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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Southern Style Biscuit and Gravy

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy
Took the family out the other day for breakfast and what did more than 1/2 of them order?? Nothing else than their favorite biscuit and gravy. I tell you though the best I have ever ate will never be duplicated and I can not have any more because it was from my husbands grand-mother who passed nearly 15 years ago.
While dishes like biscuit and gravy are awesome to have they should not be enjoyed daily. They have a tendency to be a bit heavy. So most times I try to make them at home because if we are gonna eat em then they might as well be delicious and enjoyable. 
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy using White Lily Flour
It seems that every grandma from the south has their own biscuit recipe. Many have been handed down through generations. Some may still call for lard while others call for shortening or butter or a combination. Using more will result in a flakier biscuit but more butter makes it richer as well. Some recipes call for self rising flour others add their own leavening agents to all purpose flour. 
Grandma used to use all purpose flour and buttermilk, and when she had it she would use lard otherwise it was shortening. Be careful not to overwork the dough or roll it to thin or the biscuits will be a bit tough. Biscuits should be light, fluffy and flaky. 

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy
The White Lily Flour website offers these tips:
  • Accurately measure ingredients. Flour is measured by spooning into a measuring cup and leveling off with a straight edge. Sifting is not needed.
  • Vegetable shortening should be packed into a measuring cup so there are no air pockets. Then it is “cut” into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork. The result should be pieces the size of coarse crumbs.
  • Mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ones can be done effectively with a fork. First, make a well in the center of the flour. Using a fork to gently blend in the milk or buttermilk lessens the chance of over-mixing.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or other surface. Knead gently only until dough holds together and can be rolled out – about 10 to 12 strokes or less. Do not add too much additional flour when kneading and rolling.
  • Roll dough to about 1/2-inch thickness to ensure a biscuit with good height. Cut biscuits with a sharp-edged cutter. Cut straight down without twisting cutter to ensure tall, straight biscuits.
  • Place on a baking sheet 1-inch apart for crusty sides or almost touching for soft sides.
My family loves our sausage gravy packed with meat. The sausage in the gravy should not give off a lot of fat. Simply add the flour directly to the sausage after browning it the gravy will thicken from there
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
yields 1 dozen biscuits
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons single-acting baking powder or double-acting baking powder*
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a bowl, sift together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingers or pastry cutter, work in the lard just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk just until moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Carefully roll out or pat the dough, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible, without twisting the cutter. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll and cut out the remaining biscuits; do not overwork the dough. Pierce the top of each biscuit 3 times with a fork and brush with the butter. Bake the biscuits until risen and golden, about 12 minutes.
Serve at once with sausage gravy (recipe below).
*To make your own single-acting baking powder, combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. The mix will keep in a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month.
Adapted from Miss Edna Lewis’ recipe found in Food & Wine
Sausage Gravy
Yields 4 servings
1/2 pound sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used 2% milk)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crumble the sausage and cook in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Adapted from a Bob Evans recipe found in All Recipes

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