Archive for June, 2017

Biscuits in Divide

24 June 2017 at 4:46 pm
by Berck

Jonah used to make excellent biscuits, but then we moved to Divide. The difference in altitude (6,000ft to 9,000ft) was enough to turn her biscuits into greasy blobs suitable for packing to your next arctic exhibition. So I fired her from biscuit making and decided to try it myself.

There are a lot of myths about baking at altitude. Rules of thumb that say “add/subtract ingredient X per thousand feet of altitude” are generally terrible advice. Corrections that work at 6,000 feet may need to be completely reversed by 8,000 feet. In Colorado Springs, we mostly got by without changing much, but our house is at 9,200ft now, and that changes everything.

The most important information I’ve found is in a book that someone (she can’t remember who) bought for Jonah: Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy. She actually has recipes for 10,000ft, all of which she worked out in Breckinridge, so they actually work. Looking at the altitude tables for each recipe in this book illustrate just how different things are at each altitude.

When it comes to biscuits, she had the most important piece of information: buttermilk biscuits are just not going to work at 10,000ft. The reaction is too quick, releases too much pressure, and eventually results in collapsed biscuits. She says that she had an incredibly hard time finally producing biscuits for this altitude.

So, I took that information, and her otherwise boring biscuit recipe and combined it with techniques from Peter Reinhart as well as a few tricks of my own to produce the first biscuits I’m actually happy with in Divide.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vodka
1 stick frozen butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (though half pastry flour would be better if I could ever find it)

Grate the frozen butter into the flour, add the rest of the ingredients. Roll/fold the dough at least 4 times then cut into biscuits. Bake on a stone at 425F.