The last month has brought two big changes to my cooking habits. Meat, while it was always eaten in moderation has been pretty non-existent, save for the occasional bacon I make for the kids. In its place, beans have been given their proper due. Not using bacon has pushed me to look for flavors in unexpected places. My kale, white & ravioli soup proved to be a very fulfilling meal without my usual tendency to boost it with bacon.
Whole grains have also been cast front and center in my baking habits. This doesn’t mean white flour is gone for good. I just found that there really is too much of a good thing, at least when it comes to my affinity for bread. Rather than give it up, I decided to start incorporating healthier grains. I guess it’s my way of having my cake, or bread, and eating it too.
Last week a twitter pal mentioned he was going to attempt making biscuits for the first time. I adore biscuits. I find my impulse to slather them warm from the oven with butter and a drizzle of honey borders on addiction. I’d had intentions to develop a whole grain recipe, but they were for the future. Once Ethan mentioned biscuits, though, the idea shuttled to the forefront of my mind.
So…20 minutes later I’d pulled out some flours and took a look at my regular biscuit recipe to see what changes I thought would work. The resulting recipe isn’t far off from the original, except instead of white flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour and spelt four. I scaled back the amount of flour normally used because whole grains slurp up liquid like it’s going out of style.
The other must-use technique is one I came across in Heidi’s forthcoming book Super Natural Every Day. I’ve always noticed the biscuits from my re-roll tend to rise higher than the ones first cut, so her method of layering and patting out the dough a few times made perfect sense. I also took her lead and cut the biscuits into squares. While I love the shape of round biscuits, the resulting waste from using a biscuit cutter has always bothered me. Of course, feel free to make them whichever shape you prefer. It’s your kitchen, and addiction, to feed as you see fit.
light & airy whole grain biscuits
makes 8 to 10
1 cup (4.75 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup (2.45 ounces) spelt flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) natural cane sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar and salt to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine. Add butter and using a pastry blender, or your fingers (my preferred method), blend until it forms a sandy-looking mixture, with a few large pieces mixed in.
Pour in the buttermilk and stir, using a wooden spoon, until just mixed and there are no visible traces of flour. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2 to 3 times until it forms a somewhat smooth dough. Pat out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle, and cut into 3 equal-sized strips. Layer the strips one on top of the other, and gently press down into a 1/2-inch rectangle again. Repeat this step twice more for a total of three times.
When the last rectangle has been formed, cut into 8 to 10 equal-sized squares. Place biscuits a few inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until tops are golden, being careful bottoms do not burn. Serve warm with homemade butter or jam.
New at In Jennie’s Kitchen