Cathead Biscuits

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2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled and cubed
2 cups whole buttermilk

* Use White Lily brand where available

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with one of the racks in the middle of the oven.

Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour (both all-purpose and cake flour), kosher salt, and the baking powder. Sift in ingredients if desired.  As an experiment make two batches one sifted and the other not to determine your preference.

Take your cold butter And cut into small cubes with a sharp knife.  Take the butter between your forefinger and thumb and make a pushing motion. This makes thin sheets or ribbons of butter that will fold into the dough perfectly and then rise in the oven in beautiful layers.  Some bakers call this snapping butter.

Add the buttermilk and fold in very gently.  Do not overmix! Scoop the dough into your pan or skillet, making sure to keep the dough scoops right next to each other on the pan. A large ice cream scoop is ideal for this.

Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy.

 

 

 

Southern Biscuits: Soft or Crunchy?

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If a soft or crisp exterior is desired selecting the proper baking pan is paramount.  For a soft exterior, use an 8- or 9-inch pan or oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron) where the biscuits will nestle together snugly, creating the soft exterior while baking.

For a crisp exterior, select a baking sheet where the biscuits can be placed wider apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisper exterior, and brush the pan with butter.

 

Basic Crêpes Batter

1¾ to 2¼ cups whole milk
4 large eggs
½ tsp kosher salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsalted butter, plus additional butter for the pan

Add 1¾ cups of the milk, the eggs, and salt into a blender.  Blend for a few seconds to blend everything together. Remove the lid and add the flour. Cover and blend until very smooth. Remove the lid, pour in the melted butter, cover, and blend until combined.

Transfer the batter to a large glass measuring cup with a spout.  Allow the batter to rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 24 hours. If resting for more than an hour, store in the fridge.  When you’re ready to make the crêpes it should be as thick as heavy cream but not as thick as pancake batter. If it feels too thick, whisk in up to ½ cup of the remaining milk.

Heat an 8-in crêpe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle upon contact. Using a paper towel, spread about ½ tsp butter around the interior of the pan. The butter should sizzle upon contact but not instantly turn brown. You don’t want the pan to be so hot that the butter burns.

Pour about ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and at the same time lift the pan from the heat, tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan.

Cook the crêpe until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan, and the bottom is nicely browned, usually around 1 minute. When the first side is ready, use a knife, spatula, or your fingers to lift the crêpe and quickly flip it over. Smooth out any folded edges or pleats and then cook until the center is firm and the second side is browned, too, which will occur quickly in as little as 20 seconds more.

Slide the crêpe from the pan onto a large plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and wiping the pan with more butter as you cook.

Basic Pizza Dough

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) of active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl dissolve the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water gently until it dissolves. Let stand in a warm place for 5 minutes.  Combine 3 cups flour with the salt in a large bowl.  Make a Well with the flour and pour in yeast mixture and oil. Stir until dough just starts to hold together. Knead dough until it is smooth and springy. Let dough rise 1 hour. Cook on a baking Stone at 500 degrees.

Variations:

Cornmeal Dough: Substitute 1 cup cornmeal for equal amount of flour.

Cracked Pepper Dough: Add 3 tablespoons cracked black pepper while kneading dough.

Curried Dough: Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder with the salt.

Focaccia Dough: Increase salt to 2 teaspoons and water 1 1/2 cups.   Omit the Olive oil from mixture, brush rolled out dough with olive oil.

Herbed Dough: Add 3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.

Seeded Dough: Add 1/4 cup of sesame seeds or poppyseeds while kneading dough.

Spicy Dough: Add 2 tablespoons paprika and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper with the salt.

Sweet Dough: Add 1/4 cup of sugar with the flour and reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Use flavorless vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

Whole-Wheat Dough: Substitute 1 cup of whole-wheat flour for an equal amount of white flour

Cheese Straws

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1 cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground hot red pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the butter into thin pieces and beat with an electric hand mixer in a very large mixing bowl until butter is soft. Add all the cheese and beat with the butter until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the mustard.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and hot red pepper. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Form into a ball.

Press dough out with a cookie press into straws or divide dough into fourths. On waxed paper, roll each piece into a rectangle 1/3 inch thick. Use a pastry wheel to cut dough into 4- x 1/2-inch strips. Move straws onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 15 minutes, until light brown. Do not overly brown straws. Cool on a rack.

Banana Bread

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  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Walnuts

Cream butter and honey until light.  Beat in eggs, banana, water, vanilla.  Stir together dry ingredients. Stir into mixture, blend with as few strokes as possible. Stir in 1 cup of walnuts and place in greased loaf pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Cornpone

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Cornpone vs. Cornbread.

Cornbread baked in a round skillet without dairy or eggs is most accurately referred to as cornpone.  The difference is important.

2½ cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1⅔ cups water
¼ cup bacon fat or butter in a pinch

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in your oven and preheat the oven to 475°F.

Mix together the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Stir in the water.

Place the bacon fat in the hot cast-iron skillet and let it melt. Do it quickly, don’t let it go longer than it takes to barely melt. You don’t want it to burn.

Spoon the cornmeal mixture into the bottom of your pan and spread it out to the edges. The hot fat will bubble up around the sides and start to fry at the edges. Using a spoon, move some of that fat to the center top portion of the cornbread.

Bake the cornpone on the center rack of your oven for 15 minutes. Now for the bit tricky part, bring it out and, using a spatula, flip it over. Slide the pan back in the oven and cook an additional 10 minutes.

The cornpone should be brown with thick, crisp edges.

Serve hot.