Armed with all of my new found biscuit wisdom I made biscuits for breakfast yesterday for the Veatchlings. The results were quite remarkable. They truly were the best biscuits I had ever made. When Madelynn was asked to rate them on a scale of one to ten she gave them an eleven. While I appreciated her enthusiasm, I didn't agree that they were the perfect biscuit. However, it seemed that I had gotten pretty darn close. This was only my second attempt at biscuits since I had read my newly purchased book, "Southern Biscuit Basics". I used self-rising flour, butter and butter milk.
The only flaw I saw in this particular batch of biscuits was the fact that they were saltier than I prefer. That is the consequence of having used self-rising flour which already has both the salt and the baking powder included. I usually halve the amount of salt in most recipes whether its a recipe for pie crust or corn bread. The reason I used the self-rising flour was because it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. After this particular effort I am convinced as to the authors' claims that the lower protein flour really does make a difference on how light and fluffy the biscuits turn out. There appears to be no substitute for having the right ingredients.
The good news is there are other options besides self-rising flour for achieving the same level of light and fluffy. The book gave instructions for combining cake flour (even lower protein than self-rising) with all-purpose flour in order to achieve the same protein level as self-rising flour. That would allow me to have the light and fluffy without the extra salt. I feel like biscuit nirvana is within my grasp. This means that within the past six months I will have gone from having one simple flour container to three separate flour containers; one for all-purpose flour, one for bread flour, and one for biscuit flour.
The next step in my quest for the perfect biscuit will be to check out the flour options at the local stores. I think they may sell cake flour at Cash and Carry. I thought I saw it there when I was looking for bread flour. I also want to see what difference it makes to use a baking powder without aluminum. At least everyone is on notice now that they can expect to be pressed into service as biscuit guinea pigs when they come to visit.
On the poultry front, the current tally is Ducks 114, Chickens 5