N ashville – The Rise of the Biscuit
I enjoy traveling for food inspiration. My food travels recently took me to Nashville where there is an incredible food scene happening, in addition to the wonderful live music venues. Nashville is the perfect place to indulge in my passion for food and music. Farm to Table restaurants abound in and out of the city. I found inspired southern cooking everywhere. Many of the restaurants pride themselves in maintaining their southern cooking roots but approach food preparation in new exciting ways. As I ate my way around Nashville it became apparent that whether I was eating at the classic road stop – Loveless Cafe or fine dining at the Capital Grille in the famous Hermitage Hotel, there was a reference for the biscuit. If I wanted to recapture my food experiences back home on Long Island, I would need to master the southern biscuit. I found the perfect book to take home with me – filled with biscuit recipes from the experts – “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd. I tried several recipes and I’m sharing my favorite. I also used some of the biscuit tricks in the book, that really made a difference in the quality of the biscuit. Here are my favorite tricks:
1. Use a lower gluten flour – about 8% for a light airy biscuit – I bought a flour from the South – White Lily All purpose flour ( thank goodness for the the Amazon grocery) , the difference from the flour alone was remarkable.
2. Don’t over handle the dough, use your finger tips, first to incorporate the lard into the flour and again when you are making your biscuits push the dough down lightly using your finger tips only ( the same is a good tip for pizza making as well)
3. Use lard ! I found again my biscuits were better using a lard that is staple in southern pantries – Armour brand.
4. One of my favorite kitchen tricks, if you don’t have buttermilk just add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to whole milk an let sit a minute or two before using.
5. Instead of kneading the dough, I combine together and then fold 4 to 5 times to create layers.
Now you are ready to make light airy biscuits! I’m also sharing an easy berry jam recipe, it uses apple as a natural pectin to make the jam. Biscuits and fresh jam – I can’t think of a better start to any day !!
From by the bay, wishing you Nashville food memories!
Mondell’s Country Biscuits
From “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd
Makes 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix shortening with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the room temperature buttermilk until flour leaves
sides of the bowl and forms a ball. If it sticks, add a little more flour until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on to a floured surface and knead five to six times. Make sure the surface is not cold. You can roll out or pat out into 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on greased or non stick cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter and then place in oven and bake 8 to 12 minutes until biscuits start to brown.
Easy Berry Breakfast Jam
approximately 10 ounces jam
6 ounces berries – such as strawberries, raspberries , blackberries or blueberries
1/2 cup fine white sugar
1/2 apple, peeled, cored and small dice
In a small saucepan bring sugar and berries to a boil stirring occassionally. Add apple and stir. Bring back to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Let cool and place in a jam jar or container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.