Biscuits are not easy, for me at least. My mom can pop in the kitchen on a Saturday morning and whip up biscuits blindfolded. I watch her pour in the milk and measure out the flour without missing a beat. My biscuits come out either like little bricks or cakes; no in between. By the time they are on the plate, I’ve resigned to call them anything other than biscuits. It reduces my level of disappointment and lowers the expectation of my diners.
I don’t have to do that anymore thanks to the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking Edna Lewis, and her protégé Scott Peacock, authors of The Gift of Southern Cooking. After studying their recipe for Angel Biscuits, as well as a few others, I set out on mission to make a breakfast that paid homage to Edna Lewis’ life work of southern cooking. Edna was dedicated to the art. She used only quality ingredients and devoted time to the kitchen. She found the southern food being praised in the foodie sphere little more than desperate attempts by well-meaning northerners with limited access to true southern ingredients. It wasn’t their fault, but it gave people a misunderstanding of southern fare.
I took a moment to consider all the southern dishes I’ve eaten over the years. With family roots tied to Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, I had plenty to pull from.
This recipe takes a bit of prep and won’t be your 30-minute breakfast sandwich, but it will leave you feeling that it was worth every slice, chop, bake… and bite.
- Spicy Turkey Italian Sausage
- Egg patty
- Fried green tomato slices
- White Country Gravy
- Biscuit adapted from Edna Lewis’ Angel Biscuit recipe
- Collard Greens
I used the Angel Biscuit recipe as the pattern for my biscuits, but I made several adjustments, leaving the original recipe nearly unrecognizable. Nonetheless, I credit Ms. Lewis and Mr. Peacock’s recipe for the inspiration.
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- ½ c warm water
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 4 2/3 c all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c cornmeal
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, chilled and grated
Add your almond milk and vinegar and leave for about 5 minutes
Side Note #1 This is essentially dairy free buttermilk. It’s the norm in our house due to lactose intolerance. Using traditional buttermilk works just as well.
While that sits, place the warm water in a bowl. Add the yeast and honey, stir a little.
Side Note #2 One day, I tried proofing yeast 2 ways. I used sugar in one and honey in the other. I found that the yeast responded better to the honey. Since then when I find that I have limited time to let dough rise I use honey to proof.
Let the yeast mixture sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add in the grated butter, using your fingers to incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with some larger pieces of butter. Add in the yeast mixture and butter thoroughly. Lightly flour a surface and pour the dough out and knead lightly.
Warning! A few too many times I overworked my biscuits and produced briquettes rather than biscuits. Knead the dough 5 or 6 times by had and that is all you knead (pun intended).
Roll out your dough to about ½ inch thickness and cut out your biscuits. I used about a 3 ½ inch cutter to make sure I had a biscuit that could contain this glorious sandwich.
Place on a parchment lined pan and bake at 450 Fahrenheit for about 9-11 minutes, until golden brown.
Take them out give them about 10 minutes to cool. This will make them easier to slice.
Assemble your sandwich.
Make sure each component is made deliberately and with sincere appreciation for the cuisine to ensure a breakfast worth waiting for.