Butter and Baking Powder Biscuits

I started making butter on our north west Alberta mixed farm not long after this picture was taken. I think I was 11 or 12.

Food Force Five Class 3: White Bean Veggie Tomato Soup with Moose Sausage and Buttermilk Baking Powder Biscuits

Tonight we filled the kitchen at the women’s shelter with the warm smells of lush aromatics (leek, fennel, garlic, onion, tomato, bay, rosemary) and made our own vegetable stock then turned it into a vegetable bean soup.

The women taking the class tried their hand at making butter (and did a great job!). I loved sharing my butter making recipe. When I was a child, it was my job to separate the fresh milk on our farm (then was the hundred plates in the separator!) and then get the cream back to the house where I would then make butter. One summer, I made hundreds of pounds of butter. It filled 1/3 of our chest freezer, all those little patties of richness wrapped in saran.

It was a also an experience I shared with Taylor, my step-daughter, after she asked if butter was a dairy product. That was my cue that I had missed sharing something really important. So we made butter, and then used the butter milk to make pancakes. I still love that memory.

Tonight we used the buttermilk by-product to make baking powder biscuits to go with the soup. Also, we finished off with black bean brownies (fudge AND farty…and even the kids came back for seconds, thirds and fourths).

Here’s the Buttermilk Baking Powder Biscuit recipe, we made it 3 ways: plain, with parmesan cheese and with chopped cranberries. I also love this recipe with sharp cheddar cheese and served with Carla Alexander’s Beef Barley Soup.

But the absolute best is having a plain baking powder biscuits with hand made butter and honey for a decadent breakfast treat. Is there anything more lush?

~ Cynthia

Baking Powder Biscuits (adapted from Company’s Coming)

2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar (white, granulated)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (you want a neutral flavour so don’t use olive oil)
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can stick with milk if that’s all you’ve got)

1 cup grated sharp cheese (this is optional and can be replaced with dried or frozen chopped cranberries for a sweet version, or a side biscuit to have with a roast turkey. Better yet, imagine a cranberry biscuit and left over turkey sandwich on Boxing Day!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get your cookie sheets out.

Mix the first four dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add shredded cheese (or cranberries, depending on which recipe you’re using).

Add oil and buttermilk. Stir just to form a ball. Add more milk if you need to but you want the dough to be a soft ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter or board and kneed 8 to 10 times. Don’t over do it or you’ll make the biscuits tough, not flaky. Roll or pat them out to 2 cm thick.

Use a biscuit cutter (or a glass) to cut the circles. Place the biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment).

Bake for 15 minutes until nicely browned. Best served hot with hand made butter.

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3 responses to “Butter and Baking Powder Biscuits

  1. great post – nice to see you bloggin’
    brings back memories of making baking powder biscuits as a girl- i havent even thought about them in YEARS, but agree there is nothing nicer than a hot biscuit with butter & honey. the summary of your evening has inspired me!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing those memories. I can give your readers a further breakdown…each day (during peak dairy production)the biproduct of the gallons of whole milk – was a gallon of cream, which then translated into 3 pounds of butter and 48 fluid ounces of buttermilk…everyday. Thank goodness for that food processor. Yes the chest freezer of those little packets of lush goodness was a sight to behold. You made an amazing contribution to the whole process, and I so appreciated your help. We made dozens of buttermilk bran muffins, biscuits, pancakes,…we looked for many many ways to use the bounty that came from Bessie. And yes, they were all named Bessie.

    I have enjoyed your re-cap of your evening with the moms and their families. Your actions will translate into hope. x

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