Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gluten-Free Southern Biscuits

Gluten-Free Southern Biscuits

Since going gluten-free, I MISS bread. A lot. And I'm pretty sure I ate less of it than many people do. The funny thing is, I think I miss it mostly because I can't have it anymore, rather than because I actually miss it. But I do miss the opportunity to make homemade bread -- baking gluten-free is expensive and it doesn't work as well as gluten-laden bread (or at least I haven't figure it out).

A friend and I tried making gluten-free baguettes not too long ago and I can usually depend on her to bake gluten-free with me. Unfortunately, she's traveling right now (and will be gone about a month total) and so I'm baking on my own more.

On Friday mornings, I have breakfast with Annie, Brenna, and another friend. Usually I make some sort of egg casserole, vegetable saute, and/or a baked thing (I love it when Annie brings baked goods!). We've decided we like having a combination of sweet and savory and these breakfasts force us all to eat a real breakfast at least once a week. The rest of the time, you'll find us eating yogurt and cereal, or oatmeal, or fruit, or a granola bar. We use the time to talk about our weeks, our weekend plans, about family, the men in our lives, politics and religion. Over the past three years, we've talked about so many topics, I'm beginning to think there's nothing we won't talk about over Friday breakfast--and I'm going to miss these breakfasts when I move soon (ehm, Annie, you should move with me).

This past Friday, I wanted to make biscuits to go with my mulberry jam (mostly so that Annie and Brenna could try the jam and help me eat it! We picked another gallon and a half or two gallons of mulberries on Thursday and I'd made most of the ones I took home into jam that night). I hadn't tried making biscuits gluten-free yet and I was a bit intimidating since gluten-free flours are heavier and might not rise as well as traditional wheat flour. But, I started with Alton Brown's Southern Biscuit recipe, which is the one I usually turn to (yes, it uses shortening. It's southern.)

Since I used gluten-free flour, I added xantham gum. I also don't particularly like the "gluten-free" taste that some gluten-free products have, so I added in rice flour to help balance out the strong taste of "gluten-free." You may need to add a little more liquid, depending on exactly which flour blend you're using. Gluten-free flours sometimes absorb more water.

Since I didn't want to waste expensive gluten-free flour, I made this biscuits as "formed" drop biscuits -- I dropped them and then shaped them a little and pressed my thumb lightly into the middle. The good thing about these biscuits -- since you're not reforming the dough to cut out the second set, the biscuits stay tender (and save well).

Gluten-Free Southern Biscuits

1 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill
½ cup white rice flour
2 teaspoons xantham gum
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk, chilled
1/2 cup whole milk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk and whole milk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, about 2 tablespoons at a time and shape with your fingers to form 1-inch circles. Rearrange biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Press your thumb lightly into the top of each biscuit. Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
Yields: 12-15 biscuits


  1. I hear you, Liz! I'm doing a wheat-free thing for 2 weeks to figure out where my tummy trouble is coming from and it's nearly impossible to avoid bread in our culture! I'm also not crazy about the beany taste of most gluten free flours, so I make mine own. Never did try biscuits yet, though. Nice idea!

  2. These were delicious! Hooray Friday breakfast! :)

  3. Ivy -

    Let me know how your gluten-free days went. I'm sorry I haven't responded to this comment sooner! I hope you're able to figure out what's going on. Tummy troubles are no fun.