Simple Biscuits

Today’s recipe is based on a recipe out of Eliza Smith’s cookbook and let me read you the recipe. It says, “To make biscuits, to a quart of flour take a quarter of a pound of butter and a quarter of a pound of sugar, one egg and what caraway seeds you please, wet it with milk as stiff as you can and then roll them out very thin. Cut them with a small glass and bake them on tin plates. Your oven must be slack. Prick them well just before you set them in and keep them dry when baked.”bisketSimple Biscuits (Time 0_00_21;02)

  • 4 cups Flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Caraway seeds
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 oz. Butter
  • Milk

While preheating your oven to 250-300 degrees, allow your butter to melt, but don’t let it get hot enough to cook your egg.

Simple Biscuits (Time 0_01_56;22)
Now start off with 4 cups of flour and mix in about a half cup of sugar. Now’s a good time to add you caraway seeds to our mixture, and you just add as many as you think is fit for your taste. Once that is good and mixed, whisk up your egg and add it to the flour. Next, the butter can be added to the mixture.

Simple Biscuits (Time 0_02_32;16)
The recipe says to mix these in and we will get too stiff of a paste and we add the milk in to get to the right consistency. Just add the milk a little bit at a time until you have the right stiffness, then turn out onto a floured surface and work into a flat sheet, probably about an eighth of an inch thick.

Simple Biscuits (Time 0_03_26;17)
Cut out your biscuits and place on a well-greased baking tin. You don’t have to worry about these growing on the sheet so you can put these right up against each other. There’s not leavening in this. They’re almost a bit more like a cracker than they are a biscuit. All we need to do is place them on the tin and then right before we put them in the oven we’re going to follow the directions in the book and poke little holes in them.Simple Biscuits (Time 0_04_48;20)

Depending on the temperature of your oven these will take about 7 to 15 minutes. When they are done they will be a very light golden brown and crispy. These should be kept in a cool dry place for storage.Simple Biscuits (Time 0_05_58;18)

 


Transcript of Video:

18th century cookbooks abound with recipes for simple biscuits. Something we might call a cross between a cookie and a cracker. Today we’re going to bake some simple biscuits.

Today’s recipe is based on a recipe out of Eliza Smith’s cookbook and let me read you the recipe. It says, “To make biscuits, to a quart of flour take a quarter of a pound of butter and a quarter of a pound of sugar, one egg and what caraway seeds you please, wet it with milk as stiff as you can and then roll them out very thin. Cut them with a small glass and bake them on tin plates. Your oven must be slack. Prick them well just before you set them in and keep them dry when baked.”

Today’s simple biscuit recipe has flour, butter, some eggs, a little bit of sugar, milk and caraway seeds for flavoring. Caraway seeds are a favorite flavoring for biscuits and cookies in the 18th century.

I’ve got my oven preheating and while that’s preheating I’m going to set four ounces of butter here in a skillet right at the edge of the oven to melt it.

We’re going to start with four cups of flour and into that I’m going to mix up a half a cup of sugar.

Now’s a good time to add our caraway seeds to our mixture, and you just add as many as you think is fit for your taste. Now it’s time to take one egg, whisk it up and add it to our flour. Let’s get this whisked here.

It doesn’t need to be done extremely well. This is just to get it mixed up. Let’s put that into our flour.

And now our premelted butter, we can add that right in too. We want to make sure it’s not too hot. We don’t want to cook our egg with that. Let’s get this mixed up.

The recipe says to mix these in and we will get too stiff of a paste and we add the milk in to get to the right consistency.

We’re just going to go a little bit at a time and I think just a little bit more should bring us to our right stiffness.

Okay, let’s turn this out onto a floured surface and we can start to work it into a flat sheet.

We’ve got some flour here. Just get a nice surface, turn out our dough here. Let’s roll this out.

Recipe calls for it to be very thin. There, I’ve got that rolled out nice and thin. Probably about an eighth of an inch thick, and we are going to now cut these out and put them on our baking tin.

I’ve got the oven cleaned out and I’m going to make sure to put a trivet in the oven so that the biscuits don’t burn on the bottom.

I’ve got a well-greased baking tin here. Let’s put our biscuits on there and we don’t have to worry about these growing on the sheet so we can put these right up against each other. There’s not leavening in this. They’re almost a bit more like a cracker than they are a biscuit. All we need to do is place them on the tin and then right before we put them in the oven we’re going to follow the directions in the book and poke little holes in them.

The recipe calls for a slack oven so under 300 degrees. 250-300.

There we go. And this is going to take, depending on the temperature of your oven, 7 to 15 minutes.

18th century cookbooks are chalked full of really interesting recipes. They’re a great way to kind of dig back into history and find out what it was really like through taste. Now I can smell those biscuits cooking so they’re probably just about right. They’re one of those kinds things you really have to watch them to make sure they don’t burn. You don’t want to get these all black on the bottom. Let’s go check these out.

It looks like they’ve turned out just perfectly. Very light golden brown. Nice and crispy, they should be something that’s kept dry. They’re meant to be a crispy dry snappy kind of a cookie, almost a cross between a cracker and a cookie. Very good.

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