LIGHTER-THAN-AIR BISCUITS

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Based on a colonial recipe, these delightful biscuits were made by a bride to impress her husband

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 18 minutes

Difficulty:
Serves: makes a dozen

Dietary guidance: v 

Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chilled margarine, cut into small pieces
¾ cup buttermilk or ¾ cup milk and ¼ teaspoon white vinegar

Method

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut margarine into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Make a well in the centre of flour mixture. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk all at once to well, tossing with a fork until a soft dough forms. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth, 1 minute. Shape dough into a ball. Cover loosely with a damp cloth; let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30 minutes. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down dough. On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to a ¾â€ thickness. Using a 3” round or fancy biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits. Gather trimmings, roll to a ¾â€ thickness, and cut out more biscuits. Prick tops with a fork. Place biscuits 1” apart on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with a damp cloth; let rise in a warm place until doubled, 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake biscuits until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool slightly.

*To produce the lightest biscuits, cut the fat in quickly, so that it stays cold and firm.

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