on bread baking: buttermilk biscuits

I am not a bread baker. The process of baking bread intimidates me. I keep telling myself that I’m going to just try it, but I always chicken out. I’ve been eyeing some recipes lately – like this one for brioche by Brian and this one for focaccia by Jen – so maybe I’m close to giving it a go.

Maybe.

But until then, I’ll stick with baking biscuits. I can do that.

One of the best biscuit recipes that I’ve made is this one for rosemary cream drop biscuits. I’ve made them with and without the rosemary, and they are delightful both ways. The recipe I’ve included in this post is for another new favorite – buttermilk biscuits.  Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I made these for my family. Wait. Who am I kidding? I made them for myself.

But I did let my daughter have one. So there.

Warm buttermilk biscuits, slathered with some good butter and drizzled with honey…it was a tummy-warming and soul-satisfying snack. This, my friends, is my new go-to biscuit recipe.

By the way, if you have any favorite bread recipes, or if you want to give me some bread-baking encouragement, please leave me a comment. I need all the support when it comes to mustering up the courage to bake my first loaf of bread.

Yield: 6 biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Gourmet 2005. I decreased the sugar and I omitted the sifting of the flour since I’m no longer a believer in sifting. Here’s a great post on why sifting is not necessary.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Directions:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk together until well-incorporated and aerated: the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and blend in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist and sticky).

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2 inch rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 biscuits, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart. Bake until pale-golden, 12-15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

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19 Responses to “birdwatching and buttermilk muffins”

  1. 1
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    Brooke — January 21, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

    Glad to hear you enjoy the birdies, too! I do the same thing. I wish I was better at identifying them! and the biscuits look lovely.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — January 21st, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

      You need a guidebook!

  2. 2
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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 21, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Oh yes… the simple joys of life. Nature is full of them.

    This is such a wonderful recipe, MJ. Love that it’s just a tad bit sweet.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — January 21st, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

      Thank you, Brian. Yep, the’re just a tad sweet, and it makes them just perfect. 🙂

  3. 3
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    Anna — January 21, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    A lovely post. It’s so true that often the little things bring with them the most joy (I’m often terrible at remembering that though!). These muffins look delicious (and I have 3/4 of a carton in the fridge waiting to be used!). Do you think they would freeze ok?

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — January 21st, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

      Thank you, Anna! You know, they never last that long around here, so I haven’t tried freezing them. But please, if you try it, will you report back to me and let me know how it goes? I’d bet that they’d freeze just fine!

  4. 4
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    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — January 22, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

    Back in the summer we put up a bird feeder in the back yard and filled it with feed especially for song birds. It’s wonderful to just sit and watch and listen. I have found it so relaxing to just sit still and watch that feeder. And it’s pretty doggone entertaining, too, when the squirrels try to figure out how to get up that slippery pole 🙂

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    DessertForTwo — January 22, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    What a sweet story. We are quite the birders in our family too 🙂

    These muffins look great–intriguing and delicious!

  6. 6
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    Tina — January 22, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

    I miss the robins. I know summer is around the corner when they return here.

  7. 7
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    Kathryn — January 23, 2013 @ 6:08 am

    I really think that it is those fleeting moments that make life what it is. Sure the big stuff can be pretty good but it’s that little stuff that really makes you happy.

  8. 8
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    Paula — January 23, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    Lovely post and wonderful looking muffins. While it will be a few more weeks before we see the robins, I’m content to watch the blue jays, chickadees and morning doves that visit us every day. A few Springs back we had a robin build a nest under our deck. She had three little chicks and I’d sneak out when she was away from the next to video the babies. I never stayed long as I didn’t want to upset them but I did get some great footage that I treasure. I hoped Mommy robin would come back each year to lay new eggs but she never returned.

  9. 9
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    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 24, 2013 @ 7:11 am

    I love the simplicity of these. And lovely post – although I have to say that I don’t think I could recognize too many birds on sight…

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    Cheryl Arkison — January 24, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

    Now I’m wistful for May, when our robins take over the trees.

  11. 11
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    Di {CookTheTV} — January 26, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    Checking out your site from twitter. Oh my gosh, all of your recipes look soooo good. My only regret is not having found you sooner!
    🙂 Di

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    Anna — January 29, 2013 @ 1:14 am

    Just wanted to report back and let you know that I froze these muffins with great success (they’re so simple and delicious!). Before I froze them I split them and filled them with jam. When I wanted to eat them, I left them to defrost on the bench for a couple of hours and then I zapped them in the microwave for 10 seconds. They defrosted perfectly! Thanks for a great recipe. Also, I went one step further with melting the butter and browned it which was delicious.

  13. 13
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    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — February 4, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    What a lovely breakfast treat!

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    Ashley Jean — February 11, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

    don’t have kosher salt can i use regular table salt?

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — February 12th, 2013 @ 7:03 am

      Yes, you may.

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