Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Buttermilk" type biscuits (non-dairy, vegan)






This year my Thanksgiving "assignment" was biscuits and cornbread. A non-dairy cornbread didn't present any difficulty and a year ago, with some experimentation I found that its possible to bake a baking powder biscuit that mimics buttermilk biscuits by using a vegan milk substitute and both baking powder and soda.

This biscuit is simpler than the baking powder/baking soda combination I use for Cheese & Veggie Bacon biscuits sandwiches. In this version I used self-rising flour, shortening and soy milk with a bit of vinegar to further acidify the soy milk. The dough must be handled gently and as little as possible.  I made the biscuits using a biscuit cutter and found that by baking them in a round cake pan the dough rose better than on a cookie sheet. I'm assuming that the additional heat along the walls of the pan, surrounding the biscuits, helped them rise a bit more. They are not as substantial as the biscuits used for sandwiches.

After several tries with various baking pans, my preferred choice turned out to be a well greased mini-muffin pan. Spoon or scoop about a tablespoon of loose dough into each muffin well.  The resulting mini-biscuits were a bit crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, just right as an accompaniment to turkey or fried chicken.

Equipment:
measuring cups and spoons, silicone spatula
kitchen scale
flexible baking scraper (optional, but helpful)
baking pans (2 round cake pans or a mini-muffin pan)
hand pastry blender , or two butter knives
rolling pin


Ingredients:
9 oz  (2 full cups) self rising flour (I use King Arthur)
1/4 lb vegetable shortening (margarine, shortening or coconut oil)
6oz (3/4 c) soy milk
1 Tbsp vinegar
spray oil and additional flour for dusting the cake pan

Procedure: 
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease the baking pan with oil spray. Dust the round cake pans with additional flour.
2.Measure the ingredients. Cut the shortening into small pieces.
3. Cut the shortening into the flour using the hand pastry blender or two butter knives, holding each at at a 90 degree angle to the other. Blend until the shortening is broken into small pieces and the flour-shortening mixture resembles lumpy flour.

4. Once the shortening is blended in handle as little as possible.
5. Add the vinegar to the soy milk, stir slightly and add to the flour. Mix lightly with a large spoon, you needn't incorporate all of the liquid into the flour yet.
6. Once the mixture is almost blended together turn the dough a few times using the flexible scraper gently incorporating the liquid into the flour mixture. The flour (and therefore the resulting dough) is low gluten, don't expect it to act like bread dough, it will not hold together in the same way that bread dough does.
7. For round biscuits, cut with a biscuit cutter or glass of about 2" diameter.  Flour the work surface and rolling pin liberally. "Push" rather than roll the dough until it is about an inch thick. Pat down any portions that are too thick. Cut with the biscuit cutter and use the scraper to lift the rounds onto the greased cake pan. You'll have 12-14 biscuits. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Lift with a narrow spatula and cool on a rack.


8. For mini muffins, use a spoon and silicone spatula or a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop and drop into each of the 24 mini muffin wells. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool for five minutes or so and tip out onto a cooling rack. See photos below.

9. Store the biscuits in a closed bag or container. Rewarm for a few minutes before serving. They will stay well at room temperature for about 3 days. Double wrap and freeze if you plan to keep longer.
 








                                                      Round Biscuits 







Mini Biscuits