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Biscuits

Help!
I've been asked to teach a session on making southern style biscuits
for a group i belong to. About 1/2 of the group are vegan/vegit. and i would like to adapt usual ingredients and methods to work for my vegan friends.

I usually use White Lily unbleached flour mixed w/whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, thinned yogurt or buttermilk and butter or home-rendered lard. I do not use Crisco or any similar product. I have never tried coconut oil or other substitutes. I've never used almond, rice or soy milk. I use a small (7") cast iron skillet, well warmed but not hot, filled w/biscuits just touching and bake in a counter top oven pre-heated to 450 for 10 minutes then reduced to 375 till finished. I usually brush lightly w/butter.

I'd much appreciate the help from experienced vegan bakers who turn out great biscuits. I'll definitely give y'all the credit. many thanks

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  1. I like yogurt to eat but tried yogurt in biscuits once and they tasted too yogurty. Nice texture and rise, though.

    1. I've never tried it, but your options for vegan biscuits are quite limited. I've had success with vegan margarine in place of butter in butter-rich recipes (in terms of texture and mouthfeel) and plain or curdled soymilk in place of buttermilk. To curdle the soy, just pour in a bit of apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. You won't taste it in the final product.

        1. I would swap in curdled soymilk since it has a similar protein content to dairy milk.

          Earth balance makes a vegan shortening if you want to use that:
          http://earthbalancenatural.com/produc...

          Earth balance also makes vegan butter. I haven't used either for biscuits but IMO their products have the best buttery flavor without sketchy ingredients.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            With the right amount of baking powder you don't need sour 'milk' of any kind.

            I have a suspicion that you don't need milk at all. Most of the fake milk beverages just look white, and have a bit of sweetness to imitate milk.

            But if it is available, I would use coconut milk, the thicker stuff from the can (or fresh), not the diluted stuff in a 2 gallon container.

            Regarding the fat, it does not have to be butter or even a solid. There recipes that get all their fat from cream. Liquid fat, e.g. oil, works, though the result isn't going exactly the same as with butter or shortening.

          2. I think the Earth Balance suggestion should work, but night impart a margarine-y taste to the biscuits. For a vegan shortening for pies I always use Spectrum vegetable shortening with great results. As far as the buttermilk goes, I would whisk a few tablespoons of a vegan yogurt into soy milk. That works well for pancakes for me, without dominating the flavor.

            On a separate note, I do find it a bit odd that you would be asked to teach a group how to make "southern style" biscuits, and then be asked to modify them for vegans!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Science Chick

              Hi and thanks to everybody for suggestions. I'm appreciating your help.

              Science chick - the group is mostly vegetarians - so i'll have butter and dairy buttermilk available, but there are several people who are vegan or would like to do a vegan alternative if possible, so I wanted to do all i could to make this useful to them too. I offered to research vegan information and bring that in too.

              I didn't know it was possible to 'curdle' soymilk (thanks nothingswrong). I know about Earth balance, didn't know about Spectrum. Vegan yogurt/soy milk sounds good.

              Biscuits etc depend, for rising, on that mix of acid (buttermilk/curdled soymilk, cream of tartar) and baking soda. Baking powder contains the 2 together but I usually find I need to add more of each when making conventional biscuits - especially containing wwheat flour. any different techniques for vegan ?

              does anybody here make biscuits scones and have tips on doing that? Does coconut milk-butter taste 'coconutty' ? thanks all. these are great suggestions

              1. re: kariin

                There are various ideas of what a scone is. Some UK posters say they are the same. An older American idea is that they just richer - with added egg and sugar. A new style loads them all kinds of flavors. But regardless technique is basically the same.

                1. re: kariin

                  I would be careful how many subs you make for the vegan biscuits. I think the more you change about your original recipe, the more danger you have of creating something not resembling what you'd like it to.

                  I bake a lot for vegan friends and--while maybe not the healthiest--I find it tastiest to just sub out the non-vegan ingredients.

                  Googling for vegan biscuits shows these results which look very promising:

                  http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-d...

                  http://thesouthernvegan.wordpress.com...

                  The second one is for Southern style biscuits.

                  Both recipes simply use curdled soy/almond milk (curdling with vinegar/lemon juice) and Earth Balance/vegan butter. The remaining ingredients are typical (flour, salt, baking powder, etc.).

                  The process is the same--cutting fat into your dry ingredients, stirring in liquid, and handling lightly.

                  I think in a recipe with a lack of flavorings like a biscuit or plain scone, coconut oil/butter will probably impart a flavor. I see that in the negative reviews here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-wh...

                  Don't know what your normal biscuit recipe is, but IMHO, I'd just sub in the curdled soy or soy/yogurt and Earth Balance, since it's tried and true and leave the rest of the ingredients/process the same.

                  As for vegan scones, I have made them many times with vegan margarine and soy or almond milk. They just need to be handled lightly--mix dry, cut margarine into dry, stir in liquid lightly, shape and cut on floured surface, bake.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    great suggestions - i'll incorporate, i agree, the fewer changes the better. thanks

                  2. re: kariin

                    Yes, coconut butter (made from flesh of the coconut), coconut oil, and coconut milks taste coconutty.
                    It depends how much you use of you'll taste it in the end product (1/2cup coconut milk, probably not- but with 1/2 cup coconut oil you'll taste it a bit)