I blame my general biscuit obsession on the heavenly biscuits we dined on at the Loveless down in Nashville. That trip was something like four years ago and I’m still trying to find a biscuit that comes close to the perfection that they serve up. Light and airy, they practically melt in your mouth. When I saw that both Cook Wise and the Bread Bible had a recipe for Touch of Grace Biscuits, I hoped that at last my prayers had been answered. I thought that with a name like that, the Universe was trying to tell me that my search had ended.
All I can say is that the Universe has not tasted the biscuits down at the Loveless. Because as lovely as these Touch of Grace biscuits are, they did not inspire a religious experience at my dining table. In usual BAH fashion, there were some bumps along the way….and that’s really why you come here, isn’t it? To see how far off course I can go and still right the ship? My adventures are just full of teachable moments, and that’s ok.
Anyway, about the biscuits. The first batch was a complete fail. That stash of White Lily flour I have is either A) old; B) not self rising, as I assumed it to be; C) both. Because that batch did not rise one bit. The tops were nicely browned and the bottoms had a lovely crust. But everything in between was a loss. Learning from that teachable moment, I utilized the alternate list of ingredients that uses all purpose flour, cake flour, and baking powder to mimic a self rising flour. And we got lift. That pan of biscuits lasted a day or two, tops. So with one win and one loss under my belt, I decided a tie breaker was in order.
For the third batch, I used the White Lily that I had since it was the preferred flour for the recipe, but added the baking powder for lift. And while that batch was technically a success, I didn’t like them as much. Maybe my heavy cream/buttermilk ratio was off. Maybe I should have added in some cake flour to the White Lily. But instead of being touched by grace, they were a little clumsy.
Like I said, my kitchen produces many teachable moments. There are a couple other biscuits recipes in the Bread Bible. I think it’s time to study up on them.
Touch of Grace Biscuits
BAH Note: I’m presenting the all purpose flour version of this recipe. RLB specifically highlights using bleached all purpose flour for the biscuits but she doesn’t say why in the recipe. I’m pretty sure that my flour was unbleached but who the heck knows.
- 1 1/2 cups bleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shorting, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, butter milk, or a combination of the two
- 1 cup bleached all purpose flour (not self rising)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
Place an oven rack in the middle position. Place a baking stone or sheet pan on the middle rack and heat the oven to 475 degrees for 30 minutes.
Whisk together the first five ingredients (1 1/2 cups flour through sugar) in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the cold shortening and mix on low until all the shortening is worked into the flour in pea sized pieces.
With the mixer still on low, add the liquid and mix until the dough is just combined. The dough will be very soft and wet. Let it sit in the bowl for 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, spray an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Place the remaining 1 cup of flour in a pie plate, cake pan, or dinner plate.
Using an ice cream scoop, or your hands, scoop up a portion of dough and drop it into the flour. Sprinkle it lightly with flour and sprinkle a bit of flour into your hands. Pick up the dough, gently shape it into a round, shake off any excess dough, and place the dough into the prepared cake pan. Be sure to fit them together snugly so that the dough will rise instead of spread. Once all the biscuits are in the pan, brush the tops with the melted butter.
Put the pan of biscuits in the oven on the baking stone or sheet pan. Increase the oven to 500 degrees for 5 minutes then lower it back to 475 and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the biscuits are lightly brown and have doubled in size.
Cool the biscuits in the pan for a few minutes then empty them onto a plate. Separate the biscuits and enjoy them plain or topped with butter or jam.