Surfas Breadmaking Class: Bread #3: Cream Biscuits

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The second quick bread we made during the two-day bread workshop at Surfas Culinary District in Culver City (the first was Irish Soda Bread) was Cream Biscuits, perfect vessels to deliver gravy or honey into your salivating mouth. I don’t eat biscuits much at home but I do love me some of those crumbly goodness drizzled in honey, with an occasional (yes, occasional!) fried chicken from KFC.

The best part of it all is that these biscuits come together in a cinch, possibly quicker than trying to figure out how to safely unwrap Pillsbury’s air pressured can without exploding in your face.

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For the recipe, we used White Lily brand flour. According to the recipe, “The soft bleached gluten in the flour results in light, tender baked products.” If White Lily flour is unavailable, you can substitute it by simply adding 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt to each cup of White Lily flour.

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To start, make a well in the center of the flour ina bowl and slowly pour in the heavy cream.  Mix by pulling the flour into the liquid.

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Stir to form a sticky dough. The texture you’re looking for here is “shaggy” and “wettish.” These adjectives make me chuckle.

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Turn the “shaggy” and “wettish” (hee hee) dough onto a work surface.

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Fold the dough into half …

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… and roll it into a 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick round.

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Cut the biscuit using your favorite cookie cutter.  Make sure to flour the cutter and work swiftly, as the dough is super soft and crumbly.

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Brush each biscuit with cream.

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Finally, place the biscuits onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake in a 450 degree F oven for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown.

So, a little lesson learned here:

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My group partner Heather and I both fell in love with the square cutter with ridges and made our biscuits using it.  Big mistake.  The biscuits came out thick and doughy, and the finished product wasn’t as cute as we’d envisioned.

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We agreed that our biscuits would have came out crispier and more flavorful using the regular round kind, like the one you see here being used by Chef John.

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Despite our little hiccup, the biscuits were still very yummy.  We smeared the fresh butter and strawberry preserves and devoured them while they were piping hot!  Heavenly!

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All I needed to make these biscuits even more perfect was a bucket (or two) of KFC!

Next up:  Ciabatta!

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Surfas Breadmaking Class: Bread #1: Irish Soda Bread

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If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in a bread-making class, I highly recommend Surfas Culinary District in Culver City. I attended the two-day bread-making workshop a few months ago (thanks to my husband who got it for me for Mother’s Day) and had an absolute blast.

During the two days, the class got to bake five different kinds of bread from scratch, including Irish Soda Bread, Pain de Epi, Brioche, Cream Biscuit, Ciabatta, plus one bonus which was fresh butter.

I decided to document the adventures here so I can refer back to them in the future but I won’t be sharing the actual recipes. They are proprietary, mostly created by Chef John Pitblado, who was the instructor for the course. You can get a hold of all the recipes, plus other great information, like The Basics of Bread and Bread Baking Issues, if you attend the class.

Speaking of Chef John, I truly appreciated his teaching style.  He was knowledgeable and explained the science in a way that we rookies can understand, and he was incredibly patient with answering our questions. He was definitely the main reason why this class was so enjoyable for me.

 

First up:  Irish Soda Bread!

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Irish Soda Bread is one of the two quick breads that we baked in class (other one is Cream Biscuit). It uses no yeast, hence “quick,” so it lacks the airy, chewy texture, but its dense, biscotti-like crumble is delicious with jam and / or butter and can be quite addicting. The ingredients are white pastry flour, buttermilk, salt, baking soda, and butter.

To make the bread, you begin by mixing the ingredients in a bowl (a little elbow grease required) and slowly add buttermilk to form a soft dough.

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You then turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead to incorporate everything (careful not to over mix).

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You next shape the dough into a flat round.

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Place it in a Dutch oven or a pan, and cut across the top of the dough. Cover the Dutch oven or the pan and bake for about 30 minutes in 400 degree F oven. Remove lid and continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

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Remove the bread from the pan and cool it on a wire rack.  And you’re done!

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The class sampled the beautiful fruit of our labor while the bread was still nice and warm. Of course, we smeared the freshly-made butter on it. I’m sure you can hear the swoon that echoed in the test kitchen.

Up next, Fresh Butter!