Knead the Book: Southern Biscuits

20120706-southern-biscuits.jpgBiscuits are like magical bread. Once you've figured out the method, you can whip together a batch in no time at all. And they bake quickly. Pop them in the oven when you take your roast out and they'll be done by the time the meat is done resting.

I have dozens of cookbooks that include biscuit recipes; so why do you need Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree (who we actually baked biscuits with in Atlanta) and Cynthia Graubart?

Because you don't always want the same basic biscuit recipe over and over again, that's why. All of those general purpose books have basic biscuits. This book is stuffed with recipes with different methods and different ingredients that make a huge variety of biscuits and biscuit-like baked goods. There are also recipes for using leftover biscuits and some toppings like butters, gravies, and jams. But seriously, I could have been perfectly happy playing in the "Traditional Biscuits" chapter from start to finish.

One thing I always look for in baking books is the conversion from cups to weight. This book explains that Southern flour should weigh four ounces per cup if it's measured as directed. The book also cleverly accounts for the fact that people will be using different types of flour and will measure their flour differently. Most recipes suggest holding back on a bit of both flour and liquid during the mixing, and adding whichever one is required. It's genius.

I liked all of the recipes I tried from this book. Two of them didn't rise as much as I had hoped, but that's probably because the ambient temperature in my kitchen that day was fluctuating between unbearably hot and surface-of-the-sun. The butter didn't have a chance.

Win Southern Biscuits'

Thanks to the generous folks over at Gibbs Smith, we are giving away five (5) copies of Southern Biscuits this week.

To enter to win a copy of this book, all you have to do is tell us what you serve with your biscuits.

About the bread baker: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.