Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best Biscuit Recipe Ever

OK, so I can get milk in my neighborhood rain, sleet or snow, but I can never get good bread. Why is that? We have bakeries that only sell muffins, the bodegas that only sell white bread, and nary a good baguette (we love Amy's Bread) in sight. That particular luxury is a 20-minute walk away, which isn't that bad, but not do-able for my weeknight dinners.

Dinner was saved last night with our "Best Biscuit Recipe Ever," which is from James Beard's Cookbook. The Menu: Leftover Brisket (made by my husband on Sunday) plus some fresh hot biscuits. It was a perfect winter's night meal. The recipe is so easy, and I could prep all the ingredients beforehand, then combine and bake right when he walked in the door. (Or actually after a little mini-spat on whether 6:50pm was "late" or not, preceded by a "Didn't you get my text?" (No, actually.)

Anyway, here's the recipe:
Best Biscuits Ever
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
5 Tablespoons butter or shortening
3/4 cup of milk (approx.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut butter into flour-mix with a pastry blender/tine. Mix in milk slowly and add just enough to make a soft dough. If you add too much, it gets sticky and hard to work with. If this happens, don't worry; just add a little more flour to even it out. Turn dough onto floured surface and flatten. Cut shapes with a glass or biscuit cutter. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on size, thickness and oven. Optional: add cheese or herbs for more fancy dinner biscuits. These biscuits are obviously also great for breakfast.
This biscuit recipe is great too, because you can memorize it and be able to throw it together on a moment's notice from almost anyone's pantry. The proportions of the dry ingredients are 2:2:2 for everything but the salt (1). You can guesstimate the butter (a little more than 1/2 a stick) and the milk . It's always a good skill to be able to whip up some breakfast food if you are staying overnight with family or as a guest. Perfect with jam.


  1. I live not far from you and also lament the impossibility of buying good, fresh bread straight from the bakery.

    Because I'm not limited to bodegas in my 'hood, I canbuy a (marked-up) loaf from one of the upscale groceries--or hope that the coop still has stock or isn't overrun with shoppers. Still, I wonder why a bread bakery is such rara avis.

    I'd say it's b/c people have cut down on carbs, but there seems to be no shortage of places that sell muffins, cakes, or pies. Can the margin on these things be so much greater than on baguettes and sourdough rounds?

    I still mourn the passage of the delicious Uprisings. Seems they expanded too rapidly and so met their doom. I think one of their former spots is a Brooklyn Industries and the other a mortgage broker--try biting into those!

    Anyway, I love biscuits. I've never made them, and frankly, the recipe seems a little scary to me with the whole pastry-blender thing, but I am going to take your word for its ease and maybe try it one of these days...

    Thanks for a lovely new blog!

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  3. Want to make it even easer. Ditch the pastry blender (or the even easer food processor) and stick your butter in the freezer. Use the good old fashioned cheese grader to break up your butter. Works great!

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