Monday, April 19, 2010

Angel Biscuits

No matter how simple the meal, it just seems that homemade bread makes it something special. And is there anything more like a hug than the scent of baking bread? Here is a recipe that I discovered this past year and I probably make at least once a month. I just love this recipe because it makes a lovely, almost fool-proof dough that can be made ahead, popped in the refrigerator, and used over a three day span. (The recipe recommends that you discard the dough after three days.)

I use this dough for biscuits, but I have also had great success using it for Saturday morning cinnamon rolls, either frosted with a basic powdered sugar frosting or a citrus glaze. I have also used it for caramel rolls. Simply substitute this dough and follow your usual roll/bread recipe. For additional convenience, I like to bake cinnamon rolls during a weekday afternoon and freeze them for the weekend.

Most of the time, I divide this recipe in half, because there's just two of us at home these days. But if you make the full recipe, you'll have a generous amount of bread to either freeze or feed a large family.

Angel Biscuits (from Betty Crocker's Cookbook 1986 version)

1 package regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
2 T. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 c. shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk (I don't use buttermilk because I never have it on hand. A good substitute is to take 2 cups of milk and add 2 T. of lemon juice OR vinegar. The milk will sour and work perfectly. )

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda with pastry blender in 4-quart bowl until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky.)

Turn dough onto generously floured surface. Gently roll in flour to coat; shape into ball. Knead lightly 25 to 30 times, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate no longer than 3 days.

To make biscuits right away: Right after you've kneaded the bread, roll or pat dough 1/2 in. thick. Cut with 2 1/2 -in round cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Heat over to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 12 - 14 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Makes 2 1/2 dozen biscuits.

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