Milkmaid's Recipe Box

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! I'm such a FARMER at heart-- even a CALF knows that so much in life is about the FOOD! (A bit of a "bio" about me can be found way down near the bottom.)

You can find a recipe index entitled "Labels" down along the right side, starting below the picture of the farm. Then, below the "Label" list are pictures of some of my old "standbys"-- click on their picture and it should take you to the recipe.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Angel Biscuits

In the past, I've made biscuits with plenty of baking powder as the 'lifter'; and others with cream in place of the 'fat'.  This recipe uses yeast as the 'lifter' with a less-than-usual amount of baking power... they're called 'Angel' biscuits because of how the yeast 'lifts them up', I guess.  Just like in real life, there were some 'braggers'-- seriously, these biscuits were no different.  The highest ones  (the 'show offs!') in this batch were just under 2" and others were about 1 and 1/2"--  

One might think these are 'more work', but... what's 'work' about softening a tablespoon of yeast in 2 tablespoons of warm water and setting it aside for five minutes?  From there on, everything moves along quickly.
I like these even better with honey!  Biscuits are a 'memory food' for me.  My mother was born in Texas, then had a home in Oklahoma before moving to Arkansas with her family.  After that,......and,...........because of a letter/photograph she submitted  to a magazine, she met and married an out-of-her-area farmer (my dad).  With her "I do", she was to become a dairy farmer's wife for all of her married life.  I think that, along with her making so many other good foods, she was the 'queen of biscuit making'.  And,... whenever we'd 'go south' to visit her relatives, it seemed to be a given that we'd have hot biscuits in the morning-- with gravy and scrambled eggs, with gravy/sausage, or with warm creamy 'raisined' rice.   How can the sight, aroma and taste of 'those days' linger so long?  

  • 1 package (or 1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water 
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR sour milk
Optional additions (may add one, two, or all three):
1/4 cup very finely shredded carrot
2 tablespoons finely snipped parsley
2 tablespoons very finely chopped green onion

  • In a small mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Like this...
  • Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
  • Meanwhile, in a larger mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk this together very well so that the 'small amount ingredients' are well dispersed...
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening or lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  At this point, if you wish, you can add the optional carrot, parsley and green onion bits.  Whisk together well.
  • Make a well in center of dry mixture, then add softened yeast AND buttermilk (or sour milk) all at once.  Like this... 
  • Using a fork, gently stir just until moistened....
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Quickly knead the dough by gently folding and pressing the dough for only 6 to 8 strokes or until the dough is nearly smooth.  Pat or lightly roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut dough with a floured 2 and 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, dipping the cutter into flour between cuts.* (For more about 'cutting' biscuits, see my note at the bottom.)
  • Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet (I used parchment paper).  Bake in a 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are 'golden brown' and done.  Remove biscuits from baking sheet and serve hot.  Makes 8, or 10, or 12 (depending on how thick the dough is when you start cutting).

You know how you end up with little tags of dough left between where the circular biscuit cutter cuts?  Well, ... who says biscuits HAVE to be round?  Not me!   In order to avoid those 'tags' of dough that can get tough if you try to put them together again and re-pat them, do this:  Just pat (or lightly roll) this whole batch of biscuit dough into a square or rectangle-- then, with a knife, cut into shapes (squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, or ??).  Transfer to baking sheet.  Done!

I first got this recipe from a newspaper insert that I came across one day as I was building a fire in the furnace. Later, I saw this same recipe in the 1990 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking.  

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