Angel Biscuits

I am a fan of yeast, so quick breads are not my fave. Still, who doesn’t want a hot biscuit with their stew?

Enter Angel Biscuits. These have the requisite yumminess that good hot bread boasts: yeast and buttermilk. Another bonus for those of you who don’t want to bake 12 at a time, you can refrigerate unused batter for 2 weeks! Which means you bake half at one meal, put the dough in the fridge and bake off 2 or 3 or 6 any old night within 2 weeks.

I saw Trisha Yearwood make these after visiting with a chef. He shared his grandma’s secret of melting the butter and pouring it into the pool of buttermilk. Genius! I love all that butter in biscuits and pie crust, but I pretty much hate cutting in the cold butter. He said that the cold buttermilk turned the butter back into those meltable, steamable pellets in your dough, so the biscuits come out tender and delicious with less work. For some unknown reason though, when Trisha stirred them up at her house, she went old-school and cut in the cold butter. Stupifying. Anyway, I used her recipe, but his technique. They are quite good. I think I may have pressed out the dough a little too much because they weren’t as mile-high as I wanted… next time. She likes to make “cat heads” so she didn’t nestle them in the skillet. Again, I think a mistake. But the cast iron skillet is a definite plus to the bottom browning. Oh, and her recipe breaks a cardinal rule which will make you curse: it tells you to preheat the oven as the first step. Meanwhile after mixing up your dough you have to let it rise for an hour. wth? I think some editor was not doing her job.

Tips to consider:

  • Don’t preheat your oven before mixing up your dough.
  • Think about mixing these up any old time and just put in the fridge. They keep 2 weeks! 2 weeks!
  • Try the melted butter technique and let me know below if you like it as well as cutting in cold. In the directions where it tells you to cut in the butter, just make the well in the dry ingredients, fill with cold buttermilk and then pour in your melted butter. After a few stirs, pour in the yeast.
  • If you have a bread proof setting (100 degrees) on your oven you can fast-track the rise to 30 minutes.
  • Don’t use a mixer and don’t over-stir. You will have tough biscuits from overworking.
  • This is a pretty wet dough. Don’t worry and don’t add more flour. Just pat on a floured board gently and carefully pull them up and onto your baking pan.
  • Cut straight down with your cutter and then come straight up. Don’t mash and twist; that creates tough edges per the chef. He was really adamant about being gentle and not triggering a bunch of gluten.
  • If you bake in a cast iron skillet, fill it up so you get the wonderful pull apart biscuit instead of the splayed out sad biscuits that require gravy. If you are making this for gravy, though, spread them thin and bake far apart so you get as much crust as possible. My pet peeve for biscuits and gravy is fluffy biscuits cuz they get all gummy and gross when you chew; you need crusty, crispy, dry biscuits for gravy.

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