I’m not sure why I make biscuits so often. (Once here and once before the blog, but I can’t remember much about that experience.) I’m not really a biscuit person (insofar as that’s possible while you’re still a human). I’m not from the South or anything. I love bread products, though, and hate kneading and long wait times. I also have a fear of white flour, possibly pathological, instilled in me by a psychopathic nutritionist I once consulted about my hypoglycemia. All of this led to whole-wheat biscuits.
I did extensive research and settled on this recipe, because you could use yogurt and I didn’t have any milk. It used a full cup more flour than the other recipes I found, relative to the baking powder and butter, but I decided to risk it; it sounds like she’s tested a lot of recipes, and her biscuits were very fluffy.
This is where things went south. While I was making these biscuits I was thinking, “This will either be a post about how my experimentation and idiocy make me a terrible cook… or how they make me a GREAT COOK.”
So, first I noticed that my whole-wheat pastry flour—purchased an extremely long time ago—smelled like it had gone rancid. (See: Irish soda bread.) I tasted it and confirmed that it tasted like that ill-fated bread; then I tried some of my fresh, refrigerated, regular whole-wheat flour, and that tasted better. So of course I decided to bake with the rancid flour. I think I was like, “Well, these biscuits might come out bad anyway, and butter is cheap, and I’m just going to throw out the flour if I don’t use it, so…”
I measured it out—about 128 g per cup, though I don’t know if that’s totally accurate—and added the baking powder and salt, and mixed it together with my fingers, because it seemed fun. I cut the butter, which had been defrosting for about three minutes, not into eight pieces but like thirty-two or something. (I wasn’t using my food processor because it hasn’t been up to the task of mixing flour.) I smushed it through the flour with my fingers, deciding it was OK if I was left with a lot of flour and some buttery chunks.
Then I added the sugar. THEN I began to measure my yogurt… and only had one cup. Of course. So I was like, OK, well, I should just remove one-third of the flour mixture and save it for another batch of biscuits later. So I weighed the flour mixture and began removing flour. I removed quite a lot of flour. I finally realized that I had not taken into account the vast weight of the Pyrex measuring bowl. So I emptied out all the flour, measured the bowl, tared, put the flour back in, and re-took-out a third of the flour mixture. (It’s now in the fridge. I wonder if it will ever get baked.)
I added the yogurt, mixed, and kneaded a bit so it would all stay together—there was a lot of stray flour. You’re not really supposed to knead much because it will toughen the biscuit, so eventually I just swept off the extra flour. I patted it into an approximate circle and cut out biscuits with a cup. Instead of re-rolling the scraps to form more biscuits, I just sort of patted the dough bits together, to avoid toughening them any further.
And it worked!! These are definitely better than my last batch—more fluffy. The taste is a bit off, but just because of the flour; I think the whole-wheat-iness is fine. And because the butter was incorporated so unevenly, there were some butter pockets inside, which was delightful. They’re not super flaky, but I think that might come with skill??
Woot woot! Thank you, Gina the Mennonite!
Oh and here’s Fitzpatrick, since you haven’t seen him lately. Background: My smoke detector had been beeping (probably all day—I’d been at work), approximately once a minute, in this horrible, high-pitched sound. When I got home he more or less flung himself out the door to escape (this may or may not be a dramatization). So I was standing on my coffee table, which was standing on my dining room table, and I was messing with the fire alarm trying to figure out how to get it to stop (a new battery didn’t work; I had to unplug it and remove it) and also trying to supervise him outside. Then he just lay down on the steps and it was cute, so I took this horrible picture from all the way down the hall, on my tables, at imminent risk of falling and dying. Awwwwwww.
This picture is actually worse than I remembered.