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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.

TIA!

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  1. 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.

    Good Luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: coconutz

      Aha. Thanks for #3, especially! (I like hand scooped biscuits too).

      Trying to dress up my usual buttermilk biscuits for a crowd. I'm thinking with some cheese and chives, it's practically all your food groups in one bite.

      1. re: Pei

        I see, sounds like a decadent crowd pleaser. I bet mini ones would be good with wine/drinks.

    2. 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

      1. 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

        1. Use White Lily flour if you can.

          1. 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.

            Photos: http://www.chezpei.com/2006/12/butter...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pei

              Of course you know, if you don't want to do the bacon, you can add cheddar and a hit or more of Tabasco. Lively.

            2. Well, I just did a batch using Gold Medal self-rising (because someone said every manufacturer uses a softer wheat for SR flour), and quite by accident I wound up with a soppy-wet dough, almost a sponge. I dumped it out on a floured table, sifted some more on top, rolled it very gently and proceeded to cut out a lot of 2" biscuits (they were for pork tenderloin sandwiches) and put them into pans just big enough for sixteen set butted up against each other (Shirley Corriher's mom's trick to make them rise up tall). I got 32 really tender biscuits, the tenderest I've ever made, and drop-dead delicious as well. This is how I'm gonna go from now on, with White Lily when I can get it...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Will Owen

                thanks, Will for all your tips. I know I can count on your info to be accurate. Have never used self-rising; now will try it on your rec.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Mrs. O reminded me that it was in fact Shirley Corriher who passed along the intelligence about self-rising flour. Don't know how I could have forgotten that.

                  Using SR flour is the only way I've ever been able to make biscuits that you couldn't use as weapons, because I tend to be clumsy and overwork stuff, and really soft, low-gluten flour will take a fair amount of working before it gets tough.

                  I have to say I just made a batch of cornbread, using White Lily self-rising cornmeal mix, that was TOO tender - it was like trying to cut wedges out of a pile of sand! Tasty, though...

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Will Owen, I believe S.C. also recommends a pretty hot oven with her wet dough on the theory that the steam that is produced helps the biscuits rise even taller than usual. Has never failed for me and I 'd thought mine were pretty OK until I tried the hot oven trick.