I wish I remembered baking these biscuits in my first Bread Bible go-round, but when I read the directions, it brought back exactly nothing. Moreover, the directions didn't make sense to me: was all the one cup of flour (not self-rising) supposed to go on the biscuits? Was I supposed to dust off the extra flour or add even more? My first blog post was of no help whatsoever--there was only one picture (which turned out to look better than my second effort) and no description of the taste or texture, which is what I was interested in.
In the first post, I said I had some self-rising flour, but I couldn't find any White Lily because apparently we are too far north (still true). I knew I had some self-rising flour in my flour cabinet, so I wasn't worried about that. Just before I started measuring the flour, I had an uneasy feeling that I'd better check the use-by date because, now that I thought about it, I actually couldn't remember buying any self-rising flour in the recent past. Uh-oh. Use by May 7, 2006! This must be the same bag of flour I bought for the biscuits the first time I made them. I hate to think how this ten-year-old flour would have performed. I threw it out, and used a combination of bleached flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
I think that's enough pictures of flour bags for the day.
This is one of just a few of Rose's recipes that uses vegetable shortening instead of butter. I'm glad it's not a trend.
All the ingredients after they rest for a few minutes. As promised, it's a very soft dough, although, thankfully, it seems to have more structure than mashed potatoes.
At this point, I do remember making the biscuits ten years ago. I remember because when I read the instructions and saw shaping your fingers like a C, I had no idea what she was talking about, but it became clear when I actually did it. This is the same reaction I had ten years ago. This time I didn't make the biscuits large enough because I had more than 9. They looked better when I was a rank amateur.
They're darker and not as high as my 2006 pan of biscuits was. I like the color, but I wish they were higher. Now that I taste them, I can sort of see why I didn't try to describe them. I'm not sure I can describe them now. They were very soft, fluffy, and tender--almost too tender and soft, especially when warm. They were hard to break apart (even using the fork tine method) when they were warm, and they lost some of their flavor when they cooled. Jim loves these biscuits--he really gobbled them up. Some with butter, some with jam, some with butter and jam, some plain. He liked them all ways. I think I prefer a more substantial, flakier biscuit that's rolled out and cut with a biscuit cutter. But I'm pretty sure there are a few more biscuit recipes in The Bread Bible, as well as a few fabulous scones, so by the time we're done, we'll all have our favorite. Unless, of course, we forget about them before we get to the end of the book.