It is imperative that all of the ingredients, including the dry mix, are well chilled. The result is a tight dough and a loftier finished biscuit. The goal is for the cold ingredients to hit the super hot oven resulting in a rapid billow of the dough, which then remains stable as the biscuits brown. When the vast disparity between the temperature of the dough and the hot oven is not present, the billow either does not happen or it is not stable. The result is flat biscuits. Who wants that? —Excerpted from Secrets of a Tastemaker, a compilation of recipes from Popeyes founder Al Copeland.
Buttermilk Biscuits (Yield: 10 large biscuits)
2 ½ cups Swans Down Cake Flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup vegetable shortening, frozen
1 ½ cups chilled buttermilk
4 tbsp. salted butter (2 tbsp. softened and 2 tablespoons melted)
Preheat oven to 425°F. For best results, chill all ingredients except butter prior to mixing. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. Using a box grater, coarsely grate the frozen shortening directly into the flour and gently fold it in with a spoon.
Make a well in the center of this mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Gently stir the buttermilk into the flour just until the dough comes together. It will still be a little wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, but for no longer than 3 hours.
Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with some of the melted butter, then refrigerate the pan to firm the butter.
Using a large spoon, scoop the dough into 10 mounds on the baking sheet, spacing the mounds at least 1 inch apart. Lightly dollop the softened butter on top of each mound.
Bake the biscuits until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining melted butter.
Place the biscuits in a basket and cover with a tea towel to keep warm until serving.
It’s also easy to take a delicious shortcut using the authentic Copeland’s Famous Homemade Biscuit Mix for your favorite variations. Biscuit mix available to purchase in select Copeland’s of New Orleans locations and online at alcopelandfoundation.org.
Reprinted from Secrets of a Tastemaker: Al Copeland: The Cookbook, copyright © 2022 by Chris Rose and Kit Wohl with the Copeland Family. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Sam Hanna. Published by the Cookbook Studio.
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