Tucked in this month’s Saveur magazine is a little article by Ruth Reichl about making biscuits. Her simplest recipe uses on cream, flour, salt and baking powder, but her more elaborate one, attributed to Nancy Silverton, is so over the top we had to try it.
Silverton’s recipe (which others have also written about) uses 5 cups of flour, 5 sticks of butter, leavening and buttermilk. All of that butter is folded into the flour along with rolling, folding and turning, making the biscuit more like a puff pastry, or maybe a croissant, where that sort of turning and folding is common. Fortunately, while you have to chill the flour and freeze the butter, and then freeze the biscuits before baking, the actual time working on the biscuits is way less than for any puff pastry.
The ingredients are simple
- 5 sticks of unsalted butter, frozen
- 5 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 Tb + 2 Tsp baking powder
- 1 Tb kosher salt
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 Tb melted butter
- Flakey sea salt
You will also need more flour to flour the board.
You could bake all 16 at once and serve to guests, but you could keep the remaining biscuits frozen to serve later. Once they are frozen solid, drop them into a zip-lock bag, and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to serve them. They will probably last a month or more in the freezer.
We are not sure that the sea salt is needed as it makes the biscuits awfully salty. It depends on what you are serving them with.