Somebody asked me about this, and I promised to elaborate when I next made biscuits and could take some photos, so here we are.
This is how I make biscuits. There are other ways. Some of them are more elaborate, but I need to get the job done in a hurry. My criteria include speed and whether or not Dave likes them.
I use self-rising flour.
If I get all inspired and decide to actually grind wheat for flour, so the biscuits then become whole wheat, I have to measure the flour, and measure the baking powder and measure the salt.
With self-rising flour, I don’t have to measure anything.
I start by preheating the oven. I usually get the biscuits made before the oven gets to the correct temperature, so I flip on the oven as soon as I come in the house from the barn after milking.
As you can see, it’s self-rising flour. For the two of us, I generally put about one to one-and-a-half cups of flour in the bowl. I don’t measure it. I just guess.
And then I add the fat. It’s usually lard, although I’ve used butter and I’ve also used ghee, and I think I’ve probably used tallow and/or schmaltz (chicken fat) a few times.
I don’t measure it, but the basic idea is about 1/4 as much fat as flour. The more fat you add, the more flakey the biscuits will be, so I sort of err on the high side. However, I try not to go overboard. I use a little less fat than I would in pie crust (I don’t measure for that either).
I use a pastry cutter. I haven’t always done so. My mother taught me to use two knives turned to the dull side and literally cut the fat in pieces. The pastry cutter does the same thing, but it’s faster.
Then I add some milk. I go very sparingly with it. My guess is maybe 1/4 cup or a wee bit more, but I tend to add it in little bits and stir it in.
As you can see, I want a dough that sticks together and pulls away from the side of bowl, but isn’t too awfully wet.
If I touch the dough at this point, it will stick to my finger, as you can see.
If I put too much flour in there, the dough will be too dry and the biscuits will be tougher. If I put too little, I won’t be able to handle it. So I get it to the sticky point.
Then I sprinkle a little flour (maybe a spoonful) over the sticky dough. That forms a sort of barrier so I can touch it.
And there’s a biscuit being formed.
You can roll out the dough if you like and cut it with a biscuit cutter (for that, I use the lid to the PAM spray) but I rarely do it. That would mean something else to wash.
I just get a spoonful of dough, lightly covered in flour, and form a ball.
It looks like this when it’s ready.
Sprayed pan, ready for the oven.
I always set the timer because nobody on earth can burn up something in the oven better than I can.
And there they are, hot and ready.
Yes, that is Frances butter. Yes, that is our bacon and our sausage.
Those are store bought eggs. We do not currently have any hens. We got rid of them last fall because they were old and had pretty much quit laying. We considered getting new ones this spring, but eggs at Aldi are currently 29 cents per dozen. We cannot feed hens for that.
When eggs go back up, maybe we’ll get some hens.
And one other note. I had a boyfriend once whose mother made biscuits for every meal. Every single meal, so that meant she sometimes made biscuits three times a day. She basically taught me to do it the way I do it.
Only she was far better than I am.
She kept a bowl full of self-rising flour in the cupboard with a dishtowel over it.
When she needed to make biscuits, she would take it down and add a little lard, right into that big bowl full of flour. She then cut it in right in the middle. She kept the flour/lard mixture in the center.
She would then add the milk, a little at a time, and stir until she had some dough, still right in the middle of that big bowl of flour. And then she would form the biscuits just like I do and put them on her pan and they’d go in the oven.
She then put the towel back over the flour and put it back in the cupboard.
All she used was two knives (to cut in the lard) and a spoon.
I was simply awestruck by it. I knew I’d never be able to measure up to that woman so I found a new boyfriend. Dave’s mother rarely cooked at all, so I knew I was safe.