"These Soda Biscuits are so easy to prepare, tender, light, and have great fluffy texture"
Soda Biscuits - the making of
When I make biscuits I generally use my recipe for Super Simple Cream Biscuits because, well, because they are super simple. But as I was making an early St. Patrick's Day dinner (making it on Sunday the 15th because BB was going on the road and would be gone for the actual St. Patrick's day day) and we both were craving a more traditional Irish Soda bread and I had some time ... I decided to modify a few recipes and came up with this recipe for Soda Biscuits.
To make these easy Soda Biscuits I used my hands rather than a food processor.
While most recipes I read called for using either a food processor, forks, or a pastry cutter to cut shortening into the dough, I decided to go old world and use my fingers. And since I wasn't going to add any butter to the biscuit after it was cooked, I used butter for my fat instead of shortening. 2% buttermilk was in the refrigerator and I was ready to go.
What a joy it was to use my fingers instead of a food processor. One of the reasons I like using the food processor is the butter (or chilled shortening) keeps cold, and one of the reasons that both pie crusts and biscuits get tender is because that cold fat explodes in the hot oven, creating all these great little pockets of air. Working the dough with my hands made the butter soft ... simple solution ... once I was done and the dough was formed, I stuck it into the freezer for 10 minutes to get that butter all nice and hard again. Also working the fat into the dough by hand allowed me to keep some of the pieces of butter larger, making them burst even more.
Neither BB nor I are that fond of currents in Irish Soda Bread, I omitted them. You can add some in if you like. Also, as there were just the two of us, I only made half a recipe, which was the perfect amount. I do dislike wasting delicious food. Cooked more like scones, these were light and tender. A perfect accompaniment to our pre-St. Patrick's Day feast.
LindySez: While neither low fat nor low calorie, these biscuits were worth it. And since we had our lean corned beef (slow-cooked in Guinness with the spice pack) along with my recipe for Apple and Onion Braised Cabbage with Bacon, rather than the full-fatted boiled dinner with potatoes, flabby cabbage, and carrots, we felt no guilt about eating a biscuit. Nope, no guilt at all.
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
- ¾ cup cold 2% cultured buttermilk
- Additional Equipment: silicone baking mat or parchment paper
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the chilled butter and, start smooshing (this is a technical term, meaning more or less smoosh between your fingers and your thumb, taking the pieces of butter and incorporating it into the flour) and butter together; leaving some of the pieces of butter larger and some smaller, but well distributed into the flour.
- If you should choose not to use your fingers, place all the dry ingredients into the work bowl of a food processor, then add the cold butter and using on/off pulses, combine until the flour looks like coarse meal.
- If using the by-hand method, add the buttermilk and stir with a whisk until just combined.
- If using the food processor, add the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a cookie sheet that has been covered with either the silicone mat or parchment paper. Pat into a 7 to 8 inch round; using a sharp knife, cut into 8 equal wedges, do not separate the wedges. Stick the cookie sheet into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and place it into the oven; bake until the top is golden brown and firm, about 20 - 25 minutes.