- Hardcover: 216 pages
- Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1st Edition edition (May 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 142362176X
- ISBN-13: 978-1423621768
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Southern Biscuits Hardcover – May 1, 2011
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by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs-Smith, $21.99). We can’t think of a better or more definitive source for such a worthy undertaking.(Bonnie S Benwick Washington Post.com 2011-12-13)
From the Inside Flap
Layered, fluffy, feathery, silky, soft, and velvety biscuits all come together in Southern Biscuits, a book of recipes and baking secrets for every biscuit imaginable. Southern Biscuits features easy biscuits that are hassle-free and undemanding to make, as well as embellished biscuits laced with silky goat butter, crunchy pecans, or tangy pimento cheese, and everything in between.
The biscuits in this book encompass a number of types, from the beaten biscuits of the Old South and England, to biscuits reminiscent of Sunday Supper, to modern trends and ingredient combinations. Try Angel Biscuits―a yeast biscuit sturdy enough to split and fill but light enough to melt in the mouth; Carolina Biscuits―flaky little bites made with cream cheese; or Chocolate Soldiers―mixed with cocoa powder and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. You will find biscuits for every occasion, from hearty breakfasts to delicate party hors d’oeuvres.
Filled with beautiful photography, including dozens of how-to photos showing how to mix, stir, fold, roll, and knead, Southern Biscuits is the definitive biscuit baking book.
Nathalie Dupree has written or coauthored many cookbooks, including the James Beard Award–winners Nathalie Dupree’s Southern Memories and Nathalie Dupree’s Comfortable Entertaining. Her latest book is Shrimp and Grits. She has hosted more than 300 television shows and specials, which have shown nationally on PBS, The Learning Channel, and The Food Network. Dupree holds an Advanced Certificate from the Cordon Bleu and has also written extensively for magazines and newspapers. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Cynthia Stevens Graubart is an author and former television producer who began her culinary television production career with “New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree.” She is also the author of The One- Armed Cook, called the culinary version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Graubart lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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I'm a baker. I bake everything - most of my life cookies and cakes. Bread was always an uh oh. And forget about biscuits. I'd kill them with kindness, with too much thinking but most of all with handling. I watched Baking With Julia, I watched the bread monk guy, I watched them all, but it just didn't occur to me that you don't need to do much to bread items except leave them alone and let them make themselves.
But I've learned some over time. I think the NYTimes guy who discovered the art of making artisan bread without doing a damned thing was my first eyeopener. Put all the stuff together, stick it in a bowl and leave it be for a day or two was the first step. So I learned bread. I also learned RECIPES are IMPORTANT. I had been doing the winging it thing. I like to wing. It's good to wing. But you can't wing unless you KNOW baking science. I was operating on cake/cookie science. Different thing altogether. Bread is something else, quickbreads even more so.
Quick is the key!
So back to this amazing little book - skimming through all the recipes (and there are LOTS of them) I picked up two really important things:
ACID(LACTOSE), FAT, FLOUR w LEAVENING. that's your basic biscuit recipe.
DON'T MESS AROUND WITH THEM MUCH, that carries over from bread. From cakes too. Leave the flour alone - let it do it's thing. It's alive. It doesn't like to be mauled.
So with biscuits, for ALL these recipes, I throw everything in the refrig - flour too. cut in the fat, add the acid/milk/buttermilk/sour cream/yogurt, stir and fold it once, twice, three times as soon as it's a substancial mess of goop
throw some flour on top to give it body, form into a squareish thing about an 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shape. And carefully place in a buttered pan, then a hot oven.
My oh my.
I haven't tried EVERY recipe but I promise you I will. I haven't tried rolling out the dough for fear of mishandling, but I shall try once I have the feeling to. The only downside to all this easy deliciousness is they are terribly terribly fattening. AND you have to put butter on them because you HAVE TO! (and trust me when I say home made GOOD biscuits are like manna and Pillsbury and Bisquick don't even come into this - don't have a place at the table at all.)
THIS is the BEST LITTLE RECIPE BOOK IN THE WORLD.
I watched Nathalie Dupree's wonderful television program on PBS for many years so I was already familiar with her style of cooking. One of the foods I could never get the hang of was biscuits. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother make them using only their hands to mix the ingredients. I tried that and came away with rocks because I had no idea about ingredient proportions. This book will help you explore proportions and techniques that will ultimately lead to a biscuit which will make you say WOW! It happened today after batch #8. In a three week period. That's a lot of biscuits, but, luckily they freeze well so we are stocked up. I have had some bumpy rides along the way to that WOW batch. Here's what I've learned:
!. First three batches - Basic Southern Biscuits on pages 56-57. Followed the recipe exactly the first time and got heavy biscuits that didn't rise. Figured it was my fault so made them exactly the same another time but used a different oven, with the same unsatisfactory result. Even the *failures* were being eaten though. I then noticed that the White Lily Self-Rising flour sack had a biscuit recipe which was virtually identical to what I was using but with only half the fat. Made the batch using that recipe and it was really, really good. The lesson learned was that I wasn't compelled to follow the recipe exactly, but I needed to learn how and when to deviate.
2. Batches four, five, six - Busty Yogurt Biscuits on pages 44 and 45, where yogurt is the liquid and fat combination. Fabulous taste (a little tangy), not much of a rise but that was fine. Yogurt and Heavy Cream Biscuits on pages 46 and 47 where there is once again no fat except what is found naturally in the cream and yogurt. These were super easy to stir together and, although not as tender as biscuits made with a specific fat ingredient, still very tasty. Cynthia's Real Life Pantry Biscuits on pages 48 and 49 using half-and-half and yogurt. Again, great taste, not as tender, not much of a rise. These three batches were made without telling my husband what I was using in the biscuit. He's a purist and when he found out about the yogurt he would have liked to complain but it was a little hard when he had eaten four of the biscuits with nary a whimper.
3. Batches seven and eight - Fast-Food Biscuits on pages 78 and 79. These are what we think of as basic homemade biscuits. The first batch I followed the directions except I could not bring myself to put in an entire stick of butter with only two cups of flour. I did half the butter. The ingredient amount for the buttermilk made an exceedingly wet dough. I couldn't even pick them up to put on the pan with a bench scraper. I dumped them all back into a pile, sprinkled in more flour as I was folding and patting (kneading) until the dough was still moist but not wet. Excellent rise and taste, but I ended up using at least 1/2 cup of extra flour. The batch today was this biscuit again, but I put together everything I had learned so far: began with more flour, used part butter part vegetable shortening, and used less buttermilk. Resulting in a beautifully risen, flaky, tender, moist, brown, WOW biscuit.
There are still many, many recipes I want to try from this book but for me it was important to get the basic biscuit making skill down first. I now know how moist I want my dough to be, I am not worried about having to deviate from the ingredient measurements if I have to, and I have worked out in my head the science of what makes a biscuit light or dense, tangy, tender, or length of time for cooking in both of my ovens. This book is a starting point for anyone wanting to make biscuits. These are suggestions for the most part, not hard and fast rules. Experimentation will be necessary. If your first batch works out perfectly, then you have earned your Golden Biscuit Badge!
The book is written in such a way that any recipe may be tried by a cook as a first attempt - you can skip around and there is no absolute order of experimentation. Therefore, there is a whole lot of repeated information. Each and every recipe for biscuits repeats each step involved in making a batch. When I was reading through this book from cover to cover that almost drove me crazy. Ultimately I started looking for the anecdotal writing at the beginning of the recipe, the ingredient list itself, the oven temperature and then skimmed the instructions for any change from the norm. Recipes are included for what to do with leftover biscuits, how to embellish biscuits, things you can make from basic biscuit dough, desserts and other tasty sounding ideas. It is indeed a complete cookbook dedicated to the biscuit. Most of the recipes give the quantity of biscuits made based on a 2" biscuit cutter. My husband looked at those tiny biscuits and laughed. I tried a 2.5" cutter and a 3" cutter. He, of course, likes the 3" biscuit cutter best.
My husband is a Southern man from head to toe. For more years than I care to count I have endured comments about Miss Sammie's biscuits down at the diner. Well guess what, my WOW biscuits today put me right up there even with Miss Sammie. Folks, that's as good as it gets.
Added July 8, 2011 -- This book strongly recommends that you use a baking powder brand which does not contain aluminum. I never knew ANY baking powder contained aluminum. Believe the authors, it makes a huge difference in the resulting product you make. They suggest several different brands in the book and my local supermarket had one.
I made the buttermilk cranberry scones today and I'm thinking I will have to hide them or ask my daughters to come over and take them away from us....they are that good! Next time I'll mix them up in my food processor though. I thought my arm was going to give out before I got that very large batch of dough ready. 4 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of butter using a pastry cutter? Whew!