid is offline
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And so begins the Great Biscuit Debate.

Here is how I make biscuits but I'll be damned if I can actually give you precise amounts for the recipe because I go by feel.

First turn on oven. You want it preheated and hot 400-425

2C Self Rising Flour (White Lilly or Martha White)
2-3 Tablespoons Crisco (butter will be a bit flakier, lard is even better but it is so politically incorrect)
1-1/2 cups milk.

Cut shortening into flour. Add enough milk to make a fairly soft dough. It should be soft enough to stir vigorously about 20 strokes but stiffer than batter.

Turn dough out on floured pastry cloth. A clean flour sack style dish towel works fine too. Using the cloth, fold the dough several times. The dough should be about an inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place close together in an ungreased, 13x9 pan. Not a cookie sheet. Bake uncovered for 8-10 minutes. If you like softer tops, you can brush lightly with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. My grandmother used bacon grease. I actually prefer my tops unbuttered.


If you want flaky, tender biscuits make sure the milk is cold and keep your hands out of the dough. The idea is that you want the fat to remain solid. If you handle the dough, the warmth of your fingers melts the fat and your biscuits will be hard. Work the dough as little as possible when rerolling.

Trust me, these are great biscuits. I also make excellent dumplings.
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  #31  
Old 02-08-2003, 02:00 PM
cw cw is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Mermaid
And so begins the Great Biscuit Debate......
Trust me, these are great biscuits. I also make excellent dumplings.
Mine are better biscuits . Excellent dumplings?!? Pfffffttt, dumpling shmumpling.
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  #32  
Old 02-09-2003, 12:31 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Thanks, everyone for the recipes. I'll try this again and let everyone know the results.

The way this is going, we ought to gather all the recipes here and make our own "Teeming Millions in the Kitchen" cookbook.
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  #33  
Old 02-09-2003, 03:59 PM
Shayna Shayna is offline
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When I was a little girl I used to make biscuits from scratch from a recipe that my mother found in the newspaper. I can't guarantee this recipe will work for you, however, because while they came out perfect every time I made them, my mother's, even though following the same exact recipe, came out like lead. Without any other explanation available, she used to claim that it must be because the recipe appeared in the "Kids Section" of the paper, so must've been a kids only recipe. Uh-huh, mom, anything you say.

Actually, the text accompanying this recipe is a hoot, so I'll just type the whole thing...
Quote:
St. Louis Globe-Democrat Thurs., July 1, 1971 (now defunct, so I doubt any copyrights exist)

A biscuit is the first thing a bride learns to make, and she's in for a lot of teasing if her biscuits aren't good. But yours will be good if you make them by this week's recipe.

Notice that we are making buttermilk biscuits. You can make biscuits by just using baking powder, for the baking powder will make them rise and be tender, but if you use sour milk or buttermilk in addition, then your biscuits will be extra good.

If your mother doesn't use buttermilk in the house, you can make sour milk that will serve the same purpose. Measure the three-fourths cup that's required, and then put one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into it and stir it a bit. In just a few minutes, it will thicken up and be sour.

Whenever you use buttermilk or sour milk in a recipe, though, you must use a certain amount of baking soda in the recipe too; one-fourth to one-half teaspoonful, to each cup of liquid. The acid in the sour milk or buttermilk acts against the soda to produce additional gas that makes the biscuits rise just a little bit more than they would otherwise.

Perhaps some of you have studied this in chemistry class; if you have write it up in your notebook. Or look it up in one of the encyclopedias at the library; it would make a good story.

(There seems to have been more text that got cut out when my mother glued the page into her recipe book, but I doubt it contained any earth shattering info that'll be missed when making this recipe.)

To prepare 12 biscuits, you need:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup margarine or butter
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Serve with
Chicken Casserole
Green Peas
Margarine or Butter
Fruit Cocktail and Cottage Cheese Salad
Milk

1. Get ready...

Preheat oven. Set at 450º (very hot).

Stir flour lightly with a fork.

Spoon flour lightly into a cup until high. Do not use the cup as a scoop, or shake or tap full cup.

Level off top of full cup with straight edge of knife.

Measure into a bowl 2 cups of flour.

2. Add and Mix...

1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cut in 1/3 cup margarine or butter. Use 2 table knives, a fork, or a pastry blender.

Stir in 3/4 cup buttermilk all at once. Stir until dough clings together and forms a ball. (Add more milk if needed to make a soft dough.)

3. Lightly flour a clean, flat surface.

Knead dough gently about 10 or 12 times. Fold the dough with your fingers, rolling it toward you. Then push the dough away with the heel of your hand.

Turn the dough one quarter turn and repeat.

4. Pat or roll dough about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut dough. Dip knife or biscuit cutter into flour first to keep dough from sticking to cutter.

If a 2 inch round cutter is used, there will be left-over dough that must be rolled again and then cut.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet or in a pan with low sides. (Biscuits will not brown properly in a deep pan. If a deep pan must be used, turn it upside down and place biscuits on the bottom. If biscuits are spread apart, they will brown all over.)

Brush top with buttermilk.

Bake at 450º F (very hot) 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

If you like... Prepare cheese biscuits.

Place biscuits 1/4 inch apart on baking sheet. Cut or dice cheddar cheese very fine. Measure 1 cup. Sprinkle cheese on top of biscuits.
Good luck! I hope you find a recipe that works for you. And if you try this one, let me know how they come out.
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  #34  
Old 03-05-2003, 01:44 AM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Maybe I ought to stay with the Bisquick!

Okay, I did what everyone told me, I chilled the bowl, the measuring cups, the flour, the baking powder and the shortening (sorry, my local grocery store doesn't carry lard, I'm going to have to find it elsewhere!) AND the cutting board I used for rolling the dough! I even used buttermilk!

And they came out... uh... less than I expected. I think I didn't add enough milk. I was using CW's receipe, but didn't add enough milk, as the resultant dough really didn't get that moist and was rather crumbly.

And possibly I didn't back 'em long enough (12 mins in a 450F oven). They're only a light brown. Well, next time I try (later this week, I hope) I'll work on improving my baking skills.

Just letting everyone know what's happening in Freyr's kitchen!
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  #35  
Old 03-05-2003, 08:37 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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As this thread concerns the Culinary Arts, the GQ mods have asked me to take it under my wing.

-- Uke, Cafe Society moderator.
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  #36  
Old 03-05-2003, 11:20 AM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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Freyr, if you'd like some...ahem...objective taste testers to report on the quality of your biscuits...well, I'm just sayin' is all, that some of us on Saturday might...want to lend a hand...or a mouth.

:: kicks dirt, looks innocent ::

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  #37  
Old 03-05-2003, 11:35 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Your cake is dough?

" . . . But you’ll in among the rest—
Out of hope of all, but your share of the feast."
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  #38  
Old 03-05-2003, 01:55 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Actually, Ralph's should carry lard. It usually comes in a bright red box with white lettering. The Spanish word for lard, BTW, at least as far as packaging goes, is Manteca, so look for that word on the box.

Admittedly, I haven't ever been to a Ralph's in Van Nuys, but IIRC, the Latino population in the Valley is reasonably significant, and Ralph's isn't exactly known for not carrying products the local population is likely to buy.
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  #39  
Old 03-05-2003, 06:25 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Mine turn out pretty good with Bisquick. Doughy, a bit, but still fluffy and crumbly.
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  #40  
Old 03-06-2003, 02:00 AM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Wow! I've been moved to Cafe Society! I feel like I ought to dress up before posting.

scout1222: sure, if you want to be the victim for my culinary catastrophes. Is your health insurance paid up? Bring some flour and we'll try it!

kaylasdad99: I looked all over the store and asked. They're not carrying it. *shrug* I'll try Vons or Albertsons. Yeah, I think it's weird that they wouldn't.

Eve: you show up, you can try the biscuits.

Guinastasia: I've tried Bisquick and it was good. I'm being adventurous and doing it from scratch. A test of my culinary talents.
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  #41  
Old 03-06-2003, 02:10 AM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Oh! Just to say, I'll be baking more this coming Saturday (March 8th) so we'll see how it goes. I'll post the results here.
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  #42  
Old 03-06-2003, 04:11 AM
Apos Apos is offline
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Well hey: Good eats has done biscuits.

http://www.foodtv.com/recipes/re-c1/0,,151,00.html

Can't pass that up as a source of advice, precious.
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  #43  
Old 03-06-2003, 06:09 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Apos
Well hey: Good eats has done biscuits.

http://www.foodtv.com/recipes/re-c1/0,,151,00.html

Can't pass that up as a source of advice, precious.
Exactly right, imo. Note the minimum of handling and the admonition about the "second pass". Also the high baking temp. Do preheat. This one's got everything. Follow this recipe to the letter, Freyr, and ypu can't gp wrong.
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  #44  
Old 03-08-2003, 02:38 AM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Whoops, didn't see this one 'till too late. Thanks, tho Apos, and Mangeorge!!

Anyway, I tried using the Bisquick again, but used buttermilk instead of what I've been using before (instant non-fat milk)...

...and *GREAT RESULTS* It looks like the secret is using enough shortening/lard/fat.

I'm baking a batch from scratch on Sunday. Then I'll try the ulitmate test and buy a box of the generic mix and try the buttermilk in that. If all goes according to plan, they should turn out well.
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  #45  
Old 03-22-2003, 09:55 PM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Okay, the last post and this thread can go to the great Archive in the Sky.

I made another batch using the generic store brand mix and used buttermilk. They turned out the same way. *shrug* So, that's it, no way am I buying that stuff again. I'll stick with Bisquick or simply do it from scratch.

Yes, I made 'em from scratch with chilled equipment and ingredients. Turned out great! Thanks to everyone for the recommendations!

I'd offer to do an LA Dopefest bakeoff in my kitchen, with Dopers lined up, waiting to taste my biscuits, but my place is so small, if you get 3 people in it, it's too crowded!
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  #46  
Old 03-22-2003, 10:14 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 14,089
So pass 'em out the kitchen window. Real butter, please.
I'll be in Bakerspatch next weekend, but I can drop on over.
Peace,
mangeorge
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