Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dutch Oven Biscuits



This week I continue to reminisce about wonderful bread I have had in my life. This picture reminds me of another favorite . . . Dutch Oven Biscuits. The picture was taken in 1939 near Marfa, Texas. These Cowboy biscuits are made with real buttermilk, and plenty of shortening. They are then cooked in the dutch oven by putting the iron pan over hot coals, and then more hot coals are placed on top of the iron lid.

So, how many of you know how to make buttermilk biscuits from scratch . . . and how many of you could make them in a Dutch Oven? 

13 comments:

  1. My dad loved a nice cold glass of buttermilk for breakfast.
    I could never stand it, tasted to much like eating a chunk of butter to me, texture wise.
    I have a favorite rhubarb dessert that my wife makes that she uses buttermilk in. I still love it, but it is not as good since I found out she uses buttermilk in it.

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    1. I used to work with a woman who made wonderful mashed potatoes; she added a container of sour cream to them. Her husband "didn't like" sour cream and would have a fit when he saw it in the kitchen. He could never understand why her potatoes weren't as good when he watched her as they usually were.

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  2. we make buttermilk biscuits from scratch on a regular basis. Sometimes I do it, sometimes my wife. we like them a lot. I have not used a dutch oven since my boy scout days, but ... I think I could still handle one...with a hot pad of course.

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  3. I make buttermilk biscuits at least twice a week and often more. Sometimes I add grated strong cheddar cheese to the mix and they are tremendous. We are now fortunate in having ample supplies of cheap buttermilk from our local supermarket. It used to cost about GBP0.50 for about a US cup measure but now after an influx of Eastern European immigrants our local Tesco supermarket sells Polish buttermilk at the astounding price of GBP1.00 per litre which is, I believe, about 4 x US cup measures, so half price. I love my biscuits and always have a batch on Saturday with my home baked beans.

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  4. My grandmother was raised in the horse and buggy days. She lived in tents alot when she was younger, and when she was older she was a prospector out in the mountains. She had a large enameled pan in which she kept flour (and I don't know what else). To make bisquits, she would cut in lard and pour in milk and gather up as much of the flour as needed to make the biscuits. I don't know exactly how and when she added salt and baking soda. They were heavenly.

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    1. My Mother was the same, hardly ever measured anything. Just threw in some of this and some of that, and went by how her mixture looked and felt before adding something that was short.
      When I asked her for a rib sauce recipe, she told me what went into it but had no idea how much. So I watch her and tried to write down how much of what she used. It took a few times, but finally got it all. Then I made some for her myself, and it turned out great. I now do the same thing, some of this and some of that, and then taste and add some more of this and that.

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  5. Here's a 3-minute video of re-enactors at the George Ranch (near Richmond) cooking a chuckwagon meal. They cooked biscuits and peach cobbler using dutch ovens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ49cd3EtNs

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  6. Here's a longer video (8 minutes) in which the lead re-enactor discusses Arbuckle's Ariosa Coffee (and its history on trail drives).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbqTfvDxALo

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  7. My wife makes buttermilk biscuits from scratch all of the time.We are going to try baking them in our Dutch oven

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  8. Thank you, Chuck Kelly, for the links to those videos, I found them very interesting. I have two great passions in life that I have built up a huge collection of books on and one of them is the Old West, in particular, the cattle drive days. I also have quite a few books in my collection all about the lore and legend of the chuckwagon and the cooks who manned them. Many nights I get lost in those books and sometimes think I was born a hundred years too late.
    (My other great interest could not be farther apart from the Old West - The Battle of The Atlantic in WWII, in particular the U-Boat campaigns.)
    Now off to explore some more videos from the links you supplied.

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  9. My wife and I go camping a lot during the spring and fall (summer in Texas is not my idea of cool camping weather) We use dutch ovens to cook lots of meals, I only made buttermilk biscuts once, i generally make either bisquick or corn muffins, a mean cobbler, baked chicken, chile with and without beans, and a meal called one pot hash, which is a cross between chili and taco hash salad. I use briquets and cooking with them is easy as each briquet when white adds about 15 degrees to the heat, so for a 350 degree heat you would use approx 24 coals. Another rule is that for the diameter of the DO, use twice that number for total and use the diamter plus 3 for the top, the remainder for the bottom to get about a 350 degree heat. So a 12 inch DO would have 15 coals on top, 9 underneath. To raise temps above 350, add extra using the 15 degrees per coal with more on top than underneath. If cooking for more than 45 minutes of cooking time they need to be replenished. If cooking past 45 minutes, start adding coals 10 minutes prior by just laying a new coal on top of or if underenath next to heated/white ones, and they will self start.

    Uhm, makes me want to make some peach cobbler this weekend.

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  10. I still make biscuits this way, using the home oven for the heat. Sheepherder's Bread too. Great stuff.

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  11. I live in Conroe Tx and a few years ago hurricane Ike left us without power for a week. My mom who grew up in the 50's had learned a thing or two about how to make due with what you had so she showed me how to make biscuits in a dutch oven, which for us was a cast iron skillet with a lid over a small fire in my yard! The kids thought it was the coolest thing they had ever seen and my mom became the breakfast hero!

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