Buttermilk Biscuits

The holidays have come to an end, the christmas tree is being taken down and we’re all making our way back to work and school and the everyday grind.

But you know what makes it all easier? That’s right, buttermilk biscuits.

For Christmas I got a great little jar of jam to add to my cupboard. It’s peach and earl grey, two of my favourite things, so I’ve been finding any excuse to use it.

Also a quick note, sorry about all the buttermilk recipes. Do you ever find you buy buttermilk for a recipe and then you’re left with all this buttermilk and you’re like oh great, now what? And suddenly you’re in this race against time to use this huge carton of buttermilk before it expires? Or maybe it’s just me who buys way too much buttermilk every time I need it for something…

So it’s been buttermilk city over here this past little while. Buttermilk pie, buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk pancakes. It’s getting out of hand.

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Buttermilk biscuits are way up there on my list of favourite foods. They bring me back to visiting my family in the UK and eating scones piled high with triple cream and raspberry jam. My mum and I make it an annual tradition to go for high tea at our favourite local spot, and the scones are always the best part.

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I’ve searched and experimented for the best buttermilk biscuit recipe. And  it’s hard to pinpoint because everyone has a different way to make them, and a different way they prefer them. There’s dense and doughy, light and flakey, crispy and chewy. And then there’s the endless possibilities for flavours; the traditional ones like cranberry, raisins, cinnamon, cheddar, rosemary or thyme. And less common options like lavender, bacon, cardamom, apricot or pineapple.

But like anything that you can add to or make your own, the base has to be fantastic for the end product to be incredible.

And after 20 years on this earth, unsuccessful in finding a buttermilk biscuit recipe that blew my mind, I stumbled across this recipe on A Cozy Kitchen (one of my all time favourite blogs, seriously if you haven’t checked it out, it’s out of this world) and when I tried it out on my family over the holidays it was like I had served them actual happiness. My dad literally ran out into the kitchen shouting “BUTTERMILK BISCUITS?!” when he smelt them in the oven.

So here are the 3 things I’ve learned about making great biscuits:

  1. Make sure the dough never gets too warm. The key to great flakey biscuits are to make sure the butter remains solid until it hits the oven. If this means sticking them in the freezer or fridge until you’re ready to bake them, then go for it.
  2. Be gentle with the dough! Don’t over knead, squash, or twist when you’re combining or when you’re cutting them into shapes.
  3. Make sure all your ingredients are decent quality and fresh

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Buttermilk Biscuits
(Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk, cold and shaken
1 large egg, cold
1 orange worth of zest
Sugar for sprinkling (preferably coarse sugar)

Eggwash:

1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  4. Using a box grater, grate the butter into the bowl of dry ingredients.
    Keep the bowl in the freezer until you’re ready to use it (aprox. 5-10 minutes)
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
    Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  6. In another separate bowl, whisk together ingredients for egg wash, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Get the bowl of butter/dry ingredients out of the freezer. Break up the butter with your hands until the mixture is a sandy texture, with the butter chunks the size of small peas.
  8. Take buttermilk mixture out of the fridge and add into the dry ingredients and mix until barely combined.
  9. Dump contents onto the counter sprinkled with flour and knead lightly until forms one mass of dough- do not over knead!
  10. Press into 3/4 inch thickness, and cut out using 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutters.
  11. Gently combine any leftover dough and cut more.
  12. Place onto prepared baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
  13. Sprinkle with sugar.
  14. Bake 10-15 minutes until tall and golden brown.
  15. Serve warm with double cream and jam!

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These are also very freezable. I lay them flat in a ziplock freezer bag and made sure they were totally frozen before stacking them together. In my experience they’re still great after a couple weeks in the freezer, stick ’em straight in the oven and they’ll just need a few extra minutes.

Personally double cream, or devonshire cream, is the best possible topping on a scone. It’s got a fresh and light taste while also being outrageously creamy and admittedly very high in fat content. It’s got a much lighter creamier taste than butter and brings out the flavour both in the scone and in whatever jam or curd topping you choose.

Pair with your favourite tea and you’ve got the perfect breakfast or afternoon set up.

Happy eating! x

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