Monday, March 9, 2009

Buttermilk: Home Creamery Event III

Don't my buttermilk biscuits look gorgeous? Aren't these buns just the perfect blend of crispy exterior and fluffy, inner, buttery goodness? The story this picture tells is that the last Home Creamery exercise of making buttermilk worked out as smoothly as Jane Fonda in a three-piece leotard.

But no.

My buns were flat. And I think it was because the homemade urban buttermilk I made to use in the biscuit recipe and the buttermilk with which Dorie Greenspan's biscuit recipe was tested were structurally different. I hope. Darn that baking. Darn those exact measurement devices and chemical reactions. See below for the actual size and lack of height of my little creations.

Alas, that's how baking goes. And that's how I bake. Sigh. Maybe I should have used the recipe Dan did below. His buns were fluffy. Why? Why? Although the Home Creamery event suggests pairing the Home Creamery creations with wine, just for fun (!), I couldn't. I was busy throwing my biscuits against the wall when I had a break in tears rolling down my face.

Dan's Biscuits and Buttermilk Experience, in His Words

"Making the buttermilk was easy; I followed the simple recipe from the Homery Creamery which called for whole milk (Strauss Family Creamy) and Creme de Tartar. And I couldn't resist attempting to make the buttermilk Fantail biscuits on the cover of the recent Gourmet magazine. Build the yeast, make the dough, cut 'em up, fill the muffin pan, let it rise again and then wack it in the oven.

The biscuits were a delicious mix of light and flakey and rich and creamy. The small pieces fanning off each other were easily separated and allowed us to spread either a tarragon butter or olive oil marinated goat cheese with oregano and red pepper. We paired these buttermilk bread treats with our other appetizers and 2006 Sancerre from Alphonse Mellot (Edmond). The wine, made from 100+ year old vines, was refined and elegant, yet rich and juicy. When tasted against a 2006 Larkmead Sauvignon Blanc, it was quite the opposite - the Larkmead being intense and textured. Both faring quite nicely with the biscuits. Thanks for choosing buttermilk for this month's activity - I have always been curious about it, since eating Thomas Keller's buttermilk fried chicken at Napa's Ad Hoc. Looking forward to next month's challenge!"

And here's a link to participant's Simone's buttermilk action at her Bricole blog . She made a gorgeous blueberry buttermilk sorbet, but it seems as if she wasn't satisfied with her Home Creamery attempts either. Is it possible that we picked the only recipe in the book that doesn't work? I think we both chose the recipe that used vinegar rather than cream of tartar.

Does anyone know why the buttermilk flopped?

Also, any ideas for our next Home Creamery dairy selection?... I'd love to hear, leave em' in the comments below.....

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paul said...

I have a couple of theories unrelated to buttermilk, which I don't know that much about except that there is a reaction between it and the soda that is similar to results from using powder. Anyway, here's my thoughts, since I've made a lot of biscuits over the years and have finally gotten the "luft" I desired:

-chemical leaveners lose their strength after a few months in pantry; throw out and buy new

-don't roll them so thin! I think the single best thing I did for my biscuits was to barely roll them at all. If you want a 1.5 inch biscuit, start with a 1 inch raw circle.

-Let them rest in fridge for twenty minutes just prior to going into oven; go from fridge directly to oven

danpetroski said...

Ideas for the next time.... Mozza... Mozzarella! (Haven't checked to see if it is in the book, yet.)

Kirstin said...

- Hmm.. I don't know if I've ever actually thrown out a chemical leavener.
- Guilty. My biscuits were uber thin.
- Why should they have a chance to rest after giving me so much stress? I should be sitting down.

Dan- I'm down for mozz. Any other requests from others? I think I'll have to change the deadline for entries for mid April this time, I'm swamped with life and work.

Simona said...

I actually have another mishap or two to report in the buttermilk department, but also a nice success and a thought on why things didn't go quite as expected. I'll write another post on this. Just coming out of a hectic work spell myself: good luck!

Cynthia said...

Hmmm, you're a lot braver than I am - making your own buttermilk.