Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Biscuits

I grew up in the Land of Biscuits where they were a frequent part of my family's meals.  However, I hadn't heard of Alabama biscuits until recently when I was visiting my hometown and talking with a friend, Jane. The conversation went through a maze something like this.

Jane started. "I went to high school in town just like Bee did. Did you know Sally was also from there? She's still with her husband even though she said that she would leave him as soon as the kids were grown. BTW, all of her kids have a good job except Winona has had some drinking problems. Anyway when I was a cook at the grade school, I used to work with Sally and she was our expert biscuit maker. She made Alabama biscuits every time we had spaghetti."

Me. "Were those the biscuits that were light and fluffy? I loved those things. How do you make them?"

Jane "I don't know. That was Sally's specialty. She started early in the morning to have them ready by lunch time. Did you know my brother-in-law was a chicken thief and knew Bee's father?" And Jane was off again.

I couldn't keep up with everything Jane was saying because I was thinking about those biscuits from my school days. After our talk, I did a quick Google search and found recipes everywhere for them. I chose one that looked like it had the right balance of ingredients (yeast, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, flour) to make ones like I remember and made them last night.

So how did they turn out? Pretty darn good--fluffy with a subtle sweet and salty taste. But some how, they were not quite as good as I remember them from the school lunch room. But when you go decades between tastings, I guess it's really hard to compare. However, I will be making them again. This is significant because I'm the person who usually doesn't use yeast unless there's a bread maker involved.

(BTW--My husband who didn't have history with them, thought they were pretty good. He had them for his bedtime snack and took them in his lunch today.)

Below is the recipe I used from Food.Com.

Alabama Biscuits
 2 1/2 cups all­ purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar 1 (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk

1. Sift dry ingredients together.
2. Dissolve yeast in water; Add buttermilk and add in sifted ingredients mixing well. Knead 20 times and roll out 1/4" thick.
3. Cut with biscuit cutter or drinking glass. Butter biscuits with brush and stack in twos, let rise for 2 hours.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until brown.

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