Baking - Breads, Ingredient Insights

Secret Ingredient for Fluffy Biscuits

Many years ago I cut out a tip that was written on a flour bag: “The Lemon Juice Secret for baking bread naturally.” It suggests that adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every 4-5 cups of flour will add lightness and volume to your yeast doughs.

I am more inclined to make quick breads, like biscuits, on a whim for dinner, using baking soda or baking powder rather than taking the time to make yeast rolls or bread. When using baking soda or powder, one needs to add something acidic to cause a chemical reaction and create the leavening; most often a recipe will list buttermilk or cream of tartar.

I always knew that if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute some lemon juice mixed with regular milk. I often think about that tip I cut out when I’m making biscuits, and in my recipe it lists regular milk and cream of tartar. I used lemon juice and milk instead of cream of tartar a couple times in my biscuits, and since then it’s all I use. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup of milk, and I usually put in 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, letting the juice and milk sit to blend for a couple minutes, where it becomes a bit curdled, before mixing it in.

Ever since I started making biscuits that way they have always been light and fluffy, and now it’s the only way I’ll make them. I hope you will have the same result if you give it a try!

Baking - General, Ingredient Insights, Recipe

Butter from Scratch

As a baker I am well aware of the fine balance when making whipped cream, that if you don’t whip enough it slumps, and that if you whip it too much it ends up separating. With all the emphasis on not whipping too much, it never occurred to me that over-whipping could actually be a good thing!

There was an article in the paper a couple weeks ago about making homemade butter. It sounded pretty easy, so I decided to try it out. I took a pint of whipping cream, sealed it into a 1-L plastic container, and shook vigorously until I started to hear a thumping sound instead of a swishing sound, which only took a few minutes. Lo and behold butter had formed, with buttermilk left to drip off. I tried to squeeze the buttermilk through a cloth, but the weave was too large and butter starting squeezing out with it. So I just poured the buttermilk out of the container (holding back the butter) while whipping with a small whisk until it looked like it had completed separating. I got just under ¾ cup of buttermilk, and the rest was butter. Continue reading “Butter from Scratch”