Peter Reinhart’s Best Biscuits Ever

After making all of these wonderful jams (Strawberry Balsamic, Blueberry Lemon & Chilli, Vanilla Bourbon Blackberry and Hard Cider Apple Butter), I decided we needed some sort of delicious biscuit to perch these stellar spreads upon. I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge fan of Peter Reinhart’s. Well, I noticed in his book, Artisan Breads Every Day, that he had a recipe for the “Best Biscuits Ever”. How could I resist the best biscuit ever? So I got busy baking them. These biscuits are a cross between a cream biscuit and a flaky buttermilk style biscuit. Quite tasty, though I’m not sure they win my “best biscuit ever” award. I once made these Bacon & Cheddar Skillet Biscuits that were pretty high up on the “best” scale. But then I guess that is no surprize…I did mention they had bacon in them right? (note to self…blog about those biscuits soon) But these biscuits are certainly close behind those and are great for non-enhanced (ie. full of bacon and cheese) biscuits.

Just look at those flaky layers!

I know I’ve previously mentioned the absolute necessity that you purchase a copy of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, but in case you missed it, here it goes again…you must buy this book! Its full of all sorts of great recipes and information. For example, he gives you the “Keys to a Successful Flaky Biscuit”. I’d say that is pretty valuable information to have. Basically it boils down to cold dough and hot oven. Though he explains things much more interestingly, eloquently and thoroughly. He also mentions that you can also make these biscuits using buttermilk in place on the cream, which I think I will try next time. (So…you can see we really did like them…we’re already thinking about the next time we make them!) If you’re looking for a great home-made biscuit for your thanksgiving table, or a spectacular vehicle for jams and apple butter that can stand all on its own, look no further. You’ve found your biscuit!

Peter Reinhart’s Best Biscuits Ever

recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

yield: 10 Three inch biscuits or 20-24 two inch biscuits

ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ( 1 oz/ 28.5 g) apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 1 cup (8 oz/227 g) cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz/113 g) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (4 .5 oz/128 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3.50z/99 g) pastry flour (if you do not have pastry flour, use all-purpose flour or see tip below for making it yourself)
  • 1 Tablespoon (0.5 ox/14 g) sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (0.5 0z/14 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.13 oz/ 3.5 g) salt, or 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Directions:

Stir the vinegar into the cream to acidify it, then refrigerate it to keep it cold. Place the butter in the freezer, for at least 30 minutes, to harden.

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl.

Place cheese grater in / over the bowl of dry ingredients. Remove the butter from the freezer, unwrap it and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients, tossing the butter threads in the flour mixture as you grate to distribute them. (An alternate method is to use the grater attachment on a food processor, with the dry ingredients in the bowl below).

Use your fingertips to separate and distribute the butter pieces evenly. Add the cream mixture and stir with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. Add a tiny bit more cream if necessary to bring the dough together.

Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use you palms to press the dough into a rectangle or square about 3/4 ” thick. Use a metal pastry scraper to lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well, then roll it out into a rectangle or square about 1/2″ thick. Then, using the pastry scraper to help lift the dough, fold it over on itself in three sections as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top with flour as well, then once again roll it out into a square or rectangle about 1/2″ thick and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat this procedure again. Then, repeat one final time. (four roll outs in all)

After the fourth folding, dust under and on top of the dough one final time, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2″ thick, in either a rectangle (for triangle or diamond-shaped biscuits) or an oval ( for round biscuits).

Cut the biscuits with your preferred cutter. A 2″ biscuit cutter will yield 20-24 small biscuits. The 3″ cutter yielded 10 biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased sheet pan (lined with parchment paper or a silpat) placing them about 1/2″ apart.

Let the biscuits rest for 15 to 30 minutes before baking to relax the gluten; this will create a more even rise (even better, place the pan of biscuits in the refrigerator to chill).

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).

Transfer the biscuits to the oven and lower the oven temperature to 450°F (232°C). Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6-10 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuits are a rich golden brown.

Place the pan on a wire rack, leaving the biscuits to cool on the hot pan for at least 3 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

***If you are having a difficult time finding pastry flour, you can make your own by combining all-purpose flour and cake flour. To make two cups, combine 1 1/3 cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup (90 grams) cake flour.

To read more about flour take a look here :http://www.joyofbaking.com/flour.html#ixzz1abHvzDfV

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