Angel Biscuits

While my Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuit recipe reminds me of my paternal grandmother from Georgia, my Angel Biscuit Recipe always reminds me of my maternal grandmother from Missouri.  I can remember her making the biscuits quite often for our family get togethers.

I have included in this post some tips to help make the rolls the best they can be, but the truth is this recipe is pretty forgiving, so if you have never made yeast rolls before, don't be put off by all the additional notes.

Angel Biscuits

5 Cups plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 pkg dry yeast (or 1 Tablspoon of bulk yeast)
2 Tablespoons of warm water (110 degrees) plus 1 teaspoon of sugar
2 Cups buttermilk (or clabbered milk)

Dissolve one package (or two Tablespoons of yeast) and one teaspoon of sugar into two Tablespoons of warm (not hot) water (approximately 110 degrees F).  Let stand 5 to 10 minutes while you start working on the rest of your recipe.  This is called "proofing your yeast.  The warm water gives the yeast the right temperature to start working and the small amount of sugar gives it something on which to feed.  If your yeast is good, it will begin to "foam up" and grow.  If your yeast is not active, there is nothing you can do to make it active.  You must get a fresh batch that is still living.  Yeast can be bought in bulk and kept in the freezer.  I have literally kept yeast for years this way.  On another note, if your water is too hot or too cold, this will keep the yeast from growing during this proofing stage.

Proofing the yeast insures your yeast is active and it gives your bread a head start.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.  Cut butter into flour mixture. (Unlike our Buttermilk Biscuit recipe where the fat must be handled carefully to insure a flaky product, one does not have to worry about how the butter is handled in this recipe.  You can cut the butter into the flour or you can melt the butter, pour it into the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.)      Add the yeast to the buttermilk, pour into center of  flour mixture and mix well.  (You can use a large Kitchen Aid or similar mixer with a dough hook for this stage.  This actually works very well to help stimulate the gluten in the bread dough.  You want to beat for two to three minutes in mixer or about 200 to 300 strokes by hand for best results.)

Turn  dough onto a floured surface and knead adding additional flour if necessary to make a soft dough.  Your goal is to have a dough that ends up not sticky or stiff, but elastic like when you work it.  You want your kneading surface to be comfortable, neither too high or too low.  People use various techniques to knead the dough.  Here is one example and here is another.  (The texture of the dough and the process used in the second video from King Arthur Flour is actually closer to the process I use.)  Kneading the dough is a process that strengthens and stretches the gluten strands in the dough which provides proper conditions for the yeast to work to make the bread rise.  Your goal is a smooth, elastic dough.  Finding your own rhythm in kneading may take time and practice.  If your first attempts at bread making are not exactly what you would like them to be, don't give up.  Making bread is as much a scientific process as it is creative and requires the right conditions for optimum results.

Goal is an "elastic" type consistency to your dough

At this point, I wash up my bowl (or grab a new one) and put a small amount of melted butter or oil in the bottom.  I form  my kneaded dough into a ball and place in the bowl with oil coating all the sides. This helps to keep the dough from drying out while it rises.  Take a clean kitchen cloth, wet it and wring it out well.  Put the damp cloth over the top of the bowl and place the bowl in a warm place free from drafts.  (I turn my oven on and bring the temp up to around  85 to 100 degrees.  Anything over 100 degrees will kill the yeast., I then turn my oven off, and set the bowl of dough in the oven with door closed to allow it to rise.  The dough should double in size)

A warm, draft free spot and a moist cloth over the bowl
creates the right  environment for the yeast to  grow.
The dough is ready for the next step when it has doubled in size.  

After the dough has risen, push the dough down and knead briefly.  Then proceed to
roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter or you can use a drinking glass.

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch and cut.

 Place biscuits/rolls in a lightly greased baking dish.  Let them rise again in the pan.

Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are brown on top and cooked through.  (If they have risen pretty high during the baking process, you may want to pull one apart to make sure they are completely cooked before removing from the oven.  I have had them brown on the outside but still doughy in the middle if I did not leave them in long enough.

Angel Biscuit dough can be kept in the refrigerator.  It is great for family get togethers because one can make the dough up ahead of time, refrigerate, and then make fresh rolls as needed.  You can refrigerate before the first rise or after the first rise, it doesn't matter.  When you take your dough out of the refrigerator, allow enough time after you have cut the rolls for the dough to rise.  It will take some additional time because of the dough being cold.  But don't worry, although I have given a lot of tips to make the best rolls possible, the recipe is actually pretty forgiving because it also contains baking powder and baking soda which are also leaving agents that activate when the dough is cooked.

Refrigerate leftover dough.

Another great treat to having this yeast dough on hand is that it is so versatile.  The dough from this recipe can be rolled out, coated in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, rolled up and sliced for some delicious, homemade cinnamon rolls.  It also makes delicious pizza dough.

1 comment:

Corinne Farnen said...

They look amazing. I have a tile counterparts so I don't think I could knead. :(