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RiceGuy

Biscuits

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Hi everyone,

Occasionally there will be a post mentioning southern biscuits, and though I've searched here and elsewhere, I've yet to find a detailed description of the texture and appearance of a southern biscuit. Can anyone please describe it in detail? Is it soft, fluffy, rigid, dense, loose, moist, dry, etc, etc?

As for buttermilk biscuits, I think those are rather soft, with a loose crumb. Sorta cake-like, but dryer. Is that right?

The drop biscuits I knew as a kid had a rigid crust, and were somewhat dry and chewy. Is that typical for this type of biscuit?

I grew up with biscuits being the sort of thing to spread with butter or margarine, not jam, jelly or anything sweet. I suppose the spread of choice is a regional/cultural thing though, yes?

What other types of biscuits are popular?

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Hi everyone,

Occasionally there will be a post mentioning southern biscuits, and though I've searched here and elsewhere, I've yet to find a detailed description of the texture and appearance of a southern biscuit. Can anyone please describe it in detail? Is it soft, fluffy, rigid, dense, loose, moist, dry, etc, etc?

As for buttermilk biscuits, I think those are rather soft, with a loose crumb. Sorta cake-like, but dryer. Is that right?

The drop biscuits I knew as a kid had a rigid crust, and were somewhat dry and chewy. Is that typical for this type of biscuit?

I grew up with biscuits being the sort of thing to spread with butter or margarine, not jam, jelly or anything sweet. I suppose the spread of choice is a regional/cultural thing though, yes?

What other types of biscuits are popular?

I grew up in the South and no one can bake a biscuit better than my grandma did when I was growing up. The consistency was a lot like Bette Hagman's Caraway Soda Bread in her old '93 cookbook which is why I'm baking it downstairs right now :) Let me know if you want the recipe. It's the one I keep going back to.

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I grew up in the South and no one can bake a biscuit better than my grandma did when I was growing up. The consistency was a lot like Bette Hagman's Caraway Soda Bread in her old '93 cookbook which is why I'm baking it downstairs right now :) Let me know if you want the recipe. It's the one I keep going back to.

Thanks, but I don't need a recipe. What I want is a detailed description of the ideal finished product. The texture, crumb, crust, etc, etc. What exactly defines a great southern biscuit?

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Thanks, but I don't need a recipe. What I want is a detailed description of the ideal finished product. The texture, crumb, crust, etc, etc. What exactly defines a great southern biscuit?

Rice Guy, you will be my hero again if your intent is to come up with recipe for a southern biscuit. :lol: My Granny made the best biscuits in the world. Ok, so size is important. They should be about 1 1/2 in high and 3 in around. The texture is hard to describe, but here goes: not crumbly inside, fluffy is best. It should hold together when you cut it in half to fill with country ham or apple butter. Kind of cake like, but a little more moist. If you've ever had a biscuit from KFC, that's the texture, but definitely not the flavor. Buttermilk is key to getting the flavor right. My Granny never used a recipe. She just put all purpose flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl, cut in shortening and added buttermilk til it was the right texture. I could never recreate it with a regular flour, so I haven't tried with a gluten free flour. My initial thought is maybe a combo of sorghum and tapioca flour.

Janie

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Rice Guy, you will be my hero again if your intent is to come up with recipe for a southern biscuit. :lol: My Granny made the best biscuits in the world. Ok, so size is important. They should be about 1 1/2 in high and 3 in around. The texture is hard to describe, but here goes: not crumbly inside, fluffy is best. It should hold together when you cut it in half to fill with country ham or apple butter. Kind of cake like, but a little more moist. If you've ever had a biscuit from KFC, that's the texture, but definitely not the flavor. Buttermilk is key to getting the flavor right. My Granny never used a recipe. She just put all purpose flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl, cut in shortening and added buttermilk til it was the right texture. I could never recreate it with a regular flour, so I haven't tried with a gluten free flour. My initial thought is maybe a combo of sorghum and tapioca flour.

Janie

Thanks for the description. What about the crust? Is it soft, hard, thick, thin, pliable, rigid, crispy, croissant-like?

As for my intent, you're on the right track. I just got through typing an entire paragraph, but decided to withhold it for now. It's a topic for another thread, so stay tuned :)

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Yep--Wolicki was right on about everything, especially the buttermilk. The top should be somewhat crispy and flat.

I used to make fantastic ones using Crisco, winter wheat flour (which in my opinion is key), and buttermilk. Any I've tried to make gluten-free just don't measure up. I hope you have something up your sleeve, Riceguy :rolleyes:

When I lived in Georgia, we used to frequent a family style restaurant called "Po Folks"--their biscuits were as big as hockey pucks and the best I've ever had.

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Thanks. Some sites describe them as being flaky inside. Does this mean they pull apart like those Grands biscuits from Pillsbury? Or is there more than one way people like them to turn out?

Buttermilk is a bit sour, right? I seem to recall the suggestion of vinegar to approximate the taste, when dairy is not an option.

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Thanks. Some sites describe them as being flaky inside. Does this mean they pull apart like those Grands biscuits from Pillsbury? Or is there more than one way people like them to turn out?

Buttermilk is a bit sour, right? I seem to recall the suggestion of vinegar to approximate the taste, when dairy is not an option.

My experience with southern style biscuits is they are not flaky like Grands. It's a bit more dense, and not at all like a croissant. Call me if you need a taste tester! The buttermilk is what makes it creamy, and I did not detect a tangy flavor.

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You should be able to pull a biscuit apart. It's not cake like to me because cake has a crumb and biscuits don't. The top should be firm and crispy--a bit like a croissant in that it's flaky on top as well. The sides aren't brown at all.

They have that elusive tear to them that gluten-free breads don't.

I'll be watching this thread in anticipation.....

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You will see 5 photos on this link, one biscuit you can see inside!

http://www.recipezaar.com/152283

click on the pic to blow it up

one viewer used the recipe for pizza crust

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My experience with southern style biscuits is they are not flaky like Grands. It's a bit more dense, and not at all like a croissant. Call me if you need a taste tester! The buttermilk is what makes it creamy, and I did not detect a tangy flavor.

Creamy? How do you mean? Like buttery, or just very soft? Can you please elaborate on that?

You should be able to pull a biscuit apart. It's not cake like to me because cake has a crumb and biscuits don't. The top should be firm and crispy--a bit like a croissant in that it's flaky on top as well. The sides aren't brown at all.

They have that elusive tear to them that gluten-free breads don't.

I'll be watching this thread in anticipation.....

If I understand correctly, you mean they have a bit of elasticity to them as you pull them apart, unlike cake. Or maybe a bit like sponge cake? Is that right?

You will see 5 photos on this link, one biscuit you can see inside!

http://www.recipezaar.com/152283

click on the pic to blow it up

one viewer used the recipe for pizza crust

Thanks, but since those are gluten-free biscuits, I'd have to guess they're not quite the holy grail that so many seem to be looking for. And wow, all starches too. They have sugar also. Does this mean that buttermilk biscuits and/or southern biscuits are usually sweetened?

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Yes, I would say they have elasticity to them. When you pull the top off, the inside should be pillowy, fluffy, and springy. If you pull the middle out of a biscuit and roll it up into a ball, it would be gummy.

HTH

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Creamy, very soft but not gummy inside. Like heavenly little pillows.

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Creamy? How do you mean? Like buttery, or just very soft? Can you please elaborate on that?

If I understand correctly, you mean they have a bit of elasticity to them as you pull them apart, unlike cake. Or maybe a bit like sponge cake? Is that right?

Thanks, but since those are gluten-free biscuits, I'd have to guess they're not quite the holy grail that so many seem to be looking for. And wow, all starches too. They have sugar also. Does this mean that buttermilk biscuits and/or southern biscuits are usually sweetened?

I looked at the photos in the link. At least in my experience, this is not what a Southern biscuit looks like. Regular gluten biscuits do not get those little holes in the inside. These look more like a bisquick drop biscuit which is very different. Maybe I am a weirdo, but southern biscuits have to be fairly smooth on top and basically flat, like a hockey puck.

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OK, thanks everyone for all the information. I think I now have enough to work with, though any additional details are most welcome.

I grew up with drop biscuits, and on the few occasions when milk was added to them, I didn't like them. Too soft if you ask me. I don't recall having any with buttermilk, but given the obviously higher fat content, it makes sense that they'd be very soft. Before gluten-free, my ideal biscuit had no milk or butter or any other fat added to them. It was just flour, baking powder, and water. The margarine I'd drown them with was another matter :) They were hard on the outside, and had real "tooth" to them.

Anyway, I will be posting on this topic shortly - hopefully in about a week. Don't let the suspense gnaw at you too much...

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southern biscuits have to be fairly smooth on top and basically flat, like a hockey puck.

Yep :D

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I looked at the photos in the link. At least in my experience, this is not what a Southern biscuit looks like. Regular gluten biscuits do not get those little holes in the inside. These look more like a bisquick drop biscuit which is very different. Maybe I am a weirdo, but southern biscuits have to be fairly smooth on top and basically flat, like a hockey puck.

Ah, seems we were both posting simultaneously.

So the shape matters too, then? If they're rounded on top, that would ruin the whole thing?

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A few comments.

I grew up in Dallas, Texas from Southern parents. We always ate biscuits with butter and jelly, jam, syrup, honey, or molasses.

Biscuits and white gravy (milk, flour & grease drippings, usually sausage), sometimes with sausage bits in it, are huge down here.

My take on Southern, or buttermilk biscuits (same thing basically). They are big, soft, fluffy, moist, and perfectly shaped. Grands definately makes the best canned versions. They sell both Buttermilk and Southern verieties, at least pre 3 years ago they did (sigh). They use to be my favorites. I couldn't really tell the difference betwen the two varieties.

Grands also make your typical "flaky" style canned biscuits. These are the pull-apart, kind of crispy on the layer edges kind. I was never a big fan of these, but would kill for one now. :D

My Dad used to make "drop" biscuits from Bisquik Mix. I never liked them. They tend to be hard on the outside, a little dry, dense, and crumbly.

My family always used the cheap canned biscuits (they called 'em nickel biscuits) to make chicken and dumplings. You would cut each little biscuit into four pieces with scissors, and drop them into the boiling chicken broth.

best regards, lm

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Ah, seems we were both posting simultaneously.

So the shape matters too, then? If they're rounded on top, that would ruin the whole thing?

yes, shape matters! If they're poofy on top, they've risen too much. Those crunchy little peaks on the top will ruin them, too.

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The tops need to be golden brown and flat with a pebble-y appearance. They should rise straight up uniformly--not like a cake.

Like I said, winter wheat makes the best biscuits, but I didn't mention that's because it has less gluten (!) than most wheat flours and has a very soft feel. I used to use a brand called "White Lily"--which makes me think that it shouldn't be this difficult to make a good biscuit gluten free. Thinking back (it's been close to 5 years), the winter wheat felt a lot like potato starch. Maybe a mixture of a gluten-free flour with more starch than flour would work?

I would make them more by "feel" than by recipe.

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Jersey Angel, you're right! My Granny used White Lily flour. I had forgotten about that, as I live in CA and they don't have it here. It's a very silky flour.

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My brother used to eat his biscuits with honey on them. Yuck! I hate honey! But he also said he didn't like them. Why? Because the ones my mom made were always covered with flour on the outside. They were shaped like hockey pucks, didn't rise a lot and were pretty dense.

She may have made them from scratch when I was young, but in later years I can remember a box of Bisquick in the cupboard.

When I got my first apartment, I would usually buy some off brand, similar to Bisquick, but I added pieces of margarine (hadn't discovered butter yet) to the mix and also a couple of spoonfuls of instant potato flakes/buds. This gave them a light, flaky texture that people seemed to love.

I have a recipe somewhere for Angel biscuits. They use yeast. Not sure I ever made them. I always intended to, but don't think I did.

I've yet to come up with a gluten-free biscuit that is good. The ones I have tried have all been too sweet and way wrong in texture.

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My brother used to eat his biscuits with honey on them. Yuck! I hate honey! But he also said he didn't like them. Why? Because the ones my mom made were always covered with flour on the outside. They were shaped like hockey pucks, didn't rise a lot and were pretty dense.

She may have made them from scratch when I was young, but in later years I can remember a box of Bisquick in the cupboard.

When I got my first apartment, I would usually buy some off brand, similar to Bisquick, but I added pieces of margarine (hadn't discovered butter yet) to the mix and also a couple of spoonfuls of instant potato flakes/buds. This gave them a light, flaky texture that people seemed to love.

I have a recipe somewhere for Angel biscuits. They use yeast. Not sure I ever made them. I always intended to, but don't think I did.

I've yet to come up with a gluten-free biscuit that is good. The ones I have tried have all been too sweet and way wrong in texture.

I would imagine that biscuits are very akin to the good ole English scone. I haven't tried making these gluten free yet, but I'm going to give it a go.

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yes, shape matters! If they're poofy on top, they've risen too much. Those crunchy little peaks on the top will ruin them, too.

Poofy? I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but the general consensus on gluten-free breads and how they rise, seems to be that they don't rise enough to begin with. So I don't imagine this will be a problem. However, getting them very flat on top might not be the easiest thing to accomplish.

By "crunchy little peaks", I'm guessing you mean the irregularities caused by shaping the dough with a spoon. Wetting the spoon always seems to work for me.

The tops need to be golden brown and flat with a pebble-y appearance. They should rise straight up uniformly--not like a cake.

Like I said, winter wheat makes the best biscuits, but I didn't mention that's because it has less gluten (!) than most wheat flours and has a very soft feel. I used to use a brand called "White Lily"--which makes me think that it shouldn't be this difficult to make a good biscuit gluten free. Thinking back (it's been close to 5 years), the winter wheat felt a lot like potato starch. Maybe a mixture of a gluten-free flour with more starch than flour would work?

I would make them more by "feel" than by recipe.

So it seems they really gotta be flat, or no go? Not even a little rounded? All the pictures I've seen of ordinary gluten-filled ones so far don't reflect this. Might this be a subtlety in the difference between southern and buttermilk biscuits? Or a difference in the region of the country?

What is it that requires the top to be so flat? Is it just because of tradition, or is there some utility to it, like spreading something on it?

I agree that if a flour with less gluten made for better biscuits ("better" being a matter of opinion), then it should be easier to do gluten-free than something requiring a higher gluten content.

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By poofy I think they mean rounded on top. My husband would always make an indentation in each biscuit before baking. He said it was to keep the biscuit from rising too much and cracking on top. The recipe he used called for a good amount of baking powder. He also used White Lily flour and handled them very lightly to avoid working the gluten up and making them tough.

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