Biscuits are a fast and delicious addition to almost any meal. The basic ingredients are ones that are probably already in your cupboards and refrigerator. Specialty biscuits are easily created by the addition of other ingredients to the basic mix when you want to add an extra touch to a meal.
The Basics of Biscuits
Biscuits are a kind of quick bread. Quick breads do not use yeast, so the dough does not need time for rising. Baking powder and baking soda are the leavening agents that make biscuits and other quick breads fluffy.
Biscuits are an American style of quick bread that is similar to the scone, popular in the England. Scones are often fried, but biscuits are baked in the oven at a high temperature.
How to Make Biscuits
The basic ingredients for making a batch of biscuits are:
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/4 cups of milk or buttermilk
1 large egg
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir the egg into the milk or buttermilk and whisk them together, then add them to the dry ingredients.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the other ingredients, mixing it in by hand or with a large spoon. Do not work the flour for too long, just enough so that the butter is mixed in. The mixture will look coarse.
Put some more flour on a bread board or other clean, flat surface and roll the dough out until it is one half inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter, or an upside down glass that is about two inches in diameter, to cut out the biscuits. Remold the remaining dough, roll it out a second time and cut out a few extra biscuits from the last of the dough.
Place the biscuits about two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and put them into an oven that has been preheated to 425º Fahrenheit and bake for about 15 minutes.
Jazzing Up Biscuits
Add a half cup of raisins or currents to the mixture before rolling for sweeter biscuits. Add a tablespoon of chopped herbs, like rosemary or oregano for an extra savory flavor in the finished product. A half cup of cooked, crumbled bacon, chopped ham or grated cheese will give you biscuits with lots of flavor and an extra dose of protein.
Eating and Enjoying Biscuits
Biscuits are best eaten hot, right out of the oven. They go great with a pat of butter and a spoonful of jam or honey. Biscuits also go well with gravy as the starch side dish with a meal of chicken or other meat. If you have leftover biscuits, wrap them in aluminum foil and do not put them in the refrigerator or they will get soggy. Reheat them in the toaster oven or microwave before eating.
Biscuits are a simple food that adds a special touch to meals. They are a perfect accompaniment to eggs for breakfast, with a salad or a bowl of chili for lunch or as a side with meat, poultry or beans at dinnertime.