From the NY Times Cooking collection, I bring you Sam Sifton’s All Purpose Biscuits.  I had to try this recipe. I consider myself a pretty good biscuit maker but this recipe called for European style butter – I use this butter. Actually I use a lot of this butter – Churn 84, For baking of course, but also for sauteeing delicate fish or finishing vegetables or finishing a sauce (it’s just gravy without butter:) ). Yes it’s higher fat content, but everything in moderation. So when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. The biscuit was lighter and the inside fluffier than other recipes I’ve tried. Remember my trip to Paris and my baking lesson, it’s the difference in fat content that makes the difference between our wonderful Canadian pastries and delightful French pastries.

The buttered flour was mixed with milk and brought together with a fork. Not the slightest bit of kneading or pressing together. I just emptied the bowl on a floured surface, brought it together and patted it lightly into a rectangle. I left my biscuits square, nothing wrong with it. I didn’t want to cut circles then bring the dough together, cut more circles etc. The more you do that, the more you are working your dough and the tougher your biscuits. This way, it was cut and bake. I could have done it triangular style as well, but I was inspired by squares. I think resting the dough lightly covered might have something to do with giving it an airy structure. I like this recipe as you can do everything by hand – yes you can use a processor, but there is something very therapeutic and sensory about using your hands – so dirty less, wash less and use your hands!

They baked for the minimum time, broke apart as they should when I split them to slather some regular salted butter in them. I’ve tasted light biscuits (you know, the kind from some of those fast food places) that taste like light cardboard, not too filling but just enough texture to make you feel like you’ve eaten light cardboard. These are nothing like that. These are not like your regular biscuits either, so give this recipe a try. They won’t last the cooling period – unless you are alone when you bake them in which case only half will last the cooling period. Butter melting on a warm freshly baked biscuit – oh yes I did!

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 scant tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, Churn 84 (European style butter)
1 cup whole milk (I used half a cup 1% and half a cup 35%)

Preheat oven to 425f
Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl
Cut butter into small cubes or grate it into the flour and mix until it resembles crumbs – or you can use a processor and pulse to cut the butter into the flour
Add the milk and bring it together with a fork – or pulse until it starts to form a ball
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about 1″ thick
Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes
Cut dough into biscuits shapes using a floured glass or biscuit cutter or a knife – do not twist cutter when cutting as this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise
Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes – set your timer for 8 or 9 and check it, then leave it in for another minute or two
Allow to cool (right), slather with butter and/or jam, eat with a soup or eggs or anything dish that has gravy or sauce – don’t be shy, no one will judge!
As always – enjoy!

Biscuit 7b

NY Times' Sam Sifton's - All Purpose Biscuits