Thursday, November 3, 2011

Easy biscuits with yogurt

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You may not believe me, but you can make very respectable biscuits without butter or shortening.

I got my favorite biscuit recipe via Ellen, one of my college roommates, who in turn got it from her mother as a wedding present. The recipe had been handed down through several generations. There's no butter, no shortening - only vegetable oil and either yogurt or buttermilk.

Ellen's mom is from Texas, so in my romantic fantasies I see poor Dust Bowl farmers with dried-up cows, forced to find a new way to make biscuits. I have no idea whether that's anywhere close to reality, but I don't really care. I like my fantasy and I like the biscuits.

That red stuff below, by the way, is prickly pear cactus jelly my 12-year-old son brought me from Arizona. Loved the color, loved the concept, loved that he brought me a present. The flavor - nothing special. But it worked fine on a steaming hot biscuit.

I've made many variations on this basic biscuit recipe, including cheese biscuits, biscuits with Jarlsberg and bacon, and biscuits with mushroom beef gravy. It's a blank canvas. What would you put in your biscuits?

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Easy biscuits with yogurt
A basic biscuit recipe with no butter and no shortening. Does it still taste good? I think so, but you be the judge.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (lowfat or full-fat)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I always sift my baking powder and baking soda into the bowl through a small strainer because once I made muffins that contained large lumps of baking soda, and I will never forget that awful taste. You may take whatever chances you like.In a measuring cup, gently whisk together the oil and buttermilk or yogurt. You don't want them completely combined. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and use a fork to bring the ingredients together into a shaggy dough. Using one hand, knead the dough in the bowl about 8 times, folding it over on itself, until it is rough but holding together.Pat the dough into a circle or a square or whatever. Feel free to use a biscuit cutter to make nice shapes, but personally I hate wasting the scraps, and you can only reshape them once before they start getting tough. I cut the dough into squares or triangles, myself. Put the biscuits on the baking sheet, leaving room for air to circulate in between. Bake the biscuits about 20 minutes, until they're golden brown and the smell brings people running from across the street. Serve immediately with the condiments of your choice. If you have leftovers, always reheat them in the oven or toaster oven - the microwave will leave you in soggy city.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approximately 1 dozen 2-inch-square biscuits


Debbie said...

Do you think I could use a non-dairy yogurt product like plain almond or coconut yogurt?

Erika Kerekes said...

I don't see why not. If you do, will you come back and tell us how it worked?

Dan said...

hmmm... I have avoided making biscuits simply based on the amount of butter needed. Going to try this recipe out this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

Monet said...

When I saw this on my blogreader, I got so excited, Erika! I have been looking for a good recipe that doesn't rely on butter or heavy cream. Thanks again for sharing with me. You know how to make me smile. I hope you have a blessed weekend!

Debbie said...

I made them non-dairy and they came out OK on the second try. First try I replaced the yogurt with coconut yogurt. The dough tasted fine. I put them in the oven and they looked great when I checked on them halfway. I must have accidentally turned off my oven at that point because when the timer beeped I had to turn the oven back on. They browned but didn't rise any further so were a bit dense for my liking.

Undeterred, I fixed another batch but didn't have any more of the yogurt. I used soymilk and a slash of lemon. I also upped the amount of salt to almost 3/4 tsp. The dough was a little wet so I added another palmful of flour during kneading. They aren't a fluffy, buttery biscuit, but they're pretty good with some smart balance and jam.

Really, really easy recipe.

Erika Kerekes said...

Debbie - thank you so much for reporting back! I would bet that you'd get good results with soy yogurt, too. I think your biscuits were heavy the second time because the dough was wet and adding the extra flour at the end probably required more kneading than you might have wanted.

These definitely aren't buttery biscuits, but that makes me feel less guilty about adding some butter on top before eating....

Sarah P said...

I love the way you wrote this one, Erika! Not only is the recipe as simple as promised, but the delivery has so much charm!

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