“What is your favorite meal?” It’s not an easy question to answer, especially for a chef. During the summer, I would have to say BBQ. Getting all your friends together, firing up the smoker, and, of course, enjoying some cold beers. But now that fall is here and winter is just around the corner, my favorite meal has to be the weekend breakfast feast.
As a chef, brunch is basically Satan’s meal, but when you finally get to enjoy one yourself, it’s hard to hate. To me, the best part of a good brunch is an oversized, fluffy, and buttery biscuit. Browned and crispy on the outside, with a buttery inside that melts away with every bite, a good biscuit is a memorable treat. What’s the only way to make a biscuit better you ask? Smother it with sausage gravy, of course.
Let’s stick to the biscuit for now. Making biscuits at home is actually quite simple, and, generally, you should have all the ingredients you need already on hand. The most important ingredient in the biscuit, other than the flour, is butter. Real, whole butter, in all its rich glory, is what makes or breaks a biscuit. It creates the flakey quality we all know and love. If you enjoy flakier biscuits then you need more butter. I like to use quite a bit of butter in my biscuits, but I also enjoy an even flake.
The way that your biscuit flakes is due to the way you cut the butter into the dough. The most common method is cubing the butter then working it in with a pastry cutter or by hand. The method I use to make biscuits with an even flake is shredding the butter. Using a box grater, I shred frozen butter, and then work it into the dry ingredients to create a cornmeal consistency. Though it is important to remember that the butter must remain as cold as possible through the mixing process. If the butter warms up and blends in the biscuits will not flake or layer the right way.
When mixing the biscuit dough, it is important to not overwork it. Once the wet and dry ingredients have just come together, turn the dough to a floured surface and start to roll. This is the point where all those buttery layers are created. Once rolled, you have to fold the dough over itself and re-roll it, repeating at least three times for tall, layered biscuits. I believe the fold is what most biscuits are missing, even in many restaurants.
It’s the little things that most people remember from a meal. A bad biscuit could haunt a brunch forever. But, when that extra little bit of love is put into a meal, like folding the dough a couple more times to make better biscuits, it will not be overlooked. It’s these careful details that can be forgotten by chefs in today’s oversaturated market.
Give my Buttermilk Biscuit recipe a try and let me know what you think.
2 C Self-Rising Flour (I like White Lily)
¼ lbs Whole Butter, unsalted and frozen
6 ½ OZ Buttermilk
1 T Granulated Sugar
¼ tsp Kosher Salt
Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl and chill. Shred the frozen butter using a box grater and place back in the freezer. Measure out the buttermilk and keep cold. Now, add the butter to dry ingredients and work until cornmeal consistency, but do not let the mixture get too warm. Add the buttermilk and mix by hand until all dry ingredients are incorporated but do not over work. The mixture will be pretty lumpy.
Now, turn the dough out to floured surface and shape it into a rectangle. Roll the dough to a ½ inch thick and fold it at the middle. Repeat this process 4 times. After the final fold, roll the dough back to a ½ inch thick. Cut biscuits as close as possible using any size cutter and place on a greased sheet pan. Place biscuits against the edge and as close together as possible without misshaping them. Bake the biscuits at 400 degrees for a convection oven or 450 degrees for a conventional oven for approximately 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes.