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Butter, buttermilk coax high-rise biscuits

My recent column about muffins vouched for oil over butter.

But where my inexpert attempts at baking are concerned, butter often has been the saving grace. Butter combined with buttermilk in a classic biscuit recipe produces the highest rise of any counterparts. That’s according to tests conducted last year by St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Daniel Neman.

To ensure biscuits rise as high as possible, make sure you’re not sealing the edges by twisting your biscuit cutter. Instead, press down firmly and evenly through the dough.

And similar to making muffins, the more a biscuit dough is worked, the heavier the end product will be. Want a light muffin? Stir the ingredients together just until moistened. Biscuit dough’s dry and wet ingredients also should be mixed just until they come together to form a ball.

Another feature that muffins and biscuits have in common is calories. They’re more than anyone assumes. It can’t be helped, said Neman. That’s why they taste so good.

These freshly baked beauties would be a Mother’s Day delight with butter and jam. Or serve them as my dad prefers: smothered in sausage gravy.

Tribune News Service photo

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a knife, a pastry cutter or your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Quickly but gently stir in the buttermilk, just until dough holds together. Don’t overstir or biscuits will be tough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently with floured hands. Press dough into a ball; cut it in half. Place one half on top of other and press down. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Then roll out dough to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with a biscuit-cutter or glass, or cut rectangles with a knife. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a little space between them.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until biscuits are golden. Serve warm.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe from “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant” by the Moosewood Collective.