Some things never go out of style.
Take good old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits.
First, a little food history. The term biscuit comes from the Latin panis biscoctus, meaning twice baked. Apparently soldiers in ancient Rome received hard biscuits made without any fat or leavening agent (so they would last longer) in their rations for their very survival.
Fast forward to the 1800s, and we have the deep South to thank for what are often called Southern biscuits. Icreased wheat production in the U.S. dropped the price of flour enough that poor Southerners could afford it. The invention of leavening agents lifted the humble bread to new heights without the need for yeast.
The buttery buns have grown in popularity north of the border with more menus offering fried chicken and places like Chewie’s Biscuit Co. drawing a cult following.
At North Vancouver’s DOUCE Diner, chef/co-owner Dawn Doucette uses buttermilk biscuits for Eggs Benny—or rather did, before COVID-19 came along and forced the team to suspend in-house dining.
In the meantime, DOUCE Diner has launched DOUCE Coop, offering full, free-range crispy chicken dinners (made with poultry from Rossdown Farms & Natural Foods) plus all the fixins for takeout and delivery.
By fixins we mean in-house gravy, in-house hot sauce, zucchini pickles, and choice of two sides: shoestring fries, potato salad, marinated bean salad, or coleslaw. (There’s also Bridge Brewing beer and other extras available, like house-made Oreo cookies; look too for discounts for first responders and for curbside pickup.)
Of course, the family dinners come with freshly made, fluffy buttermilk biscuits.
(For information on restaurants offering takeout, pickup, delivery, and other services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Breaking Bread.)
If you want to try your hand at the biscuits that taste just like the ones grandma used to make, Top Chef Canada alumna Doucette has shared her recipe with us.
DOUCE Diner's Buttermilk Biscuits
5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fine salt
10.5 oz cold butter
24 fl oz buttermilk
4 fl oz honey
2 Tbsp soft butter for brushing
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt (Part A) into a large bowl.
Using a coarse hand grater, push the butter (Part B) through quickly to make small grated pieces that are about the size of peas. Toss into the flour mixture and break up any large clumps of butter so that the flour coats the butter evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and honey (Part C) until incorporated. Add to the flour/butter mixture and mix gently with a spatula until the liquid is absorbed. It’s important not to overwork the dough.
Turn out onto a floured prep table and fold gently until a soft, sticky dough forms. Use a bench scraper to help pick up the dough and fold over itself.
Pat the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 1 inch thick.
Use a 2x3” biscuit cutter and cut into squares.
Place onto a parchment-lined bake tray, allowing ample space between each. Place no more than 12 on a half sheet pan.
Place in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 375-400° F.
Remove biscuits from the fridge. Lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with butter.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the heat in the oven.
Rotate half way through the baking time. The tops should be golden brown, and biscuits should have puffed up nicely.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Best served with butter and jelly, or fried chicken and hot sauce.