Originally posted by JimInKy
I'm thankful GaGal shared her recipe for cream biscuits. It was sometime this month that a version of cream biscuits was demonstrated on my favorite cooking show, "America's Test Kitchen" (produced by the people at Cook's Illustrated magazine). The show appears on public TV stations just about everywhere.
For several years now, I've been collecting and trying different biscuit recipes, trying to replicate the buttermilk biscuits my late mother made every day. I make decent biscuits, but nothing I try compares to Mom's or to the best biscuits I ever ate-the small, silky ones served every day at The Jarrett House dining room in Dillsboro, North Carolina. Here's the ATK recipe; fortunately, it's one that will suit folks who prefer all-purpose flour:
QUICK CREAM BISCUITS
Makes eight 2 1/2-inch biscuits
Bake the biscuits immediately after cutting them; letting them stand for any length of time can decrease the leavening power and thereby prevent the biscuits from rising properly in the oven.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough from bowl to countertop, leaving all dry, floury bits behind in bowl. In 1-tablespoon increments, add up to 1/4 cup cream to dry bits in bowl, mixing with wooden spoon after each addition, until moistened. Add moistened bits to rest of dough and knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds.
3. Shape dough into round, 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with
biscuit cutter or cut into wedges with knife. Place rounds or
wedges on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.
Source: Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. Nov. 2003
On the show, the finished biscuits looked very appealing. Consequently, on some upcoming cold weekends, I plan to make both this recipe and the one posted by GaGal.
Here's a short article about all-purpose flour from the ATK November newsletter (fortunately, I saw the show where this report was made in detail):
TASTING LAB: All-Purpose Flour
If you could keep only one kind of flour in your pantry, which brand of all-purpose flour would it be? To find out, we stocked our test kitchen shelves with nine brands of all-purpose flour and started a bake-off that eventually stretched over six months.
Of all the product taste tests we have run, these flour tastings were undoubtedly the most difficult. The differences in flavor between the biscuits, muffins, and chocolate chip cookies that we baked were very subtle. The most obvious differences were often in appearance. That is not to say, however, that the tests were inconclusive--we can recommend two brands wholeheartedly. Both King Arthur and Pillsbury unbleached flours regularly made highly recommended baked goods, producing a more consistent range of results over the other brands.
I happen to take Cook's Illustrated magazine, and have the highest regard for these folk. If you need to learn to cook or want to cook better, CI is one good answer. They have a fine Web site: www.cooksillustrated.com
"I bake biscuits for the pleasure of adding sorghum syrup and sweet butter." What Rene Descartes really said.