Preview: The Biscuit Baker
The Biscuit Baker
Vintage articles and recipes for baking fresh, hot homemade biscuits from scratch.
Beaten Biscuit #1
One quart of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder sifted with the flour, a quarter of a teaspoonful of salt, a large heaping tablespoonful of butter, milk enough to make a stiff dough. Beat with a rolling pin or in a biscuit-beater for ten or fifteen minutes until the dough blisters. Roll out about half an inch thick or less, prick well with a fork and bake in a quick oven.
Beaten Biscuit #2
Two quarts of flour, three ounces of butter, a little salt and enough water to make a stiff dough. Beat with a rolling pin or in a biscuit-beater twenty minutes until the dough blisters or snaps. Roll out about half an inch thick, prick well with a fork and bake in a quick oven. This dough rolled very thin, cut with a large cutter, pricked well and baked in a quick oven makes delicious wafers to serve with tea or chocolate.
Beaten Biscuit #3
(Sufficient to Serve Twelve)
* 1 qt. pastry flour
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1/3 c. fat
* 1 c. milk or water
Sift the flour and salt and chop in the fat. Moisten with the milk or water and form into a mass. Toss this on a floured board, and beat it with a rolling pin for 30 minutes, folding the dough over every few seconds. Roll the dough 1/3 inch in thickness, form the biscuits by cutting them out with a small round cutter, and prick each one several times with a fork. Place the biscuits on baking sheets or in shallow pans, and bake them in a moderate oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Soy Bean Meal Biscuit
1 cup soy bean meal or flour
1 cup whole wheat
1½ teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons fat
1 cup milk
Sift dry ingredients. Cut in fat. Add liquid to make soft dough. Roll one-half inch thick. Cut and bake 12 to 15 minutes in hot oven.From "Foods That Will Win the War, and How to Cook Them", 1918
1 cup mashed lightly packed potato
2 tablespoons fat
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
About ½ cup milk or water in which potatoes were cooked
Add melted fat to mashed potato. Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt and add to potato mixture, add enough of the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out ½ inch thick, cut with a biscuit cutter and bake in a quick oven for 15 minutes. (If bread flour is used in place of whole wheat, the biscuits are slightly lighter and flakier in texture.)From "Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them", 1918, by C. Houston Goudiss and Alberta M. Goudiss
Southern-Style Soda Biscuit
Sift a quart of flour with a heaping teaspoonful of baking soda. Add a good pinch of salt, rub well through lard or butter the size of the fist, then wet with sour milk to a moderately soft dough, roll out, working quickly, cut with small round cutter, set in hot pans, leaving room to swell, and bake in a quick oven just below scorching heat. Handle as lightly as possible all through—this makes flaky biscuit.
By way of variety, roll out thin—less than a half-inch, cut with three-inch cutter, grease lightly on top, and fold along the middle. Let rise on top a hot stove several minutes before putting to bake. By adding an egg, beaten light, with a heaping tablespoonful of sugar to the dough in mixing, these doubled biscuit will be quite unlike the usual sort.From "Dishes and Recipes of the Old South", by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913.
Sweet Potato Biscuits, Old Style
Boil soft two large or four small sweet potatoes, mash smooth while very hot, free of strings and eyes, add a pinch of salt, then rub well through three cups of sifted flour. Rub in also a generous handful of shortening, then wet up soft with two eggs beaten very light, and sweet milk. A little sugar also if you have a sweet tooth—but only a little. Roll to half-inch thickness, cut out with small cutter, lay in warm pan, and bake brown in a quick oven.
Soda and buttermilk can take the place of eggs and sweet milk—in which case the sugar is advisable. Mix the soda with the milk—enough to make it foamy, but no more.From Dishes & Beverages of the Old South, by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913
Biscuit Recipes: Old-Style Southern Beaten Biscuits
Sift a quart of flour into a bowl or tray, add half a teaspoon salt, then cut small into it a teacup of very cold lard. Wet with cold water—ice water is best—into a very stiff dough. Lay on a floured block, or marble slab, and give one hundred strokes with a mallet or rolling pin. Fold afresh as the dough beats thin, dredging in flour if it begins to stick. The end of beating is to distribute air well through the mass, which, expanding by the heat of baking, makes the biscuit light. The dough should be firm, but smooth and very elastic. Roll to half-inch thickness, cut out with a small round cutter, prick lightly all over the top, and bake in steady heat to a delicate brown. Too hot an oven will scorch and blister, too cold an one make the biscuit hard and clammy. Aim for the Irishman's "middle exthrame."
There are sundry machines which do away with beating. It is possible also to avoid it by running the dough, after mixing, several times through a food-chopper. Also beaten biscuit can be closely imitated by making good puff paste, rolling, cutting out, pricking and baking—but rather more quickly than the real thing. All these are expedients for those who live in apartments, where the noise of beating might be held against good neighborhood. Householders, and especially suburban ones, should indulge in the luxury of a block or stone or marble slab—and live happy ever after, if they can but get cooks able and willing to make proper use of it.
Light Biscuit No. 1
Take a piece of bread dough that will make about as many biscuits as you wish; lay it out rather flat in a bowl; break into it two eggs, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of butter; mix this thoroughly with enough flour to keep it from sticking to the hands and board. Knead it well for about fifteen or twenty minutes, make into small biscuits, place in a greased pan, and let them rise until about even with the top of the pan. Bake in a quick oven for about half an hour.
These can be made in the form of rolls, which some prefer.
Sift two quarts of flour in a mixing-pan, make a hole in the middle of the flour, pour into this one pint of warm water or new milk, one teaspoonful of salt, half a cup of melted lard or butter, stir in a little flour, then add half a cupful of yeast, after which stir in as much flour as you can conveniently with your hand, let it rise over night; in the morning add nearly a teaspoonful of soda, and more flour as is needed to make a rather soft dough; then mold fifteen to twenty minutes, the longer the better; let it rise until light again, roll this out about half an inch thick and cut out with a biscuit-cutter, or make it into little balls with your hands; cover and set in a warm place to rise. When light, bake a light brown in a moderate oven.
Rub a little warm butter or sweet lard on the sides of the biscuits when you place them on the tins, to prevent their sticking together when baked.
To create variety, a baking-powder biscuit mixture may be made into pinwheel biscuits, a kind of hot bread that is always pleasing to children. Such biscuits differ from cinnamon rolls only in the leavening agent used, cinnamon rolls being made with yeast and pinwheel biscuits with baking powder.
(Sufficient to Serve Six)
* 2 c. flour
* 1 tsp. salt
* 4 tsp. baking powder
* 2 Tb. fat f
* 3/4 c. milk
* 2 Tb. butter
* 1/3 c. sugar
* 1 Tb. cinnamon
* 3/4 c. chopped raisins
To make the dough, combine the ingredients in the same way as for baking-powder biscuits
. Roll it on a well-floured board until it is about 1/4 inch thick and twice as long as it is wide. Spread the surface with the 2 tablespoonfuls of butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle them evenly over the buttered surface, and on top of this sprinkle the chopped raisins. Start with one of the long edges and roll the dough carefully toward the opposite long edge, as shown in Fig. 15. Then cut the roll into slices 1 inch thick. Place these slices in a shallow pan with the cut edges down and the sides touching. Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
Sour Milk Biscuit
Rub into a quart of sifted flour a piece of butter the size of an egg, one teaspoonful of salt; stir into this a pint of sour milk, dissolve one teaspoonful of soda and stir into the milk just as you add it to the flour; knead it up quickly, roll it out nearly half an inch thick and cut out with a biscuit-cutter; bake immediately in a quick oven.
Very nice biscuit may be made with sour cream without the butter by the same process.
Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
⅔ cup buttermilk, low-fat
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
3. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk and oil. Pour over flour mixture; stir until well mixed.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently for 10-12 strokes.
5. Roll or pat dough to ¾-inch thickness.
6. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, dipping cutter in flour between cuts.
7. Transfer biscuits to an ungreased baking sheet.
8. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Baking Powder Biscuits #2
* 2 c. flour
* 1 tsp. salt
* 4 tsp. baking powder
* 2 Tb. fat
* 3/4 c. milk
Mix and sift the flour, salt, and baking powder. Chop the fat into the dry ingredients until it is in pieces about the size of small peas. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients, and mix them just enough to take up the liquid. Make the mixture as moist as possible, and still have it in good condition to handle. Then sprinkle flour on a molding board, and lift the dough from the mixing bowl to the board.
Sprinkle flour thinly over the top and pat out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter, and place the biscuits thus cut out on baking sheets or in shallow pans. If a crusty surface is desired, place the biscuits in the pan so that they are about an inch apart; but if thick, soft biscuits are preferred, place them so that the edges touch. Bake 18 to 20 minutes in a hot oven.
Homemade Baking Powder
Although baking powder may be purchased at various prices, a good grade can be made in the home without much effort and usually for less than that which can be bought ready made. For these reasons, many housewives prefer to make their own. The following recipe tells how to make a cream-of-tartar powder that is very satisfactory:
* 1/2 lb. cream of tartar
* 1/4 lb. bicarbonate of soda
* 1/4 lb. corn starch
Weigh all the ingredients accurately. If the cream of tartar and the bicarbonate of soda are to be purchased from a druggist, it will be better for him to weigh them than for the housewife, as he uses scales that weigh accurately. After all the ingredients are weighed, mix them together thoroughly by sifting them a number of times or by shaking them well in a can or a jar on which the lid has been tightly closed. The baking powder thus made should be kept in a can or a jar that may be rendered air-tight by means of a lid, or cover.
Without doubt, baking powder is the most satisfactory of the chemical leavening agents. It comes in three varieties, but they are all similar in composition, for each contains an alkali in the form of soda and an acid of some kind, as well as a filler of starch, which serves to prevent the acid and the alkali from acting upon each other. When moisture is added to baking powder, chemical action sets in, but it is not very rapid, as is apparent when a cake or a muffin mixture is allowed to stand before baking. The bubbles of gas that form in such a mixture can easily be observed if the mixture is stirred after it has stood for a short time. When both moisture and heat are applied to baking powder, however, the chemical action that takes place is more rapid, and this accounts for its usefulness in baking hot breads and cake.
The price of the different kinds of baking powder is generally an indication of the ingredients that they contain. Higher priced powders usually contain cream of tartar for the acid, the high price of this substance accounting for the price of the powder. Powders of medium price generally contain acid phosphate of lime, and as this substance is cheaper than cream of tartar, a baking-powder mixture containing it may well be sold for less. The cheapest grade of powders, have for their acid a salt of aluminum called alum. Still other powders contain a mixture of phosphate and alum.
As baking powders vary in price, so do they vary in their keeping qualities, their effectiveness, and their tendency toward being injurious. Most phosphate and alum powders do not keep so well as the cream-of-tartar powders, and the longer they are kept, the less effective do they become. The powders that contain phosphate yield more gas for each teaspoonful used than do the other varieties. Much controversy has taken place with regard to the different kinds of baking powder and their effects on the digestive tract, but authorities have not yet agreed on this matter. However, if foods made with the aid of baking powders are not used excessively, no concern need be felt as to their injurious effect. The housewife in her choice of baking powder should be guided by the price she can afford to pay and the results she is able to get after she has become well informed as to the effect of the different varieties. She may easily become familiar with the composition of baking powder, for a statement of what substances each kind contains is generally found on the label of every variety. This information is invaluable to the housewife, as it will assist her considerably in making a selection.
Baking Powder Biscuit
One quart of sifted flour, three-quarters of a cup of butter, two heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder, one teaspoonful of salt, enough milk to make a soft dough. Do not handle any more than is necessary. Roll thin, cut in small biscuits, prick with a fork and bake in a quick oven.
One quart of flour sifted, two rounded teaspoonfuls of baking powder, two cupfuls of cream and a little salt. Mix, roll out about a quarter of an inch thick, cut with a small biscuit-cutter, prick with a fork and bake fifteen or twenty minutes in a quick oven.