Light Whole-Wheat “Buttermilk” Biscuits
Make sure you use whole wheat pastry flour, or your biscuits will not be light at all!
Recipe By: Lisa T. Bennett
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
2 cups soy milk (up to 2 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Spectrum Organic shortening
Pre-heat oven to 450 F. Spray a 9X13 pan lightly with pan spray or grease lightly with shortening.
Add vinegar to soymilk and set aside to sour. This is your “buttermilk”.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
Cut shortening into flour until it resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces of shortening remaining. Mix in 2 cups of soured soymilk quickly. Don’t overmix the dough or your biscuits will be tough. Dough should be wet, but still hold its shape when scooped. Add more plain soymilk if necessary. Spoon dough into 12 equal pieces. Quickly shape each by hand into a biscuit, dredging the dough in a bit of extra flour if necessary to hold its shape. (My mother just drops hers from a spoon into the pan and flattens the tops lightly with her hand.) Bake ’til lightly browned, 12 – 15 minutes.
Makes 12 large (“cathead”) biscuits or 24 two-bite hors d’oeuvres-sized ones.
Notes: Placing the biscuits close together will cause them to rise up and will yield tall biscuits with soft sides (classic Southern biscuits). Leaving a little space between them with make them crusty all over and a bit shorter and wider.
This biscuit dough is quite wet. The extra moisture creates steam on the inside of the biscuits after the outside has begun to set from the high heat of the oven. This steam causes the biscuits to rise high and light.
Make sure you use whole wheat *pastry* flour, not bread flour. The pastry flour makes much lighter biscuits because it’s lower in gluten. (see my March 2002 article on Biscuits and Cornbread to understand why this is important.)
Variation: Substitute Earth Balance for Spectrum Organic Shortening for a more “buttery” flavor. Omit salt, as the Earth Balance is quite salty already.