Jan 25, 2013

From-Scratch Biscuits (Made Healthier)

I grew up eating biscuits made from a can. I don't think my mother ever even attempted to make them from scratch. That's too bad because biscuits are:

* Really easy to make (so easy I'm teaching my 7 year old how to make them)
* Much cheaper than buying them in a can
* And, if desired, healthier than the store bought variety*

(*What's Healthier? A few things! Traditional biscuits are made with vegetable shortening (like Crisco), which is highly processed and made from GMO ingredients. Virgin coconut oil is more natural and healthy. In addition, traditional biscuits use buttermilk; not only is this pricey, but it has more calories and fat than most other types of milk. By adding a little vinegar to ordinary milk, you save money and calories, while still getting the flavor buttermilk. Finally, if desired, you can make this recipe using half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. This will make a heavier biscuit, but it will have more nutrients.)


What You Need:

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Mixing bowl
Fork (for mixing)
Round or square cookie cutter or biscuit cutter
Baking sheet
Wire cooling rack

How to Do It:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pour the milk into a measuring cup and add the vinegar; set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Cut up the chilled butter into relatively small pieces. Add to the flour mixture. Add the coconut oil to the flour mixture.
 4. With your hands, rub the butter and coconut oil into the flour mixture until there are no chunks of butter.

5. Add the milk and stir. The resulting dough is very sticky.
6. Sprinkle the counter or other work surface with some flour. Rub your hands in flour, too. Dump the dough onto the floured counter and fold it into itself about 4 or 5 times, or just until smooth.

7. Using your hands, press the dough down so it's up to 1 inch thick. (I usually make mine a little over 1/4 inch thick.) Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out biscuits.
8. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet so they touch.
 
9. Gather together the dough scraps and repeat steps 7 and 8. Each time you do this with the scraps, the resulting biscuits will be a little less light.

10. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 - 20 minutes, depending upon the size of the biscuits. Transfer right away to a cooling rack.

To Make From-Scratch Biscuits Even More Easy

If you serve biscuits fairly often, a great time saver is to combine all the dry ingredients in an air tight container. Basically, you're making your own baking mix. Mix together the dry ingredients for 2 batches, stirring well, then continue to add the well-stirred, mixed ingredients for one more batch at a time until your container is full. Be sure to write instructions for use on the container, or you may forget!

Another way to make biscuits even more convenient is to freeze 'em! Just line a baking sheet with wax- or parchment paper and place the unbaked biscuits on top; they shouldn't touch each other. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the biscuits feel solid. Transfer the biscuits to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

To learn how to turn these biscuits into biscuits and gravy (sometimes called sausage and gravy), click here.

This post featured on Homestead Abundance

16 comments:

  1. I've never thought of freezing them. I'll have to try that, although I don't mind mixing up a quick batch of biscuits. It's certainly faster than making rolls for dinner.

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  2. So I'm no cook... does it HAVE to be coconut oil? I have olive oil and canola oil readily on hand. Thanks!

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  3. Skinny, I've never tried the recipe with a liquid fat. As I mentioned in the post, vegetable oil (like Crisco) is traditional. I think I'd add more butter before I substituted with olive or canola oil.

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  4. Okay, thank you. And you are my new best friend for referring to me as Skinny! Hahaha :)

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  5. This recipe looks delicious! Thank you for the tips. I saw you on the Homestead Abundance link-up.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your post on the Homestead Abundance Link up #7. Your post has been chosen as one of this week's Homestead Abundance #8 featured posts. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world.
    Chris

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  7. If you freeze them do you have to defrost them ,before you bake them, or just add a couple of min to the baking time?

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  8. Great question, Anonymous. You should defrost them.

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  9. Thanks for the tip on the coconut oil. I hadn't thought of using that, but then, I've only recently started using it and I don't make biscuits that often. Here, lard is used instead of shortening, and self-rising flour instead of regular flour. My former MIL kept a canister of self-rising flour in her kitchen just for making biscuits. She'd drop in some mayo and some milk straight into the canister and stir until the batter was to her liking and made cat-heads from that. lol I can't do it that way, it never turns out for me!

    Oh, the mayo? It keeps the biscuits soft after they've cooled. Exchange it measure for measure for the lard/shortening/oil in the recipe, but note the calorie count on your mayo. According to the Hellmann's site, their mayo comes in at 100 cal per tbs. Other brands come in at 49 cal per tablespoon. Butter comes in at 100 per tbs and coconut oil comes in at 120 calories per tbs. I use homemade olive oil mayo, and that comes in at about 120 per tbs.

    I had a question on the buttermilk being lower in fat. Since you can make it at home by culturing any cow or goat milk with a buttermilk start, it didn't seem right to me that buttermilk was higher in calories than non-cultured milk. I thought they should come in according to the milk used - full fat, low fat or skim. So I looked up low-fat buttermilk and low fat milk. The 1% buttermilk came in at 98 cal for 1 cup, the milk (several different brands of 1%) came in at anywhere from 100-104. I use kefir in mine and the calorie count on that will depend on the type of milk and fat content of the milk that I kefir.

    There are several other ways to shape biscuits without the bother of rolling them out. One is to pat them in your pan until they're 1/2" to 1" thick and then cut into the size you want. This works in a 9x13, 8-9" Square or an 8-9" round pan. The edges may be odd-shaped, but for most uses, that isn't a problem. OR you can take a large serving spoon and scoop out a spoon of dough. Drop it into some flour, and shape it into a biscuit. Continue doing that until the biscuit dough is used up. In the south, these are known as "Cat-head" biscuits - I guess because they're the size of a cat's head?! lol You'll get fewer biscuits doing this. I have a recipe for Angel Biscuits that makes 2 1/2 doz "Yankee" biscuits (rolled to 1/2" and cut out with a 2 1/2" cutter). I get about 18 cat-head biscuits out of the same recipe.

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  10. Darlene, thank you for your detailed reply and lots of tips! Interesting about the mayo; I've never heard of adding those to biscuits. These biscuits stay pretty tender as long as you keep them in a Ziplock bag.

    I have only ever seen full fat buttermilk in our stores.

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  11. Hallelujah!!!! I've been making "hockey pucks" from a home-made baking mix and today, tried your recipe. We have light, fluffy, FLAVORFUL biscuits!!! To be fair, I also used a totally different baking powder (Rumsfords) instead of the generic store brand, but can't help but think the biggest difference was the butter and coconut oil. Thank you so very much for sharing!

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  12. Yay, Bsue! I confess I use the el-cheapo baking powder all the time :)

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  13. Kristina, I like the idea of having the "ready-made" biscuit mix in the canister. How do you know how much of the dry mix to use?

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  14. Hannah, I don't usually do it that way, so I would make one batch with the recipe above and measure it.

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  15. Kristina, I like the idea of having the "ready-made" biscuit mix in the canister. How do you how much of the dry goods to use?

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