Monday, September 19, 2011

My Great Grandmother Clara’s Baking Powder Biscuits

I had previously promised to post my Grandpapa’s Baking Powder Biscuits recipe, and when I found it in my stack of favourite recipes, I realized that it is actually his Mother’s recipe. So here you have it, Clara Decker’s recipe, as transcribed by Earle Decker on Sunday September 6, 1959 (these types of details were important to Earle, so I felt it only proper to include them).

Sift together:
2 cups flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda

Here is a picture of a rounded tsp of baking powder:

Add some milk to make a very soft dough. Then add 3 tbsp melted lard (now the lard vs butter argument can be fought for hours – basically lard or shortening will give you a flakier biscuit, and butter, not so much. But butter will taste different (better). For today’s recipe, I stayed true to Clara and used lard). 

Sift a little flour over the mixture, and put some extra flour on your board so the dough doesn’t stick. Then turn the dough out of the bowl onto the board.

Handle the dough as little as possible. For me, this means pressing it into the thickness that I want, rather than rolling it. Clara rolled it. Up to you.

Cut out your biscuits using a small glass.

Dip edges of the biscuits in melted lard, and place in pans. Dent with a spoon (I forgot to do this when I made them on Sunday!) and bake in very hot oven.

Now neither Clara nor Earle specified what a “very hot oven” is, nor did they say how long to bake these for. I recommend a 425 to 450 degree F oven, for 12 to 15 minutes. I baked these for 15 minutes at 425.

Serve hot with jam, butter, cream, tea, and/or a tall glass of skim milk with ice. I miss you Grandpapa!

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