13 thoughts on “November 21, 2020: Week End”

  1. one of the problems with work from home is the death of the weekend. I'm struggling to keep the work time out of my leisure time. This morning I emailed some while the biscuits were baking.

    Okay, let us talk biscuits. They're an obsession of mine. I've tried every recipe that I can get my hands on. I've made buttermilk cut and dropped, yogurt and sour cream biscuits, mayo biscuits, lard infused biscuits (hello new mexico), sweet potato and bacon buttermilk, jalapeno cheddar drop, fruit infused, all purpose flour biscuits, white lily flour biscuits (okay this flour is worth finding...) I've overworked the dough, underworked the dough, got the dough just right, had burnt bottoms, burn tops, egg washed, not washed, salted and unsalted. All of these attempts have been met with varying levels of success - burnt is bad, under cooked is worse - but at no time have I ever really gotten a flaky, pull apart finished biscuit. Until today. I used a recipe from the NY times cooking - it's available other places so i don't feel too bad about posting it here - from Regina Charboneau’s recipe.

    4 cups/480 grams all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup/41 grams baking powder
    ¼ cup/50 grams sugar
    ½ cup/120 grams (1 stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    1 ½ cups/360 grams (3 sticks) salted margarine, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes
    1 ¾ cups/420 milliliters buttermilk, chilled

    Put flour, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn the machine on low and blend for 15 seconds. Add the butter, margarine and buttermilk to flour mixture before turning mixer back on. Turn mixer on medium and count to 10. This goes very quickly; the key is to not overmix the dough. There will be large chunks of butter and margarine, the size of quarters, in the dough.

    Scrape dough from the bowl onto a generously floured work surface or tea towel and shape into a long vertical rectangle about 2 inches thick. The dough will seem rough and messy. Using the edges of the towel, fold the lower part of the dough (about one-third) toward the center, then fold the top portion down. With a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 2-inch thickness. Fold the two ends in again, lifting the edges of the towel to help move the dough. Give dough a one-quarter turn, and roll it out again to a 2-inch thickness. Continue folding, turning and rolling dough until it is smooth, with noticeable yellow ribbons of butter and margarine throughout. - I maybe over worked the dough a bit, but the results were outstanding. I used the tea towel method and it's a winner winner of a dough turning hack. I'll be using this method for turning and folding dough from now on.

    Roll dough to 1 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds. Punch cutter into dough cleanly, without twisting. When refolding and rerolling the dough, gently stack it to retain the layers. Do not overwork. Place biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, transfer biscuits to plastic bags. The unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months. -I cut mine into squares because I don't have a biscuit cutter (tragic loss in a recent reorganization), and because I can't be bothered to re fold dough (Though this is part of the rise and flaky problem I've experienced - more on that in a minute)

    To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees*. Place frozen biscuits in the cups of muffin tins. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. -I did the muffin tin method and I wouldn't recommend it - they also too much longer than 23-25 minutes. The bottoms were perf! but the tops could have been browner (full disclosure I was baking in a large muffin tin and that may have been the problem). Next time I'll just bake em on the sheet and see what happens.
    *This might actually not be hot enough - other versions of her recipe call for 375 baking temps

    Okay- these were delightful. Flaky and rich. so. rich. Pull apart layers of dough. Now, to the cutting. I realized that the squares I cut (and you have to cut straight down with no wiggle to ensure a good rise) from the inside puffed and looked like a biscuit from central casting, but the ones that had an outside edge didn't Ah, that light bulb moment. The cut edge exposes the layered dough to the heat of the oven and separates them into flaky almost pastry consistency.

    To the haters out there. The margarine is essential. Yeah, yeah, yeah, health, health, health...... you're not eating biscuits to be healthy. Have a salad for dinner. Having used every fat source known to man to make biscuits I can firmly say that the margarine is lighter in both flavor and texture than an all butter biscuit. The puff is the proof.

    For a good laugh I always read the comments in the NYtimes cooking. So much hilarity in this recipe including this gem:

    To the lady who posted this recipe...How can you misrepresent it so with the picture chosen to accompany the recipe? I watched Regina make these on a vid and they were normal biscuit sized, not these towering things. I want the recipe for the towering biscuits please.

    Back to email.

    1. also, a two inch biscuit is tiny - I ended up with 38. I would rec making them a bit larger. However, the smaller ones just pop down your pie hole and you could be forgiven for eating a dozen at a time.

  2. Any recommendations on port replicators for home use?

    I have one from work in my home office, but need one for the Mrs for her side. Her desktop is approaching end of life. I want to set her up on the laptop and give her the two-screen setup with all the desktop trimmings (keyboard, mouse, speakers).

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