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I’ve been on a quest.
A quest to return to the age of my great-grandmother.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am the first to admit I love my modern day conveniences. I am so thankful for my washer, dryer, refrigerator, the hot water that instantly rushes out of the tap, my beloved computer that allows me to connect with you, AC (thank you, Lord), and even my iPhone.
I am thankful I live in such a day and age.
But there is a part of me that longs for the age of my great-grandmother. Returning to days of yes, hard work, but also simplicity. An age of growing your own food, herbs lined outside the kitchen window, lard in homemade pie crusts, raising backyard chickens, leftover flour sprinkled across the kitchen counter, and the smell of fresh baked bread coming from a warm oven. There were hard times back then, but life, in my mind, seems as though it was simplified, valued, and the home-life cherished and real food praised and celebrated. I realize I probably wouldn’t last more than a week without my washing machine, but a girl can dream.
When I think of great-grandma’s day, my mind is always drawn to biscuits. I’m not talking about those tubes filled with a white doughy substance that last months to years on the store shelves.
What? Real dough actually lasts that long?
I am talking about the simplicity of real homemade biscuits from scratch. Something about the simplicity and realness of buttery wheat biscuits paints a picture in my mind of a homemaker in the kitchen. A floral apron around her waist, children playing at her feet, chickens at the back door, and fresh veggies and herbs growing in the backyard ready to be picked and enjoyed.
I want to go there!
These biscuits are a representation of simpler times. A buttery, flaky from scratch biscuit. A biscuit great-grandma would be proud of make and serve to nourish her family. The very word simplicity can be summarized in these biscuits. The simple ingredients combine together to create a biscuit that melts-in-your-mouth. Literally!
I know you may be leery of homemade biscuits. I understand. I have made countless biscuits over the years all resulting in perfect hockey pucks, far from the flaky buttery goodness I desired. A lot of wasted flour, milk, and butter.
Just for the record, I hate wasting good butter!
It really seems like a crime!
These biscuits, are a far cry from hockey pucks. They literally flake and melt-in-your-mouth! The deliciousness of a biscuit great grandma would be proud to serve that takes only minutes to create and leaves your family satisfied with buttery, flaky goodness.
Simplicity at its finest.
Homemade Whole Wheat Biscuits
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar or lemon juice also work well
- 8 TB butter cubed
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 TB baking powder
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs I like to add herbs if I am serving these with a brunch or dinner. I usually use a mixture of dill, parsley, basil, oregano, and rosemary., optional
Measure out the flour into a large bowl. Add in all the cubed butter.
With your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour. You want the butter to look like coarse crumbs mixed in the flour.
Pour 1 cup whole milk over the butter/flour mixture.
Add in the acidic medium. I choose to use Apple Cider Vinegar. You can also use lemon juice or whey.
Mix together the butter/flour mixture, milk, and Apple Cider Vinegar. Do NOT over mix. Mix just enough to get the flour/butter mixture nice and wet.
Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Add in the salt and baking powder. If you are using herbs, mix in the 1/4 of chopped fresh herbs.
Mix just enough to incorporate the dry ingredients in the wet flour mixture. You do NOT want to over mix!
Scoop the dough out of the bowl and drop on a floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. You want a long rectangular shape. Fold the dough in half, lengthwise and gently press together.
Using a biscuit cutter cut out individual biscuits. Place on a baking sheet or stone.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove the warm biscuits from the oven and serve warm with butter, yes, more butter and honey and whatever your heart desires.
You don't have to let these rest overnight, if you don't want to soak the biscuits or you're using einkorn flour. Simply mix the biscuits and bake.
To Freeze: Place the uncooked, cut-out biscuit dough on a cookie sheet. Freeze the raw biscuits until frozen (about 30 minutes-1 hour). Once frozen, place the biscuits in a freezer-safe bag or container. When you’re ready to cook a biscuit, follow the cooking directions in the recipe above. Allow for 2-4 extra minutes of baking time.
2015 Flour Update: I use einkorn flour almost exclusively these days. For an einkorn version, use 2 2/3 cup einkorn flour with the remaining ingredients. No soaking is necessary for einkorn, so simply combine the dry ingredients and butter (this may also be done in the food processor), then the wet ingredients. Mix just until the dough is wet. Einkorn is the flour pictured in this recipe (the photos have been updated since the original recipe posting in 2013).
Einkorn is known as the oldest variety of wheat making it an “ancient” grain. The ancient grain is believed to have originated in the Tigris-Euphrates region and is possibly the main grain referenced in the earliest accounts of the Bible. To put it simply, einkorn is the wheat men were eating in the earliest days before modern-day wheat varieties. While modern wheat has undergone hybridization, einkorn still holds true to its original properties. Einkorn is slowly gaining popularity, but is still grown in only a few regions in Europe.
The sweet, ancient grain has a lighter texture and taste than modern-day wheat, and contains a more favorable gluten ratio. People with minor gluten sensitives may be able to consume einkorn without the issues associated with whole wheat due the lack of D-genome, however, einkorn is not gluten-free. Einkorn is packed with nutrition, containing high levels of protein along with the antioxidant beta-carotene lutein and minerals.
Einkorn looks and tastes similar to white flour, so it’s the perfect healthy flour to use when making pizza dough. Einkorn is sold in some health food stores and online.
Einkorn doesn’t like to be kneaded or overworked, so you’ll want to stop kneading einkorn pizza dough once the flour is combined into the dough. If you continue to knead the dough, it will “deconstruct” and turn into a mushy dough that’s impossible to handle.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!