Gluten-Free (Non-) Buttermilk Biscuits, Gluten-Free (edited 3/4/10 to add extra instructions for dairy-free preparation)

Girlfriend has been home sick the past couple of days, and it’s been raining like crazy. Spring illnesses usually present a nice excuse for us to hang out in the garden all day, reading and chatting. But, since it’s been raining, we’ve been inside. Girlfriend has read all of the books in her current favorite series about a zillion times, I’ve read my magazines and Twitter til I can’t stand it anymore, and we’ve watched eleventy million DVDs. Due to the latter activity, we’ve also debated the characteristics of different villains in Disney movies–e.g., Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians vs. Madame Medusa from The Rescuers. The conclusion: Cruella is just selfish, while Medusa is truly mean. And we took a walk around the neighborhood.

Anyway, I’ve also been baking. Dorie Greenspan (you know she’s one of my baking goddesses!) had a recipe in the Parade Magazine from last Sunday’s newspaper for Buttermilk Biscuits. Of course, I had to adapt it right away to be gluten-free. Below is the result.

Note: instead of buttermilk I use milk mixed with vinegar. I’ve found that gluten-free flours don’t allow the kind of rising that buttermilk gives to baked goods with wheat flour. So, these aren’t really “buttermilk”. But they are good and I think the flavor is just about the same as buttermilk biscuits.

Note: this recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C. brown rice flour
1 1/4 C. white rice flour
1 C. tapioca flour
1 C. sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture of your choice–just be sure it has xanthan gum in it. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to your biscuits)

Gluten-Free (Non-)Buttermilk Biscuits, naturally egg-free (edited 3/4/10 to add additional instructions for dairy-free preparation)
-adapted from recipe by Dorie Greenspan in Parade Magazine

Special equipment needed:
-2″ round biscuit cutter
-Silpat mat (for rolling out dough)

-2 C. Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix
-2 TBL. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. baking soda
-1 TBL sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 TBL (3 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (or butter replacement–I’ve used Earth Balance with good results)
3/4 C. cold milk with 1 TBL cider vinegar mixed in (or soy milk w/vinegar mixed in.  I’ve used Pacific Low Fat Plain soy milk–it’s gluten-free)
extra tapioca flour to dip cutter into

Preheat oven to 425 degrees–let oven get nice and hot

-Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.
-drop butter pieces into flour mixture and cut them in with a pastry cutter (or rub it into the flour with your fingers) until it looks like sand mixed with pebbles (the larger bits are OK to leave–this adds to the flakiness)
-add the milk/vinegar mixture–mix with a large spoon for a couple of turns
-then use your hand to incorporate the milk the rest of the way. Only do this until just incorporated–don’t handle the dough too much and try not to melt the butter–the cold butter is what makes the biscuits flaky

-turn out dough onto a Silpat mat or a surface sprinkled with tapicoa flour
-line a baking sheet with parchment paper
-lightly roll dough into a circle about 1/2″ thick

NOTE: don’t press too hard as you’re rolling or handling the dough. You don’t want to squish the dough!  The dough should feel light and pillowy.

Use the 2″ biscuit cutter (dipped into the tapioca flour before each cut) to cut out dough and put the rounds onto prepared baking sheet. It’s imperative (especially if you’re making these non-dairy) that you flour the cutter each time so it doesn’t squish the sides of the dough as it goes through the dough–this allows the biscuit to rise as high as possible.  Also, don’t twist the cutter around while cutting–this creates squished sides.  Remember: squished sides equal flatter biscuits.
-keep regathering, rolling, and cutting the dough until you’ve used all the dough (I get about 10-11 rounds)

-Bake for 17-18 minutes (until light brown on top)

Take out of oven and let cool. These are delicious hot from the oven! I like them with a little unsalted butter…

NOTE: When making these with non-dairy milk and a butter substitute, it is imperative that you follow the directions about dipping the cutter in tapioca flour and not squishing the sides of the dough when you cut them.  The more you squish the sides of the dough, the less the biscuits will rise!  Please note that non-dairy biscuits will not rise as much as dairy biscuits (they will rise about 1/4″), but they will be still be light and fluffy with a good taste and texture.


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