Mamatoga Monday Recipe: From Scratch Biscuits and Butter

Here is our Monday recipe courtesy of our contributing cooking author Kim Bernard. You can check out her blog here for tons of great ideas! Today's idea is super easy for you and your kids to try out, and has some fun ways to build English, math and logic skills using the steps of cooking!

When I home schooled my kids years ago, they loved to cook. I would use cooking as part of my English (reading the recipe), math (measuring) and logic skills (following the recipe steps in the correct order) curriculum. In a recipe like this you can also use it in a science curriculum – reactions – buttermilk and baking powder reacts with the flour to make it rise. One of the easiest and most fun recipes to use, especially with younger children is to make some sort of dough. And the easiest dough to make is biscuit dough. In the past I’ve used pre-made biscuit mixes which are just the dry ingredients that you would use if you were to make them from scratch. So why not just make them from scratch. They’re not hard and the kids can help measure all the ingredients. The following recipe is an old stand by basic recipe but it’s a good one!

The Recipe

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  You can either sift the ingredients together or use a fork to lighten the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small cubes.  Then with either a pastry cutter, two knives or just by using your hands cut the butter into the flour until it’s the size of peas.

This is the time to let the kids get in there and mix the flour and butter together.  It can be mixed and manipulated as much as you want while it’s dry.  Once you add the buttermilk, that’s a whole other story.  So while the ingredients are dry, let the kids go crazy! Once the butter and flour is incorporated then it’s time to add the buttermilk.  Add about ¾ of it to see just how wet the dough it.  Wet is good.

Gently mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture until it’s just combined.  The less mixing the better.  Now turn the dough out onto a floured board.  Gently pat the dough into a 1 inch thick circle. To cut the biscuits, you can use a biscuit cutter but I always used a glass, dip it into some flour so it doesn’t stick.

I bake mine in a 9 inch cake pan but if you like bake them on a regular cookie sheet.  The scraps from the first cutting can be reworked and cut again.
Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes.  Here’s the best part: there is always a little dough left over that isn’t enough for a biscuit, so I would give it to my kids to play with while the other biscuits were baking.  It kept them busy while we waited.
The Results

The most important thing when making any kind of dough is not to overwork it or it will become tough.  This is especially true for biscuits.  But now the biscuits are done, you need something to put on them. Why not some homemade butter?

Homemade Butter, No Churn Needed
Ever made “kick the can” ice cream?  You know where you take two coffee cans and create a makeshift ice cream maker and then roll it all over.  Well it’s the same principle when making homemade butter, except it’s easier and fewer ingredients.
All you need for homemade butter is some heavy cream, a container with a tight fitting lid (a baby food jar works really well) and a little salt. Oh yeah…and someone who’s willing to shake the container until the cream becomes butter.  Here’s another home school opportunity.  Learning how a liquid becomes a solid.  By shaking the cream (simulating churning) the cream will solidify and become butter.
The Butter
To Make: 
Pour 8 ounces of heavy cream into a tight fitting lid.  Then shake it.  It might take up to an hour, so the more hands the better.  After about 25 minutes you will have soft butter, but continue to shake it.  The butter will form into a ball and there will be some liquid in the bottom, which is buttermilk.  Strain the butter from the buttermilk and add some salt if you like.  Put the butter into a container and keep in the refrigerator.  Use as you like, but it would be delicious on the biscuits you just made!