Buttermilk Biscuit Questions
I have a few, probably basic, questions about buttermilk biscuits that I can't readily find answers for in the archives.
1) how do I go about adding bacon to the biscuits? Do I simply fry up some bacon, let it cool, crumble it, and add with the flour?
2) if I let the bacon fat cool, I can substitute some of the lard/butter out and use solid bacon fat, right?
3) I'm trying to avoid re-rolling dough because I have lead hands and want to avoid knocking all the air out of it. Can I form the dough into a rectangle and cut square biscuits? I know not to drag the knife along the biscut. I'll be careful to use a sharp knife and cut straight down.
Answering until someone who actually makes bacon biscuits comes along. I like plain buttermilk biscuits and have made many.
1) that sounds like the approach I'd take
2) I would not do that. My instincts are that I don't think it would perform well I think it's still too soft. Save for another use. If you do try, use it in a recipe that calls for butter and shortening and use it for the shortening portion, and let us know.
3) I have often cut square biscuits to avoid over-handling (now I make wet hand-scooped ones from S. Corriher just as often.) But it's not a matter of 'knocking air out of them', just a matter of them toughening from gluten development and softening of the fat removing flakiness.
certainly adding the cooked crumbled bacon sounds right
you could substitute bacon fat for some of the shortening or lard if your recipe calls for it, but certainly not for butter
just patting the dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured board should be just about enough kneading
dipping your very very sharp knife in flour before doing a fast cut down would help
if you have access to Cooks Illustrated, their recipe for buttermilk biscuits really works well - they also have a good method of shaping the biscuits by hand
REPORTING BACK like a good 'hound.
I did #1 and #3, but am saving #2 for future tries.
I crumbled 4 slices of bacon, threw it in the freezer while I got out my biscuit ingredients, and threw the bacon and half a cup of grated sharp cheddar in the the flour after I pulsed it with butter and before I stirred in buttermilk.
It worked out very well! I used White Lily for the first time and got light fluffy biscuits even with the addition of bacon and cheddar. I think bigger biscuits would have risen more, but my little inch and a half wide squares did rise as much as they could in the oven.
I think next time I will pulse a third of the bacon with the butter and flour just to get the pork flavor really dispersed throughout the batter, and then throw in small crumbles later for texture. And then grate some cheese over the top for burnt crispy goodness.