Monday, December 30, 2013

Biscuit Boot Camp

I've been down this road before.  During my annual rereading of Lonesome Dove, the following passage always stirs something deep in my soul:

The heart of his breakfast was a plenitude of sourdough biscuits, which he cooked in a Dutch oven out in the backyard. His pot dough had been perking along happily for over ten years, and the first thing he did upon rising was check it out. The rest of the breakfast was secondary, just a matter of whacking off a few slabs of bacon and frying a panful of pullet eggs. Bolivar could generally be trusted to deal with the coffee. 
Augustus cooked his biscuits outside for three reasons. One was because the house was sure to heat up well enough anywayduring the day, so there was no point in building any more of a fire than was necessary for bacon and eggs. Two was because biscuits cooked in a Dutch over tasted better than stove-cooked biscuits, and three was because he liked to be outside to catch the first light. A man that depended on an indoor cookstove would miss the sunrise, and if he missed sunrise in Lonesome Dove, he would have to wait out a long stretch of heat and dust before he got to see anything so pretty.

And each time I'm inspired to bake biscuits.  However, this year is different.  This year I'm serious.  Here is proof of my seriousness:

I've purchased two cookbooks dedicated solely to the art of biscuit making.

Southern Biscuits by Natalie Dupree
Biscuits by Belinda Ellis

Also I stocked my pantry with self-rising Southern flour.  I found Martha White flour at my local Dillon's, but I had to special order the White Lily flour, which isn't available in Kansas.   You see, the key to biscuit making is a Soft Winter Wheat, which has a lower protein content and is primarily grown in the South.  Using Southern flour is the first step to produce pillowy biscuits.  In future blog posts, I will share my trials and tribulations of biscuit boot camp.

may your biscuits always be buttered,

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