I read a lot of Southern literature from the Anne George Southern Sisters mysteries, to Fannie Flagg's humorous narratives, to Michael Lee West's fiction and memoirs, to Martha Hall Foose's charming cookbooks. It seems that, in any type of southern writing, there is often the mention of Angel Biscuits. I'd not heard of Angel Biscuits until I started reading these books, but the mouth-watering descriptions of sweet tea and biscuits with fresh jam served in a relaxing porch atmosphere with a view of the bayou finally got to me and I had to try them.
The addition of yeast in the dough is what makes this biscuit recipe different and lighter than most. Picture a yeast roll in biscuit clothing and you'll get the idea. Unique in both taste and texture, they are suitable for use as both a breakfast biscuit or a dinner roll. An added plus is that they must be made ahead. I love that in a recipe, don't you? The one I tried is from King Arthur Flour -- a fabulous catalog company the likes of which has often been known to make bakers weak at the knees. You can find it on their website with loads of informative step-by-step pictures here, or use the directions (sans photos) that I've written out below.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pats
1 cup room-temperature milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing on top
Whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening, mixing till evenly crumbly. Add the butter, mixing till roughly combined. Pea-sized bits of butter can remain. Add the milk, mixing till just combined. The dough will be quite wet.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface, and quickly and gently pat it into a 7" diameter, 1"-thick circle. Use a 2" round biscuit cutter to cut 16 biscuits. Place them close together on a lightly floured or parchment-lined tray or baking sheet. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or the cover of your choice, and allow the biscuits to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. After an hour, cover the biscuits with plastic wrap, and place the pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Overnight is fine. Alternatively, biscuits can be frozen up to 2 months.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the biscuits form the freezer, remove the plastic, and space them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 16 to 18 minutes, till they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired.
Yield: 16 biscuits.
This post is linked to:
Foodie Friday @ Little Brick Ranch
Food on Friday
Friday Fat Camp