Ever since I got my hands on the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, I have been wanting to make these biscuits. The only problem is, I have a slight aversion to purchasing buttermilk because I am never resourceful/ambitious/Southern enough to use the whole container. I always have one, very specific recipe in mind when I buy it. I don’t know where little culinary hang-ups like this come from, but they usually result in questionably old buttermilk going down the drain.
Anyway, back to the cookbook and the biscuits. The book offers an enticing sampling of the beautiful, big products coming out of the Seattle bakery that could fit in your pocket. Many of them I would truthfully fly to Seattle to buy at the bakery rather than attempt at home (read: the English muffins–well done, Lottie + Doof). But I generally find biscuit recipes to be irresistible, particularly when they involve butter applied in two forms.
What I loved most about this recipe was that co-author Shelley Lance bothers to tell you things like why you should cut them into squares rather than circles (no scraps to reroll), and that the biscuits would make great vehicles for a delectable range of sandwiches, like sausage and egg or salmon with herb cream cheese. This allows your mind to wander through the possibilities beyond just stuffing your face with a few biscuits as you’re pulling them out of the oven. There’s a good chance I’ll just shovel in most of this batch plain (or with a smear of strawberry jam), but I like to hope I have a little more self-control than that.
from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, makes 20 2 1/2-inch biscuits
1 pound 14 ounces (5 1/2 cups) AP flour, plus a bit more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons kosher salt
12 ounces (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice (keep in fridge until ready to use)
24 ounces (3 cups) cold buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, for brushing
Method: Preheat the oven to 475F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Add the chilled butter cubes to the bowl, and with your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture starts to resemble wet sand and the butter chunks are the size of peas.
Pour in the cold buttermilk and mix with a rubber spatula until everything is just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead four or five times until the dough has a smooth surface area on top. Don’t overmix. Shape the dough into a rough rectangle shape, then pat it out to about 3/4-inch thickness. Use a knife or metal bench scraper to cut the rectangle into 2 1/2-inch squares. Note: Lightly dust the knife with flour to prevent sticking. You should end up with about 20 biscuits.
Place the biscuits about an inch apart on baking sheets, and brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake the biscuits for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove them from the oven and cool on wire racks for a few minutes before serving.