February 16, 2008
My taste buds, and thus my cooking, tends to be really streaky. There will be weeks when all I’m hungry for is Asian flavors, or braise-y textures, or hearty soups. I’ve never gone through a Southern cooking (cookin?) streak before, but I seem to have been on one last week. Somehow, within the span of a week, I made ribs, potato salad and buttermilk cookies. And there’s one final Southern staple that I made but haven’t told you about yet: buttermilk biscuits.
Before you start swooning over visions of the most buttery, light-as-air, aromatic buttermilk biscuits imaginable, I have a confession. Those weren’t the adjectives I was going for. You see, I wanted to try a whole wheat buttermilk biscuit. Are you done scoffing/rolling your eyes/writing this blog off forever? I hope so. Because now I can tell you that these were actually a really good approximation of “regular” buttermilk biscuits. Flavor-wise, I was thrilled. They tasted just like the original, but with an extra boost of nutty, earthy heartiness. In the texture category, they certainly weren’t ethereal. But they weren’t the hockey pucks I feared either. They were simply a denser, wholesome version of the original. Any poor marks they garner for appearance should be discounted slightly, because I rolled them out too thin.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
So, while I’d love to eat the real-deal biscuits every morning, noon and night, for my metabolism these are a more-than-suitable alternative. I would also love to be slathering one of these warm biscuits with jam right this very instant, rather than rushing out the door for a five hour prep course for the legal ethics exam. But, such is life.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon milk for brushing
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine buttermilk and oil. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or 2 knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Make a well in the center and gradually pour in the buttermilk mixture, stirring with a fork until just combined.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle with a little flour. Lightly knead the dough 8 times, then pat or roll out to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps of dough and cut more rounds. Brush the tops with milk.
Bake the biscuits for 12 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.